By on August 3, 2013

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In my previous entry I recounted how I forsook other marques and at the eleventh hour turned my hymnal to 993 while shopping for my first car, but I didn’t elaborate on why I had such an interest in the ass-engined Nazi slot cars in the first place.  You might think that I was seduced by how effectively the evolved Beetle enhanced my countenance the first time I caught my reflection against the glass façade of one of Atlanta’s concrete canyons, or how a previous generation of my occupational forebears made a Guards Red “Turbo-look” M491-optioned neunelfer a de rigueur part of “the look” for anyone with more than a modicum of ambition, along with slicked-back hair, Oliver Peoples glasses, and red suspenders, but you’d be mistaken – it goes a bit deeper than that.  Despite a litany of transgressions against their most faithful devotees, Porsche ensnared me from an early age.

Like so much of the content on TTAC, I have my father to thank for this affliction.  My own nascent enthusiasm for automobiles came just as my dad’s was waning; he began to focus his own efforts on antique wooden boats about two decades ago – hypothetically, The Truth About Antique Wooden Boats would be informed equally by The New Yankee Workshop and Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – but it was enough to give me my start.  Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve going to Road Atlanta with my dad, even before nicotine patch magnate Don Panoz slathered a coat of makeup on the fearsome track.

Just before the start of my very first race at Road Atlanta, Dad and I were standing on the indelible red clay that comprises Spectator Hill, which affords a full view of the iconic Esses that slice down one of the rolling hills of Hall County, Georgia.  He told me to pay attention and notice whether or not the hairs on the nape of my neck stood up once the race started, because that would mean that we would have to come back for more races.  I concentrated intently on this directive, and sure enough his intuition was correct; we heard the cars take the green flag in full cry on the other side of the hill and then saw a Porsche 962, advertising the Champagne of Beers and originally campaigned by the ill-fated Al Holbert’s racing team, lead a ragtag pack of vintage racers down the hill before snarling and popping through turn 5.  It was pretty clear to both of us that we would be coming back for more races at Road Atlanta, and it was pretty clear to me that a Porsche’s rightful position was P1.

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A few years later, the inaugural Petit Le Mans showcased Panoz’s modernization of the facilities and attracted top-tier machinery and talent that had competed just a few months earlier in the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans.  I was particularly looking forward to seeing the Porsche 911 GT1, which had finished 1-2 at La Sarthe, providing Porsche with its 16th – and still most recent – overall victory.  After an uneventful start, the race settled into an easy pace, with the pole-sitting, nouveau Hippie-liveried, gold-wheeled Porker eviscerating slower competitors as its trio of drivers – Allan McNish, Uwe Alzen, and Yannick Dalmas – opened a comfortable lead.  Nearly 15 years later I can still recall the distinctive aural signature of that über-911: A hollow flat-6 bellow with a unique timbre complemented by a brace of turbos, which made it sound like a pipe organ on full boost.

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Disaster famously struck in the 5th hour of the race.  My beloved Porsche featured a flat-bottomed floor to ensure optimal aerodynamics, but like other prototype racers of its vintage, it was susceptible to destabilizing airflow when exiting the slipstream of another car.  Dad and I happened to be standing along the undulating back straight when the 911 GT1 took flight and completed an arcing 450-degree somersault, destroying the car in the process.  My 9-year old self was devastated, and I tearfully demanded that we go home, since there was no way for Porsche to win the race and therefore no reason for us to stick around.

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Dad and I have made it to most iterations of Petit Le Mans since then, save for my hiatus while away at college, with the 2011 race marking my return.  The 10 hours of racing action affords the opportunity to take periodic breaks and prowl through the various car corrals in search of interesting metal.  The Porscheplatz, as they call it, featured two examples of the final air-cooled 911 generation that stopped me dead in my tracks.  The first was a pristine, Arena Red 993 Turbo, infamous for the celerity with which it could slaughter insects, and the second was a Speed Yellow 993 RS clone so convincing that it had me fooled.  It’s strange how the mind can recall seemingly forgotten memories given the right provocation, and the sight of the burgundy Turbo took me back to a high school trip to Paris.  I remember seeing another Arena Red Turbo gliding gracefully down the Champs-Élysées, and then the next day seeing the same car parked near Centre Pompidou, the rectilinear exterior of the museum providing great juxtaposition against the organic, liquid curves of the big-bottomed bug butcher.

