Tag Archives: Porsche

Cars I’ve Owned

I’ve owned quite a few cars (and motorcycles) in my time. Some, like the 911, were incredible machines. Others, like the Marina, were turds. I loved them all!

I’m sure I missed one or two here, and I don’t count cars that belonged to my wife

Click on a picture for a short commentary of each car

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Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles

A Ten Year Love Affair Ends

matchbox911Since the age of perhaps 7 or 8 I have been in love with the Porsche 911.  In 2004 I was fortunate enough to take delivery of one, starting a ten year love affair which finally ended yesterday.

But let’s start at the beginning.  As a little boy I remember playing with a model of a Porsche 911 in the bedroom I shared with my brother in South London.  To me this was a car for rich people and, being in a one parent family, and with my Mother working part time on the checkout of a local supermarket, I was sure that the model was the closest I would ever get to owning one.

Fast forward to an anniversary dinner in May 2004.  During dinner my wife handed me a card with the words “Let’s get that 911 you always wanted” nestled among the usual anniversary sentiments.

With 3 young children at home it took a moment or two for my brain to go from “Well…that’s not very practical” to “Where’s the nearest Porsche dealer?”  At the time I was driving an MR2 Spyder so, by comparison, the 911 was a family car!

Over the next month I drove the poor folks at Jack Daniel’s in Paramus crazy while I tried out various models of 911.   Each test drive would, at some point, end up on the driveway of my home where I would drag J. out from her wifely duties to admire the latest model.

123-2317_IMGOne day I turned up in a pre-owned 2003 C4S coupe six speed. When I returned home after the test drive, J. immediately said “That’s the car you’re going to get, isn’t it?”  Apparently the look on my face was all she needed to know that this was the car for me.  Ten years later, I know I made the right decision.

So, what’s it like to own a 911?

In one word…Awesome!

I’m a driver.  I like driving.  I drive in a ‘spirited’ fashion on the road and I have raced everything I can lay my hands on: cars, karts, motorcycles, quads, you name it.   The problem is that I quickly become bored.  I had never owned a car more than 2 years without saying “OK…what’s next?”  That all ended with the 911.

The 911 took everything I threw at it and came back for more.  Driving in the countryside, commuting, track days, Auto-cross, long highway drives and even (with the addition of snow tires) winter driving.  It took it all in it’s stride.

The car could be driven at speed, cornered hard, and yet still remained refined and poised enough to drive to a funeral without feeling conspicuous or out of place.

When driving it the car just a felt part of me.  The car could be placed with such inch perfect precision that driving other cars (even performance cars) somehow felt lacking.

Of course it wasn’t totally perfect.  The car was noisy, had a stiff ride, destroyed rear tires with surprising speed, and the rear seat was fine when my kids where small but, as my daughter frequently commented, not suitable once they had grown up a bit.  Oh, and the German’s might know how to build great cars but they are completely stumped by cup holders.

Of course all of those were problems for the passengers.  This is a driver’s car, pure and simple.

prama2006Over the next 10 years I added 110 thousand miles to the odometer, bringing it to a grand total of 125k.  Even after all those miles the car was in a great shape and, if you didn’t know the subtleties of the 911 range, you would be hard pressed to know which model year it was.

Mechanically the car was as reliable as a hammer.  Very few problems were encountered and the car never let me down.

Here I have to give a quick shout out to PowerTech in Rockaway, NJ.  These guys took care of my car from the day it was out of warranty until the day it was sold.  They gave great service at a more than fair price and, when it came time to sell, they took care of that for me also (see ad), obtaining a price sufficiently above what I could have managed on my own to more than cover their fee.  If you have a Porsche then you owe it to yourself to pay these guys a visit and see what keeps people coming back to them year after year.

In the end it wasn’t age, or boredom, or mechanical problems that pushed the car out, it was a teenage boy obtaining his driving permit. The addition of an older A8 for him meant that the 911 was rarely going to leave the garage because it was constantly blocked in.  If it were a classic model that would appreciate then I could have been OK with that but, sadly, that was not the case here.

A brief foray into selling the car through Auto Trader convinced me (after just one day) that I should hand this over to PowerTech to sell and, two weeks later, my baby was gone!  I never got to see her again after dropping her off, and it was a bit anti-climactic to part with her in such a manner after all those miles, but I know the next owner will be as thrilled with her as I was.  This also leaves me without a stick-shift car for the first time since I started driving.  Now that is weird!

With an 11 year old still in the house it will be a while before I can consider something like this again. I strongly suspect that by then cars will mostly be self-driving and the idea of a “drivers car” will be a thing of the past.  But if you are considering a 911 then don’t wait – do it now before it’s too late.  You won’t regret it.

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Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles, Life - or something like it

Mini-van – The Ultimate Performance Enhancer

I love just about anything that has wheels but, in particular, I have been a huge fan of the Porsche 911 since I was a kid. I still remember holding a model of a 911 as a young child and wistfully wondering what it would be like to own one.  These were cars for rich people – which we most certainly were not!

Performance driving became a passion of mine from the moment I first got behind the wheel, and if I wasn’t upgrading my car, then I was using snow-covered areas as make-shift skid pans or spending money on track days.  I then turned to the ‘dark-side’ once I discovered that motorcycles offered a far cheaper way to get in touch with The Force, and I still dabble in those black arts today with my BMW R1150GS.

Joanne tried to save my soul in 2005 when an alignment of the stars (a mid-life crisis, a wedding anniversary and vodka induced spousal approval 🙂 ) brought a ‘pre-owned’ 2003 911 C4S my way. That car is now my daily driver, clocking up around 15k miles each year.

The car is fast but, after months of every day use, it all  starts to feel a little…ordinary.

I used to solve this problem by buying new cars, or by spending money that I could ill afford on performance parts.  Carburetors, tune up kits, cold air intakes, free-flow exhausts and that gold standard for teenagers, the K&N air filter, have all seen use on vehicles I have owned.

But a few years ago I stumbled upon the secret of getting my jolly meter back into the red without spending large sums of money on things that do little more than invalidate the car’s warranty.  The solution…use someone else’s car for a couple of weeks!

I first achieved this trick with the use of my father-in-law’s Hyundai G350 a few years ago, and I have just detoxed again by using a rented VW Routan mini-van to take in the delights of Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Big Sky and the mountains of Colorado on our recent family vacation.  Since my kids have seen the film RV, the van was immediately dubbed the ‘Rolling Turd’ for the duration of the trip.

After two weeks of driving The Turd, I came home to re-discover the joys of my C4S.  Just backing down the driveway was enough to let me know that I was in something a little different and, once underway, even the slightest touch on the throttle would have the car leaping forward like…umm…a very leapy thing.   It is so addictive that other road users must think I’m drunk, because I find myself speeding up and slowing down again repeatedly, just for the heck of it.

My new enhancement method is far cheaper than a new car or adding a supercharger, and is unlikely to leave me stranded at the side of the road with oil dripping from the engine!

So, only one interesting question now remains.  If I have two vehicles at home that can cover the zero to sixty sprint in five seconds or less, then why is it that my first speeding ticket in ten years was acquired behind the wheel of a rebadged Town and Country mini-van? Doh!

Despite the speeding ticket, I have a hard time visualizing my kids longingly holding a hot-wheels Routan Mini-van and dreaming of the future.

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Filed under Automobiles and motorcycles, Travel