As the 2017 Porsche ice driving season approaches, there’s been no rest for the team of technicians busily preparing our fleet of classic porsche ice driving cars to ship out to Sweden in just a few weeks. Having now run our ice driving seasons for over a decade, we know only too well what the cars will have to endure in this hostile environment! Preparing them is not a small job.
Refreshing one of our cars following a typical season starts with removal of the engine and transmission. The bodyshell then goes into our fabrication shop, where any dented panels or damaged bodywork are repaired. Most seasons give us new cars to prepare, which involves adding seat mounts, roll cages and other special parts. The mid-engine Porsche 914 joining us this season is a good example of the sort of work the fabrication team get involved in.
Once the metal wizards have weaved their magic, the car goes to our bodyshop for a bit of glitz with a fresh coat of paint. The clean white backdrop of fresh Swedish snow really sets bright colours off perfectly, so we try to have an interesting and attractive array of cars and colours for our customers to choose from. This year we have some new colours, including Sky Blue on one of our pre-1973 classic 911s and bright Guards Red on a later 911.
When the shells come out of paint, they go to the rally workshop, where the mechanics begin the process of inspecting the mechanical parts and changing anything which might require replacement. We have two mechanics on site in Sweden and a huge stock of spare parts but it’s easy to get everything done here at HQ.
While the cars are run in a very safe environment with plenty of run-off on the lakes, safety remains of paramount importance, so we check all seats and seat belts. All of these Porsches run our much-improved competition wiring loom so electrics are usually totally reliable, but the systems also get checked regardless.
While the bodyshell has been in paint, the engine shop has stripped and checked the engine and transmission. Each engine comes apart to check condition and make sure it can operate reliably. When grip is low on snow and ice, so revs are high. This puts the engines under quite a bit of stress during a season, so a quick strip and rebuild gives us confidence.
The transmissions are also put under quite a bit of stress across a full Below Zero Ice Driving season, so each gearbox and differential is removed, stripped and checked for condition. Once the transmission has been rebuilt it goes back to its engine with a brand new clutch assembly and the engine and gearbox are put back in the car.
The final part of the process is a road test, to make sure everything works. Final sign off is normally carried out by Richard. Once a car has cleared that final hurdle, it is ready to go. Sweden is a long way away, so we move all of our cars using a huge enclosed car transporter, which usually picks them up during the first week of January and brings them home again in March. We are just about there with the cars for next year, so look forward to waving them off in a few weeks!
Are you interested in trying the Below Zero Ice Driving experience? Our bookings diary has been filling up fast for next year but we usually have car days available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire.