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Customer Cars: Dave Green's 2 Resto Projects

Saturday, June 5, 2021 12:02 PM

We love seeing what exciting projects our customers are currently working on. Every month we would like to showcase a couple of cars in whatever state they are in - on the road or on the rack.

This months winner is Dave Green. He has two restoration projects loaded with 914Rubber parts that he is currently working on. The first is a blue 914-6 conversion sporting a twin plug RS euro spec 2.7 L engine with the original Weber carbs.

    
 










The second car is a black outlaw 3.2 L 914-6 conversion. Dave picked up the 2.7 L car locally but flew out to Palm Springs to pick up the 3.2 L and drive it home on an epic 1600 mile road trip with his son!




You can follow the build thread for the blue car here and the black car here.Thanks for the submission Dave!


Please submit your image and a brief 1-2 sentence summary to 914rubber@914rubber.com. If we select your photo for the newsletter you can win a 914Rubber gift card!

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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Customer Cars: Dan Whitlock's 914 Restoration

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 4:21 PM



We love seeing what exciting projects our customers are currently working on. Every month we showcase a couple of cars in whatever state they are in - on the road or on the rack.


 

This months winner is Dan Whitlock. His fuel injected 1.7 L was originally purchased new in Van Nuys, CA. The car then moved to Washington in the late 70's where it changed hands 2 times before Dan bought it off Craigslist in 2006. Six layers of paint and primer were sanded off the chassis and revealed only a minor spot of rust under the battery box. The car is currently being primed at Rillos Restoration in Kent, WA and the original engine is being rebuilt by Chris Goodwin Motorsports in Seattle, WA. It is shaping up to be a great restoration and we hope to see more. Thanks for the submission Dan!


Please submit your image and a brief summary to 914rubber@914rubber.com. If we select your photo for the newsletter you can win a 914Rubber gift card!

Mark's Corner: Ken's 1974 2.0L 914

Tuesday, June 1, 2021 4:06 PM

As many of you know, I have a day job. The parts business is my passion project. I like to catch up with customers as I travel the country. Some have become good friends. It's always nice to see what they do with their cars and how they drive them.


An Afternoon with Ken in Hawaii



Ken is a recent customer who is currently working on his brakes. I mentioned that I would be on his Island in a week or so and that perhaps we could catch up. I knew I had found Ken's place because his 914 (74 2.0L with Carbs) was prominently parked in his driveway.


Ken_s_914_car_image_1

I noted the car was in primer and asked him about his paint plans. Ken's quite happy with it as it is given that he drives the car routinely, so it's not a big deal if he gets a scratch - its got that rat rod look.


Be Seen and Be Heard


The 5 lug Fuchs conversion and 2.0 L were what really made this car stand out for him. He also has 2 LED light strips mounted on the front bumper to use as running lights. Ken's currently finishing up the master cylinder and plans to upgrade the backlighting in the instrument gauge cluster to LEDs. Ken has added an extra pair of speakers directly to the longs as well as a sub-woofer in the front trunk. This helps hear the sound with the top off.


Ken_s_914_car_image_2

The 914 has some company. It's cousin, the 911, is fun to drive also but he really enjoys the 914 the most. It's more of a street legal go-cart. He actually gets more looks in the 914 as there aren't many on the island.


Ken_s_914_car_image_3

One of the most unique features of his growing Porsche stable is his security system. His attack tortoise fends of any would-be thieves. This is definitely a Hawaiian car.

Thanks for your hospitality Ken! Always nice to catch up with a fellow enthusiast.