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I started thinking then about buying a 993.  There was a lot in its favor as an ownership proposition: Worshipped by a fervent, if endangered, breed of Porschephiles as the zenith of the old-school, air-cooled cars, it was virtually guaranteed not to depreciate.  That final air-cooled engine was a gem, especially when equipped with the torque-enhancing Varioram technology.  What’s more, the engine featured the robust, over-engineered bottom end and split crankcase from its predecessor 964, which formed the backbone of that scintillating 911 GT1’s powerplant, still etched in my eardrums and venerated to this day as the “Mezger” engine that powered over a decade of water-cooled 911 GT3s, GT2s, and Turbos.  It didn’t hurt that the 993 featured some of the most beautiful sheet metal of all 911s, with Coca-Cola bottle proportions and timeless design details.  A few months later, I had a 993 to call my own.

This year’s Petit Le Mans will take place on October 19th, and dad and I will be there, cheering once more for Porsche.  Next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will feature  Porsche’s return to the top prototype class, fighting against Audi and Toyota for the 17th overall victory. We’ll be there, too.

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David Walton grew up in the North Georgia mountains before moving to Virginia to study Economics, Classics, and Natural Light at Washington and Lee University.  Post-graduation, he returned to his home state to work in the financial services industry in Atlanta.  A lifelong automotive enthusiast, particular interests include (old) Porsches and sports car racing.

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62 Comments on “Why I Like Porsches...”


  • avatar

    From now on I will refer to Porsches as:

    “ass-engined Nazi slot cars”.

    Thank you for getting my day off to a good start!

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Thank Car and Driver scribe PJ O’Rourke for that line.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/porsche-911-carrera-s-road-test

    “The best line ever published about a Porsche was in this very magazine in 1980, when P.J. O’Rourke called it an “ass-engine Nazi slot car.”\"

    • 0 avatar

      Thank You Clarice… Thank You…

    • 0 avatar

      The edition of the Autowriters’ Style Manual that I have says that it is acceptable and non-cliched to use that description of Porsches, but when used, one should credit the great Mr. O’Rourke for his turn of phrase.

      I wonder if PJ ever met Leonard Setright.

      • 0 avatar
        David Walton

        Ronnie,

        I had actually thought about linking to the primary source, but I assumed that most would understand the reference as is.

        Thank you for reading.

        • 0 avatar

          David,

          Just fooling around. Nice article. Your dad sounds like a cool guy. I agree with you about assuming the best about readers. In general I opt towards assuming readers are intelligent and informed, but noticing the 1980 date, that’s over three decades ago. PJ’s remark has become an idiom.

          I’m not particularly a fan of Porsche, the cars, the company, and the family, but as I told an older couple sitting in a red 1960 Thunderbird (one of the most garish cars ever built, ugly, ugly, ugly), I don’t have to like their car to appreciate the fact that they like their car.

          Ultimately this is about people, not cars.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            Ronnie,

            Where can I get a copy of the style manual? Amazon? ;)

            I’m obviously a Porsche owner and enthusiast, but they don’t manage to escape my ire. I just haven’t written about all of my grievances yet!

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Sam,

      That is right; Brock Yates was also fond of using that line in descriptions of the Porker. The “turned my hymnal to 993″ phrase is also a nod at C&D, and there are some similar references to the buff books in my first piece.

      Thank you for reading!

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      To give proper credit to both PJ O’Rourke and Tatra they should be called “Nazi knock-offs of ass-engine Czechoslovakian slot cars.”

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “ass-engined Nazi slot cars”…

    … is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Lie2me,

      I’ll leave that one up to you, but I think it provides the right frame of reference.

      Thanks for reading!

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Ideally the engine would be located in the center.

      • 0 avatar
        David Walton

        Racer-esq.,

        Thanks for reading!

        That is the ideal on-paper layout, but the 911 has met with a bit of motorsports success despite its handicap (I’ll concede that the 911 GT1 pictured above was mid-engined).

        In the future I’ll present an argument in favor of the rear-engined layout as the premium Porsche sports car that doesn’t depend on (1) status/prestige/history/marketing or (2) motorsports glory.

        • 0 avatar
          TTAC Staff

          Weight transfer. Rear engine cars accelerate better because of weight transfer to the driven wheels. They brake better because there’s less weight sitting on the front end, which does most of the braking.

          Of course, in a rear engine car weight transfer isn’t your friend when backing off of the throttle in a turn.

          • 0 avatar
            David Walton

            I would have counted that one under motorsports, too. That acceleration advantage is carried along the entire straightaway, a huge benefit, ceteris paribus.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Reg; “rear engine car weight transfer isn’t your friend when backing off of the throttle in a turn.”

            Big Thanks… to someone on the TTAC staff. I was about to make that ‘necessary’ statement myself.

            While I appreciate the visual design of 956/911/912′s and their iterations, I don’t like driving them at the 90th percentile.

