Watch this 911 basketcase get resurrected in a home garage
Ever discover a show you like and realize there are three seasons available to binge on Netflix? If you’re not familiar with Tom Perazzo’s 1974 Porsche 911, then you might want to grab some popcorn and settle in for a watch session. Perazzo has chronicled the build of his 1974 911 on YouTube in more than 150 videos, and he’s nearly done. If you’ve got some time to kill and want to be inspired by some serious dedication and craftsmanship, give his channel a watch.
We first learned about Tom’s project back in 2018, when the 911 was just getting underway. We introduced our readers to the build and would check in every few months to see the progress. Tom recently got in touch to let us know that the car was road-worthy, so we met him in Los Angeles for a quick look at the car. It was nothing like the pile of panels he started with three years ago.
The car began as a $4000 shell, and Perazzo went to great lengths to not only restore but improve upon the car, all while sticking to a modest budget. Knowing that the stripped shell of the car would never be original again, he felt free to make some creative changes along the way, taking his time to scrounge for used, aftermarket, and cast-off parts to build a fun weekend car for much less than it would cost to source a complete, ready-to-drive 911.
The list of modifications is long, but the basics are that Perazzo backdated his 1974 911 to look like a 1973 RS. The front end now wears a long hood so it resembles a 1973 model with cleaner bumpers. The rear fenders received the flares from an RS, and he stiffened the chassis considerably. In the rear, dimple-die reinforced braces are ready for coilovers and the rear suspension mounting points have been relocated. The evidence for all of these tweaks is plain to see, as there’s no rear seat to cover the work. In the front, reinforcements for an upcoming X-brace are visible, along with the hundred or so inch-long stitch welds that make the front of the car much more solid. Of course, there’s also the roll cage that gives Perazzo a harness bar. It features a removable door bar that will offer up even more rigidity.
Perazzo’s car was made from a hodgepodge of different donor 911s, and their origin was kept an open secret by leaving a circle of each panel’s original color intact. Each of those circles is in an inconspicuous place: in the door jamb, on the inside of each door where it will eventually be covered with upholstery, and on the underside of the hood and decklid.
The vast majority of the work was done by Perazzo himself in his home garage on evenings and weekends. One of the few tasks he didn’t complete himself was the application of the Bahama Yellow paint. He was a little rusty with a spray gun, having been years since he last painted a car, so he wasn’t totally familiar with the newest paint products. “I definitely kept learning,” Perazzo said, as he found his way around the latest paint processes and managed a solid job spraying the engine bay and dash. He had a friend spray the exterior. He is still up in the air about how to finish the bumpers, but they’ll likely get painted to match. As you can see from the photos, the car is still not 100 percent complete. It needs door glass, carpet, some sound deadening, door skins, and the aforementioned paint, but it’s on the road, and Perazzo didn’t need much prodding to hop in and meet us for a quick look at the car. In fact, he was so eager to get the car road-worthy that it’s currently powered by a four-cylinder engine from a Porsche 912. The car will eventually be powered by a 3.2-liter six-cylinder, but that engine still needs some wrenching before it’s ready for prime time.
This isn’t Perazzo’s first rodeo, having a 356 restoration under his belt as well, so we asked him if he had any advice to pass along. “It certainly takes longer than you anticipate.” Perazzo answered, noting that he wound up spending just a bit more time and effort in order to get a better result than simply “good enough.” He admits that part of it was part of the “While I’m here” mentality of going the extra mile knowing that it will be much harder to go back and change things once the car is all together. Perazzo’s budget, which he set out more than three years ago, was $10,000. He admits that he missed it, but all told he has just $12,500 invested in his beautiful Porsche so far (not including that upcoming 3.2-liter flat-six). You don’t even have to be familiar with vintage 911 prices to see how much sweat equity has paid off.
If you’re in need of some inspiration to take on your own project or learn some tips on DIY bodywork and fabrication, Perazzo’s 911 restoration videos offer up hours of great content. If you start watching now, the car may all be one color by the time you’re caught up.