This article was originally published in the March 1968 issue of Road & Track.
Early last year we stopped by Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes' shop in Culver City, Calif., after hearing a strange story about a Porsche 911S cut in half there.They told us what it was all about but asked us to keep it to ourselves until after Christmas, when it would be presented as a surprise gift.
Troutman and Barnes started by carefully selecting points in floor and roof for the cuts and then proceeded with Emil Deidt's help to splice in appropriate sheet metal. As the photos show, it was necessary to make an entirely new roof panel to get a smooth contour from windshield header to rear window. The length of the stretch is 21.0 in., applying to both wheelbase and overall length.
Troutman and Barnes installed a conventional center pillar in the body and made the rear door opening so that standard production 900 series doors, complete with outside handles in their normal positions, could be used. The doors are hinged at the rear, like the Lincoln Continental, and it was necessary to make up new windows and frames for them. A special luxury touch is the use of electric window lifts—with motors of the type used for Porsche's electric sun roof.
The story behind the car's interior is as wild as the reason for the car itself. Some time ago Lucchese Boot Co. in San Antonion made a pair of shoes for Mr. Dick and he was so delighted with their leather color—a deep orange-brown—that he sent a sample of the leather from Lucchese to thePorsche works in Stuttgart, where the seats were to be fabricated. The Porsche upholstery shop had a number of hides made up to match, made two front seats of it and fabricated similar (but non-adjustable) seats for the rear, then sent the remaining hides to California. Tony Nancy of Sherman Oaks actually did the interior upholstering, as he usually does for Troutman-Barnes projects.
Complementing the fine leather work is a goodly amount of real walnut paneling. Troutman and Barnes suggested, in addition to the wood panel originally specified for the dash, a wood floor for the large package area behind the rear seats. Doug Mays, who works at a nearby pattern shop, made both pieces of wood and installed a pair of radio speakers in the piece for the rear.
To handle the extra pounds of weight, Troutman and Barnes installed a set of Pirelli Cinturato BN 72 tires on the new 5.5-in. production chrome wheels. Since the car is a 911S, it originally had the highly styled alloy wheels as shown in the construction photographs, but everyone concerned felt that simple disc wheels and hubcaps would be more appropriate to the character of a sedan than "mags." No suspension changes, other than the realignment of geometry to original specifications, have been done or are contemplated.
Just before the car was to be shipped back to Texas, Dick dispatched two of his best mechanics to California to install the new Sportomatic transmission. The car was then shipped to Texas, after it had been tested and shown to R&T, where it got the Porsche-Delanair air conditioning unit before Mrs. Dick became the proud new owner.
Mr. Dick had one other purpose in building the car: he feels that a car of Porsche price and quality should be appealing to a wider market, and wanted to demonstrate to the Porsche factory that interest would be generated by it.
Cost? For the one-off job, only slightly more than a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.