Words & Photos by Henry Phull
Canford Classics have been on my radar for quite some time now, seeing as one of my good friends works as a technician in their workshop. He’s constantly telling me stories about the cool cars he’s working on, which include some of the nicest early 911’s that I can only dream of owning. Putting it simply, Canford Classics are specialists in all aspects of classic Porsche restoration… from the restoration to engine and gearbox rebuild, through to all types of metal finishing such as chrome, anodising, powder coating and zinc, in addition to manufacturing their own parts. Anything Porsche related, and they’ll be able to help, with customer service at the top of their priority list. Last month I got myself down to their newest workshop for the first ever open day, a chance to show off their premises and of course several of the cars they’ve restored.
Tucked away in the small village of Winterborne Kingston in Dorset, the Canford Classics HQ is situated on a quiet farm with delightful countryside scenery surrounding it. On arrival, I was met with a busy crowd of Porsche enthusiasts along with the CC staff and a whole variation of classic 911’s, plus some newer water-cooled examples even decided to show up to mix things up even more.
I was thoroughly excited to see a car I’d heard a lot about, the “Thunder Road” 911 ST, a 1976 shell completely rebuilt for the track (and built so you can still pop down the shops in it), which features an uprated braking system, lightweight body and 3.2 motor.
In the bay you’ll find the 3.2 short stroke engine which produces 297bhp, with GE80 cams, custom twin plug distributor and ST/RST engine bar, PMO 46mm carbs, in addition to stainless headers and numerous other modifications. One serious machine that I bet is amazingly good fun to drive!
Seeing this many early 911’s in one place was truly a stunning sight, simply breathtaking. Everyone in attendance seemed very friendly and keen to talk Porsches, even though my knowledge on the air-cooled cars is limited, I still found it enjoyable to speak to the owners, with most praising the high standard of work at Canford Classics in addition to sharing stories of their pride and joys.
Customer satisfaction is on the top of the agenda at Canford Classics, so unlike most open days where you’d be required to pay for your portion of a BBQ or similar, the guys actually hired a catering van and provided burgers, bacon rolls, coffee and drinks all free of charge to everyone in attendance. That’s how it should be and great to see such a welcoming company.
The Canford Classics staff were on hand to discuss business, in addition to showing people around the premises, and share their own stories from working on these stunning vehicles.
The workshop itself is a stunning place, completely immaculate and very clinical looking – a fantastic place to wander around in a daze, dreaming that one day I might be able to afford to own one of these beauties!
Part of their restoration service naturally includes bodywork and repairs, including the dreaded rust issues that are far too common with early 911’s.
Additionally, Canford Classics now offer a full range of machining and fabrication services such as engine case machining, head work, carburettor rebuilds and refurbishment of MFI throttle bodies and intake stacks.
Seeing the 911 shells in various stages of the restoration process really shows how much work has to go into these cars and was inspirational to witness.
Extra services includes refurbishment of the classic Fuch wheels, chroming, powder coating, zinc plating and anodising, plus bespoke fabrication and interior trimming. They can handle absolutely everything when it comes to the restoration process. With such a wide range of services and expertise, there’s no need spend time seeking other companies to sort out specific things, as their extensive experience of classic Porsche’s means Canford Classics’ team of specialists can handle anything and everything you could want.
Back outside, and a personal favourite of mine from the day was this 1973 2.7 RS, a gorgeous example and seriously hardcore vehicle.
Even though Canford Classics is essentially a classic/air-cooled based restorer, it was awesome to see a few newer Porsches turn up and show their support. I wouldn’t say no to a GT3…
Every car guy loves a bit of additional noise, right?
So to conclude, a fantastic morning was had, spent chatting and admiring some cracking motors. It’s not very often anyone gets to witness so many classic 911’s in one place, or hosted by a company that are so welcoming and willing to show anyone around their premises. Hopefully the guys turn this into an annual event, seeing as the turn out for the debut open day was a roaring success! For more information on Canford Classics, check out their website at canfordclassics.co.uk. Thanks for having us!