GT3 Diaries

Why the 911?

Photo credit: Porsche

It all started some twenty years ago.

I was barely into my teens, at the very nascent of my fascination with the automobile. Back in those days there weren’t rapid Internet access to endless streams of multimedia (kids these days have it so good), so to perform any sort of sleuthing on cars, the 10 year old me resorted to visiting a historic institution: the public library.

Once I had exhausted through the latest monthly car magazines, I ventured to the automotive section of the library, a shelf full of various repair manuals and books on specific models. A particular book that caught my attention was the Consumer Reports guide to every single car on sale for that specific model year. What better way to learn about all the cars than such an encyclopedic source?

It took me a while to alphabetically reach the P section, and when the (993) Porsche 911 came into view, the visuals arrested me profoundly. To the naive 10-year old mind, cars were suppose to look the traditional three-box fashion: engine in the front, passenger compartment at the center, and trunk in the rear. Scattered amongst those commonalities were wedge-shaped mid-engine exotics such as the illustrious Lamborghini Countach.

The idiosyncratic shape of the 911, then, proved to be quite the counterpunch to those preconceived notions. I can still remember the picture in the book: a ruby red 993 Turbo from the rear quarters view, similar to the photo above. I thought it an interesting shape to form the basis of a car, not having yet read that the engine is entirely behind the rear-axle, and that it’s flat. The intensely sloped rear-end and the bulbous rear haunches was all it took to captivate me onto the 911 to this very day.

It’s a really special car.

As I read on I got to pricing, and it dawned on me then the 911 is but a dream and an aspiration. As a poor immigrant kid whose first language isn’t English, cars within the pricing stratosphere of a Porsche 911 was not a reality you ever thought possible at that age. But the allure of the 911 remained ever constant: I always did a double-take on the rare occasion I spotted one on the road, taking the scarce opportunity to take in that beautiful shape once more, all the while thinking to my young self that I’d never make the amount of money needed to afford one.

Car enthusiasm doesn’t wane, but financial proclivities had me focused on cars more attainable. Like most of my peers, the video game Gran Turismo introduced me to the world of Japanese sports cars. Relative to the Germans, cars from Japan were much cheaper, and together with the influence of tuning culture, culminating in the first Fast and Furious movie, turned my automotive attention squarely on cars with a VIN starting with a J.

But as any proper petrol-head, I kept tabs on motive metal from countries outside of Japan; the spread of online media made that task supremely easy. So while I was having my fun driving around in a Subaru WRX STI and then later a Mazda MX-5 Miata, cars like the 911 was not far from my purview. I grew to learned about Porsche’s hallowed air-cooled heritage, which thanks to the likes of Magnus Walker, cheap, decade old sports cars have suddenly turned into pricey unobtanium.

There was the 911’s much-maligned evolution to the 996 generation, with its water-cooled engine and funny headlamps, which I have to say I never really despise as much as others did. In fact, the 996 Turbo S, in GT Silver color, was the poster car of my youth. It looked so cool, and according to the stats, so unimaginably fast. Of course, modern 997 and 991 era of 911s have since eclipsed the 996, where even base model Carreras offer supercar-like performance.

This much was clear: the Porsche 911 is the quintessential sports car with a legendary lineage, and any car enthusiast should have it as a checkbox on their car bucket-list.

For whatever reason, owning a 911 was not my list at all until 2018. I’d never thought of myself as a person capable of purchasing one: six-figure sports cars are far too cavalier of a financial move given my modest monthly income. That said, coming off selling the MX-5 in May of 2018, I naturally and immediately gravitated to the question of what my next car would be. As a single person in his early 30s with a bit of savings, the possibilities of a 911 came into naughty and delicious prospect.

Indeed it would be a bold move, but I’m rationalizing it as this: if a 911 is an experience not to be missed, then I don’t see any purpose in purchasing more “stop-gap” cars in between. A BMW M2 would just feel like a faster Miata, while a rear-engined 911 would be fantastically unique. Let’s concentrate all material power into buying a 911 as the car to succeed the lovely Mazda.

Thus began the plan.