By on September 4, 2010

Those of you steeped in traditional Catholicism know that we have just one of Porsche’s Deadly Sins left to go before the end of the series. What better time, then, to take a moment to talk about just why people do choose to become Porsche owners. Time and time again in my “Porsche’s Deadly Sins” series, people have asked me basically the same question, to wit:

If Porsche is such a terrible company, and they make such terrible products, why do you have three of them?

It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple group of answers. Buckle up and let’s talk about it.

“Sometimes,” the man said, “a cigar is just a cigar.” But to a true auto enthusiast, a car is never just a car. It’s an object that exists in context. The Consumer Reports guy, the appliance buyer, looks at a Cutlass and a Malibu and sees that they are the same product. We look at them and see the history they represent, the context that transcends the metal.

My automotive sense, my car-loving child within, forever lives in Columbia, MD. I see myself standing with my father as he purchases a new MG, riding in the back seat of his LeSabre and seeing the big Oldsmobiles, the stately Cadillacs, the professorial Saabs, the careless old-money scions (small “S”) in their Nine Elevens and XJSes. I come from a time where the GM brands still meant something, where California was irrelevant in our lives, where the phenomenon of the omnipresent entry-level information technology manager douching it up in a G35 Koop had yet to spring, fully-formed, into existence from the forehead of the dot-com boom.

In that mindset, in that heritage, a Porsche is still special. I treasured seeing Porsches as a child. There was no Cayenne, no Panamera. Even a 924 was gorgeous to see, if not all that stirring to drive. When I sit behind the wheel of my 993, I remember sitting behind the wheel of a 1979 911SC in a Washington, DC dealership, my father distracting the salesperson long enough for me to enjoy myself looking around. It’s the same car, or it’s same enough for me. The existence of the loathsome Panamera cannot trouble my quiet joy in this. My 993 is my gift to my childhood.

I own a 944 because there is nothing that equals a 944 as a legal-speeds road tool. The visibility is superb, the driving position is comfortable. I feel that the car is light enough to maneuver and heavy enough to be substantial. The big four has enough torque to push me along, which addresses the main shortcoming of the original EA925. It is unfiltered, delightful, still special after twenty-six years.

I bought my Boxster S “550 Spyder Edition” for pragmatic reasons. It was 2006. I intended to contest the SCCA National Solo Championship. I didn’t want to wear out my 993, didn’t want to subject it to sixty clutch drops a season, didn’t want to spend the money required to keep an aircooled Porsche running at race spec. I also thought I might be able to drive the Boxster a bit better at speed, and I wanted something to thrash on open track days. The Porsche-hating SCCA refused to let the 2005 or 2006 Boxster in “A Stock” so I bought a 4,000-mile 2004-model garage queen and gave it a shot.

Over the course of the next 29,000 miles, I came to respect, then admire, then finally love the Boxster. The M96 may be a limited-life engine but it can be sweet and lovely at seven thousand revs as I clip a curb on the way out of Mid-Ohio’s Carousel. With Hoosier tires mounted, 245 width in front and 285 width in back, it is a match in the midcorner for everything short of a Formula Continental. It can be thrown sideways at triple-digit speeds then collected at my leisure. The control inputs are honest, forthright, trustworthy. Unlike the 993, there’s real ergonomic thought in the relationship of seat, pedals, shifter. I also happen to think it’s pretty, though it’s certainly not as pretty as any air-cooled 911. If I had to sell one of the three, this would be the one I sell, but nota bene that I sold my Audi S5, not my Boxster, when I wanted to make a change in my automotive lineup.

I often step into one of my Porsches while in the grip of some foul mood, but I rarely step out that way. These are good cars. Each is flawed, each is born from compromise, pragmatism, and connivance, but they are also each fundamentally good in a way I cannot easily explain to you. It has nothing to do with prestige or impressing people; there’s nothing impressive about an old 944 or a Boxster and the 993 is starting to look more vintage than upscale. These are my cars, and I am their owner.

