Preservation vs restoration: growing old gracefully

Zuffenhausen claims that “over 70 per cent of all Porsches ever built are still on the road today.” It is a statistic that bears testimony to both the famed reliability of the brand’s output and the passionate support for cars like our beloved neunelfer.

However, despite the impressive survival rate, do not think the remaining contingent of cars from Werk II exist in equality. No. There are two predominantly different means to keeping your classic Porsche 911 alive: preservation or restoration.

The former aims to keep the car in working order but allows it to age gracefully, while the latter intends to renovate the car to a factory-fresh condition.


Perched here in the UK’s south coast sunshine, both pre-impact bumper 911s are celebrating their 43rd birthday in 2015. Each car represents one side of the preservation-versus-conservation coin and it is now my job to try and decide which approach to classic Porsche 911 ownership is more rewarding.

It’s a question I continually struggle to answer during office musings, but thanks to the loan of these two cars by early 911 specialists Canford Classics, I can now put my theories into practice to reach a definitive conclusion.

In the preservation corner sits the silver 911 2.4S. Alan Drayson and the Canford team have simply wiped the dust off the distinctive silhouette and warmed the 190-horsepower flat-six engine before handing the keys over to me.


It’s a reasonably laissez-faire style of maintaining a classic, only replacing and repairing components when truly necessary, but it stills results in a car that fires up when commanded.

At first glance it doesn’t look too worse for wear either. In fact, it looks immaculate – causing a problem for our photographer, Ali, as we anticipated a little bit more of a visual difference. However, as you dig a little deeper, evidence of this car’s life becomes ever-more evident.

To find out how the restored Porsche 911E stacks up against the preserved 911S, pick up Total 911 issue 126 in store now. Alternatively, you can order it for home delivery, or download it straight to your digital device.


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