We all speak one language — Porsche
Monday, May 05, 2014
I normally don't engage in posts on Facebook, but I made an exception the other night because it seemed like a provocative one. I went something like this, if I remember correctly:
"What is your attitude toward non-928 owners who think anything other than a 911 is not a true Porsche? I like being different and feel that the 911 yuppies see their rides as status symbols. Your thoughts?"
Now, I'm sure you've come across this sort of question before, possibly with different numbers in the equation, comparing one camp to another. I've lost count — really I have — but something about this particular question triggered an involuntary reaction to hit the typer and respond in a direct but friendly manner.
Thing is, I was once one of those guys to whom the post was making reference, I'll admit it. I loved only 911s and 356s, and everything else was lumped in neat pile of Porsches I didn't wish to own simply because they were too far removed from the original bloodlines that put Porsche on the map.
There, I said it. Snob? Sure, but that didn't last long.
The interesting thing here is that the author of the post and Facebook friend, Ace Andres (shown at right), meant no disrespect. This rock star simply felt a bit left out, because at his local PCA gatherings, his 928 is usually the only one there, attracting the "outliers," as he put it.
He was merely observing how some 911 owners he's come in contact with seem to think that if it's not a 911, then it isn't a true Porsche. Unfortunately, it's always a small minority of these enthusiasts — like my former self — who make other 911 owners seem like elitists.
So how did I come around? I built a five-lane highway over my single-track mind with the help of my wife Diane and her 944S. I began to see what a great bunch of Porsche enthusiasts were out there ready with open arms to welcome me in if I was willing enough to step outside of the confines air-cooled aristocracy.
Jim Doerr, a fellow PCA member and owner of 928 Classics, was the first ambassador of Porsche open-mindedness to pull me in with a hearty back-slap to the wonderful world of 928s and their owners. He was the guy who inspired me to jump into 928 ownership with the reassurance that all of the stereotypical hype on this fantastic GT was just that — hype.
Jim Doerr and his father show off a 1978 928 Euro.
And do you know what? I've fallen for 928s — hard, especially the early versions. So much so that they've become an obsession to the point where I find myself sneaking out into the garage before bed just to glance at her graceful lines.
My interest in 928s was subconscious, I was always curious about them. The problem was I never lifted my nose from the 928 books to talk to an owner in the trenches and get a real-world perspective.
Jim was that owner. I've only known him for a little over a year, but the guy's like a brother to me. But what amazes me is how this 928 formed a bond between a couple of petrol heads who happen to have tons of similarities.
I'll let you in on another thing: That same 928 launched my writing career. The first Porsche article I wrote was for my local PCA chapter's magazine, Porscheforus, about my search for a 928.
And it was through Jim that I met James Morrison, president of the 928 Owner's Club. I had no idea what I'd been missing out on until I became a 928OC member and began writing for their club magazine, Thrumble. This new experience was intoxicating, and it was only the beginning.
A few months later, I met Jason Gonzalez, another PCA member and regular contributor to E-Brake. Like Jim, we had loads in common. This passionate rescuer of 944s lives about an hour away, which allowed me to become a fixture in his shop, R7 Racing and Restoration, at least once a month. Nothing beats talking 944s with someone whose life revolves around them.
Jason Gonzalez with his racing 944 and his daughter behind the wheel.
Back in February, we acquired our fourth Porsche, a 968 Cabriolet, and that's when fellow PCAer Adam Blauer rolled into the picture. Adam has been building the 968 Register's website along with Jeff Coe, and he and I struck a friendship just before we bought it.
I'd bounce a few concerns and questions about the breed, and he'd graciously fill me in on some insider knowledge that was indispensable before I pulled the trigger. Needless to say, becoming a member of the 968 Register will only broaden my circle of comrades with other 968 enthusiasts.
Adam Blauer and his M030 968.
I don't want to bore you with anymore of my connections, but I have to include one more superhero: Dan Beckett. This Renaissance man is the most well-known and respected champion for one of Porsche's most important cars — the 924. I have tons of respect for him and his work to save this great little car from extinction by devoting his time and energy in their preservation.
Dan is the owner of Ideola's Garage, a business catering to 924s, and this PCA member is a walking history book on the model. He and I struck a kinship on our mutual love for 924s and their historical significance that not only proved a serious threat at Le Mans (and shaped the future for 944s and 968s), but they also helped save Porsche from financial ruin.
Dan Beckett (left) and his 937.
The addition of a 924 Carrera GT to our collection in the future will no doubt include Dan as an advisor, and that's light years better than any research I've accumulated on the 937.
But I'm going stop here for a moment and be my own critic, turn on myself, if you like. This sounds like a confessional, some euphoric epiphany, reeking of a "look what I've found" article. Going on about how I've become smitten with other Porsche models crashing into their every party. And aren't I so smug about the whole thing, having made discoveries many of you have made when I was a pimply teen?
Sure, that's what this all sounds like, and you're right to a certain degree. But if you think you've missed the point, or if there was one, it's because I haven't mentioned it yet.
The thing is this: You reach a point in life when your palette becomes much more sophisticated, pretty much knowing what you want, when and how it's to be done, and even why you've made such decisions. I did, but I didn't.
What I've realized is that I haven't found the shoe that fits and never will. So the only thing left is to put on the one that feels good at the moment.
When I feel aggressive and eager to get things done, I hop into the 993. If my mood is a bit more subdued, and I want glide past in a stealth fashion with a touch of aggression, the 944S fits. The 968 suits me on cloudless, sunny days. And the 928 fits like a glove when I feel like being challenged, aggravated and getting dirty because, well, it's in pieces at the moment undergoing a preservation.
What does this all mean? I've been choosing Porsches to fuel my passion and fit my moods. And while I'm sampling personas rendered in steel, rubber and oil — irrespective of whether they're made from bits of Audi, possessing a water-cooled engine in the wrong place, or considered air-sucking fossils — I'm meeting all sorts of like-minded people along the way. And that's the proverbial icing on the cake.
So, in a roundabout sort of way, my answer to Ace's post is pretty clear: There is no one, true Porsche because all of them are — from the 356/1 that rolled out of a converted sawmill in Gmünd carrying VW Beetle DNA to the Macan, and each and every model made in between. All of them share the same genetics, all of them significant in Porsche's rich history.
The ironic thing is that, unlike how I used to be, each of these men that I've mentioned loves, had, has or aspires to own Porsche models outside of their specialty. These guys, like the vast majority of Porsche owners I presume, are true ambassadors of the Marque.
And they make it clear that there is no "us vs. them," because at the end of the day, whether you love 356s, 911s, 912s, 914s, 924s, 928s, 944s, Boxsters, Cayennes, Panameras or Macans, it doesn't matter because we all speak one language: Porsche.
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