Meet the man fixing Porsche cars since before the 911

Larry Moulton working on a Porsche

It turns out that there is a longer-standing component of Porsche-dom than the 911. The company’s signature sports car debuted in 1964, but Salt Lake City’s Larry Moulton had been fixing Porsches as a dealer technician for two years already.Like the 911 Moulton is still going strong, and at age 74 and he’s done a better job avoiding the middle-age spread than the car has. His tenure means that he’s seen models like the 912, 914, 924, 928 and 944 come and go during his time at the Strong Auto Group’s Porsche store.

“Right out of high school, I had to make a decision and I was really into the VW/Porsche thing at the time,” Moulton recalled. The merits of light weight and the simplicity of air cooling entranced many young enthusiasts in the 1960s, so it is no surprise Dr. Porsche’s designs appealed to Moulton.

“So I went to Strong VW and Porsche, and I worked on the VWs and Porsches,” he said.  In 1962, the Porsche business was small and there weren’t a lot of older cars in need of service, so the Porsche side of the shop was only one or two bays.

Larry racing a white Speedster in 1966 at the Salt Lake City Autocross competition.
courtesy Larry Moulton
Larry racing a white Speedster in 1966 at the Salt Lake City Autocross competition.

“I went back and forth [between VW and Porsche service] as the work dictated,” he said.  “I always like the products.”

Of course, as a young Porschephile, Moulton wanted to race, so he started by slaloming between cones at autocross events and then moved on to road racing with cars like a Porsche roadster and a 1960 Porsche 356B.

From there Moulton transitioned to purpose-built race cars, but kept it in the family by driving a Volkswagen-powered Formula Vee. Then he strayed a bit with a stylish Turner Sport Mk II-Ford sports car.

Moulton saw his first 911 in 1965 when a pilot who’d bought one in Germany brought it in for service. “It was advanced!” he said. Of course, back then “advanced” was a little different than today. “When I started it was straight mechanical; 6-volt fuses and light bulbs.”

1964 Porsche 904 GTS profile
1964 Porsche 904 GTS engine

During those years, Salt Lake City was filled with hot Porsches, according to Moulton. Among the cars local drivers owned were an RSK, a 550 Spyder, and a 904. Plus he used to wrench on the 1964 Porsche 904 GTS that Robert Redford owned for a decade, along with the actor’s wife’s 1992 964-generation 911.

“We had four-cam Speedsters in here, and a good friend of mine had a [1960] RS-60 Spyder,” Moulton recalled.

Those cars may all be in museums now, but of course Moulton himself has owned some now-classics that he’d like back.  “I had a ’67 911S,” he said. “Compared to the other cars in 1967 it was really fast and really handled well. It was a lot better car than anything else on the market.”

Of course, back then they were just cars, not collector’s items, so he moved on.  “I wish I’d kept mine,” Moulton sighed.

Moulton spends much of his leisure time supporting his son’s shifter kart racing program. Karts provide a high fun-to-dollar ratio that attracts many of his fellow Porschephiles, Moulton said. “We have a lot of Porsche club people who also race go karts. A set of kart tires is somewhat less expensive than a GT3 set.”

Larry at the Windham – Orem Utah race around 2000-2001.
courtesy Larry Moulton
Larry at the Windham – Orem Utah race around 2000-2001.

He also wrenches on his ’32 Ford hot rod that reminds him of his ride in high school. But even at age 74, Moulton is giving no thought to retirement. “I’ve worked for three generations of the Strong family and they’ve always been good people to work for,” he said. Plus, he’s still in good health, a condition he attributes to his late wife.

“I always tell people my wife treated me like a classic and not an old taxicab,” he said.

The septuagenarian hasn’t fallen behind on the modern tech, holding Gold Level Porsche Certified Master Technician credentials, which require one to three trips per year to a training class, plus continuous online training.

And while it might be natural to wax nostalgic for the older cars, Moulton considers some newer ones as among his favorites too.  For example, Moulton sees the Cayman as a future classic that owners should hold on to. “I like the last of the Caymans with the six-cylinder.”

Larry’s Targa outside his home around 1985-’86. Note the “Moulton Racing” sticker on the RV.
courtesy Larry Moulton
Larry’s Targa outside his home around 1985-’86. Note the “Moulton Racing” sticker on the RV.

“I like the 1984 to ’85 Carerras, too,” he said. “Those were really bulletproof cars.”

Today, that depth of experience puts Moulton in the perfect position to work on Strong Automotive’s growing portfolio of Porsches in for service. After all, he remembers from when they were new.

Porsche claims that more than 70 percent of the cars the company has ever built are still on the road. This totals more than 200,000 Porsches that are ten or more years old in the U.S. alone.

Porsche offers more than 52,000 new parts for its classics, giving Moulton the supplies he needs to keep his old friends as good as new.  “You can get just about anything you want,” he said. “There is brightwork, various parts and pieces, all the motor parts. They’ve followed the lead of the aftermarket and realized there’s quite a market out there for genuine Porsche parts.”

The labor rate for servicing classics is a reduced $99 and hour, which is meant to help keep older Porsches coming back for service by certified Porsche technicians like Moulton. Aged Porsches need much of the same kinds of mundane maintenance as any car, so it is not all exotic work like syncing the carbs on an RSK. “It is a lot of little things and maintenance, small repairs like clutches and transmissions,” Moulton said.

Larry Moulton
Porsche
Larry Moulton

Unsurprisingly, Moulton thinks that drivers who remember the cars when they were new are prime targets for becoming his classic service customers today. “It is especially the people who used to own them back in the day,” he noted.

Instead of having the car do everything automatically, the driver has a job in these classics. “You have to shift it and turn all the knobs. You get that nostalgia, that vintage feel.”

The appeal of these classic cars is their analog character, he stated. “I think it’s a thing where, there’s a lot of people who like a car with less technology in it.”

Larry racing in 1971, Phoenix PAR raceway.
courtesy Larry Moulton
Larry racing in 1971, Phoenix PAR raceway.