Shortcuts lead to the most interesting places, and during a sunday drive one lead me back in time to 1969 revealing a perfect Porsche 911T Sportomatic parked on a side of the road, in all it’s glistening glory. I shook my head in disbelief and continued past.
When it donned on me a block later I slapped it in reverse and floored it top speed, as only a Porsche lover with a one-track-mind can do, 400 yards directly into a parallel park turned the car off and grab my camera.
As I get out, there on the sidewalk between me and the Porsche 911T is a man clutching a paper back that holds a 40 ounce of Old English “That’s some damn fine parkin!” he says – words whistle as they leave his lips, clearly not a tooth in his head. I thank him and proceed in a b-line to the Porsche as if it were a religious symbol.
In the window I see the 911T is fitted out for track-racing with a safety bar behind the front seat and safety harnesses, clearly added after the fact as there were only lap-belts from 1969-1971, the years that the Porsche 911T was made, replacing the Porsche 912. And if it isn’t being raced now, it certainly looks like it was at some point by a proud owner as I explore it further.
The german plaque affixed to the rear engine grill reveals more race history in Germany, as do the the racing stickers in the lower left of the rear window.
With this kind of beauty preserved in such immaculate condition I can’t help but feel as if I am in the presence of a time capsule, and begin to imagine this one being rolled right off the line, at my feet. As if I were somehow a witness to the very first 911T clutchless manual that Porsche ever made.
What makes this particular Porsche so rare is that it’s gears don’t go from 1st to 5th but from 1st to 4th and more importantly the numbers were replaced by letters. Here are the ratios taken from the Porsche 911T Sportomatic manual:
L (Low): For steep grades, slush, mud or snow.
D (Drive): Regular driving for 0-60 miles per hour. Also for rapid acceleration the transmission can be shifted through all “gears” like a manual transmission.
D3 & D4: For highway cruising essentially overdrive and D3 is used for passing or downshifting while braking.
P (Park): Necessary due to the torque converter there is no mechanical link between engine and transmission.
R (Reverse): Acts as it would in an automatic and can only be selected if the car is at a complete stop. Note: slight increase in engine speed may be necessary to actually move the car.
I didn’t have time to stick around and meet the owner but I did take as many shots as possible to document this absolutely incredible car, because once I leave this time-warp and the gates close behind me, there is no going back. I might never see this particular Porsche again. Ever. A sobering thought.
I say goodbye to the Porsche 911T Sportomatic and to my new-found-toothless-fan at the curb behind me who raises his bottle and takes a swig in the name of history for the both of us.