Jason S 1970 Porsche 911 S 2dr Coupe

What was that car that Betsy had?

I was old enough to walk and talk, maybe no more than 5 years old. Mom would take us over to her best friend Betsy’s house. We were living in Jamaica at the time. Betsy had a car that I fell in love with without knowing why. It looked unlike anything I saw on the streets of Kingston. Maybe it was the only one like it on the island? My sister and I would sneak into her garage during visits to Betsy’s house and we would take turns in the driver’s seat. I remember the smell of the leather and holding the shifter in one hand and the steering wheel in the other hand. I was still too young for my legs to reach the pedals. The gauges were huge! Butzi, is it possible that you designed a car with a profile and interior that is instinctively loved by a young boy? Every visit to Betsy’s included a covert plan to sneak into the garage for an imaginary driving experience in this car.

Years later when we moved to the States, I was about 11 or 12 when I innocently asked my mom “What was that car that Betsy had?” She thought for a while and eventually responded it was a “Porsche.” A Porsche. This was well before the Internet, so my knowledge of “Porsches” was a slow process compared to today’s standards. To paraphrase Peter Falk in The Princess Bride, “When I was that age, the Internet was called books.” This meant lots of library visits. Monogram kit cars with anything Porsche inside were bought from K-Mart’s toy section, hastily built, and proudly displayed. My slot car of choice was a 935 from Felix’s Hobby Shop in North Miami. After my knowledge was sufficiently deep enough, I decisively concluded without a doubt that Betsy had a 911 of vintage 1967 to 1970.

Fast forward to 1999, I was 32 and ready to start my hunt for a 911 from that era. I already owned a 1989 911 and by then I had bought and read at least 30 books about Porsches. Plus every issue of Excellence, Christophorus, and Pano for the last 5 years. The Internet was finally around and I read and saved anything I could from discussion groups (remember Porschephiles?) about what to look for (and to avoid) with this vintage of 911. I spent 2 years looking for my 1989 911 in Texas-area newspaper classified ads. I conservatively figured a search for a decent example of a 29-year (or more) old car would take at least 4 years.

Here is where it gets strange.

The very first weekend I started looking for a 1967 to 1970 911S, there was one in the local classifieds, located about 10 minutes from where I live. Figuring this was a re-badged 911E or 911T (similar to my attempts in high school to rebadge my 1967 Impala to SS specs), I arrived at the seller’s house armed with 2 pages of notes on a clipboard to verify (or most likely refute) the authenticity of this Mexico Blue 911S. I had done my homework. The seller was a car guy. He politely left me alone in his driveway to proceed with my analysis.

Almost immediately I realized the VIN behind the windshield decoded to an S. The VIN in the door and the front bonnet also matched. The engine had red accents. The engine number also decoded to an S. Furthermore, the seller had no idea what he had and needed to make room in his garage for a car he was more interested in owning. I gave him a deposit before leaving his house and bought it the next day. He took me to lunch after the deal was closed and I had the signed title in my hands. At some point during the meal I couldn’t help myself: “Do you mind if I tell you what you just sold me?” He said no and probably 30 non-stop minutes later I had spilled my relevant knowledge of a matching numbers 1970 911S to him. He shrugged his shoulders and said that the car was better off with me than with him. He was a true car guy because he knew it was going into the right hands.

I won’t ever sell this car, because my son has the car bug as well.

It’s going to him whenever I’m no longer able to drive it.

I don’t ever name my cars.

But Betsy gets an exception to this rule.

