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Amadeus Schwed restored his Porsche 924 S on his own

27.05.2024 By Richard Lindhorst
Amadeus Schwed restored his Porsche 924 S on his own

Your first car is like your first love – you probably never forget either. Amadeus Schwed, however, takes the whole thing to the extreme. The young mechanical engineer opted for a Porsche 924 S as his first car and deliberately threw himself into a restoration! So, without much previous experience in mechanics, Amadeus Schwed set about restoring his first car to his liking before embarking on his first adventures. In this edition of Elferspot Porsche Talk, you can find out why he chose a transaxle Porsche and what motivated him to restore it!

Welcome Amadeus Schwed! What do our readers need to know about you?

I was born in 1994 and studied mechanical engineering. After an exciting internship at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, I ended up working in production optimisation, not least because of Porsche’s historical connection to the subject from the 90s. I have since joined ZEISS. There I provide support in a wide range of production areas – from semiconductor technology to glasses and high-precision measuring instruments. In my spare time, I drive a Zermatt Silver Porsche 924 S, which I have lovingly restored myself.

How did you become a petrolhead in the first place?

When I was a child, it wasn’t really foreseeable. I had remote-controlled cars and took them apart to see what was behind them, but the subject of cars wasn’t really on my radar. My environment didn’t push the topic either. I did occasionally repair something myself with my father, but it only became a topic for me during my studies.

The main culprit was my fellow student Jonas. He was very deep into the Porsche topic and ultimately cast a spell over me. Thanks to him, I was also immediately orientated towards the transaxle. We had a small dealer near our student flat and there was a white Porsche 944/ in catastrophic condition. Jonas kept approaching it, while at first I wondered what he wanted with it. But every time we walked past it, Jonas was always enthusiastic.

What appealed to you about it?

We thought about what a fair price would be, perhaps to supplement our student funds by cannibalising and selling a few parts. The car – sadly – wasn’t suitable for a serious restoration. When we asked what the price was, the dealer didn’t even know. He said he had to ask because he was supposed to sell the car on commission. That must have been in 2013 or 2014. Transaxles were at rock-bottom prices back then. We thought 500 to 700 euros would be reasonable. However, two days after our enquiry, the car suddenly disappeared…

As my journey continued, I initially became a master of searching rather than finding. I scoured and studied all the adverts, but never made a purchase decision. I simply didn’t have a space to work on the car or the necessary funds. When we once visited the Retro Classic, I actually found the white 944 in the neighbouring town again. I called the seller immediately, but didn’t get through to anyone. The advert said it would only run on three cylinders and cost 2,000 euros. It disappeared again, but reappeared a short time later. Fate? This time I really wanted to buy it, but it was gone too quickly again. Since then, I had lost track of it, but I was captivated.

When did you finally found the right car and bought it?

Jonas and I both went to Porsche for an internship in 2018. I even went to Porsche’s “brain”, the Weissach Development Centre. It was an extremely exciting and formative insight into the company and its vehicles. In some cases, I was able to see models that had only been released years later. When my professional life started shortly afterwards, Porsche disappeared from my focus again. But in mid-2020, I was gripped by search fever again. My wish materialised into the perfect mix between the Porsche 924 and the Porsche 944 – it was to be the development number 946, also known as the 924 S.

As luck would have it, I actually found the impossible in March 2021: a 924 S, not at the other end of Germany, but nearby and even with a valid technical inspection. The seller was an automotive engineering student, had several transaxles and really wild projects. The 924 S in question was his daily driver and was now to go to make room for something new. We agreed on 3,900 euros and I bought it after a short test drive on a dirt track. Technically it ran, but visually it was… exciting.

Was the Porsche 924 S your first car? What were your initial impressions?

Yes, it was. At some point during my eternal search, I had the thought that my first car really could be a Porsche. But I had almost given up on this crazy idea. Instead, I almost made a sensible purchase, as I was looking for a VW Golf IV at the same time. But then it turned out that way and I was as proud as punch! Even if many people can’t really categorise the car. I’ve heard so often that the car is supposed to have a five-cylinder engine from Audi and that sort of thing…

But personally, I was immediately captivated by the history of the Porsche 924. Originally designed for Volkswagen, es a contractual work calledEA 425, the engine incorporates expertise from Mercedes, VW and Audi… And the balanced weight distribution makes it so much fun to drive. You can drive it quickly without much experience. You immediately understand how the car works and behaves. On country roads in the low speed but high rev range, you have a lot of fun.

Did you already know back then how much work you would have to do?

As my friend Jonas had bought a Porsche 944 at the time, I was able to anticipate one or two upcoming problems. I was able to follow his “odyssey” and take part in the work. However, I was also able to experience how great a transaxle Porsche drives on a joint trip to the Dolomites. From then on at the latest, I was completely hooked. After all, it’s not only great fun to drive, it’s also economical to run and has a huge amount of boot space.

I didn’t have a lift, just a simple garage and a jack, so I just got started.

