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what the shit! is it a Euro thing? maybe it's an option? 'ang on...looks like someone took it off and never put it back. 

if you feel like you've been ripped off, well, you haven't...not necessarily. owners of true (later) 1994 and 1995 968s may wonder why their cars are missing the front engine compartment lining. those with a keener eye for detail will notice that a rear cover in front of the bulk head is also missing from their car. the pensive sort will stare at the voids, tilt their heads and squint while muttering, "those motherfuckers..." not knowing who to blame.
well, look...it goes like this. according to Porsche, only model year 1992 and 1993 got the pair of covers; the front one bearing part number 944 504 143 00 (01C in satin black), and the rear birthed with part number 944 504 533 00 (01C in satin black). other than aesthetics, they were an extra expense adding unnecessary weight at the cost of de-cluttering an already smartly designed engine compartment. about the only cool feature was the compartment off to the left where a "set" for the fastidiously clean, Frauen, or those with pussy hands, was stored. this "set," part number 944 722 910 00, consisted of a cleaning rag, a set of gloves, and a bag numbered 944 722 233 00, 944 722 131 00, and 944 722 231 00, respectively. they were undoubtedly to be of use should the driver have had a puncture or a freshly bludgeoned spouse to remove from the boot and disposed of. of course as time went on and the car passed through many hands, these tools of cleanliness disappeared leaving a compartment either empty or occupied by contraband, trash, or the odd spare part.
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the covers and corresponding components as seen in Porsche's parts catalog. ©Porsche
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Arnoud's bag and gloves
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uscarrera's shots of the Owafix gloves
while only offered for the first two years of the 968's short life, there is an exception; you may see them on a 1994 model year 968. this happened because this particular vintage 968 was not really a 1994 model but a 1993 re-vinned under option code M718--equipped with the next model year VIN. this was Porsche's way of dealing with their inventory problem. 968s that didn't sell became last night's mashed potatoes. as its freshness date passed, the 1993 car crossed into the next model year, unsold, where the 1994 model would be launched. what Porsche did was magically make the 1993 model a 1994 model by bumping the 10th digit from a "P" to an "R" so that it wouldn't seem like a "leftover;" bad for image, you see. the problem was that these 1993 cum 1994s wouldn't have 1994 upgrades, they'd still be stuck with 1993 parts. this is why you'll see an "early" 1994 with the engine covers that were meant for the older sisters...unless it was a retro-fit by the previous owner. 

I'll digress and mention that while I've whet your appetite with re-vin option M718, that's a topic for a separate article that will involve the 968register.com duo Jeff Coe and Adam Blauer's input.
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a close up of the rear cover on John Etnier's 968
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Steven Wade's naked engine bay...yes, it's a CS but this is how the late 1994-1995 968 engine bay would look.
Porsche's logic behind the removal of these "trim pieces" must've been of a financial nature rather than one of redundancy. one would think that these covers lend an air of sophistication or completion especially in a decade where car manufacturers the world over decided it was best to dress the engine compartment up to match the clean lines of the exterior and deter the shade tree fuckwit from trying their hand at repairing a more complicated example of the internal combustion engine. removal of them on a car that should be more refined with each new year seems odd. if they took a cue from the Club Sport and decided it best to omit them in the name of weight savings, it would still come off as odd. it's highly doubtful that the buyer of a brand new 968 in search of a gentlemanly manner of sporting transportation gave a toss about saving a few grams sacrificing aesthetics.

although sales were less than hopeful with every year with Stuttgart taking it on the chin with each one sold, why not recuperate a few Pfennig on a terminal endeavour? for those wanting to add the covers to late 1994 and 1995 968s, it is possible but some fabrication would be in order as these cars won't have the necessary mounting lugs to hold the front cover in place; the rear one will be a little less challenging to rig up.

these covers are of little relevance for an enthusiast like myself, unless for the sake of period correctness. the void left by the missing cover makes for the perfect place to put tools, bolts, nuts, ashtray and a fifth of whisky during curse filled episodes of repairs.

highball!
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Don Hassenbein has taken these photos of his car that came with the covers to show where the mounting lugs are..
 


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