In this article, we have a quick chat to South Australian, all round good guy, Stew Fuchs about his 911 SC and his ownership experience.
You call yourself “that Porsche guy” on Instagram. Would you say you’re a Porsche guy or a car guy?
That Porsche Guy, Ha ha! I was at a Cars & Coffee one Sunday morning, and got talking to a few of my old hotrod mates, and some random guy. One night during the week, I was in a supermarket, and I bumped into that same random guy. He said (words to the effect of) “hey how’s it going? You’re that Porsche guy from last Sunday aren’t you?” I thought it sounded like a catchy name.
I’d say first and foremost, I’m a car guy. I just like cars – classics, customs, hotrods, restored, you name it. I was really hung up on some of the work that Sam & George Barris did in the 50’s. They had a lot of revolutionary ideas. But these days, I’m definitely hooked on Porsches.
Previous to the 911, we’d had a number of cars. A 70 Chevy Camaro, 79 Chevy Monza, 49 Holden 48/215 Special, MGB GT, a chopped 37 Plymouth sedan, 34 Plymouth roadster pickup, 30 A Ford roadster, and a 54 Dodge mild custom. My wife also had an LH L34 Torana when we were courting. It was painted as a special order in Sierra Tan metallic with black paint outs. We also had a few English motorcycles over the years.
Wow! That’s quite a different list of cars compared to the 911! What made you want to get a Porsche after having such a passion for hot rods?
It’s a long story really. I sold my Dodge custom, and a spare 1955 car, in early 2013, just prior to moving house. I was outgrowing the whole tail dragging, flamethrower exhaust, 50’s thing, and I decided it was time for something different. My late wife, Deb, always insisted we would get another car once we settled into our new place. We’d recently purchased a rural property in the eastern Adelaide Hills, and finally moved in on ANZAC Day. Then, in October 2013, Deb was diagnosed with cancer, and we were told she only had 18 months or so left. Realising that our entire world was about to change, we decided it was time to enjoy ourselves. One of our first decisions was to get another car so we could enjoy some quality times together. Another decision, one that was really tough, was to sell our farm after only 8 months of ownership. As a side note, the house was recently destroyed by bushfire in December 2019.
So why a Porsche you ask? Part of the reason was that we wanted something different. Deb’s dad was a designer at Porsche in the late 1970’s, and from 1996 – 98, so she had a bit of a connection. Plus, having spent most of her childhood living in Europe & the UK, she had seen lots of them and had always liked them. She was actually a massive car nut. Let’s face it, not many 18 year old girls drive an SLR5000, do they. And she could drive.
Back to the Porsche. After some looking around, regular visits to Carsales, and input from our kids, we decided to start looking at aircooled 911s. We looked at a few local cars that were within our budget, as well as contacting a few interstate sellers and getting a ton of photos by email. After a month of searching, our son found this car, and it was only 15 minutes from home. I contacted the seller, arranged to go and see it, and drove the car once. We went for a 45 minute run out towards Murray Bridge, then back along the freeway, where he was “encouraging” me to go faster. To say I was instantly hooked is an understatement. I made the guy an offer, and it was ours. I didn’t bother with a PPI, and I’ve not had any reason to question that decision. Just lucky I guess.
On December 6th 2013, Deb received her Christmas present – a Grand Prix White 1981 Porsche 911SC coupe, with black leatherette and black wool weave interior, sunroof, and the ever popular 16 inch Fuchs felgen.
Images by @anf928
You seem to do a lot of the work yourself when it comes to car maintenance. Where did you pick up the skills to tackle those jobs that many would just hand over to a professional?
Yes, I do most of my own work. It’s mainly servicing, because that’s all it’s needed, apart from changing the starter. I’m currently doing a full rebuild on the front suspension. I really enjoy the challenge, and I’d encourage everyone to swing spanners on their car whenever they get the chance. It’s very rewarding. I’ve always been a tinkerer – I’m fascinated by machines. I’ve got a trade background as a toolmaker, and I’ve worked in all sorts of engineering roles, so I’ve developed a lot of useful skills over the years. But I’ve been off the tools completely for over 25 years now, so it helps me keep my skills up.
Is there anything you wouldn’t have a go at?
I have to admit, I’m not overly confident with the insides of gearboxes and final drives. There’s some dark magic going on in there.
What modifications have been done to the car?
It’s not extensively modified to be honest. It’s been lowered, has repro Fuchs 8’s on the back & original Fuchs 7’s on the front, a custom exhaust, a factory short throw shifter, a strut brace, PORSCHE side decals, tinted windows, and RS door trims which I fabricated myself. I also have a rear window venetian blind that some people don’t quite get. It keeps the car cool.
Any future mods planned?
I really like the look of the original 911R, so I want to follow that to some extent. I’ll remove the sill trims and probably change the bumpers, and maybe fit a set of steelies, if I can find some centres for the right price. But I don’t intend to backdate it. I’ve got a pair of glass bumpers that are very purple at the moment, courtesy of Patrick Hamakers, which I picked up for the princely sum of a carton of Coronas. I think that’ll be it then. It needs a full respray – the paint is pretty awful. It’s got more runs than Don Bradman.
You’ve done quite a few driving holidays in this car. Is there one trip that sticks out as a favourite?
It’s really hard to say what my favourite trip has been. The car has been to Tasmania 4 times (once with my Deb, and three with the Renntours Porsche guys), Hangar Banger 1 in 45° heat and no aircon, and then on to the Bathurst 12 Hour. Most recently, I drove to Victoria for the 4 Peaks Run. They’ve all been amazing trips. And I’m off to Tasmania again in March. I’ve also got plans for an East Coast trip which will take me and the dog a few weeks. I think the winner would be the first Tassie trip, followed by the 4 Peaks Run, but it’ll probably be different if you ask me the same question tomorrow.
What do you love about this particular 911 and you can’t use the words raw, visceral, engaging, or patina.
OK. I won’t use the words Analogue, Outlaw or Reimagined either. What I enjoy about my 911 is that I can do pretty much whatever I want with it. They’re such a simple little thing. Mine’s a German delivered car that’s been converted to RHD, and I got it pretty cheap. That makes it a good basis for a customised car. It’s been extremely reliable over the years, except for a starter motor failure on the way back from Bathurst. I just get in, start it, and drive it.
Images by @that_porsche_guy
What does the car mean to you?
To me, it’s more than just a car. It holds a fair amount of sentimental value due to it being Deb’s car, albeit for a short time, but it’s also been a key part of so many fantastic memories. I’ve made some amazing friends and had some incredible road trips over the ownership period. It’s also something that I’ve been able to use to bring a smile to other people’s faces. That’s something I get a real kick out of. I did a charity drive day last year for handicapped kids and young adults. It was a memorable day.
Do you see yourself keeping this car forever or are there other cars you lust after?
For me, the 911 is a keeper but you never know. Forever is a long time. If money was no object, it would be a 62 – 64 Maserati 3500GT. I really love the glamour and sex appeal of early Italian sportscars. I also like the Benz R107 450SLC and the 1st generation BMW 635CSi. They’re cool. I’d have one of those but I do also like the 50’s T-Birds and Corvettes. They’re probably average cars by comparison with the 911, but I’d have one of them in a heartbeat. They’re certainly different cars to the 911.