The Sinister build – my most famous car

I’ve always loved the 72 911 coupes, and I gravitated to black paint. So I was very excited to find a dry 1972 911T Sunroof coupe, completely disassembled, within 40 miles of home in Spring, 2003. Back then, it was a $4000 car. Back then, we didn’t worry much about originality. I hauled the car to AIR in Van Nuys and had Kevin add steel RS flares. I was able to find steel modified rear OE bumpers needing only a bit of work to finish.

I had Kevin remove the right side battery box to allow better airflow to the cooler I intended to mount – duplicating the 3.2 Carrera cooler. Then the car was repainted the original black (#700).

Because I wanted more of a minimalist hot rod, I added power windows from an SC rather than air conditioning.

The suspension was upgraded to 85 Carrera parts front and back. Front torsion bars remained stock (Carrera) and I upgraded to 27mm rear bars. the car got Bilstein Sport (gas) shocks. For sway bars, I used Weltmiester 19mm on both front and rear. Only other suspension component change was Neatrix rear spring arm bushings.

(Ultimately, the finishing touch was lowering and alignment by Johnson’s in Hawthorne CA, but that wouldn’t come for 6 years.)

As this was my own car and self-funded, I progressed slowly, using a lot of “placeholder” parts like Chinese vinyl Sparco knock off seats. It was my intent from the beginning to have a red interior. I located perforated vinyl and recovered the door and all other normally-colored interior panels. I used the one-year-only 76 dash pad because of its simplicity: no speaker grille; no dash vent. Instead of dealing with the fiddly OE door pockets, I sourced a pair of aftermarket 78+ style door pockets made for 69-73 from Jack Olsen’s BB1 – a major inspiration for my car.
I have always disliked the lack of a good “handle” for closing the driver’s door, so I sourced a right hand drive door handle/armrest from the UK.

Finally, to properly finish off the interior, I was able to find red carpets and seat belts.

As a tribute to the ‘sports purpose’ look becoming popular at the time, I sourced louvered Lexan rear quarter windows. To preserve the bright trim look, I did not glue in the windows, but cut them down to match the original glass and inserted them into the original frames, replacing the glass exactly. This was just a cosmetic alteration, as the louvers were formed, but not opened. For the rear, I sourced a 3/16″ panel of Lexan and trimmed it to replace the rear glass using the original rubber seal and trim. To secure the window against blow-out at speed, I fashioned aluminum straps to use the rear roof vents and to attach in the engine lid gap – making no holes in the outer finish. I attached the straps to the window with flush tapered screws to prevent ‘flapping.’

I wanted an excellent head unit and chose a Nakamichi. I installed 6.5″ woofer/mids in the doors along with dome tweeters on crossovers.
Instruments were restored by North Hollywood Speedometer, with a “clocked” tach turned so redline was at the top.

Meantime, I had sourced a 911SC transmission and 1987 3.2 Carrera engine, which was left with stock Motronic induction/engine management, but backdated to 74 and earlier type heat exchangers. Bobby Ginsburg did the installation, which is a major task – mating an early wiring system with the Motronic and adapting the higher-pressure fuel feed to the chassis. Completing the installation was an electronic speedometer compatible with the transmission, backdated in appearance by North Hollywood Speedomter.

Stock 915 shift tower was used, with factory short shift.

I started out with BBS RS 3-piece wheels, but eventually decided to go to 16″ Fuchs: 7 & 9″.

Because it was a canyon carver, I chose Toyo RA-1 tires – they have a happy but short life.

At the ride height I wanted, Steve at Johnson’s alignment needed to space the steering rack lower in the chassis. The final chassis tuning step was a corner balance.

My “placeholder” seats by this time had become simple racing shells, and they just weren’t up to the rest of the car. I consulted with TRE to choose a fixed back vintage racing style seat incorporating the main interior color in vinyl on the bolsters and black-and-white pepita (houndstooth) fabric on the seating surfaces. Seats were custom made for this car over a couple months. The result was spectacular.

As mentioned at the beginning, I built this car for myself, partly modeled on a car I owned in the mid-70s that I have since regretted selling (some of you can relate…). In 2010, I was involved in a tech startup that needed a cash infusion, and I turned this car into an investment in the company.

The story of the sale is here | The update is here | Photo album is here