#ProjectStork Episode Two: The Emotional Rollercoaster

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Is restoring a 1977 Porsche 911 S easy for a first-timer? No, but the hardship is the point.

I’m surprised we’re already at the second episode of the #ProjectStork saga. In order for me to get started on the most symbolic story of my career, it took a bit of coaxing from my friend Patrick Stevenson. Actually, I’m being polite. It was more like nagging, but without him, none of this would be happening.

ALSO SEE: #ProjectStork Episode One – Introducing Rennlist’s Official Project Car

The nagging began February 20th. Honda had just lent me their new Civic Hatchback Sport to test out for a week (if you like drag racing, check out the film I made with the Civic), and my very good friend Jason Connor, who co-hosts the Motor Affair podcast with Patrick, had invited me down to San Diego to talk about the car on their show.

That was actually my first time ever meeting Patrick. Because we have many mutual friends, I already knew quite a bit about the guy before meeting him. One highlight I knew about him was that he was a Porsche guy, and that he owned a 996.

With this information in my back pocket, it wasn’t long before I laid it on him that a 1977 Porsche 911 S was the car that brought me home from the hospital after I was born. I had also mentioned to Patrick that 2002 was the last year the car had rolled under its own flat-six power.

You could say this triggered Patrick.

With palpable alarm in his voice, he asked, “And why isn’t it running?”

Ashamedly, a steady stream of excuses bubbled out of my mouth. “I’m in a lot of debt right now. I can’t afford to invest in a project car.” That was the biggest one. Still, I was speaking from a quitter’s mindset.

As early as the fall of 2015, around the time we launched the Rennlist news and reviews homepage, I began talking to colleagues about restoring the first car in which I was ever a passenger, and thus creating the first official Rennlist project car. By the fall of 2016 I had come up with the #ProjectStork name and digital media assault strategy, but by the winter of 2017, the credit card debt continued to creep up, and I began to put the Stork on the back burner.

But I was making the mistake of giving up too easily. Patrick came around just in time to save me from throwing in the towel. Patrick reminded me that as media I needed little to no money to begin this project. He assured me that there would be plenty of companies willing to help me out in exchange for media exposure. I’m happy to announce that since Episode One’s release, two companies have offered their services.


In addition to helping give birth to me, Project Stork will leave an indelible mark on the automotive aftermarket by giving birth to a new line of high-end, custom Porsche exhaust systems.


Longtime Rennlist sponsor Borla wants to use Project Stork to engineer a new line of exhaust systems for mid-year, G-Series Porsches. So in addition to helping give birth to me, Project Stork will leave an indelible mark on the automotive aftermarket by giving birth to a new line of high-end, custom Porsche exhaust systems. Borla’s association with Project Stork is a callback to the company’s Porsche heritage. Around the time I was born in the mid-‘8os, Borla was incredibly popular as a Porsche and Ferrari aftermarket exhaust supplier. Back then, Sylvester Stallone once drove himself to Borla’s Oxnard, California headquarters in order to have founder Alex Borla personally fit an exhaust system to Sly’s Porsche.

Another company inspired by the #ProjectStork saga is Performance Developments out of Costa Mesa, California. Also a Rennlist sponsor, Performance Developments is interested in doing the engine work on the 911 S. Neil Harvey, the owner of Performance Developments, has a jaw-dropping resume. He worked on the two-time Formula One World Championship-winning Brabham F1 team, and in addition to having worked for Gordon Murray, he’s been involved in virtually every facet of racing, from Cart and myriad sports car series to SCCA Pro and SCORE International Off-Road. While Harvey’s company specializes in crafting cutting-edge racing engines with components sourced from Formula One and Le Mans suppliers, Neil is most excited by perfecting and modernizing classic air-cooled Porsches engines while preserving their originality. Since Episode One’s launch, Neil and I have been texting on a daily basis. He is incredibly excited about Project Stork, and I’m beyond stoked to get to work with him.

As I noted repeatedly in my #ProjectStork Episode One write-up, the 911 S that brought me home from the hospital after I was born is the reason I am a hopeless automotive romantic, and it is the reason I have a career as an automotive writer. Giving up on making 2017 the year of my #ProjectStork journey would have been tragic, or criminal as far as my 5W-30-beating heart is concerned.


Day two of filming episode two of the #ProjectStork saga.

Posted by Rennlist on Thursday, June 1, 2017


I can’t thank Patrick Stevenson enough for steering me back in the right direction. Also, I couldn’t be happier with the response this project has gotten so far. I’d like to thank Borla and Performance Developments once again for their enthusiasm over the car that has defined my life. I also want to thank Haynes Manuals for letting me use their beautiful shop, all its lovely tools, and that invaluable lift. Finally, I’d like to thank CTEK for supplying me with their MXS 5.0 battery charger, and Battery Sense monitor, which you can check out in the video above. Project Stork will be sitting for a while before it runs again, so it’s nice to know my brand-new battery will remain in tip-top condition up to and beyond the time it’s ready to fire up that venerable 2.7-liter flat-six.

CHECK OUT: What the Rennlist Forum Is Saying About #ProjectStork

As you may have seen by watching #ProjectStork Episode Two above, the 911 S is already driving me crazy, and making me a little depressed when I have to spend six futile hours trying to remove a measly spark plug. To be honest, I wouldn’t have emotional trauma served any other way.

Yes, the No. 1 spark plug nightmare is only the beginning of numerous Project Stork roadblocks and setbacks, but they will make the finished product only more satisfying. When I eventually get this car back to showroom condition, hopefully you’ll be inspired to start working on that Porsche project car you may have been sitting on for years. Maybe #ProjectStork is already inspiring you to take action. Just remember, if I can survive this project with my limited wrenching experience, Clarkson-style aversion to manual labor, and non-Porsche-like shoestring budget, so can you.

Now go out there, get some grease under those fingernails, and I’ll see you here again for #ProjectStork Episode Three. In between now and then, keep up to date with the latest from #ProjectStork on my Instagram: @mc3films.

Words, Photos and Video via Manuel Carrillo III

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