My Journey to a 911

THE JOURNEY FROM ITALIAN TO GERMAN, from red to silver-ish, from vintage to modern-ish, from unreliable to reliable. And perhaps, best of all, the improvement in performance from a 1975 Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino to a 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S was dramatic.

I had owned the Ferrari for 20 years and this particular example had been on my radar for over 20 years prior, as twice during those early years I had seen it on the road in my area. Spotting a Ferrari today is not unusual, but back then it was quite rare. In 2000 it became available and my dream came true. Overall, the ownership experience was good, leaving me with a lot of great memories. I was active in the Ferrari club, enjoying many driving events and organizing a few. My car winning first in class in the club’s annual eastern Canada concours in 2007 was a highlight.

Really though, the clock was ticking and as I, ummm, matured, I realized l might be ready for a more current sports car alternative. The Ferrari on the right road was lovely to drive, and fun to be seen in, but a penalty was paid by putting up with an assortment of quirks, including exhaust smells, fuel odours, heavy steering, a stiff clutch, notchy shifting, stifling interior, and more. With a desire for an updated replacement there really was just one alternative, a Porsche. A 911 specifically. With the heritage and reputation for excellent engineering, build quality, aesthetics and dynamic performance, I didn’t consider anything else.

First, the Ferrari had to go and, dreading an endless line of tire kickers and joy riders, I put the word out in the fall of 2020 that it would be for sale in the spring of 2021. In April as I was about to begin advertising, a fellow called who had heard about the car from my initial outreach. Seeking this specific model, he took a short test drive, and with lust in his eyes we made the deal. No safety check, no mechanical inspection, no price bickering, easiest car sale ever.

So, with no Porsche background and a bookcase full of irrelevant Ferrari literature, I began my quest. A lot of research helped narrow things down. Each generation of the 911 appeals to a fan base, and for my needs it had to be a 2009 to 2012 997.2 C4S, with PDK. Oh, and dark blue with a tan interior, yes please. And perfect mechanically, with records of careful ownership, yes, please, I’ll take that too. There must be lots of those around. The reality was much different as I searched across Canada for about a month, noting half a dozen potential candidates, with none worth traveling across the country to see.

Fears of a long and fruitless search crept in as I continued to look throughout the month of April. Then, there it was. Advertised privately and ticking all of the boxes — except interior and exterior colours that were not at the top of my list. Meteor Grey over black, so no blue and tan, but that’s okay. Amazingly, the car was only 20 minutes from home and it appeared to be exactly as advertised, unblemished and stunning as I walked towards it. The test drive confirmed that the Ferrari wouldn’t be missed. After arranging for a PPE by a trusted shop the deal was made, and I became the owner of a 2009 Porsche 997.2 C4S.

Ownership over the last year has totally met my expectations. Every drive is special. I love the throttle response, accurate steering, and stability and confidence in curves. The first drive in the rain was eye opening with so much more grip than anything I had experienced, due to a huge safety margin in cornering and braking traction.

One unexpected maintenance hiccup occurred last September when a very rough idle developed. Ably diagnosed as a faulty cam valve-lift solenoid, it was replaced by the ZoroTech Porsche specialists in Stoney Creek who have been great with all of my service needs.

Finally, membership in the PCA UCR since this spring has been super. I love the monthly magazines and I’ve been to four of the club social events and never failed to meet great folks and hear their stories. I hope to meet a lot more of you soon.

By Rolly Astrom

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