Tom Perazzo’s Porsche build vlogs are worth watching
If you’re a concourse-prowling, serial-number-deciphering Porsche snob that’s hell-bent on originality, Tom Perazzo’s Garage Time YouTube channel is probably not for you. Tom’s a Porsche fan, and although he’s got a 356 that he’s restored, he’s also a hot-rodder at heart. His video blog chronicling the transformation of his 1974 Porsche 911 into a 1973 911 RS is filled with ingenuity and hand-shaped bodywork that’s all completed on a modest budget.
Tom is a mechanical engineer by day and got into air-cooled Porsche by way of Volkswagen. His first car was a Karmann Ghia and his Porsche aspirations lead him to buy a 356 when he was 25 years old. He still has it. The process of restoring that 356 gave Tom the opportunity to learn how to source parts and how to fabricate them when they weren’t available.
Eventually the urge for higher performance set in. Rather than modify his perfectly good 356, the decision was made to start with a different car. He found the perfect candidate for a performance build in the form of a 1974 Porsche 911. At least most of it. Actually, “most” is even a bit generous. The starting point was a shell with accident damage. On the bright side, the car was cheap, relatively free of rust, and, since Tom wanted a stripped-out version of a 911 for fun on the track, he had a head start on making the car light. As Tom noted, Porsche used to charge extra for that kind of race prep.
1974 brought a lot of changes to the 911. It was the introduction of impact bumpers, the hood was shorter, and the marker lights were relocated. To backdate the car into the more elegant 1973, Tom has come up with some crafty techniques that are inspiring and educational. His garage is relatable, filled with the usual home shop tools and a vintage bead roller he scooped up for less than $100 from Craigslist. When he needs a tool he doesn’t have, he turns to a Makerspace not far from his home in Orange County, California. His membership there grants access to a shrinker, a stretcher, a CNC mill that he used to cut an MDF mold that helped him rough his new hood extension into shape, and a massive English wheel for smoothing panels. Tom explained that his unconventional way of shaping got him his results rather quickly, “I feel like using the English wheel from a flat sheet would be a very steep learning curve. The way I did it is to create the shape with the hammer and use the English wheel to smooth it out.” He’s also shaped steel at the beach, replacing a typical fabricators sandbag with the beach sand as he pounds his panels by hammer.
Tom began the transformation of his Porsche just a couple months ago and the progress is already inspiring. He told us he spends 8-15 hours in his garage each week and films it all. Then after a couple hours of editing, he posts a video with all the important steps. The plan is to get the car on the road by the end of the year so that he can begin to enjoy it. Then it can be a platform for further tinkering. Initial plans call for a carbureted 3.0-3.2-liter engine in the 200-250-horsepower range unless a larger and more modern 993 engine presents itself at a bargain. That should be plenty of power for the stripped-down car, which should come in under a ton once rolling.
As the car progresses we’ll get to see Tom convert SC flares to RS flares, complete the body work, find and install the engine, outfit the interior, and get the car on the road. If you’ve got any suggestion for Tom on what you’d like to see or hear tips on, you can drop him a line on his channel.