photos and story by pablo deferrari

For some odd reason, I thought of Sir Richard Attenborough while I was at the grinder. Here I was as a result of facing a problem, pondering it for a bit, and then making a tool to overcome this's actually pretty amazing when you think about it. The fact that this innate ability harks back to very distant and different looking relatives is even more so.

Let me explain.
If a Chimpanzee feels like having a snack, get simply picks up a small twig, strip the leaves off, and then uses it to fish termites out of their hole in the ground. We, on the other hand, with a much more superior intellect and millions of years of evolution, develop products for addressing ridiculous problems such as trimming anal hair. Clearly our tools have a much more sophisticated purpose than theirs but the analogy is the same. And this brings me neatly to my point.

You see, unlike our hirsute cousins, we’ve become civilized. We don’t swing from trees, nor do we throw feces at one another (…exceptions to this might be witnessed at any water-cooled Porsche weekend gathering that involves alcohol.)

One very important trait, however, can never be erased from our DNA…making tools.

I’ll spare you the Darwinist ape-to-man rhetoric and get right to what you’re seeing on your screen. That silver thing, for those that aren’t familiar with it, is a homemade version of the Porsche 9200 Locking Bar or Pin Tool.  This tool is primarily used to hold the 924/944/968 balance shaft sprockets when loosening their bolts to change the seals. It’s also used to nudge the mechanical tensioner on the S version to achieve correct timing belt tension.
If a chimp owned a 944 and needed a tool for this same purpose, it’s exactly how he’d go about creating it.

Many would ask, “Why don’t you just buy the damn thing, instead of going through all the trouble of making it?” I’ll tell you why. It’s not about the money, nor is it about being cheap. There are two real reasons. One, those of us who own any one of these four Porsche models (924,928,944,968) gets absolute pleasure by doing our own work. And two, why the hell would you spend an unnecessary amount of money on a tool that is so simple to make. Grab a piece of suitable metal, a couple of roll pins, a tap and die set, a grinder, and zip-zip-zip; quicker than it takes Viagra to give you a third leg.

I do, however, need to confess.

I like Porsche’s version…a lot. It’s got a nice, heavy feel; beautifully fabricated with perfect welds that mimic ripples on a pond. It truly is a work of art well worth their asking price. Lizzie Borden would have chosen this tool to bludgeon her family with had she not found the axe.

But I just couldn’t part with the cash. It’s the principle of the thing, really. I’d rather go through the trouble than put money in someone else’s pocket. It’s the way owners of early water-cooled Porsche are hardwired…self-reliance in the face of adversity. Owning cars like these means that you’re a special sort of chimp: you’d who’d rather use your brain and prove your mettle, than just use the plastic thingy with the long string of numbers on it.

That’d be too easy.


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