Pfaff Autoworks event compares new and old Porsche 911s

Pfaff Autoworks, one of Canada's premiere collision repair centres, and Bodyshop Magazine's 2015 Bodyshop of the Year, recently hosted an information session at its Vaughan facility for the Porsche Club of Canada - Upper Canada Region (PCA-UCR). The bodyshop welcomed over 50 interested guests, who came from as far away as Georgetown, and presented an informative session on the evolution of Porsche 911 bodies and construction techniques.

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Inside the facility's special aluminum room were Pfaff Porsche's 2015 911 GT3 Cup car, representative of state of the art, modern Porsche construction techniques. With a body consisting of about 60% aluminum for lighter weight, the "991" generation body is largely riveted and bonded together. Its combination of steel and aluminum makes for an incredibly light and stiff structure, which benefits performance, but also makes collision repairs more time consuming and complicated. Unlike steel bodies, which can be welded and repaired in a number of different ways, a new hybrid-construction 911 can only be repaired one way, with potentially catastrophic consequences for corrosion protection and safety if the proper, manufacturer-approved techniques are not followed.

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Pfaff Autoworks general manager Jeff Pabst explained that the bodyshop's technicians spend at least one month out of the year away on training to learn the latest techniques from Porsche, resulting in Certified Collision Centre certification (a distinction it holds for Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and McLaren as well). Modern techniques, which do not require welding, also mean that cars like the race vehicle on display can, with time and the proper technique, be repaired track-side overnight when involved in a racing incident.

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Also on display was a 1972 Porsche 911T Sportomatic restoration project, a collaboration between Pfaff Autoworks and Pfaff Porsche to demonstrate their competency in repairing and restoring classic vehicles. With over 400 hours invested, the body shell is transformed from the rusty, rotted shell that arrived at the shop over a year ago. The floor, rear-seat platforms, front trunk area, and windshield surround have been replaced by new pieces, the dashboard has been repaired, and new fenders and doors have been fitted. A modern primer and coating means corrosion resistance is significantly improved. In about a week, the restoration project will be finished in its original medium green colour before returning to Pfaff Porsche, where its fully-restored mechanicals will be re-fitted. Once owned by Canadian racing legend Horst Kroll, this 1972 coupe is a true piece of history.

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Pabst drew some interesting parallels for the crowd between 1972 and modern-day Porsche production and repair techniques: while materials science and engineering have advanced significantly, both cars were built and are repaired using Celette benches, the gold standard in the industry. Participants in the workshop were also given copies of 1970 and modern shop manuals to show how their engineering and construction have evolved over the years.

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The evening was also graced by some choice selections from Pfaff Porsche's classic used car inventory, including a Porsche 912, 1988 911 Jubilee Edition, and 1996 911 Carrera. It was an exciting and informative night for everyone that participated.

Date Posted: April 26, 2017