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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: New Roll Bar Pad

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 6:43 PM

New Roll Bar Pad Coming Soon



I would like to thank everyone on 914world who supported our efforts to create the new roll bar pads for our cars.



To recap, we created these using a metal substructure just like the OEM part. This was the only way to get these to secure to the body correctly and allow for a softer formulation of rubber. Another manufacturer did try to make these but skipped the additional cost of the metal structure and went with a plastic material that is much harder than the OEM.



We created the correct texture to make the new ones hard to distinguish from the original part. The OEM version was a soft foam that had a textured vinyl thermoformed over it. This is the same technique that the dash tops used, and as time has shown us, they have the same issues. The foam and vinyl expand and contract at different rates. Over time they all form cracks at the same stress points.



We have utilized the same technique that we use on our dash tops to make these. We utilize a self-skinning foam injected into a mold under high pressure to pull the texture off the molds. This means the product is made from the same material all the way through, creating a uniform elasticity throughout the part that should last (I.E., not crack) indefinitely.



Production on these is in the final stages and we expect to have them ready to launch next month. While not required we have also put together a “hardware kit” that consists of new screws and screw hole plugs. The new screws are a #2 head that will make life much easier should you need to remove the roll bar pad in the future. This kit consists of 12 screws and screw covers.



Tips for Removing the Roll Bar



The factory screws are quite small and use a #1 Philips tip. Try a #2 and you will strip them out. I recommend using a shop vac and a tool like a small screwdriver or pick to clean out the openings on your old roll bar. If you can see the screw head, it makes it much easier to remove without stripping. A little bit of additional prep time here will save you loads of headache later.



Also unannounced, but I wanted to give you a heads up about a kit we are making to rebuild the rear roof latches. I wanted to mention this as we are making the springs now and within a month hope to have the complete kit together. It will be comprised of new lever plates, double loop springs and a replacement pin for the arm. It is virtually impossible to clean the old latches up fully assembled and recoat them. You will have the ability to do this shortly.



 Again, thank you all for your support. I have several other exciting new items coming soon.



Sincerely,

Mark Whitesell AKA Mikey914

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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: Interior & Resins Products

Monday, June 7, 2021 10:51 AM

I wanted to touch on 2 subjects for this newsletter to shed some light on what is really going on behind the scenes of our Interior program and the 914 Resins program.



Interiors



As many of you may or may not be aware, we started making door panels almost 7 years ago. We had backed off on production of these due to the amount of labor they took to construct and the need to harvest some of the existing hardware from the old door panels. I am pleased to announce this is no longer the case.


 

We now fabricate this hardware and it comes standard with all of our door panels, including the cage nuts. We have also included all 18 door panel clips needed to mount the new panels to the door frame.



Note that the holes necessary for mounting the door pockets and pull handles now come pre die-cut. These are also shipped with the door cups to make this ready to install out of the box. Our goal is to make installation as painless as possible. 







We are currently building up some back stock and will be relaunching these in the coming months. The new listing will also have a few “custom” options that will include plaid, houndstooth, and even GT door pulls. We had to slow down on production to get these back on line in a manner that yields a better product.



We have also just completed the upholstery mounting clip sets for the seats. These are critical for making the seat side bolsters and center sections stay in place. In most cases, many of these are completely rusted away or missing as they were never available directly from the factory for replacement.

These will be sold as a set per seat basis and will include the pop rivets necessary to mount the clips.



We are committed to providing you with what you need to make your car look good. We look forward to sharing more information about future items that will be available in this category soon.



Resins



We had the opportunity to mount the complete trunk assemblies for both the front and rear trunks lids. The front trunk springs really have more pressure than they need to open the hoods so we are actively sourcing a better option for use with the resin hoods.


 







Fitment is looking good currently but we are making some adjustments to the metal that gets embedded into the hoods to give them more strength.

 





The front hood with headlight delete should be ready this before August, the alignment is good and only needs some minor changes. A few of the molds have some imperfections in them that are minor, but keep them from being 100% perfect and ready to start using. There are some “hot spots” in the molds that will require glazing putty and some block sanding to remove. They are minor, but we believe in full disclosure. We are looking at the costs to finish them completely in house as an option.



Finally, we will also have replacement front valances available this month. The steel ones are hard to come by, so if yours is undamaged why risk it? 



Stay well and try to get in some quality 914 time, 'tis the season.




 Remembering Roxie

I’m sad to report that my faithful friend and frequent shop dog Roxie passed away this past Wednesday. She was with us for over 14 years, just last week we were commenting that she may have a few more years left with us because she seemed so healthy.



I'm glad she got to spend one last brisket filled holiday with the extended family this past 4th of July. We already miss you girl.

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