            They, and you/me, can’t be trusted with the potential of their inherent dynamics at speed, exiting an apex, especially on the road. And a high speed road corner, is a dicey situation even if you know how to drive a 911. Look at how many hit the dirt during the Rolex or any SCCA/NASA/ or club event.

            I would rather grab the tail of an Alligator(I have) then take a corner I’m not that familiar with, in a rear engine Porsche your not familiar with , especially a six cylinder, even at the 80th percentile.

            You have to know your particular 911 and the corner well, to push past the 85th percentile. The usual RWD adjustments available in a corner for more balanced vehicles, are not available with the 911.

            I cut my teeth driving fast through corners with rear engine vehicles, with a 57′ VW, set up with all of the EMPI suspension parts and seat belt limit straps. Most of the time I was on two wheels. But, the fastest I could go was about 75MPH. Not even near the speeds a 911 is capable of.

            The husband of a friend of my wife’s, kept crashing his 911′s. I met Doctor Dan at a company xmas party and we got into a discussion about cars, I mentioned that I had heard he had another new Porsche 911SC, his fourth in nearly as many years. I knew the back story, but let him mention the reason why.

            As we got to talking, he mentioned the corner that he crashed the last one on and then added, that he had crashed all three of them on the same corner.

            I knew the corner well, a high speed entry, diminishing radius corner of nearly 180 degrees. At entry it had a positive camber, at the extreme apex, it was flat to slightly off camber, then gradienting to a positive camber

            From further conversation, I was able to determine that he had backed off the throttle and put the brakes on hard when he lost confidence as the Porsche started to understeer.

            I mentioned that with any vehicle, especially the 911, backing off the gas introduced compression braking at the rear tires, and depending, sometimes, severe compression braking, resulting in momentary, severely reduced tire contact with the road surface. And then, adding additional braking could exacerbate an already tenuous situation, introducing severe rotational oversteer that only a very experienced driver or 911 pilot could/might catch.

            I advised him, that with the 911, it is, run in hard, use all the brake you can manage while still straight, trail braking and steady throttle through the apex and weight transfer, then a smooth, deliberate throttle application exiting the corner. Just like moto-crossing a 2-stroke dirt bike.

            Bottom line, know your inherent vehicle dynamics in different physical regimes.

            Don’t panic, back off the throttle and brake, a sure way too put your Porsche’s ass end into a road bank or through the fence.

            And, 911′s aren’t for the effete, poser, wannabe race car driver. But those yahoos do serve a purpose, as they provide a plentiful supply of used Porsche parts.

            And now we get to the real, absolute, bottom line… Physics won’t be denied, the laws are irrefutable as the auto recycle yards will testify.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            “compression braking”…now that’s a misnomer of a term…

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          I think that “Lie2me” was referring to the Nazi part, so I was making a joke by referring to the engine location part instead.

          But mid-engine is superior for actual performance. As attested to by every purpose built race car Porsche has made, along with the fact that Porsche is unwilling to offer its full line of flat-6 engines in the Cayman.

          Not that there is not a place for rear-engine cars. I would love to get a 2nd generation Corvair, especially a turbo.

          • 0 avatar
            3Deuce27

            Reg; ““compression braking”…now that’s a misnomer of a term…”

            Yes, it is, but is the commonly understood expression for the condition.

            It should be vacuum braking, assisted by parasitic frictions.

            When combined with a down shift, the acceleration of the rotational mass adds to the braking effect while increasing the braking effect of vacuum, due to the increase in RPM.

            If downshift and throttle application are not properly coordinated, the abrupt rise in these forces can momentarily drag the tire over the road surface due to the rapidly reduced rotational feet per second speed of the wheel/tire not matching the distance being covered by the vehicle, coupled with inadequate combined limits of adhesion.

            When entering a corner, this uncoordinated technique can be disastrous, especially while braking, and on wet or cold surfaces. A rear engined vehicle just adds to the bad dynamics.

            The only, possibly, good thing about this loss of traction, is not over speeding the engine RPM beyond safe operational limits, as fuel shut offs or ignition cut offs, to prevent over revving, don’t apply in this dynamic situation.

            In any case, it is bad form as the impact loads on the engine and the whole of the drive train all the way out to the tire, are destructive.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            You are correct, as was your first post. I just wonder sometimes how such inaccurate names take hold. One would think that with the much greater compression of a diesel people would connect the dots that compression is not doing anything much to slow a diesel vehicle. Without a throttle of course it can’t. Until that Jacobs guy figured our how to really use compression to slow a rig…

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    My dad took me to Lime Rock when I was a kid, and I think that planted the seed for my car obsession, but I can’t really remember much and couldn’t even tell you what race we saw, I just know I was pretty young.