I cannot bring myself to love Porsche, the company, any more. Most of their products are either bad or cynical. There’s too much attention to cost-cutting, too many fiscal manipulations, too much German inside-baseball financing going on. Even in the “good old days”, this was a company which often knowingly sent race drivers to their deaths. As a racing driver and team owner I find that difficult to swallow.

That does not mean I could ever bring myself to not love these three cars, my aging, humble fleet, my little stable of dreams fulfilled. I don’t see myself ever buying a new Porsche. When I think of the Porsches I want, they are all beetle-backed air-cooled throbbers. The branded merchandise, luxury retreats, and single-make “gentlemen racer” series without a single gentleman among their ranks are too much for me to swallow. These are my Porsches. Thank you for reading, and, perhaps, for understanding.

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56 Comments on “Let Us Now Praise Fabulous Porsches...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    So you’re a glutton for punisment?  (Sorry I couldn’t resist.)

    Actually you simply wish that you could go back and buy new Porsches back when Porsches were actually good. 

  • avatar
    Autopassion

    This, and Jack Baruth’s complete series deconstructing the whole Porsche “there is no substitute” myth is completely on target. I love it. This should be required reading in the Porsche/VW/Audi boardrooms. Not that they would get it.
     

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I think there’s a certain amount of willful nostalgia, here.  Try to take yourself out of yourself and think twenty years down the road: would you buy a 997?  Chances are yes, you would.
     
    Porsches have been, if you’ll forgive the crudeness, cars by and for douchebags since 1970 or so.  It’s just that the douchebaggery fades after a few decades or so, leaving the “still a pretty good car” behind.**

    ** provided it was a good car in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      In my experience, douchebags tend to go for the 911 and turn up their nose at the Boxster. These guys are really image conscious and are afraid to be seen in a lesser model.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Not I. I’m unimpressed by both the 997 and the 996. I’d love to have a 993 and a 924S though.

    • 0 avatar
      Alwaysinthecar

      There are no chances that I’d buy a 997.  My 993 WB is the last P-car for me.  And it’s a car I can sell at anytime with very little depreciation.  At $100k+ a pop, there are other choices out there right now which I’d much prefer over a current 911.  And at less than $100k I’d consider a Cayman over a 997.

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    What Porsche needs to get better, is another car maker that makes performance rear engine cars.  Until that day Porsche will live off the the dreams of children who “made it” and snobs. I guess I shouldn’t judge Porsche buyers since we all have dreams that only we can understand.
     
    Live the dream brother.

  • avatar
    Travis

    I understand.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    You’re right.  After reading your essays I believe it’s time for you to say good-bye to the Germans, and go with something much more practical, certainly more user friendly, easy on the pocket book in initial and long term costs, and just as fast.  Jack, meet Enzo…

  • avatar
    jimboy

    I do get SOOO tired of Americans gushing over expensive, ugly, unreliable, german cars. They hold about 5% of the market here, yet you’d think they are the lifeblood of the industry. Frankly, you couldn’t give me one. Please, find some other countries’ vehicles to slaver over for a while.(except, not Japan.)

  • avatar
    Syke

    Another one who understands.  When I test drove that 924S, more on a lark and curiosity about what it would be like, I wasn’t looking for a Porsche.  I wasn’t even considering a Porsche.  Given my budget, home expenses and physical condition of my wife, at best I was figuring on a first generation Miata.
     
    Then I took that red 924S down Howard’s Mill Road (about midway between the seller’s house and mine) the second time (after the seller suggested I could push it a bit harder than I was doing – which was being very careful) and I understood not caring that it was going to cost me two grand to do the front end of the engine (belt, water pump, etc.) as a safety precaution because the car didn’t have receipts from the previous owner.  I hadn’t driven anything that had fit me so well in at least twenty years.
     
