The Return of Number 57
It all started with a phone call on August 5, 2014.
Alexander Klein who is the Manager Classic Car Collector at the Porsche Museum received a phone call about two “barn finds”. They had found two old 911’s, and one just happened to have the number 300 057 in the description of the vehicle. This is the chassis number of one of the first 911’s produced. It was a 1964 Porsche 901.
The Porsche was in a very poor state of repair when they went to see it. Both of the front wings were missing and large sections of the vehicle were eaten away by rust. There was barely anything in the interior and the brakes and engine were seized. But what did remain in perfect condition was the chassis number. The Porsche was truly an original. They wanted to make sure the sale was does as soon as possible, and it was agreed that the vehicle would be inspected in Zuffenhausen. Porsche paid $129,552 for the red original 911.
When restoration began, they knew everything needed to go. The individual parts of the 911 were sent to specialists at Porsche Classic and suppliers. The parts that remained were put into a chemical bath for derusting and paint removal. The process of a chemical bath is much more gentle then processes such as using blasting materials. After the chemical bath it was clear that the Number 57 was entirely untouched. Before this, they assumed that most of the body was going to be destroyed. They ended up preserving more than half of the sheet metal.
A lot of parts obviously needed to be replaced. These were supplied by a body shell of a 911 from 1965. They did this to guarantee that the composition, characteristics, and quality of the steel would be as authentic as possible. A big difference between the Number 57’s body and later version of the 911 vehicles was that the heating pipes passed underneath the rear axle tube rather than over it. This was one of the few components that needed to be recreated from old sheet metal. The engineers molded and welded the sheet metal and steel for 12 months. Piece by piece the Number 57 was being restored to its original condition.
The toughest task that the body engineers had was the restoration of the ashtray. The rear third of the slide-in unit had rusted away and the chrome-plated support with a rectangular hole for a cigar was missing. They were provided a wooden mold from Weissach in which they tapped, pressed, and rolled the fragment of the ashtray. Although they wanted to keep Number 57 as authentic as possible, they stuck to the modern coating process for the paint. This process protects against corrosion much better.
Porsche Classic took on the engine. Let’s just say… a lot of rust remover, heat, and patience was needed to get the pistons unstuck from the cylinders. The crank mechanism was then rebuilt, but they kept the restored cylinder heads. It took around 120 working hours to restore the six-cylinder engine to perfection.
In the summer of 2017 the Number 57 returned to its rightful place. After a little fine-tuning the oldest 911 was welcomed to the Porsche Museum.