Since I was a kid, I have wanted a Porsche 911. I became aware of them during the mid eighties when I was ten and the great 911SC was enjoying popularity. My parents had split up a few years before. My mom moved from our Alabama home to the big city of Atlanta, where the streets were more or less choked with 911s.
Her calls from the great metropolis were greatly anticipated, but her ability to report on spotted cars was lacking.
“I saw a 911 today!” she’d say.
“Really? Cool! What was it?” Cabriolet? Turbo? Possibly a revolting slant nose?
“It was white!”
White? White?! Come on, mom! What level trim was it? Did it have a sunroof (boo) or no (yay)? And what factory white are we talking here? Grand Prix white? Titan White? Chitton White? Alpine White? Bah.
Mom tried, but she just wasn’t an enthusiast. I was a ten year old enthusiast, and part of being an enthusiast is knowing which trim levels of your favorite car are acceptable and which are not. If you’re thinking right now that you can’t wait to email me and let me know you’re also an enthusiast and you’ve purchased a 911 Cabriolet, let me let you know that you should take that car and drive it into a lake.
Why so acrimonious? Because 911s are expensive. But hating on certain models and the people far more successful than I who can afford to purchase those models is free.
In that spirit, let me learn you something. You see, the only acceptable 911 is a coupe. Air cooled. Preferably sunroof free from the factory. Preferably naturally aspirated. In German racing silver. Black interior. You can add some of those Rennline metal floors that Magnus puts in his cars, but don’t be coming around with your whale shit colored interior 996.
I knew when I was ten years old that I would someday have the money to purchase a 911. And I knew that I would. When I finally got my first real job in the late 90’s, I looked at my finances, looked at the available 911s for sale, and said “Shit.” They were still out of reach. Even if I scraped together enough cash for a 911SC from the mid eighties, the running costs would sink me.
But I was dying to own one. So, I investigated compromises. Eventually I settled on the poor man’s Porsche, the predecessor to the Boxter, the 914. I had a 1973 2.0L, which was the engine to have barring the 914 with a 6 cylinder engine out of a 911. Those were hard to come by and three times the price.
I got my car for just under $5000 with the Fuchs alloys as pictured, the sail panels still intact as pictured, and the factory fuel injection still working. Lots of people converted these cars to Weber carburetors, but mine was still FI.
Technically, the 914 is a dual marque car, a joint effort between VW and Porsche. It only had about 90 horsepower, but it had the same VDO gauges of a 911. It was a really fun car. But soon I lost my job, so I sold it.
Since then I haven’t had the disposable money to even think about buying a car for fun. I’ve been living the life of an artist, which is to say, if I may employ financial jargon, broke. Things have gotten a bit better recently, and I once again began daydreaming about finally buying that 911 I’ve always wanted.
Unfortunately for me, those thoughts resurfaced at the same time as the 911’s 50th anniversary. The price of used 911’s has skyrocketed. And for what? It’s not like they’re rare. Here’s the Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah and some other dudes on the 911 bubble.
Farah makes a point. And a small piece of me as a child and a budding car enthusiast maybe feels a twinge as it gasps its last. But that’s okay. Because there’s plenty of fun to be had in the car I do have. It’s not a 911, but Sweetie and I can drive it, work on it, and compete in it. And it cost less two years ago than the 914 I bought cost ten years ago.
Auf widersehen, Herr 911. Konichiwa, Miata-san.
If I ever do manage to make a bunch of money, I’ll probably still buy a 911, but it won’t be as I imagined it. That’s a little sad. But that’s also growing up. And I like being a writer, so I’m likely to remain fairly broke. Thankfully, hating on people wealthier than me is still free. Screw you, 911 owners who made better choices than I did and realized their dreams! Jerks!