    A year later, that car is doing just fine.  It’s keeping me happy.  Since my wife cannot physically ride on any of my motorcycles with me, it gives us something for a Sunday ride that I can enjoy driving as much as anything on two wheels.  While the motorcycle collection slowly goes down, rather than have them gather cobwebs in the garage.  The car has turned out to have no more problems than what the seller claimed I might run into, and actually it’s had less.  It’s reliable.  Handling?  You’ve covered it nicely in your comments on the 944.
     
    And it’s probably the smartest car buy I’ve done in over forty years.  Sometimes money isn’t everything.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    ‘Even in the “good old days”, this was a company which often knowingly sent race drivers to their deaths. As a racing driver and team owner I find that difficult to swallow.’

    This argument would only make sense if they intentionally deceived the drivers regarding the technical specs of the cars. Otherwise, car racers are grown-ups (well, sort of) and responsible for the risks they take.
     
    Or in other words, your dramatic accusation is, true to form, a pile of natural fertilizer.

  • avatar
    Revver

    “Even in the “good old days”, this was a company which often knowingly sent race drivers to their deaths.”

    A completely ignorant and indefensible statement. Shame on TTAC for allowing that piece of garbage to be published.

    The writing represented by Baruth as grown from conceited, to downright libelous. Porsche should sue your ass.

    Since it obviously escaped your deep thinking, there were men and women behind the Porsche brand, and just like any competitive entity they built the best racing car possible. You think their cars were more dangerous than Lotus, BRM, Ferrari, Matra, Elva, McLaren, Lola or any other manufacturer? You think because you’ve read some scary stories about the 917 at the Nurburgring in ’69, or you imagine you know what happened to John Woolfe, you can now call the people behind the cars murderers?

    Easily the saddest thing I’ve ever read here. Ed, I expect better from you.

    • 0 avatar
      impala

      Agree, I would much rather TTAC sticks to critiquing the cars than a company’s intent since the latter may well be conjecture.
       
       
       

    • 0 avatar

      While nobody ever accused Colin Chapman of knowingly sending drivers off to their deaths, he was often characterized as being more concerned with lightness than driver safety. After the death of Jim Clark, who was, perhaps, his closest friend, Chapman vowed to never get so close to his drivers.
      Mario Andretti (in Karl Ludvigsen’s book on Chapman) relates an exchange that sums up Chapman’s relationship with his drivers:
       
      “When we first got together, Colin said, “Mario, I always want to make a car as light as possible.” I said, “Well, Colin, I want to live as long as possible. I guess we need to talk.”
       
      If we can question Colin Chapman’s commitment to driver safety, I suppose we can question others’ commitments as well.
       
      Also, I think it’s fair to say that some of the higher powered Porsche 917 variants had engines that outstripped the capacities of the chassis. I think the same way about the Kawasaki Z1 – at least the drivers for Porsche had some kind of informed decision. Kawasaki sold a dangerously fast bike, a bike that had more of an on-off switch than a throttle, to the public.
       
      FWIW, the Porsche car company was founded by one of history’s most amoral engineers. Callous disregard for driver safety isn’t the worst thing that’s been done by the Porsche family.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      “FWIW, the Porsche car company was founded by one of history’s most amoral engineers.”

      “FWIW” – I can tell you what it is worth: Nothing. Porsche was detained for 2 years after the war but never went to trial.
      I suppose your verdict relates to the use of slave labor in WW2 in facilities run by Porsche. Such was the case throughout the entire German industry – so you could apply that label “history’s most amoral engineer” to any engineer who went to work in Germany in those days, including for example Wernher von Braun.
      It is also pretty outrageous to conflate Porsche the person, Porsche the family, and Porsche the company and then apply some general damnation to all of them. Sunday school dropout, I assume.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Sorry for the late response… I was traveling.
      Revver, perhaps you know something the rest of us do not. The history of Woolfe’s death is pretty plain. Porsche’s works drivers cited safety concerns and refused to race the 917. Woolfe was offered the opportunity and died on the first lap.
      Of course, that’s far from the only time Porsche put a dangerous car on the track. Nearly every early Porsche had major, dangerous design flaws. Read your Ludwigsen.
      If you know different, please feel free to speak up.