    But my Porsche obsession was started by my Uncle Mike, who I also share a name with (we constantly get each other’s emails even today). I was 10 or so when he got out of college and bought his first car that wasn’t a hand me down, a red Mazda RX7, and it was glorious compared to the crap my parents drove at the time. He told me all about it and how great it was, and also how he wanted a Porsche but that would have to wait until he made more money. Well he did, because a few years later he brought home a Porsche 944. I can still remember the excitement of going for a ride in that car, my stepmom driving, me and dad piled in the back seat while she took it up to 120mph and everyone was amazed at how stable and easy it was to drive that fast. The 944 stuck around a while, but was then replaced with a 911… IIRC it was an ’84 Carrera bought used. I couldn’t figure out why he’d want an older used Porsche over the newer 944, then he took me for a ride and showed me the difference in quality. I was hooked from that point. I even got to drive that one, I was 16 the next time I visited and my uncle was trying to hook up with a single mom who had a teenage daughter. He tossed me the keys and told me and her to take a ride and get some ice cream. I was happy to play wingman, we easily stayed gone the previously agreed upon 2 hrs or so. The girl was cute too, but I didn’t even care, the car was better. He eventually got a new Porsche, an 88′ 911 Cabriolet that I still to this day think is the best year for the 911 ever. After that came a wife and family and harder economic times and the Porsches were replaced by BMWs and then even an Escalade (I know, I was horrified). I remember a few years back he bought an ’88 Cabrio just like the one he used to have but he didn’t keep it long. That’s when I started to think about getting one for myself.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The Porsche bug was slipped on me at the age of 12 in 1962 – the family was in Lakwood, OH visiting my mom’s sister (housekeeper at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church) and brother’s family (lived six blocks away). As it was one of the rare times when the siblings on my father’s side were speaking to each other (invariably a rare and short-lived, although periodically repeated, event) we took a side drive to Parma to visit dad’s sister and her family.

    Her son (I’m guessing he was about twice my age, early to mid-20′s) had a maroon 356 coupe. Which he let me sit in and start it up. Thrilled? Fifty years later, were you to show me pictures of my aunt Marie mixed in with others, I could not pick her out. I have absolutely no memory of my cousin’s name or appearance.

    But that maroon 356 with tan interior sticks in my mind to this day.

  • avatar
    Atomicblue

    I guess the seed was planted in me back in 2000, I was at a driving event I Corpus Cristie TX. There was a young guy, late 20′s I think, with a 996 version of the 911. I remember thinking that some day it would be great to own a Posche.

    Fast forward 12 years. I’ve sold my ’93 Miata after 6 years as my daily driver. I’m heading to Afghanistan for a year, so I decided to sell vs store it. But what to buy when I get back? I wanted something with a little more room than the Miata and with more power. It had to be a convertible (I live in Florida) and it had to me a manual. I thought about 3 series BMW, the Mustang, Corvette, but then that memory of the Porsche resurfaced.

    I quick search of the Internet revealed that I could get a 996 Cabrio 911 for less than a C5 Vette. And truth be told, while I like Vettes, they ride too big for my taste. While in Afghanistan I worked with a fellow who had an ’01 Boxster S. during our chats in the smoke pit he eventually convinced me to consider a Boxster vice a 911.

    Two month ago I bought a 2001 Boxster S. I couldn’t be happier.

  • avatar
    otter

    David,

    I enjoyed your two Porsche pieces, and I can identify with them, especially this one. That photo of the esses took me back to my own later childhood in Atlanta, when my dad would take me to vintage races at Road Atlanta starting in the late 80s or so. Once I got my license I could go to SVRA races, the Runoffs, etc. without testing my dad’s patience, but I’ve always appreciated the way he supported my overwhelming love for cars, which far exceeded his. I’ve had a lifelong thing for 911s – in my case, I caught it in ~1977, at the age of two, when I was given a 1/24 Corgi model of a ‘cucumber sandwich 911 police car. On my 4th birthday I announced that I was going to save my pennies and buy a Porsche; unlike you I haven’t bought one yet (other priorities), but my girlfriend keeps encouraging me whenever I swoon at late-80s Carreras!

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      Otter,

      Thanks for reading, and I’m glad to help you recall a bit of nostalgia today. I can’t even remember the defining moment(s) that prompted this interest, but I do recall learning to read before kindergarten so I could read my dad’s car magazines.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I can’t speak for the Porsche of old, but the whole brand always seemed out of reach in both price and practicality. Granted I haven’t met too many people who use roadsters as DDs, but it seems like those who do rode C4 or C5 Corvettes (at the time), or the occasional newish Mercedes SL (in the case of “money to burn”). When I see people with roadsters or pony cars as garage queens or Sunday cars, its invariably some kind of American iron. I think the reasoning behind this is cheap or wide availability of parts and/or ease of repair. I have yet to see a German brand in the past thirty years combine those virtues into a single model.

