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Say hello to our new Bumblebee 914! So first off what the heck is a Can Am or Limited Edition (LE) car?

 


In 1974 Porsche decided to capitalize on their success in Can Am racing and introduced a Limited Edition series of 1000 cars in 2 color schemes (500 each). The first was option was Black with Sunflower Yellow, also known as a Bumblebee, and the second option was Ivory White with Phoenix red, also called a Creamsicle.




Karl Schulz's LE Creamsicle from our Customer Car Story in May.


It’s easy to see that the how the black and yellow got its nickname, but why was the white and red called a Creamsicle? The red actually has a strong orange tint and against the white body it really looks orange.



So these colorful cars were definitely eye catching but to many the color schemes were seen as over the top. Most of these cars went into hiding as subsequent owners removed the orange and yellow decals from the car and repainted the wheels and front valance. Many were lost to the rust monster before their notoriety ever came to light.


There are a few ways to spot an LE car. The front valances were built from a heavier fiberglass and featured a notch in the center to allow for more cooling in the engine compartment. They look like this - https://914rubber.com/limited-edition-fiberglass-front-spoiler-for-914 Some retain the metal tabs that mounted to the back of the spoiler on the bottom of the undercarriage of the vehicle.




These cars all came with the M-778 CanAm equipment package from the factory. This was the only year it was available. It is also the only way to know you truly have a LE car. The Certificate of Authenticity (COA) from Porsche will specify whether or not your car originally came with this package.

 
 
Jeff Bowsbly maintains a registry of the Limited Edition cars on his website and currently has 277 surviving cars listed at https://bowlsby.net/914/CanAm/. If you have verified that you own one and have not yet registered, now is a great time to do so.




With the rare opportunity to acquire one presenting itself we had no choice other than to buy it. This car is fairly unmodified from its original state and we will be sharing updates on the disassembly and rebirth of this car. We are excited to have this opportunity to restore a part of history with you.



Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell

AKA Mikey914 on world
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Mark's Corner: The Haltbar Resins Program

Friday, June 11, 2021 5:21 PM

Haltbar™ Resins Program



We have decided to bring all of our fiberglass parts together under our new Haltbar™ Resins Program. The word haltbar means durable in German and we thought this was the perfect way to describe our new resin parts.



How did this come to existence?



A business associate of mine that has many years of experience manufacturing both commercial and military-grade aviation composites helped us put this program together. With the acquisition of the Sheridan molds we were able apply different techniques and create stronger parts. These panels represent a significant advancement in materials composition and manufacturing techniques that are similar to those used in high performance aircraft manufacturing. 



While Sheridan was well known for making body kits and panels, these were skins only that attached via Dzus fasteners. While these are great for the race market, we felt like there was more work to be done.

 


The first improvement we made was to manufacture the substructure needed to make these bolt on just like the factory parts do. We created a stainless mounting structure to allow these parts to be bolt-on replacements.
 
 

 
In another twist, we will also be adding carbon fiber options to the mix. With the carbon fiber we can offer a product that is much lighter while not being significantly more expensive than the fiberglass.

 


The front and rear hoods will be the first release of the series of products that you will be seeing soon.

 

We have also acquired a few other sets of molds that will allow us to launch a wide variety of new products, many of which are not available anywhere else. With the carbon fiber products we can even do custom build schedules by special order.



All of these will be part of a more complete system with numerous options for valances, flares, and more. We look forward to sharing more soon!



Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell

AKA Mikey914 on world
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Mark's Corner: Seat Upholstery Clips

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 5:02 PM

Upholstery Clips in Your Seats


Sometimes when we make a new part it can be hard to see the usefulness of it until you are mid-restoration and need one. The seat upholstery clips are one of these parts.


If you have ever disassembled your seat you will notice that there are a bunch of single prong clips underneath the seat cushion.

These clips also run along the inner edges of the seat center section all the way up to the base of the headrest. These pointed clips are the basis of how the seat goes together and help the vinyl retain its shape.


There are 23 clips in total - 19 single prong clips along with 2 medium and 2 large double clips. These double clips do more than just secure the vinyl to the chair, they are actually mounting points that secure the seat rails to the seat bucket.


