Let me admit this right away. I drive a 1983 911 SC cabriolet, and it’s the only Porsche
I’ve ever owned. As PCA’s e-Brake News said recently, this model is a forgotten car, one that many Porsche-philes consider little more than a “structurally compromised fashion statement.” A more recent e-Brake News called it the least-favored 911 body style of the era. So, if you’d rather skip over to someone else’s blog post and read about a more interesting set of wheels, I won’t blame you a bit.
I bought this car new, and at that time it had been about twenty years since I’d
had something fun to drive. When I was in college in the early 1960s I had a 1958 MGA; I loved that car and I still miss it. But one of my classmates owned a Speedster, probably the first Porsche I ever saw in person. Occasionally it cruised by me on campus, and I would feel an overwhelming pang of desire.
By the early 1980s, after two decades of settling for Beetles and Civics, I could afford something more interesting, but by then I didn’t know how to go about it. I don’t think anyone bought or sold cars on the internet then, I didn’t know anyone who owned a sports car, and I hadn’t even heard of Hemmings Motor News. I almost certainly would have bought an MGA if I could have figured out how to find one.
Instead, I looked first at a car that you still saw on the road in those days – the 190 SL, to my eye one of the most beautiful Mercedes ever built. I drove maybe three of them and was amazed at how stodgy they were; probably they’re not all so dull, but the ones I tried were. However, this initial foray lead to one thrilling experience: the last 190SL I looked at was in the “pre-owned” inventory of a Mercedes dealer, and in the showroom it was parked next to a stunning 300SL roadster. To be nice the salesman let me sit in its driver’s seat, and just holding that steering wheel was electrifying, even though the sales guy and I both knew there was no way I could come up with its $63,000 price tag. (You know what that model can bring today.)
Then a friend of a friend told me his grandfather was the original owner of a 1952 Jaguar XK120 fixed head coupe that he wanted to sell, and since I was car hunting he wondered if I’d like to see it. Yes, I would. I drove it twice, and although it was so stately that it’s hard to believe this elegant driver could ever have been considered a sports car, I loved the way it went snick, snick, snick up through the gears, and I said yes, I want this car. Granddad and I agreed on price. But a few days later, for his own private reasons, he changed his mind, the car was no longer for sale, and I was out of luck.
Then, finally, my long-ago college memory of that Speedster came back to me, and the word “Porsche” flashed in my mind. I went to a dealer and drove a new 911. This was instant love, like nothing I had ever driven before: powerful, fast, great handling, amazing brakes — and it was beautiful. Last year I told my son that I was now too old to drive this car and said I was giving it to him; he said, thanks Dad, not yet, I’m too busy, you keep it a while longer. He’ll get it eventually, but for now I’m so glad it’s still mine.
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