    • 0 avatar
      Johannes Dutch

      Doesn’t this all depend on where you live ?

      A nice Mercedes W123 or W124 coupe with a smooth inline 6 as a “Sunday car”. Sure, why not ? Mercedes parts are all over the place here, new and old, expensive and dirt cheap.
      (If a W123 or W124 is too complicated then I would suggest an Opel Manta B.)

      Now, if I had a ZIL or GAZ as a Sunday car, that would be something completely different…where on earth can I get my parts ? Russia would be the first place to look I guess.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed, it depends on your location and means. My Sunday car at the moment is a close-to-mint condition Volvo 240. I would very much enjoy a W123, perhaps someday.

        • 0 avatar
          Johannes Dutch

          My Sunday car is a 1969 Plymouth. First place to look for parts is…well…I guess the US of A. Or the “local” Mopar specialist, just a 100 miles drive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What region are you located in? One hundred miles seems a bit excessive unless the Chrysler dealers just stopped carrying parts for those models.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Sunday cars. Hell, my 7-days a week car is a truck, but it would be nice to have a Porsche.

          What sticks in my mind from way back when is when my uncle drove up in a brand-new dark green 912 with the “912″ in gold plate on the back end. He had bought it new in Germany, took delivery there and paid for it to be shipped to Hoboken on the return boat trip with him.

          He had interesting pictures of how a crane hoisted the Porsche onto the boat in Rotterdam and how a longshoreman in Hoboken drove it off the boat using a long steel-reinforced mesh ramp.

          Once he cleared Customs at the Port he proceeded to drive it cross-country from Hoboken to Huntington Beach, CA, where his sister, my mom, and the rest of us, lived to come visit us before going home to Chula Vista where he lived.

          Porsches look great and they handle great but you can’t do them any justice on American roads, unless you scurry up Pike’s Peak.

          Nice to have but hard to justify unless you are independently wealthy.

          Maybe that’s why some old guys I know hold on to their old Jag XK-E or Mercedes SL450, or even a 70′s S-class. Maybe it allows them to live in the past indefinitely.

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            That’s perfectly alright, my 7-days car is an 11 years old garden shed bolted on a truck frame with an oil burner. (aka Toyota Land Cruiser)

            But you know what they say, a man has got to have a hobby. At least once a week…

            About Porsche’s “justice on American roads”. US land yachts are completely out-of-place in Northwestern Europe, and yet thousends of them are driving around here.

            All crossed the ocean in shipping containers, like mine. Mostly only minor modifications are needed to make them road legal, the head lights and amber running lights being a few of them.

            A lot of guys also use these giants as daily drivers, they run them on LPG to keep the fuel costs acceptable.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            The Dutch, Belgian and German people that I know who own these land barges got them from departing American GIs at Soesterberg, ‘ Harte, Volkel, Gilze-Rijen, Brunssum and Kleine Breugel. Thousand of used American cars were sold there during the 1972-1980 time frame I’m familiar with.

            The European buyers got them cheap, I mean like next to nothing, and then had to take them to a special Douane Agentschap on the Dutch side of Soesterberg air base to transfer the registration and pay a (very modest) importation fee.

            A friend of mine at Kamp Nieuw Amsterdam sold an Orange Plymouth Road Runner and it only cost the Dutch AF Sergeant who bought it 4000-guilders to import it (in 1977).

            I sold my 1977 BMW R100S in Jan 1980 and it cost the Dutch AF Lt who bought it 1500-guilders to get it. But I had to make the trip with him to Soesterberg to sign the papers and have it witnessed by the Douane Agent and get my side of the transfer paperwork stamped as well.

            In the case of GM products there was a dealership in Amersfoort that specialized in servicing GM cars and getting parts, and for Cadillac there was one in Utrecht.

            I had an American friend stationed at Kamp Nieuw Amsterdam who spoke the Dutch language and he was helping the GIs in his area with finding European classics in such diverse places as Zeist, Den Dolder, Soest, Zwolle, Eindhoven, s’Hertogenbosch and even as far away as Groningen. Classic Porsches and BMW 2002, 2002ti, Bavaria and the first 316s were very much in demand.

            This guy in Zeist I met (Cor ???) did a booming business locating European classics for American GIs, back in those days.

            I remember LPG as being big when I was there, although the Americans mostly used the Esso gas stations and paid with ration stamps to obtain their gasoline. Running an American engine on LPG must be rough on the valve seats since valves and seats of that era were relatively soft.

  • avatar
    claytori

    In addition to being excellent bug-killers these flat air-cooled jobs make terrific leaf blowers.