The Problem


Rust is one of the biggest problems that the 914 faces, and the seats are not immune to this. It is not uncommon for a bolt to break off while trying to remove the seat rails from the seat. This is a crucial step you must take in order to replace the seat back bolster vinyl, which is notorious for splitting from age and wear. If you want to avoid the headache of dealing with snapped bolts, look for the back side of the clip and soak it with parts blaster. This can be seen once you remove the inside edge of the vinyl and lift up the foam padding.


Also, if your clips have been reworked before they can easily fatigue which may lead to the prong snapping off. Prior to developing these I could not find these commercially available anywhere. I searched upholstery shops to see what they had to no avail. I did come across a few people that could MacGyver a clip out of carpet tack strip material but it was not the ideal solution.


Seat Disassembly


After removing the seat cushion/center section, if you stretch the inner edges of the vinyl down you can pull the bottom edge away from the clips. after freeing the inner surface, you will need to take the 2 screws on the back of the headrest out. This will allow the vinyl flap to come down and also reveal the 2 screws that hold the headrest to the fiberglass body of the seat.


Once the vinyl is off the seat you can get a better view of the clips. They attach to the seat using a pop rivet so removal and reattachment are pretty straight forward. Do note that sometimes the fiberglass attachment point may have some damage. Do not worry you find this on your seat, just use a small washer as a backer for the pop rivet so it has a stronger surface to attach the clips to.


The exact location of the clips is mostly relative to each seat with the exception of the double clips. You will want to use the seat rails as a guide to assure they all line up correctly.


About The Parts We Made


Currently, we are only selling these in kits per seat. We will be selling individual pieces in the future, so if you need just a single part they will be available soon. We have put the kits together with all the pop rivets you need to attach the kit. The kits will be significantly less expensive than buying individual parts, but if you just need one piece I get it. This option will become available in the next few weeks. We also have the new hardware kit with freshly plated bolts and washers that will be listed separately shortly, but is included in the kit too.

 

I have done a seat or two myself and they are not particularly difficult to complete, but do require time and patience as they are deceptively simple.


Our good friend Ian Karr has just done a video showing the disassembly side of it in part 1 of his seat reupholstery series. These will be an excellent primer for you if you choose to take this on. I would encourage all to check out his 914 repair adventures and allow him to be your Sherpa on the restoration journey.


I again want to thank everyone for their support during these troubling times as it allows us to continue making parts like these.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell

AKA Mikey914 on world

Mark's Corner: The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal

Friday, June 4, 2021 2:37 PM

The 914Rubber Main Targa Seal was not always what you see today. In about 2012 the factory depleted their inventory on these and prices started going through the roof. When demand hit an all time high I remember seeing a N.O.S. part sell for over $1000. This month I will share some of the development history behind this crucial seal.



The Main Idea



The original part was anything but a simple extrusion. It consisted of the top section, 2 side sections, and 2 corner blocks which are all bonded together to make up the primary seal for the windscreen.



Initially, I offered only a replacement strip for the top section as I noticed it was the first failure point. You could cut the original seal at the corner blocks and glue the new strip in between them, then glue on a separate clip to make it fit snugly on the metal. It took some skill to install but was a reasonable alternative to a very expensive part.

 


Closeup of the early cut and glue repair seal.


For a few years this was the only option. I decided to take it to the next level and make the corner blocks and molded sides. This iteration was called the 3 Piece Main Targa Seal. I started making these by bonding each piece together after cutting to size by hand. It was a labor-intensive process but it allowed me to provide a complete seal at less than $200 per seal. The bonding process I was using at that time was adequate, but not as pretty as the factory part.

 
I eventually moved to a seal that I could mold together while still using a folded internal clip inside the seal. It allowed for a more factory looking part but it was very difficult to keep the internal clips at the right tolerance to properly hold the seal onto the body.

 
The second iteration of the 3 Piece Main targa seal with a separate metal clip channel.
 
While the previous version was fully functional, I am always looking to make improvements when I can. The folded metal clip was changed to an internal metal clip just like the factory. This is the version of the seal that I am currently producing. I am proud to say we still offer this seal for $179, which is a far cry from the $285 that the factory wanted when these were available in the mid 2000s.

