One of the missions of 911 motorsport is to restore or recondition to period-correct specifications.
After the reconditioning of the Porsche SCRS BASTOS, 911 motorsport did set itself a new goal.
The project would be nothing less than building the Ford Granada Service wagon: a new step and challenge towards a complete and period-correct setting of the Bastos service team of Jean-Pierre Gaban. We wanted indeed to recreate the atmosphere of a period picture that was first seen in the French magazine Sport Auto in april 1984. It clearly showed the Ford Granada service car sitting behind the Bastos SCRS. It was indeed that very picture that started the adventure of rebuilding the Ford Granada.
After some thorough period research we discovered that the Granada before being the Bastos service wagon was already being used by Jean-Pierre Gaban in the years previous to 1984. In that period his cars were sponsored by Belga, and logically in Belga trim. In those years the Gaban Team employed Duez and Dumont as pilots for their 911 SC in Belga colours.
Later on J.P. Gaban bought a 911 SCRS with the help of sponsoring money from Bastos, thus changing the colours of the car and service wagon accordingly.
In the light of period correctness it was essential for us to find a Ford Granada of the correct era. In the late seventies an average car wasn’t built to endure the test of time and especially Granada’s were prone to rust? So 40 odd years later most of them are completely rotten away.
So our mission began with finding a good base. A structurally sound car to start with, at best a Granada MK II, preferably not a Ghia version and it had to be a station wagon (break).
After going through numerous ads on the Internet in the neighbouring countries, most donor cars we found were indeed complete write offs. In slightly better condition we could source some cars of the more recent MK III generation. But the styling update on the MK III was too big to bring it back to MK II specifications. Therefore we concentrated on the MK II’s.
Finally we stumbled on an advertisement that seemed to fit our requirements. The car was in Amay, close by Liège, so not too far away and well within Belgian borders. So we were set to take a look at the car. At our arrival at the given address it didn’t present itself too well, as it was more of a salvage yard than a car dealership. The car was sitting in a corner, quite dirty, covered in sand and bird droppings, mostly used as a storage shed with things thrown inside without any care, etc.
But with locally clearing some of the dirt, we discovered that the car seemed to be in much better condition than we expected on first sight. It was then that the owner of the car told to us that it had been used as a hearse for most of its life. This sudden message came as a shock but explained the low mileage (km’s) and the reasonably well condition of the car. On first turn of the key the car started and it ran reasonably well.
We asked the owner to clear the car from its awkward position and to put it in the driveway, preferably a bit cleaned up… But it was obvious he needed some time to get that done. Since it was around noon we agreed upon going for lunch in the neighbourhood, while leaving the owner with a mission of his own.
And after lunch, on our return, the car was indeed sitting in the driveway as promised. Accessible and surprisingly clean. Ready to be inspected. Happy with what we found we quickly struck a deal with the owner.
The picture below was taken before transport to the shop. I am holding a photo of how the car should look like when finished.
Once we got back to our shop we realised the magnitude of the job on hand. The car had to be ready in a months time, so there was no time to hesitate…
First of all we build the roof rack where the tires would go. This rack was welded together with left over steel tubes that were on hand, period correct in an artisan way, just as J.P. Gaban did more than 30 years ago. Once welded together, we presented the rack with 911 wheels on it. This gave us a pretty good idea of what the car would look like when finished.
As soon as we assessed where the rusty bits were, we sanded them down for a better view on problematic areas to start with repairs by welding in new steel. Logically most of the rust was found in the lower parts of the shell and in- and around the wheel arches. Also the rear door was suffering from rust. From the period picture it became clear that the side trim needed to be removed. So all the holes where the side trim had been were welded shut and sanded out. The right rear door and the front right fender were damaged in an accident during its previous lifetime, together with the front bumper & splitter, both badly bent. All of this needed some serious straightening.
As soon as all body work was covered and done, it was time for paint. Now the car started to take form.
Since the final lacquer on the car would be red with a white noseband and a white rooftop, we first started by painting the inner sides of the doors in red.
Followed by the engine compartiment and the underside of the engine lid. Both painted in satin black, well before starting with the outside of the car.
We continued by painting the rooftop & noseband white, only after going through the process of taping all what had to be red.
Next step was the masking the white in preparation for the red paint. Rather tricky as we wanted crisp dividing lines between the two colors. With the red paint applied we had the first feel of the finished product.
We were over the moon with our crisp dividing line once the masking tape was removed.
All this body shop work was done in 18 days. A major work over in a very short time.
Now it was time to reassemble the car so we could put it through technical control, in order to get it road licensed. Which we accomplished just under two weeks: a total reassembly, up and running, officially ready for the road. After all that we fitted the painted roof rack and shiny white wheels.
Last but not least, it was time for decaling: the application of the period correct livery. All details for decaling have been painstakingly researched and reproduced in order to revive the 1984 rally season of the J.P. Gaban racing team.
The whole transformation from an old Granada into a period correct Bastos service car took us a month in all. We at 911 motorsport are very happy with the end result. It completes our vision of the Porsche 911 SCRS BASTOS sitting in his natural habitat: in close proximity of the Ford Granada. In this combination most definitely a ‘world premiere’!