3 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Henry Florida June 6, 2014 at 12:42
    Awesome story, enjoy the porsche its a beauty. I myself wanted this same model but could never afford it and did not have the know how of these special machines. However I did manage to buy myself a 1983 911 sc in 2003 and I still own it and enjoy driving it every day and night. It is one of the most reliable cars I have ever own and I have own a few.
  • 2
    Jason Austin June 10, 2014 at 15:09
    Thanks, Henry! I love the 3-liter SCs as well. They share a lot of the same parts as the older models such as mine and are also known for their bulletproof reliability. Porsches were meant to be driven and I'm glad you drive yours every day!
  • 3
    Alex Ford Simi Valley, Ca. March 4, 2015 at 21:17
    I noted cars from the time I was in the 6th grade, mostly American. By high school I'd heard of Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. Established as a sex symbol in my mind were the Corvette and the XKE Jaguar. Then the 911 landed on the shores of America and a strange thing happened in my Jr. College Student Union/cafe' and that was that I first overheard co-eds discussing their favorite car and it was a Porsche. The next time I heard the ladies discussing a car was in one of the student gathering points at San Diego State University. This time the ladies were arguing the merits of holding out for a boyfriend with a, "911S." Both events being in the late 1960's and featuring these lovely students, I began to look into the various models of Porsche. It always seemed to me that as time passed no sooner had I learned the sizes of the engines and the horse power of the Porsche and had learned to understand the bright-work on the little sports cars that they had begun to change. From that classic aluminum and chrome, the auto maker had the audacity to change the look of the car going steadily towards all-black trim. Further two other things seemed to change that was quite noticeable to me: the engine size and the price. Both seemed to be steadily climbing their way up and it seemed that my dream was progressing further away from me rather than getting closer to me. How was I ever going to be able to afford that little car that caused lovely female college students to discuss the sports cars' relative merits? 1972 rolled around, my first marriage dissolved and one day a Porsche car dealer beckoned. I looked at the price of a 911T and realized that no matter how I sliced it, I just couldn't afford the car. I decided to leave when the salesman asked me to take a look at a 914. He assured me that it was a real Porsche. I decided that I no longer required the services of my 1870 Blue and White VW Sunroof Van with Hippie curtains mounted. The deal made for a lime green deluxe version of a 914 and I was in for tons of adventures and 93,000 miles over the next four years when I moved this car along to its next owner. I continued my public service career as a Probation Deputy in Los Angeles until 2006 when I retired. By 2009 I was looking for a hobby when the Porsche bug struck me once again. Despite reading many books and magazines on the subject, I did not heed proper advice and did not look for the best Porsche I could afford, but instead, one of the worst: A 1974 911 rust-bucket who's tin-worm nick name was Swiss cheese. This was VIN #: 9114100159. By the time I finished the first restoration, with a COA in hand, I discovered that this was the earliest 1974 911 still on the road in North America. A horrible& brackish dark green over black paint job was lifted and the paint code showed Emerald Green Metallic. The interior was Midnight blue. This car had its original engine and likely its original transmission which paperwork showed to be a five-speed although the serial number was not available. Further investigation revealed that the gauge cluster was a unique one the likes of which North Hollywood Speedometer had never before seen. Beyond this was the fact that the car had Euro tubes instead of shock absorbers connecting its collapsible bumpers, the first year for such things. Further the completion of the construction in Stuttgart had been July 1973 before the August 1 release date for the G-Series Porsche. Re-dubbed a 911 instead of a 911T of earlier years, the car was also blessed with factory drilled holes for the competition plastic fuel tank. Rather unique, Porsche only offered the option from 1970-1973 for the normal customer cars. I fell in love with the car and spent a fortune on it. Yet when I was done, I found that I'd been taken. The restoration did not measure up. I set about restoring the car again. And just when I had neared completing this new nut and bolt restoration, the driver of a large American tank-like car managed to rear end my little Porsche while I sat still waiting for a red-light at the intersection to change to green. I set about restoring the car again. The car is very close to being complete with its third restoration. This car is now approaching 42 years of age. It has always been registered by owners (3 including myself) residing in Ventura County, California. The engine and transmission do not leak, so good was the repair by TRE Motorsports of Van Nuys and later, Axiom Motorsports of Inglewood, Ca., USA. This began my love affair with the Porsche all over again. Since then, I've managed three more. But nothing will ever replace the fact that I fell into a rare and unique Porsche by complete happenstance. A car that had sat on a lot for years not running. A car that finally was sold when the second owner could not restore it. Passed along it was to his son-in-law; then to an auto wholesaler in Santa Clarita and then to a fellow who buys and quickly restores old Porsche, usually back dating them. I saved this original classic from the knife. Now if I can only get it on the road and avoid any further damage. The other Porsche fans can enjoy this unique and beautiful little car. #

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