  • avatar
    Johannes Dutch

    @ 28-Cars-Later: I’m in the Netherlands and we don’t have Chrysler dealers anymore since Fiat and Chrysler work together. Jeep is all what’s left. And, to be honest, asking a (former) Chrysler dealer for parts for a 1969 Plymouth ? He would think a TorqueFlite 727 is some kind of airplane….

    This is the classic Mopar specialist I’m talking about. They buy and sell pony- and muscle cars, they sell parts, they restore and (re)build complete powertrains. Have a look, it’s all in English:
    http://www.pedalttmetal.nl/PTTM-Shop/shop-index.htm

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Thanks for the link, its nice to see a muscle car following outside of the US.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Johannes Dutch, try these sites for classic Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge/DeSoto parts. I am told they have access to a North America-wide parts network consisting of new(old stock), used and refurbished parts and components.

      canadapartsonline.com/chrysler.html

      autopartsway.ca/year.cfm?Chrysler

      chryslerparts.net/oem-chrysler-parts.html

      I got these addresses from a friend who lives in Best and another one who lives in Hatert bij Nijmegen.

      In their younger years, they were quite active with Plymouth and Dodge cars they used to buy cheap from American GIs stationed at Soesterberg, Volkel, Gilze-Rijen, ‘t Harte and Brunssum (Maastricht).

      Your best bet is Canada since a free-trade agreement exists or used to exist between Canada and Holland so that you don’t have to pay import duty and BTW when you send things across the pond from Canada to Holland.

      I could give you contacts in the Los Angeles, CA, area from the days of my youth, but if they could locate a part you needed, the import duty and BTW to go though Dutch Customs would be prohibitive. (I know this for a fact, because I have sent packages and American auto parts to friends in Holland before, 57 Chevy parts etc, and the penalties are staggering.)

      My dad was big in Mopar. He used to drag-race them in California during the 60s and taught me how to rebuilt his 426 Hemi engines and TorqFlites Bangshifters.

      Every time you make a new contact see if they can put you in contact with other like-minded people. Good luck!

      • 0 avatar
        Johannes Dutch

        Thanks for those links ! I’ll bookmark them. By the way, I’m less than 15 miles west of your friend in Hatert-Nijmegen.

        So far only routine maintenance since the car has been completely restored and rebuilt somewhere in Tennessee, just about 7 years ago.
        Of course, I’ve already taken care of the spare orange box…

        Shipping complete cars (new and old) and parts from the US to Europe is daily business, internet has been a huge factor of importance.

        I wonder how that is the other way around. Say you want a classic Porsche or parts for it, do you search for German/European dealers and specialists and import it into the US ? Or would this all become very bureaucratic and/or expensive ?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Johannes, to import European-specced cars back to the US used to be very easy IF a person was on active duty with the US military.

          The US government would even ship back one car, regardless of make, year or specs. And many guys did just that, leave their old American Yank tank over there and bring home a classic with them to the US.

          I liked the BMW motorcycles R90S and R100RT of that era and shipped them back in crates along with my Household Goods. All perfectly legal and straightforward, at that time.

          I was allowed 8800 pounds and I shipped back 8789 pounds at government expense. We threw a lot of nit-noy stuff away to get under the maximum weight limit for my pay grade.

          The guy I bought my motorcycles from, Nico v.d Kuinder in Hilversum (at that time) was very helpful in getting the factory crates and packaging the bikes up for me.

          Another American friend of mine stationed at Soesterberg/Kamp Nieuw Amsterdam with the US Air Force introduced me to Nico. Nico and his father were very Pro-American because of WWII.

          But other American GIs In Holland, Belgium, Germany bought their BMW bikes from Henny Donkelaar in Hilversum and he provided them the same assistance for free.

          I even bought a new 1972 Euro-spec Mercedes 220D before going to Europe and picked it up tax-free at Schiphol airport before driving it back to Heidelberg where I was living at the time.

          And so it is that many US GIs were able to ship back typically European cars to the US and get them registered without modifying them to meet US DOT standards. My 220D never went back to the US but was sold to newly arriving GIs every three for four years in Germany.

          Many GIs of my vintage were especially fond of the Mercedes SL class, the Jag XK-E and the various Porsche iterations usually only reserved for European buyers. Also the Mercedes 280SL, 350SL and 450SL.

          And so it is that several people I served with in the US military drive these classics as their Sunday drivers, even today.

          Getting parts in the US for almost anything is usually no problem as long as a person is willing to shell out the big money. The parts come from all over the world.

          I’ve been out of the military game since I retired in 1985 but I still see a bunch of GIs at the nearby military bases bringing back European cars with them from their tours in Europe these days.