 
The next logical step was to make the lower front targa seal. It’s the one you see from inside the car with the roof on. If you haven’t taken these out before you may think the 2 seals are actually one. Typically, the seal looks like it's still in one piece but it's actually riddled with small cracks that allow water to seep into the car and create rust. It is your interiors second line of defense and I highly recommend replacing both seals at the same time to keep you and your car dry.


Recently, I had a customer tell me he spent all day trying install this seal by pulling the side pieces down the tracks. This will not work and highlights how difficult this seal can be to install if you don’t know what to do. Click on the video below to watch Matt explain how to install the seal using his Bahia Red 1972 914.


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Mark's Corner: The 914Rubber Story

Thursday, June 3, 2021 4:26 PM

Many of you may know me as Mike or Mikey, but my name is actually Mark. Years ago I started a father-son project with my oldest son, Michael, rebuilding a 914 for him to daily drive. Seeking a website where I could find parts and information for his car I eventually joined 914Club (later renamed to 914World) under the username Mikey914, which has led to some confusion over the years. With that out of the way, I’d like to share how I ended up with my first 914 and what led me to found this company.


The 914Rubber Story

 

The first car I ever drove was my friend’s Camaro SS, the year was 1984 and I was a high schooler obsessed with speed. The Camaro was fast and had immediately ignited my passion for sports cars. Unfortunately, even in the ‘80s a solid project could cost anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 plus another $275/month for insurance. After I realized the Camaro was out of my budget I started looking around for another sports car. That’s when I found a Porsche 914 for $5,900.


Having no idea what this car was, I decided to go check it out. It was a completely restored 1973 Black 914 2.0 Appearance Group. The car looked like it had just rolled off the showroom floor and I took it for a test drive. I was hooked, but could I afford the insurance? I called my insurance agent and he quoted me only $63 a month! From their perspective it was just a Volkswagen that was made in the Karmann plant with the Porsche name on the front badge and grille.


I made an offer for $5,100, which they accepted, and bought the car on the spot. It was one of the most dependable cars I've owned. The only thing I ever had to do was change the oil. That's when my obsession began.


Fast forward back to the father-son project with Michael in 2006. I had found a 1975 Zambezi Green 914 at auction and bought it for $400. The paint was mostly new, and the interior was in great shape, but the engine was pretty much gone from a prior engine fire.


914_restoration_image_1

The hard work began when we removed the engine and started cleaning the engine compartment. We had bought a used 1.7 engine and started rewiring it by splicing in part of a used harness. As we were trying to source some seals, we found out that the engine compartment split Y seal was unavailable.




I started thinking there must be other 914 owners who needed this seal as badly as I did. I had a background in drafting and engineering tight tolerance aluminum extrusions through my side-business in aluminum railing. One day while I was picking up product, I showed my sales rep the burnt piece of split Y seal and explained how I wasn’t having any luck finding a replacement for it. He looked at me and said, "you know we extrude rubber too, right?"

 

This changed everything. I made some modifications to the part which I thought would make it fit better than the factory version. I went home and posted what was to be my first Group Buy with this part on 914World. I got a lot of responses. Some groused about existing suppliers that take money upfront for poor quality parts later and others questioned who I was to be making parts in the first place. In the end, I was able to garner enough interest to pull the trigger on the tooling and make the first production run. I still remember one customer that told me the seal I made was too large and there’s no way it would fit! After I read that I worked with him to show him why the part was different and how I had installed mine. Not only did he change his opinion, but he also endorsed my part and began telling everyone it did fit better than the OEM seal. I had my first happy customer and proven product.


This company started with just me in my garage and has grown into multiple production bays with a team of employees who excel at fabrication, assembly, and customer service. I’ve never been prouder or more excited. 914Rubber has continued to provide high quality and affordable parts to the 914 community so that we can all restore the cars we love. Though I still have my day job as a pilot, my passion is using my engineering skills to redesign and produce parts that keep people driving. From the bottom of my heart I thank all of you for supporting us.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell

AKA Mikey914 on 914world

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