I bought “Smiffy” (a 1974 RHD 911 2.7 Carrera Targa – registration SMF 4M) on Valentines Day in 1984 from a small garage in Redcliffe, Bristol. I'm only the second person ever to have owned the car, with the previous owner being Brian Brolly, who was an English show business entrepreneur who managed Paul and Linda McCartney’s MPL Communications, and then Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, and also co-founded Jazz FM and Classic FM. He traded in Smiffy against a new Ferrari 308 from a Dorset dealer, and I don’t know how Smiffy ended up in Bristol. Between 2002 and 2012, Smiffy was in storage while I worked abroad, and it was shortly after we moved back to the UK that I made the decision to fully restore Smiffy to its original condition, when it arrived at AFN. The car was actually in remarkably original condition, which included the rarity of still having the original registration number. A newer stereo system had been installed, and also a fibreglass ducktail with plastic grille which looked great, along with Carrera side decals – luckily, the original plain metal engine lid came with the car.
I spent quite a bit of time researching smaller, and independent, Porsche restoration specialists that shared the same passion as I did for these remarkable cars, and came across Canford Classics. I gave them a call, and spoke with Alan at length and came off the phone very happy that I had found exactly the kind of person that I would trust to restore my car. In March 2013 Canford Classics completed phase 1 of its restoration which included new injectors, new fuel pump, lines, new rear shocks and refurbishing my 4 Fuch wheels to their RS style finish. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the care and quality of workmanship, and in February 2015 Smiffy was back at Canford Classics for phase 2 of the restoration. This time new kidney bowls were fitted, new cabin and luggage bay carpets, seats restored, new door cards, new rear side panels, the Targa hoop was repaired and a new Targa seal fitted. The 1980’s Pioneer stereo radio/cassette system was removed and replaced by a correct 1974 refurbished BlauPunkt “Stuttgart” radio, complete with oval mono speaker in the dash.
In December 2015 phase 3 started, involving respraying the front and rear valences, a new mild-steel exhaust and heat exchanger system, engine makeover (tinwork, fan and shroud refurbished) and a complete front and rear suspension overhaul. At this point, I really felt that I was well on the way to returning Smiffy to his original glory.
Not too long afterwards, Smiffy was back at Canfords for phase 4 – this time the overhauled speedometer was refitted, the braking system was completely overhauled, a Hirschmann black manual aerial fitted, and the fuel tank removed, stripped and detailed correctly.
I need to mention that I have kept every receipt, and tax disc during my 34 years of ownership.
As I write this, Smiffy is once again back with Canford's – this time for a complete engine and gearbox overhaul. Scott called me recently to say that I will have the car back in a week or so – just in time for hopefully another great English summer, and an opportunity to drive Smiffy as often as possible. I was very pleased to see that Canford's will soon have their on-site body-shop up and running. Once I have saved up enough money, the 6th and final phase of the restoration will be a complete strip down to bare metal and a new Grand Prix White paint job, before final reassembly. After this, I will have achieved my goal of returning this wonderful car fully to its original condition, with all of this important work being caringly, and very professionally, carried out by Alan and his wonderfully talented team at Canford Classics. Smiffy will be at the upcoming coffee morning, and anyone is welcome to inspect the car and see for yourselves the impressive results of all the hard work by Canford Classics.