Porsche. I can completely understand if you’re not in the financial position to be purchasing one, certainly not a stunning 1980 911 Sports Coupe – neither am I. Of course there are other mediocre options you could entertain such as an entry level Boxster or even a 928, but as the saying goes, and it’s never been truer than when shopping for automobiles, ‘you get what you pay for’.
Recently a dear friend of TVG found himself in this lovely position and after putting money aside for a number of years and spending almost 18 months searching for the perfect example, picked himself up a mint 911 SC. On Monday I was privileged enough to take it for a drive, and at the ripe old age of 32 years she still packs a serious punch.
I think at the end of the day you have to remember, despite the age, it’s still a Porsche. Steve* (as he will be named in this article) tells me that’s the first thing his mechanic said to him when he took it in for the once over. For a man that has only owned the car for a few months Steve is already seriously confident driving it (and I don’t blame him – it’s got a phenomenal amount of grip through the corners!). We took it up around the bends at Vaucluse and I was quite astonished. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the 911, but one thing’s for certain, I didn’t expect the pace and agility it presented.
Inside the car was as original as the day it rolled off the factory floor, starting life in Paddington before moving to Epping and finally back to Paddington with its 3rd owner Steve. Sure, there are bits and pieces that aren’t working perfectly, like the handbrake or the snappy retrieval of the seat belts but that’s to be expected of any car it’s age. The only modern touches are the immobiliser and a GPS tracking system, both necessary devices to stop theft (it’s been unsuccessfully stolen once already).
When I got in it, Steve warned me about the clutch, that basically it didn’t engage until the last possible second. He said a mate had stalled it 3 times recently and that was enough – banished. I got in the drivers seat and tentatively released the clutch, then I realised the car wasn’t in gear – I was too busy worrying about stalling it. After initiating first I slowly got it going, albeit it a few revs too many – it was like nothing I’d driven before. We cruised through Watsons Bay up along South head and I really got to put my foot down and open up the 3.0L flat six. The 911 has plenty of torque and there’s not a lot of reason to ever leave second gear when your driving it through the streets of Sydney. I was in love with the thing instantly, elbow on the window frame, sunnies on, listening to the engine – I could’ve got very used to driving it around on a sunny Sunday. When you come to a roundabout and your attention has lapsed because you’re having such a good time soaking up the car you realise the absence of power steering is going to ensure both hands are used to turn the wheel, but Steve says you get used to it pretty quickly.
I asked him to share a couple of thoughts for this article and as it goes I couldn’t agree with him more. This is what driving is about, no one who has been in a 911 SC will ever tell you ‘a car is to used to get from A to B’, because it’s so much more than that, it’s about the experience of getting there and it’s a top notch experience in the 911!
“This is what super cars are all about, we’re men, we’re mad and we haven’t looked into the practicality of things, its ludicrous. All you have to do is rewind back to the 80’s; you’re sitting at the lights in your 308GTO and a 911SC pulls up beside you, who knows what will happen next. For me it was 1989 with Matchbox cars on the living room carpet ‘brrrrrum’, often one car went spiralling into a piece of furniture, nothings changed; I’m bigger and now I’ve got a big toy car. When looking at your dream car there are obvious things to look for: oil leaks, rust and whether or not it was an original AUS delivery, the list goes on, so do your homework and don’t get overexcited to buy the first thing you see.
I don’t buy cars to speculate, like these fools who hide them away, the kids of today locked into the back of a car pooled mini van or wagon need to see them busting past at 5000RPM, now they’re the childhood memories that make you count down the years till you not only sit your driving test but are released into ultimate freedom.
When it comes to fashion, a lot of people say you can tell a person by the shoes they wear, and the same goes for cars. 335i = Real Estate Agent, Boxster = Banker, Saab = Architect and so on. The point I’m feeding is no car enthusiast is likely to go out and buy their dream car that was released yesterday, cause they’ve had no time to dream. When you’re driving a dream car like a 911SC you don’t care that the car doesn’t have air-con and you don’t care that the car isn’t equipped with power steering, you get lost in the moment shifting gears, listening to the engine throat gargle as you down change, looking in the rear vision mirror to see your lunatic whale tale slide out a little as you power out of the apex, there’s no DSC (dynamic stability control), just you and the car, and that is what driving is all about.”