After I got my 1967 Jaguar E-Type “on the road” after many years of restoration, I had a natural desire to check out it’s performance capabilities. This started with trips on local back roads. I then took it to Autocross events, which were fun but spending all day to get 3 or 4 short runs was not what I wanted. So my next exploration was attending a High Performance Driving Event (HPDE). This was a lot of fun and definitely something that I wanted to continue to do. But I realized that the E-Type has several significant drawbacks. First, I had so much time and money invested in it’s restoration that I really couldn’t bring myself to push it to the limits on the track. Second, it’s a 45 year old car with limited ability to protect the driver in the event of a crash. And although it’s a very cool and capable car, it just can’t keep up with the modern cars in attendance at these events. So I realized that continuing with the E-Type as my main track car would only end badly.
One day a buddy at work forwarded an ad to me for a Porsche 944 that was for sale. I wound up buying it. The car is an “early 85” model, as there was a significant change to 944’s in the mid year of 1985. It is a normally aspirated car (N/A), 4 cylinders, 2.5 litres. Like all 944’s, it is a front engine rear wheel drive “transaxle car” which means that the transmission is combined at the rear with the differential. This creates a 50/50 weight split between the front and rear axles. Whereas the E-Type runs with 185 width tires, the 944 runs with 225 width tires.
The fellow I bought the car from had done a few things to it. It had a roll bar, which also provides an attachment point for 5 point harnesses. He had added race seats. He had fitted Koni red shocks and lowering springs in the front. He had fitted some later style “twist” wheels. The car was also an awful brown color!
The harnesses were out of date. I purchased some nice 6 point Schroth harnesses for my side and a less expensive 6 point harness for the passenger side. HPDE cars require a passenger seat and harness for the instructor.
Before I took it to the track, I decided to replace the camshaft belt, balance shaft belts, and various seals on the front of the engine. Clarks-Garage.com, which I will mention a lot, does a much better job of describing how to do this work than I can so I will direct you to that website. This would require the removal of the radiator and hoses, which will be important to the story.
To be continued-
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