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Restoration Romantic III: Shipping the 912 to California

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

By Michael Benet
Photos by Brian Sanders and Michael Benet


When the day came for the transporter to take my trusty steed away, all of the necessities were packed and the 912 was ready to be driven into the enclosed trailer. The shipping fee has to be paid in advance, and you want to be absolutely certain that the delivery address is correct. I was asked to allow for three weeks to shuttle the car to its destination in California, so I notified those involved in my trip about the timeline.
On pick-up day, I received a call that the transport truck would arrive at my home mid-afternoon. And right on schedule, it arrived as planned. I attribute this partly to my choice in shipping companies, so be sure to give due diligence and choose one carefully.

The driver informed me he was ready to load, so I pulled the car out of the garage and drove it to the base of the trailer. Before loading it up, he went over the car with a fine-tooth comb making notes of any imperfections and the contents inside it. The transporter’s objective should be the same as yours: to unload the car at its destination in the exact condition as it was sitting at the base of the trailer before the trip. That said, it’s a good idea to take your own photos and make your own notes.

After the driver fills out the paperwork, I had the option to verify his notes. They were correct, so I simply signed on the dotted line and allowed my baby to get loaded into the rig. You can stay to observe or wave goodbye; I took a few photos then continued my preparations.

Later that day I received a status email notifying me that my 912 had been picked up. I was also given the driver’s phone number so I could keep tabs on my car’s progress. During the week, I received a call from the shipping company stating that the car would be delivered very soon — a welcome surprise after being told to allow for three weeks. I reconfirmed the delivery address and then called Brian to make sure he could take the delivery.

The schedule worked for everybody, and within the next 12 hours, I received an email stating that the car had been delivered. It took just four days for the car to travel from Illinois to California! Brian confirmed the delivery and sent some photos showing the car and its new roommates.

Now that the car had reached its destination — a beautiful, private airport hangar — my wife, Tara, and I continued to work on logistics from home. Flights were not a problem, and we simply asked friends about where to stay. Many suggested several quaint locations in Napa, but we ultimately chose Auberge du Soleil as our first stop. Luxurious spa treatments and a great location were top priority.
With that taken care of I was excited to see that my new, best Porsche friend, Brian Sanders in Sacramento, called to talk about my car, which hadn’t been fully shaken down since the restoration was completed. Brian has a 1968 912 (in a super rare blue hue) so he is well versed in vintage Porsches. He reported that he had driven the car and noticed a few bits that he felt could be dialed in better for a more enjoyable Napa tour. Trusting him and his knowledge, I permitted him to tinker with the little car and act as if it were his own. So he took the 912 home and made a list.
Knowing that the car was only partially de-bugged, I welcomed Brian’s efforts. However, I must say that I was astonished by his hospitality and graciousness. Here I was, no more than a cyber-pal, and he wanted to go out of his way to make sure that my trip would be without issue. He unselfishly inspected my Porsche front to back and made adjustments where needed. It was remarkable. It represents what the Porsche Club of America was built upon: Porsches and, crucially, people. This is PCA membership at its finest and I am honored to be fortunate enough to have Porsche friends like this.
Brian and I spoke a few more times discussing details and adjustments on the little car. Most were minor, but there was also a show-stopper: A CV joint bolt had backed out and started to make noise while he was driving. Brian’s quick efforts corrected the fault and the car was solid again. Additionally, Brian made some custom adjustments to the carburetors that to make the car run harmoniously in its new West Coast environment. These adjustments (and several others) were a gift for me, as nothing could make the trip better than the care and efforts of a Porsche friend. I asked Brian how I could thank him and he just replied “Have a great time in Napa!”
Shortly after that, Brian sent me some photos with both of our Vintage 912s parked next to each other. It is truly a sight to see.

Check out part IV of Restoration Romantic

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