    • 0 avatar
      postjosh

      dr. strangelove, it’s not just the slave labor issue. the very design of the beetle was cribbed from josef ganz’s work while ganz was being persecuted by the gestapo.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr Strangelove

      As you say, the Gestapo prosecuted Ganz, not Porsche.
      Ganz’s designs were novel but no longer a secret at the time. Apart from the cribbed general design of the beetle, were there really any significant patents that were infringed in the process? And even if so, that would hardly make Porsche a lone villain in a world of virtuous engineers.

    • 0 avatar
      FJ20ET

      “FWIW, the Porsche car company was founded by one of history’s most amoral engineers. Callous disregard for driver safety isn’t the worst thing that’s been done by the Porsche family.”

      This is true. Then again, this comes from a man who regularly sings the praises of such “moral” people like Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstien, but I digress.

      Porsche, unfortunatley, seeking competitive edge, did risk driver’s lives on repeated occasions. In addition to the 917, the 956/962 was also a dangerous(but very fast and effective) car. It killed the electrifying Stefan Bellof :(

      Neither Ganz Nor Porsche were responsible for the Beetle. It was ripped off from Hans Ludwinka’s Tatra company, based in the neighboring (then) Czechoslovakia.

    • 0 avatar
      vaujot

      Jack: When you make a claim and get asked to bring supporting evidence, the onus to provide evidence and check the facts is on you. “Read your Ludvigsen”, a three volume book with about 1500 pages, is not the proper answer in my view.
      The early 917s were very difficult to drive but Woolfe was over his head. And he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. Also, severk of the works drivers of Porsche (Vic Elford, Rolf Stommelen, Kurt Ahrens, Richard Attwood) drove the 917 in Le Mans 1969.
      Finally, which other cars of Porsche had major dangerous design flaws?

    • 0 avatar
      Revver

      Jack, a word of advice: if you’re gonna try to dis someone by telling them to read something, you could at least try to spell the author’s name right. It’s not becoming of “a writer.”

      Actually lots of people only think they know the Woolfe story. Like, he wasn’t “offered the opportunity” to drive after others refused it, he was a paying customer, a 917 owner. Also, Porsche suggested, strongly, that he not take the opening stint, and actually provided an experienced co-driver at their expense in order to assure a safe beginning to the race. John would have no part of it. He insisted on starting, and began the race like it was a GP. Eyewitnesses described his driving as “very aggressive,” and looked entirely like a man who intended to get to the front of the field in the first lap until he put two wheels in the grass after Maison Blanche, crashed and was thrown from the car.

      Before we get to the part where you explain how this behavior would have been survivable in another race car in 1969, let’s further put this into the context of the times.

      You are aware there were other serious crashes at Le Mans in ’69? One, apparently also committed by “murderers” was when Pescarolo’s Matra 640 went beyond the evil handling of the 917s and, due to a “small aerodynamic problem” literally flew off the race track and into the trees. Pescarolo, correctly, admits he was lucky to survive with a broken back:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCv0QqxKEiw

      How can a company like Matra, with way more knowledge in aerodynamics than any other 1969 team, build a car that wasn’t even able to stay on the ground? Jack: your answer is “they were (attempted) murderers.” Yes?

      Former Le Mans winner Lucien Bianchi lost his life that year also. This time, at the hands of those murderous mobsters at Alfa Romeo, who’s T33/3 managed to willfully break at speed on The Mulsanne. Experience couldn’t save him.

      How about the irony of Seppi, with all his epic 917 drives, and his years of driven those “dangerous” Lotus grand prix cars, only to die in the considerably more robust BRM? His car broke, so we’ll have to add Big Lou to your list of henchmen.

