Dana Wailes and his 1971 911

Bill Newton 

by Bill Newton, Redwood Region Member,
   photos by Dana Wailes and Barbara McCrory

Dana Wailes and his brother Deven don't need much introduction to Redwood Region  members: the brothers operate a very popular Porsche/Audi shop in San Rafael -- Hi Tec Automotive. Deven is our Club's Technical Advisor, we hold technical sessions at Hi Tec and they are the primary sponsor of our autocross series. As you will see, Dana has built and drives a very quick and stylish "Porsche camper."

A visit to their shop is a very interesting experience. Dana has quite a wide range of projects in his repair bay: an all-aluminum bodied Audi A8, a red 1965 912, Dana's 1971 911 and a 4-cylinder Cummins diesel motor waiting to be installed in Dana's early model International Scout. The atmosphere there was one of calm professionalism; perhaps a bit of "automotive zen."

Dana's 911 started life as a 1971 Sportomatic 911T. This car hadalready caught the attention of Excellence magazine writer David Coleman and was featured in the December, 2002 issue. This article had some pretty good things to say about the Sportomatic gear box. It was explained as a "semiautomatic, not an automatic device based on Porches's 901/902 four speed gearbox; a driver needed skill to operate it efficiently."

Dana acquired the car 6 years ago and worked very hard to improve the Sportomatic transmission including re-engineering and fabricating parts to make the car autocross better. However, it just wasn't possible to bring it to what Dana wanted, so ultimately he installed a larger motor and a 1977 915 transmission.

The 2.9 motor he used received lots of attention including a front oil cooler, '73 S heads and cams, 10.5 compression ratio pistons, crank fire ignition, twin spark plugs, Weber carbs, and an Electromotive engine management system. Suspension modifications included 18/26 mm torsion bars, 16/21 mm sway bars, Boxster brakes and Toyo 205x50x16 tires on S wheels.

Redwood President, Vern Rogers, has this to say about Dana: "Dana Wailes has been a regular at Redwood Autocrosses for a few years now.  Although he shows up as a participant, he has always been willing to assist

drivers with last minute on-site challenges. Three years ago, my 997 was experiencing a big problem with coolant pressure. Dana thought it might be bubbles in the system. This was the first day of our two-day Zone 7 series. He offered to swap cars with me and took mine down to Hi Tec that night. He brought it back with fresh, bubble-free coolant the next morning so that I could compete on day two. He literally went the extra mile(s) to help me out." 

Vern's comments speak for themselves. Having Dana at our autocrosses can be invaluable to the distressed driver. And, it's just plan nice to talk to him and to see his car evolve.

Working out at the Airport
photo by Barbara McCrory

Dana and his 911 are doing quite well in RR AXx's.
photo by Barbara McCrory

Dana's 911 in camping trim -- taking a break from strenuous autocrossing
photo by Dana Wailes