          Ironically, the bases closest to my home in New Mexico currently have a very large contingent of Luftwaffe and Landwehr undergoing training in this region and there have been some Dutch Landmacht training in the desert here from time to time, as well as Korps Mariniers at the Mountain Warfare Center in Northern California.

          All these guys (and gals) LOVE their American keepsakes to take back home with them at the end of THEIR tours and that’s why places like Barnett Harley-Davidson in El Paso, TX and various car retailers in this area are doing a booming business selling Hogs, Victory’s, Corvettes, Mustangs, Grand Cherokee SRT8, and a various assortment of today’s Muscle Cars to these visiting members of foreign armed forces in order that they can enjoy them as collectors items in their old age in their home country.

          And speaking of the Orange Box. In my days over there we used points-ignition/distributor systems that generally lasted only about 16000 km before needing replacement.

          Then in 1972 a little “boxed ignition” came on the market made by Tiger Solid State Ignition Systems that used the points as a trigger to fire the internal solid state switches that lit up the coil.

          Although I kept a spare in my Olds stationwagon, I never once had to replace it and subsequently installed it into my Toronado which I bought through the BX and picked up for delivery in Antwerp in 1977.

          I have not been keeping up with Customs duties for Europe but I understand that things have been drastically tightened since the Status of Forces Agreements have expired/renegotiated and most US Forces have left Holland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and England.

          What you are going through, many retired American servicemen also go through, but in reverse, to keep their classics going.

          • 0 avatar
            Johannes Dutch

            I’m very impressed, I see you’ve been around here !

            There are now dozens of specialists who import all kinds of US vehicles into the Netherlands on a daily basis. The business has really taken off the last 10 to 20 years or so. Heck, you can even have a classic class 8 Mack if you want. Here’s our (classic) Mack specialist and restorer: http://www.mackmonne.nl/

            The owners of the cars often go to RockAuto.com in the US for parts, shipping by air cargo, so you don’t have to wait too long.

            As for running the US boats on LPG: no problems at all, look at the displacement~horsepower ratio of an early seventies Cadillac or Buick. You can run these cars full-time on LPG till eternity.
            These cars are so big you won’t even notice there’s an LPG tank in the trunk.
            But it sure makes sence to install hardened valve seats.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      JD: That’s a nice setup at that shop. I agree with 28 Cars, it really is nice to see something positive about musclecars in other parts of the world. There is something cool about them. I missed the real musclecar years, but did get some seat time in a GTO. A unique experience for sure. Had I know about it when I was in Amsterdam I would have checked it out! Spare orange box being the electronic ignition module or am I missing something?

      • 0 avatar
        Johannes Dutch

        Yes, Mopar’s orange electronic ignition module. A cheap, small and easy to replace part, yet of crucial importance. So you better keep a spare in the car. Just like the Made in Mexico ballast resistor.

        On US Mopar forums it’s recommended to ground the box, so just to be sure I fixed that.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    David, I hope this doesn’t hijack your story, but I’m curious for what you think of the impending merger? I imagine that you must be feeling similar things about the changes about to happen (and that this year already happened) to your hometown special event (living in Orlando, mine is the 12 Hours of Sebring). I’m not happy and at this point will not be attending any races of the new series next year, which will be the first time I haven’t been at the 12 Hours since 2005 (lucky for me its the Spring Break race so that and the fact that I stayed in Orlando for college meant school never interfered). Have fun at Le Mans. I hope to go some day. Maybe I’ll see you in Austin sometime for the WEC which is where I’ll be going to get my sports car fix now instead of Sebring.

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      tjh8402,

      Thanks for reading. Like a lot of people, I’m upset about the merger, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

      The first USCR race conflicts with an event that I like to attend annually, so I’m not sure if I can make the Rolex 24. I would like to, of course.

      I think one of the best analyses of the upcoming merger comes from Leo Parente’s weekly piece on /DRIVE.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Johannes Dutch, try these sites for classic Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge/DeSoto parts. I am told they have access to a North America-wide parts network consisting of new(old stock), used and refurbished parts and components.

    canadapartsonline.com/chrysler.html

    autopartsway.ca/year.cfm?Chrysler

    chryslerparts.net/oem-chrysler-parts.html

    I got these addresses from a friend who lives in Best and another one who lives in Hatert bij Nijmegen.

    In their younger years, they were quite active with Plymouth and Dodge cars they used to buy cheap from American GIs stationed at Soesterberg, Volkel, Gilze-Rijen, ‘t Harte and Brunssum (Maastricht).

    Your best bet is Canada since a free-trade agreement exists or used to exist between Canada and Holland so that you don’t have to pay import duty and BTW when you send things across the pond from Canada to Holland.

