Sleeper cars are some of the most exciting cars in the world. If you are unfamiliar with this term, it is a car that appears to be stock or even intentionally raggedy but has, in fact, been built out to be monster quick. The idea is that your car looks normal and non-threatening but is actually a beast. Seeing as how Jay Leno has a least one, if not many, of each type of vehicle conceivable, it should come as no surprise that he has the sleeper camp on lock. His 1971 Porsche 911T is one of the coolest 911s I’ve ever seen; It’s brown, for crying out loud!
Jay Leno’s 1971 Porsche 911T
This 911T is one that was featured on Leno’s Garage, but Hagerty went on a deep dive, and I’m sure glad they did.
This particular Porsche 911T was the perfect candidate for a vintage sleeper restoration because it was found parked in a garage after sitting for nearly 20 years. Since it was covered and in California, the car had no rust and retained most of its original paint.
The fact that it’s the Porsche 911T also helped make it a perfect candidate for sleeper modifications. This was the base model and most common Porsche, according to Jay Leno. This is helpful because it allows for customizing the car without running any collector value.
Powertrain and transmission
The stock Porsche 911T had a 2.4-liter flat-six engine making 125 hp. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but remember, these cars are lightweight and nimble. It’s not about the brute force with these little German go-karts; it’s all about handling. Be that as it may, we are talking about a sleeper here, so Leno decides to have the original motor bored and stroked to 2.5-liters. This may not seem like much, and compared to many hot rod 911s, it isn’t, but it a simple way to get more juice without major changes to the rest of the car.
Hagerty goes into further detail about the cylinder heads getting reworked, too. Each cylinder head got larger intake runners, valves, and springs to capitalize on the higher fuel flow from the new Weber carbs. Although Leno wanted to keep the Porsche 911T factory “dogleg” transmission, he upgraded to a limited-slip differential. This gains the car a much more efficient way to put the new power to the road. The total power output was raised from the stock 125 hp to 225 hp — more than enough for a thrilling rip-around ride.
The cosmetics of the Porsche 911T
Like we mentioned earlier, the Porsche 911T was stored inside, out of the sun and rain; most of the original paint was left in great shape. Leno says the car is still wearing around 90 percent of its original “Amber” paint (Porsche calls it Amber, I call it Brown.)
This is a numbers-matching-car, which is why Leno wants to keep the original paint, trans, motor, and most other odds and ends.
Although the exterior was in great shape, the interior needs a little love. When Leno got the Porsche 911T, it had over 100,000 miles on it. Leno mentions using a company called Stoddard out of Ohio to reupholster the seats and recarpet the car back to factory specs.
Don’t get caught sleeping by this sleeper
Jay Leno has beautifully executed the restoration of this sleeping beauty. His 1971 Porsche 911T looks like a polite vintage sportscar, but when it drives by, it sounds like a beast.
So, if you see a little brown Porsche 911T running around LA, don’t step up unless you are ready to boogie down.