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.