      Better still is Pedro’s cruel fate. Easily taking more chances in the 917 than any other driver, he wound up dead in the “safe” Ferrari 512. Move over Lou, Enzo has to fit into Jack’s line up.

      Jack, are you taking notes? This list could get pretty long.

      And the 956? Really? Bellof is one reader’s proof the car was unsafe. I’m open to suggestions as to which Group C car is safe to stuff head first into the armco at Eau Rouge flat out.

      Racing drivers who refuse to drive a car, so that’s your defense? That could never happen to another racing manufacturer like say Honda, could it? Certainly there’s no story of a ’64 World Driving Champion refusing to drive a car, with Honda stuffing a newbie Grand Prix driver into it just to get some development time only to see him fry in a disgusting lesson in the dangers of ALL 1960’s era racing.

      But Jack, the purpose of this isn’t to give a badly needed history lesson, it’s to question why you would attempt to put yourself on a higher moral ground than the people of Porsche? Do you honestly believe you have right to call living people murderers?

      Is your empty and half-hearted response indicative of how little you think about doing this?

      Where is your proof that Porsche had such a disgraceful regard for human life that they warrant being labeled as murders in public by an “Automotive Writer”?

      It’s easy to write accusations about earlier racing times. Lots of fools do. But nobody was ever forced into a racing car. They knew if a tire blew, a suspension part failed, brakes went: you were dead. All those things happened with any racing car with frightful regularity right up ’til about the 1980s.

      Jack, please share with us, your driver’s contract where it states that your cars are so perfect, their safety is guaranteed.

      This is the moral superiority you claim.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Revver, you are setting up a straw man and knocking him over.
       
      Nobody’s calling anybody a murderer, and nobody’s claiming moral superiority. Those are phrases you are using and then taking umbrage with. To some degree, your argument is with yourself, and I suggest you continue to pursue it with yourself. You are also busy trying to equate what Porsche did with other manufacturers did, which does not square well with your claim that Porsche has nothing of which it should be ashamed.
      Before you continue, you should determine which point you wish to make:
      a) Porsche did not knowingly send drivers to their deaths, as I stated. You will struggle to make this point.
      b) Porsche DID knowingly send drivers to their deaths, but everybody else was just as bad, which makes it okay within the historical context, the same way we might look the other way at American war crimes against the Japanese during WWII because the latter are responsible for the Bataan Death March.
       
      I suspect the point you are trying to make is neither of the above, but rather
       
      c) I hate your guts, Jack, and I want to criticize you whether I have the facts on my side or not.
      Okay, that one you’ve done pretty well with.
       
       
       
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Revver

      OK, I get that by now, you’re pretty convinced “C” must be true, and yeah, not your biggest fan here, but it’s not personal. Really. I just have a thing against irresponsible statements, and the cowardice that usually follows. And don’t worry, this is my last attempt to resolve this issue. I appreciate that you’ve responded.



      But here’s the thing: twice I’ve asked, and once another poster has asked that you defend your statement, and twice you’ve dodged the issue with evasiveness and backpedaling.

      

It’s not about me, or my style of making a point. You’re trying to drag this into the political-style arena where instead of debating ideas, it goes into personal mud-slinging.

      

I’ve made up nothing. 



      You said: “this was a company which often knowingly sent race drivers to their deaths.” Sorry, but in the real world, that’s calling people killers, murderers. It’s very simple. You didn’t say “unknowingly” or “accidentally.” You said “knowingly.”

      

Speaking of simple, That’s an awesome job of corrupting my historical references that show how there was no such thing as “knowingly sending race drivers to their deaths.” Instead, most people would see that I’m simply proving that racing was inherently deadly “back in the day” and it’s pure foolishness to equate any moral argument into it. The fact you derived a “War Crimes” argument out of it is beyond extrapolation and enters into silliness.

