I always loved cars. My childhood home was full of Hot-wheels track and little race cars everywhere. I watched Speed Racer cartoons over and over again as a kid---- and usually about 6 inches from the television tube. My dad was a car guy, so I get the affection genetically. My father was partial to Corvettes (had five over 30 years), but also owned at one time or another a Jaguar, MG, Triumph TR6, Datsun 260Z, Pontiac Cutlass, tricked out Monte Carlo and a Mercedes 380SL. For some reason, for me there was always something about the Porsche 911 though. That shape. My dad liked them too, but he was 6 ft 5 inches tall and about 240 pounds---- and they would not accommodate his frame (not that the other cars were that comfortable for a man of his girth).
A neighbor of ours had a late 70's Porsche 911 turbo. It was white and had a colorful red and blue stripe on it. It was so cool. It was sophisticated in a way that American muscle cars were not. More refined. Unfortunately, when I turned age 16 in the year 1980----- most sports cars had simply gone to hell. The gas crunch and emissions standards and fickle US consumer tastes had devastated the once imperial status of sports cars. Even the Europeans were putting out ugly cars----- but the Porsche 911 held its ground.
I must admit that I had a passing romantic crush on the Porsche 928S for a short period of time in the early 80s (is it pathetic that my favorite part of the movie "Risky Business" is Tom Cruises father's car?), but I went back to my first love---- the 911. All fifty years of 911's are beautiful, but the models between 1967 and 1972 were my favorite. Simply classic.
Okay--- so fast forward to 1988. I get married and my wife learns of my obsession for the first time. I don't ask her if I can buy a sports car (let alone a Porsche), but once a week, I bring up my love of sports cars. You see, every Sunday, the big weekend edition of the paper would arrive and we would read it together. We would make coffee and take different sections of the paper. I would always go for the classified section first and I would read-aloud the old cars that were for sale--- that I lusted for. Mostly, I reserved the heaviest sigh and exclaimed the deep emotional void in my life, when I saw an ad for an old Porsche.
Here's the typical Sunday conversation (if you can call it that). "Oh my God, Mary, here is another old Porsche 911 in the paper.....its only had two owners.....guy wants $9000.....gee wiz, it is only about 30 minutes away from here......one of these days, I am going to buy a car like that...." She would usually reply, "could you get me another cup of coffee....?"
So, fifteen years of Sundays pass. We have a nice house, two kids, a dog and a cat---- and drive practical cars. It is the Sunday before my 40th birthday and we are reading the paper (The Baltimore Sun). And there it is. Like so many times before, I interrupt the quiet clam of our living room ritual, "Mary, I cant believe it....a 1970 Porsche 911e for $7000 or best offer...says it needs work.....but it runs.....and its just down the road......boy, that is a classic....one of these days, I am going to....." She cuts me off. Looks up from the metro section and she says, "GO GET DRESSED AND BUY THE FUCKING CAR," ever so sweetly.
I always listen to my wife's instructions, so I went down and bought that car within the hour.
The ultimate 40th birthday present! It broke down on the way home that day, but I didn't care---- I owned a Porsche 911. My dream came true! My father came right over to see it. He was proud.
My wife has since taken to calling the car my "mistress." I steal away into the garage and sometimes just sit in the drivers seat. On Sundays I like to take her out (the car that is--- my wife too). I spend money on her (the car that is--- my wife too) and surf the internet, in search of ways to keep her happy (the car that is--- my wife too). She is very temperamental (the car).
I don't read the classifieds anymore on Sunday's (well, technically, the used car section hardly exists), but my wife and I still read the paper and drink a cup of coffee together. It is a comforting ritual. I am one of the lucky ones. I always tell people that my wife made my dreams come true---- but I don't mention the Porsche in the same sentence.
Here's to the car guys and especially their supportive wives---- most of whom will never understand our boyhood fascination with cars, but encourage (or at least tolerate) our love affair with an inanimate object. Mike