The Origins of Classic Retrofit - Jonny Hart

I have always preferred older cars and have owned many classics over the years. When I finally bought my 1982 Porsche 911 SC coupe, it was actually the newest car I had owned! I got to know the car for a couple of years before starting a full restoration. The bodyshell was restored and mechanicals rebuilt before finally turning to the electrics. I discovered that the car had a Capacitive Discharge Ignition (CDI) system similar to that fitted to motorbikes and that it is quite an unusual thing in a road car.

As a member of various Porsche forums, it became clear that failure of the original CDI boxes was a common problem. There's nothing wrong with the original design, it's just that the electronic components - particularly film type capacitors - have a limited lifespan. As new units were NLA and repairs only patched the box up until the next bit failed, I began to look at ways to make my Porsche 911 SC's CDI system reliable.

I wasn't happy with the look of the aftermarket ignition systems of the time and I did not want to modify my original loom. I wanted a plug-and-play replacement. As the MD of a successful electronics design company, I tasked my engineers with designing a completely new electronic system to replace the CDI box. The project was a success and led into designing replacement fuse panels and on to creating our revolutionary electric air conditioning and the wonderful 180A six-phase alternators. 

We have just celebrated our fifth anniversary in business. Our work now includes specialist consultancy to renowned car creators including Singer Automotive, Ruf Automobile GmbH (Porsche) and several world-famous classic Jaguar and Alfa Romeo builders. Classic Retrofit now provides upgraded electrical parts for Porsche 911s, Alfa Romeos, Ferraris, Jaguar E-Types and are also working with many high end automotive specialists to help develop new solutions for their creations.

Running Classic Retrofit continues to be a wonderfully exciting and intellectually challenging experience - long may it continue!

Jonny Hart - Director - March 2020