    I could give you contacts in the Los Angeles, CA, area from the days of my youth, but if they could locate a part you needed, the import duty and BTW to go though Dutch Customs would be prohibitive. (I know this for a fact, because I have sent packages and American auto parts to friends in Holland before, 57 Chevy parts etc, and the penalties are staggering.)

    My dad was big in Mopar. He used to drag-race them in California during the 60s and taught me how to rebuilt his 426 Hemi engines and TorqFlites Bangshifters.

    Every time you make a new contact see if they can put you in contact with other like-minded people. Good luck!

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Have been gaga over the 911 since I was a kid back in the mid 60′s. Still am, especially any of the air-cooled models, but my practical adult side can’t get past the thought of the insurance cost, even with a clean driving record!

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      jbltg,

      Thanks for reading.

      I am 24 and have one minor ticket and zero claims on my record. I pay ~$180/month for full coverage in Georgia, which is reasonable I think.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Some people can always tell you where they were when a significant person passed away. I presume many TTAC readers can tell you where they were when they first saw a significant car for the first time. When I was a teen, and back from a stay in Munich, I read a Road&Track test of the first 911 early in 1965, never thinking that I would see one soon. During that time, my uncle was a longtime VW salesman in the States. That Summer, I came to Boston to visit. One morning at breakfast, I told him I planned to go to downtown Boston to see a noontime film, and since his dealership was closer to the city, he offered me a ride to his work, across from the subway. We got there, and he first offered a quick tour of the dealership. As we walked into the service department, I had to rub my eyes, as there were five new 911′s stored there to keep from prying eyes at their sister Porsche-MB-BMW-Jaguar dealership. This was during the time when a new 356C was still available, but those were at the sister dealership.
      Two summers later, I was back again, this time working as a gofer for the Porsche dealer while my uncle now sold cars there. I didn’t have a car yet, so my uncle and I would take a different used car home each night. By this time, I had my license, and my uncle would drive us home, and he’d have a beer and watch the telly with my aunt while I drove around with my cousins and their friends. One night, the car we borrowed was a fairly new powder blue 912. Since then, one of the cars I’ve kept looking for is an early 912. Say what you will about similarity to a VW Beetle, the 912 drove a lot differently, and I still remember that night, years later. I’m more into Sunbeams now, but one of my friends who used to have an Alpine V sold it a few years ago and got a 1967 912 very much like the car I remember. Some day…

  • avatar
    ccd1

    My disillusionment with Porsche comes down to cynical marketing. The Cayman should not be more expensive than the Boxster. The old Cayman can fit 2 golf bags, the new one will fit one golf bag..provided you buy the Porsche bag (which is smaller than a regular golf bag).

    Then across the Porsche line, things that should be standard in cars that cost this much are options. It is just too much. My dear hope is that the F Type and the new TT-RS will force Porsche to treat their customers with the respect they deserve. Porsche needs to feel some real competition for the Cayman/Boxster and 911

    • 0 avatar
      David Walton

      ccd1,

      Thanks for reading.

      You’ll notice I’ve been quite reticent about the new cars, although I did test drive some new ones last weekend. Stay tuned for that writeup.

      • 0 avatar
        ccd1

        I also have a philosophical problem with modern Porsches. Porsche designs its sports cars to have a Jekeyll and Hyde personality. At normal speeds, they don’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, very civil. They get better as you push them and a 9/10ths, few cars are better.

        The problem is that most of us don’t track our cars and 9/10ths performance is consequently meaningless. Now take a Jag XKR. Not as well executed as the Porsche, not as well engineered. HOWEVER, the thing is a beast that never lets you forget that you are comandeering a car with huge horsepower and massive torque. And it is wildly entertaining in a moderately uncivilized sort of way on public roads. This car never lets you forget what it is and that is part of its fun. Not a track car for sure, no matter what they do to the car (the XKRS-GT is absurd), but a very entertaining street car in a way most Porsches are not.

        And as for options, basically non-existent for the XKRS and hardly any you could not easily do without with the XKR. And with both, depreciation is your friend if you buy used.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    Every time I see a Porsche I think:

    “Fool! You could have bought a King Ranch and had years of gas money left over!

    But then I think of all the childhood traumas that could later manifest themselves as Porsche-buying and I feel really insensitive and ashamed.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Brabus tuned 730 hp Benz. Is that enough to spit on a Bieber Ferrari?

    http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20130730-the-power-of-b

  • 0 avatar

    +1 to all of that. My parents bought an XC60 T6 a couple years ago. Hard to get nostalgic for the wagons of old (which I did own) when you have a 300 horsepower turbocharged I6 and cabin adjustable Ohlins dampers.


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