Throwback Thursday: Porsche 911S 2.2 restoration – Phoenix Rising
The car was in very poor condition when I found it,” says Alan Drayson of Canford Classics, with world-class understatement. “It had been in a workshop fire, filled with water by the firefighters, then pushed outside and left to rot.”
It’s almost impossible to believe that we’re talking about this 1970 911S: an immaculate 2.2-litre coupe in sparkling Metallic Silver.
“For example, the interior light had melted and was hanging three inches from the ceiling. The ignition key had also melted, although the Porsche script was still visible. Fellow restorers told me the car would never see the light of day again – that was like a red rag to a bull.”
Comparing himself to a bull might sit right with Alan, but he’s one of the least bullish restorers I’ve met. His Canford Classics company’s approach is best summed up as a focus on process.
“When restoration is focused on the finish, you miss details in the middle. We work on process first, and expect results to follow,” he offers humbly. The proof that they follow is parked in front of us.
My first encounter with Canford Classics was in an internet thread, four or five years ago [2006-2007 – Ed.]. Rebuilding a car for a customer, Alan had all the suspension parts stripped, rebuilt and refinished; new powder coating, new plating, new bushes et al. He then arranged the perfect parts and took a picture, sharing it with the collective. It was the first time I’d seen it done, and it left a strong impression.
“It just seemed like something people would enjoy,” laughs Alan as we discuss how that’s now the norm in restoration threads. “I’ve searched hard for the right companies to use for plating, chroming, anodising and trimming.”
“I’ve been through five different seal manufacturers, a bundle of carpet suppliers, and a number of bodyshops, to find suppliers who really understand what we’re chasing for our customers. When you find the right people, their work is a joy, so I like to share that out.”
It’s a fresh attitude in an industry where many specialists are closed doors to those who can’t afford them. “It’s all in the scene,” says Alan, who cut his teeth rebuilding air-cooled Volkswagens while still at school. “If I add something to the scene, it keeps the scene alive. An energised classic landscape is good for owners, good for newcomers, and ultimately good for me.”
To read about this incredible Porsche 911S 2.2 restoration in full, download Total 911 issue 75 to your digital device now.