Amadeus Schwed

My attitude was that I would rather buy a cheap, “worn out” car and redo everything instead of buying one with an uncertain amount of work that dazzles with its appearance. At the same time, I never wanted this project to end up back on the net as an unfinished restoration project. I had seen too many of them to let it come to that. But there I was, without much experience, with my own project car.

What did you start with?

The car was still road legal and drove in a straight line, but otherwise there were quite a few issues. The speedometer showed nothing, the handbrake didn’t work, the suspension and brakes had to be replaced… So the first thing I did was to make it safe to drive. That meant replacing the suspension, new brake calipers, discs and pads, wheel bearings as well as a new fuel pump, filter and drive shafts.

What encouraged you to tackle a Porsche restoration for your first car? Were there also moments when you had doubts?

Although I studied mechanical engineering, I didn’t have any technical vehicle expertise. But I approached the matter with the attitude that I could manage everything with time and logic. During the restoration, I learned everything from saddling and electrics to mechanics, bodywork and painting, or at least acquired the basic skills.

I approached the matter with the attitude that I could manage everything with time and logic.

Amadeus Schwed

Of course there was some heavy stuff. Especially as I had no sources of information other than forums and YouTube. I wasn’t well connected in the scene at all back then. The Targa roof was one of those difficult stories. Back then, a defective roof often meant a total economic loss for these cars if it didn’t seal. Because then, rust quickly developed. Fortunately, it was tight… The roof itself sits in a groove and on my car this was glued on all sides with bathroom silicone. At first I cut out everything I could. Then I tried all kinds of cleaners, silicone removers and household remedies, but I couldn’t get the roof out.

How did you manage it in the end?

I decided to do something else first. I repaired the stitching on the steering wheel myself. The repair kit I bought included a curved needle that you use to sew the cover to the steering wheel. As that went quite well, I tried to cut out the roof like an old windscreen using the needle and thick thread. And what can I say? It worked! Although saddling the headliner was no fun and finding the parts for the lifting roof drive was a challenge, it was worth it. The moment when I pressed the switch and the roof opened and closed was one of the greatest experiences during the restoration.

Wheels were also a moderate disaster. I had new tires fitted to the original Design 90 rims at a tire shop. When I wanted to take the wheels off to paint the car, they wouldn’t come off! The wheel nuts were so tight that they could not be loosened even with 300 nm of force. All 20 wheel nuts were torn off and I had to painstakingly drill or mill them out. Unfortunately, two rims were broken in the process… At Christmas, however, I happened to be able to buy a set of Fuchs 928 wheels at auction for very little money.

And what was the biggest challenge?

The replacement of the dashboard was described online as a time-consuming horror story, which I really respected. But in hindsight, it wasn’t so bad. In the end, the bodywork was the part where everyone said “You can’t do it on your own without cutting and welding”. Because my 924 S had a wing extension on one side that wasn’t very professional. Nobody trusted me to fix it. I ordered a bodywork hammer set from Amazon and approached the job with courage and YouTube tutorials. In the end, I actually got it all back without any creases.

What do you use your Porsche 924 S for today and what do you want to do with it in the future?

I want to drive, go on road trips, go to events with this car… The list of potential destinations is long. I’m very interested in Italy and Spain, maybe even a small rally. My biggest goal with the car is to recreate my desktop background with my 924. It’s an advertising photo of a red Porsche 924 in front of Le Mont-Saint-Michel by the sea in France.

In general, I’m noticing that a new generation of classic car enthusiasts is emerging who not only clean, but also use them.

Amadeus Schwed

In general, I’m noticing that a new generation of classic car enthusiasts is emerging who not only clean, but also use them. People in their 20s and 40s are rediscovering the hobby for themselves and combining it with social media. I find this “new” community around the brand very interesting. It allows the passion to be experienced in a new way, so to speak.

It’s no longer just your club-meetings in the supermarket car park on Saturdays. Instead, people meet up for Cars & Coffee, go on road trips and celebrate each other’s experiences and stories about the cars… I love the passion for this lifestyle, the classic car hobby in a down-to-earth way. This is also the driving force behind my road trip & classic car podcast Grundehrlich – Sprachnotizen zum Runterschalten, in which I talk to various people from the community in addition to the story about my 924 S restoration.

Finally, the classic question: If money was no object, what would be your dream Porsche?

There are a few. A Porsche 930 Turbo would be awesome! Preferably in dark green with a light beige interior. A 996 Turbo would also be interesting. But the most appealing thing for me would be something atypical – a Porsche 924 S with the 2.7-litre engine from the 944, i.e. the “924 S2 prototype”. There are countless myths about this and there were probably 16 of them in total. I would be very interested in this one. Maybe there will be that one coincidence again at some point.

Amadeus Schwed is a master at searching. He hopes that one day he might be able to track down a Porsche 924 S2 prototype. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him!

If you want to know more about Amadeus Schwed and his restoration, follow him on Instagram and listen to his podcast “Grundehrlich – Sprachnotizen zum Runterschalten”

Meet our contributor

Richard Lindhorst is our chief-editor and lives in Northern Germany. He thinks about cars and bikes almost 24/7. If you’ve got a story for him, or just want to get in touch, feel free to contact him on his Instagram (@rchrdlndhrst).

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