CAR NUT. GEAR HEAD. AUTO ENTHUSIAST. No matter what you want to call it, that’s been me for as long as I can remember. I’m pretty sure I inherited my passion for cars and an innate ability to fix stuff from my dad. He drove a ‘67 MGB four-speed roadster during my formative years, and his ownership of said car, I’m certain, necessitated that he possess a solid set of auto repair skills.
Like many other kids of my generation growing up, my bedroom wall was plastered with posters of Corvettes, Mustangs and other American V8 muscle. Not only because they were cool rides, but also for someone growing up in a working-class family like me, they seemed like they were obtainable performance cars.
I craved for as much horsepower and speed as I could get, and back then that meant learning how to master driving a manual transmission. So, when I turned 16 and landed a job pumping gas, I taught myself on a mid-‘70s VW Beetle that was kept at the service station where I worked. My boss, who was also the owner, liked to keep the Beetle on hand as a loaner, and whenever it needed to be moved around the lot, I’d take it for a spin around the block. With only 48 horsepower and 73 pound-feet of torque, that Beetle was the complete opposite of what you’d consider high performance, but I remember it being very forgiving for someone learning to drive a stick.
I remember my wife and I getting in for the first time and the excitement I felt seeing that Porsche crest staring back at me from the steering wheel hub. And then of course driving it was everything I had hoped for and more.
The first cars I owned included a Mercury Cougar and several Ford fox-body, 5.0-litre five-speed Mustang GTs that made hair-raising sounds and felt a lot faster than they really were, but were also great for wrenching on and souping up on a limited budget. Needless to say, owning a Porsche was the last thing on my mind.
Somewhat unexpectedly, my very first opportunity to drive a 911 came from a friend of mine who built a very successful business and treated himself to an ’85 911 Turbo. Much to my surprise and glee, he asked me if I’d like to take it for a spin. Of course, I said yes. With him riding shotgun and egging me on to push the car, we tore around the neighbourhood at speeds that will never be spoken of. I had a blast, but again, to me, it seemed like a pipe dream to own one of these magnificent machines.
And then one day during the summer of ‘95, I was perusing a magazine rack and saw the latest issue of Road & Track magazine featuring a cover photo of the then-new ‘96 911 993 Turbo, charging through a sweeper at Thunderhill Raceway Park. It looked so fast, so incredibly awe-inspiring, and in that moment, I was hooked.
Back then, funds were on the leaner side and the possibility of me being able to afford a 911 was slim to none. Fast forward to years later and as my career started to take off, I began noodling around in my mind how I might go about acquiring my first Porsche. But it wasn’t until after seeing the launch of the newly designed 997 in 2005 that I quickly moved into “I really want this.”
Alas, the world economy would throw a wrench into my plans, thanks to the 2008 recession, and once again my dream of owning a 911 was sidelined. But as I’ve learned with many things in life, persistence can pay off, and it was in the summer of 2018 that I found a beautiful 2011 Basalt Black 997.2 Carrera S six-speed cabriolet for sale at Downtown Porsche. I wasted no time and immediately went to check it out. A vigorous 20-minute test drive sealed the deal and within two days I was driving it off the lot as its new owner.
I remember my wife and I getting in for the first time and the excitement I felt seeing that Porsche crest staring back at me from the steering wheel hub. And then of course driving it was everything I had hoped for and more. To this day, I look forward to sliding behind the wheel and firing up that glorious 3.8-litre flat-six.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of sharing my Porsche passion with other owners, and last year took part in the Porsche Track Experience in a brand-new 992 to explore the limits of that model. Although it’s now out of reach for me to even consider that gorgeous 993 Turbo that graced that magazine cover so long ago, I take great pride and satisfaction in having fulfilled my dream of buying a Porsche 911 and owning what I believe is a future classic in the making. </>
By Dave Pauk