      Every driver chose to get behind the wheel. “War Crimes”? Creepy.

      

So, let’s try this one last time – either you’re going to defend what you said, or you’re not. Simple. You called the people of Porsche killers. Please defend that statement and leave me out of it. I did not choose your words. And, as I have done, facts please.

    • 0 avatar

      Guys, this is a fascinating debate, but (as is so often the case) there’s a gulf of nuance dividing the two sides. The biggest issue that stands out in my mind is the issue of individual agency.
      Were test drivers not in control of the cars, and in a position not to reasonably expect risk, Jack might have called Porsche “murderers.” Given that this is obviously not the case, it’s only reasonable to assume that Jack’s statement takes the complications of agency within such a dangerous activity for granted. The Porsche team only “knowingly” sent drivers to their deaths to the extent that they were able to fully know the risks… in a random universe, this is always a matter of degrees.
      When astronauts die because NASA knowingly sent them on a risky mission (Apollo One springs to mind), NASA isn’t responsible for murder. But it might make some individuals leery about volunteering to take on the kind of risks NASA asks of them.
      Ultimately, it seems like the issue only matters to pro or semi-pro, high-performance drivers… and for reasons explored throughout this thread, it seems unlikely that Porsche wants to invite a wider discussion of its moral history. At this point, neither do I.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    As I recall, C&D reviewed the Boxster and the S2000 awhile back and the Honda was a better car.
    Of course Porche might have not bought as much advertising that year as Honda, so test results might vary some, but the fact that Honda was competitive makes me weep for Porche.
    Unrelated:
    I knew a girl named Portia in high school. For a long time I thought her name was spelled Porche with the accent on the ‘che’.  Silly me.

  • avatar
    tincanman99

    I will summarize for all:
    Anything after the 993 is crap.

  • avatar
    sastexan

    “Each is flawed, each is born from compromise, pragmatism, and connivance”
     
    I gotta ask – how many cars (or car companies) out there does this phrase not apply to?  Handful, at best.  In recent history: Veyron, LF-A, Enzo…

  • avatar
    jaje

    I love driving my 944 and I love driving my Civic (EF model).  Both are small, light, decently powered and each leaves me with an ear to ear grin after driving both.  I raced a Civic before but had no competition in my area and switched to racing 944s (mainly b/c I could fit safely in one – 6’4″ makes Miatas too small).  I do hate my 944 right now as I am just finishing installing a rebuilt engine due to rod bearing failure at my last race.  But as soon as I drive it…all will be forgotten.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Excellent summary of the well-used P-car ownership experience! Yes, you can loathe the company, but that doesn’t take away from the cars themselves, and the unexplainable way they have of holding you in their thrall.

    Porsche will forever be equated with douchebagery in the minds of many, which is fine. And understandable. As with any cliche, there’s some truth to it. I will say, though, most of the well-used Porsche sports car owners I’m familiar with are just regular folks who went ahead and splurged on a dream, and now enjoy it for all it’s worth. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The DBs show up at DEs or other events with their new GT3s and Cayman Spec Series racers, too often (and mistakenly) equating bank account size with driving talent (in all fairness, some are actually pretty down-to-earth peeps with a modicum of driving ability who’re just enjoying their success in life. Nothing wrong with that – it’s America for christ sakes!) In two years’ time they’ll have jettisoned the old and be showing up with a 918 hybrid or whatever. And us regular dudes can maybe pick up that detritus, just like we have with the 993s and 944s of decades past.

    As for me and other P-car owners of more down-to-earth means (which presumably includes Mr. Baruth), we’ll be more than happy to live the air/oil-cooled dream well into the future. Even if we go broke doing it.

  • avatar

    I am completely unimpressed by Porsches.
     
    They’re so over, at one point 15 years from now, they might actually see a retro resurgence; most likely staffed by ex-Williamsburg-Brooklynite hipster castoffs.
     
