Jorge Raphael “owned” his dream car decades before his name was actually on the title. That can happen when you’re bitten by the car bug at an early age.
“I grew up in Mexico City, and seeing a Porsche of any kind was like seeing a unicorn,” said Raphael, 49, a telecom engineer in Los Angeles.
“My dad had a VW van, and one day when I was about 7 we were driving on a hilly, winding mountain road, going super slow,” he explained. “I looked back down the mountain and I could see this white car coming up fast. When it flew past, I asked my father, ‘What was that?’”
His father said it was a Porsche 911.
“I’m going to have one like that someday,” the young man replied. “And I’ve been obsessed with owning a white whale-tail 911 ever since.”
Raphael’s obsession turned to reality about a year ago, when he became the fourth owner of a 1987 911 Carrera, in Grand Prix White with a Dove gray interior.
This 911 was one he had known for 15 years, through two of its previous owners. Raphael had told the last owner that if it ever went up for sale, he wanted first dibs. When that call came, Raphael said, “Oh, man. Let me call my wife.”
His offer was to forgo a celebration of his approaching 50th birthday: “I don’t need any parties, I just want this car.’”
His wife agreed, and she has been incredibly understanding of the “other woman,” who Raphael calls Glinda.
“I can’t take credit for it,” he said of the nickname. “The previous owner, John Lewis, named her, and it’s perfect. She’s the good witch from ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ She’s beautiful; she’s a head turner. But she’s also temperamental like a princess or a queen. It’s just so fitting.”
The Carrera has its original paint, and the car’s mostly original 3.2-liter engine has been refreshed. The engine is mounted to a G50 transmission – “the one everyone wants,” Raphael said. “I was lucky because it had everything I wanted.”
More than 10 years ago, Raphael thought he had scratched the Porsche itch by purchasing a new 40th Anniversary edition 2004 911. But when the ’87 became available, well, he couldn’t help himself. He justifies the purchase every time he takes a spin on Mulholland Drive in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California.
“My 14-year-old son, Antonio, asked ‘Why would you get that old car?’ ” Raphael recalled. But a drive through the winding canyon roads made it clear to the teenager: “I get it now!”
“I wanted this car for four decades, so I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can,” Raphael said. “She’s my therapy – and a lot cheaper than a shrink.”