    Otherwise, forget it.
     
    If it’s 1987, and you’re rockin’ the Selleck-‘Stache, aviators and a Targa with a whale-tail, then you’re cool.
     
    But a Porsche today? -Not so much.
     
    And [some of] the 918 notwithstanding, the LAZIEST f***ing designers in automotive history.
     
    Definitely seconded on the Porsche clientele. You have no farther to look than my cousin Jeff, the ‘sales professional’, for your champion. Biggest phony (mustachioed) douchebag I’ve ever met, save for his father who was even worse.

  • avatar
    frizzlefry

    Hate it when a car is despised because of who buys it. Its not a designer t-shirt for gawds sake. I will, for example, say that douchbags buy Ed Hardey shirts. Hurts me in no way as a shirt is a shirt. They function the same way. But car, well, each one is different (most anyways GM cough cough) and I would hate to dismiss a good one because of some of the people who bought it were douchbags.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      +1 If you’ll only buy cars not owned by douchebags, your’e going to end up walking.

    • 0 avatar
      Alwaysinthecar

      Yep. It’s the douchebags who are the problem, not the cars.  Until douchebags quit buying things, we’re stuck with stereotypes.  I can give you a douchebag stereotype with any consumer good out there.

      And as Willman himself reveals in his comment, we sometimes become douchebag stereotypes worrying too much about not becoming douchebag stereotypes.  Yo, it’s hip to not be hip. So, am I hip, yet?  :)

  • avatar

    Every time I test drive a car I think “nope, this one doesn’t fit around my body quite as well as the 944S I test drove, hemmed and hawed over, and should have bought (for a whopping $8k) back in 1992.” There is something really amazing about the proportions of that car’s interior. I really should go get one while there are nice ones left.

    Thanks for this, Jack. Great piece.

  • avatar
    dulcamara

    I owned an 944s for 9 years, and would have it today if I hadn’t wrecked it. People told me it wasn’t a “real Porsche”, I agreed and didn’t care.
     
    I miss that car.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    “..I often step into one of my Porsches while in the grip of some foul mood, but I rarely step out that way…”
     
    That alone is one of the truest statements ever written.  It is what separates those who really appreciate the car-mind connection.  It is the best reason for owning a sporting machine.  Sometimes I tell the wife, see you in an hour, and when I come back, sans a bit of tread life, I am in a much better frame of mind.  The guys who quote Consumers just don’t get it.  There is just such a feeling you get when hanging out the tail…time for a drive!!
     
    Have to add:  such short life out of an engine is inexcusable.  Porsche should be ashamed…

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Although everybody’s fix is different.  I get the same feeling from my 150cc scooter which cost me the princely sum of $1200 and if I need a new engine (a bored and stroked one) it will cost me all of $1000.  But to each his own and every man has and needs his rush or fix.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      What makes a good car great is the amount of bullshit you will put up with just for those few hours every week when you get a chance to simply wring it out.
      Short engine life? Every time I hit 140 mph I get home about a quart lower than when I left… I mean… Mazda’s rotoaries are infamous for drinking oil, but you’d expect their piston motors to be a bit less tempermental…

  • avatar

    Almost bought a 924S new.  For some reason the steering wheel was very low and could not be moved.  The 944 at the time had this fixed.
     
    Made no sense.

    • 0 avatar
      jaje

      It was because the 924S (only sold in ’87 & ’88) interior was different than the 1986 and newer 944s.  The early 944 ’83-’85 had the 924 interior just like the 924S (which the 924S was a narrow bodied early 944).

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    The article and several comments moan and groan about “cynical” German cars and car companies.
     
    What is being overlooked is that these cynical products are typically developed in response to demand from the U.S. and China. What you really should be bashing is your own bad taste, or that of your compatriots.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    My automotive sense, my car-loving child within, forever lives in Columbia, MD. I see myself standing with my father as he purchases a new MG, riding in the back seat of his LeSabre and seeing the big Oldsmobiles, the stately Cadillacs, the professorial Saabs, the careless old-money scions (small “S”) in their Nine Elevens and XJSes.

    I wish TTAC would present this as a “When was YOUR car-loving-child” born.

    Jack, I remember mine clearly as well.

    They were lowering the brand new(rebuilt) all GOLD Hemi with a “racing cam?” (what a wonderful sound that phrase had to a little boy) into my older brothers 1959 Chrysler DeSoto.
    Watching that engine get lowered, it was like Himself coming down from above!

    Later, after it was finally installed and tuned, OH, my Lord! Listening to that low rumbling, humming gold engine made me realize what perfection is.
    Some say the sounds from an ocean calm one’s soul. Others it is music.
    For me, the sound of an engine smoothly running is the drug that calms my anger and holds off my paranoiac doomsday personality, at least temporarily. At least until my wife calls me in from the garage where I always reluctantly, and just momentarily, turn out the lights on my big boy toys.

    THAT was my moment. To this day I drive around wishing I had the car in the next lane. Is it so wrong to want just one more??? Jay Leno, you dog! I hate you!
    My family avoids driving with me since I dislike the radio.  I NEED to hear the engine and feel the road…a combination that reassures me and makes me forget about the absurdity and painful reality awaiting the end of the drive.

    What was YOUR moment???? 
     

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      My mom says I started identifying cars at about the same time I started to talk (around 2 years), so I don’t know for sure.

      I remember for sure my uncle’s drag-race prepped 66 Dart and his restoration of a C3 Corvette during the 80’s. That last one is what started my love for Corvettes, even I can’t own one right now. He took me to places where cars were “prepared” and also to one of his friend’s Jeep modifying shop.
       
      My father also had some relatively nice machinery during my childhood: 2 Dart GT, 1 Range Rover, 1 71 Chevelle, an FJ40, a Commando, 80 Caprice. I remember him screeching the tyres on the second Dodge, also the Woody Woodpecker stickers on the recently installed dual exhausts in the 1st one.

      And well, thirty years later, I still play with cars. Kinda. They grew in size/complexity and responsibility. And I’m happy, despite how stressful it is.
       

  • avatar
    dg047

    Were you at Track Daze at VIR?

  • avatar
    Stingray

    There are 2 Porsches I’d like to own. A 993 be it Carrera4S or Turbo and a 356 Speedster (I don’t mind if it’s a reproduction)
     
     
     

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Did you modify the Boxster engine so that it can cope with the hoosier tires? If yes, how?

  • avatar

    Sigh…….I miss my 1988 944. Are there any contempory cars that come close?

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    If the engine is behind the rear axle. it is a Beetle-evo.
     
    It is NOT a Porsche.
     
    Rear-engine is not right, the old man knew it. he let his punk-f kid do it to “teach him a lesson” and sadly, he did not get it.
    911 of any year is a fail.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    A late addition to this Porsche rant. I have driven Porsches off and on for years, but I have no great love for Stuttgart. They may be better engineers than most car companies, but they really don’t act much differently in other respects.

    Case in point. In 1998 they came up with the Porsche 996, their first water cooled version of the 911. After May 4, 2001 they downgraded the specification of its IMS bearing as a cost cutting measure. IMS bearing failures usually are sudden, and when the occur, they normally trash the engine. Turns out that pre-May 4, 2001 996’s and Boxters have a lifetime IMS failure rate said to be about 1%, normal for any part. The post-May 4, 2001 996’s and Boxters (until the 2005 model change) had an IMS bearing life time failure rate admitted to be 4 to 10% – if you believe the lower number I have a bridge to sell you.

    Stuttgart was FORCED to divulge this information in a recent deposition as part of a class action law suit in California. This happened in March or April of 2013. All I can say is: “Thanks guys, but I really could have used that info just a bit earlier.”


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