It took 15 years of begging and pestering, but finally on May 2, 2014, my dream finally came true. A 40-year story, two generations in the making.
This story begins sometime in 1975 at a Porsche dealer, most likely in Ohio as that's where my Dad's family originates from. My dad purchased this, the last 1974 911 in Guards Red on the lot of whatever dealer he got it from; #2,778 out of the 4,014 base 911s produced for the '74 model year.
Believe it or not, there's a tragic part of this story, while my dad had bought a 911, he chose it over an.......AC Cobra! At the time, he figured it would be highly impractical to daily a Cobra and deemed the 911 to be the more practical and better performing car. Does he regret not getting the Cobra that'd be worth millions? You bet! But I don't! :)
On a side note, my dad has great taste in cars, he's all about performance for the right price, handling and power come first, he loves Porsche and Muscle Cars just like me; if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be here (on Oppo or Jalopnik, or any car related anything for that matter) today. I love and respect him for it.
Between 1975 and 1995, 1995 is when I was born, not much can be said about what it's life was like. It was a DD for most of those 20 years and around 1993 it was repainted. When I was three, my dad would take me for cruises up and down Woodward Avenue in the summer, watching cars, new and old drive all around, the Dream Cruise being my favorite time of the year. This car is how my dad and I would spend time, it is the one secure bond that we've got. I didn't know it then, but it was the start of a life-long dream, and a passion for cars, and especially Porsche. I knew that one day, I'd be driving that car and loving every second of it.
Jumping forward to Labor Day 2012, the 911 had been sitting in our garage since 2008 and hadn't moved at all. Finally, something told me that something had to be done:
So we cleaned her up as best as we could and gave her a proper wash and a short drive around the neighborhood that day.
Jumping forward again to the summer of 2013, after not being driven for so long, the oil pump blew and oil was leaking all over our garage. It wasn't fixed until late August and by then, I was finally driving my own car and loving every second. That entire summer I begged him to let me drive, and he'd always say no, because at the time I didn't know how to drive stick. Fair enough, I made it a goal to learn how to drive a stick by 2014, which was achieved when I got my Focus ST.
When the self-dubbed "Hellstorm Winter" of '13-14 hit, I made it a goal to be the 911's caretaker, filling it up with Stabil, starting it up and letting it run until everything is warmed up and oil pressure is low, once or twice ever month, hooking up the battery tender and cleaning her up as best as I could within a very cramped garage. But when it turned to May 1st, and the insurance was finally put back on, I knew my time had come, it was my turn at the wheel, one way or another.
On May 2nd, 2014, a day that I will never forget, I finished my last class of the day, sped back home, and without thinking or hesitating, I grabbed the key, sat in the drivers seat and stuck the key in the ignition. I pulled out my phone and called my dad. I told him I was taking the 911 to the gas station to check the tires and fill her up with gas, and that he should trust me after all these years of taking care and spending time with her and my dad; the three of us. He told, me three words, words I'll probably repeat to others one day.
"Don't wreck it."
And with those words, the only blessing I was gonna get from my dad on the matter, I turned the key and listened to the amazing roar of that flat six as it came to life completely for the first time this year. The first drive of the year was mine.
I had never driven a car this old, the oldest being the '99 Windstar that my mom still drives. I didn't know how I'd feel or what to expect once I backed out of the driveway. It was gonna be like one of those instances where you meet your hero, and it felt soo good! As I backed out slowly, I felt the struggle of the manual steering, the effort to turn the wheel was like nothing I had ever felt before. Once it was fully backed out, I pushed the shifter into 1st and let the clutch out slowly, the car slowly started to move. OH MY GIDDY AUTNT! The car was cold, and when an old Porsche is cold, it's best to take it slow, driving slowly until the oil temp goes up and the pressure goes down. driving through my neighborhood, I was getting a feel for the car and looks from everyone as the bright red coupe slowly rolled by. When I finally pulled out on the main road, the car was warmed up, and I let the car loose on the road, it was also at this moment that I learned how not to drive this car.
The 915 trans is very, awkward. It didn't have much feel to it while shifting gears, sometimes I was worried that I'd put it in 4th rather than 2nd. I didn't mind the shift travel but there was no real feel to it overall IMO. There's a specific way to drive the 915. I learned that it doesn't like to be shifted fast or hard. It required more precision than my ST, and I loved that; I also loved the cable clutch, much more feel to it than my ST that has all of that hydraulic assisted stuff.
When it came to the steering, I was too nervous to really push the car in anything but a straight line, but coming from assisted power steering and that modern tech, it was a genuine enjoyable challenge from a stand-still to turn the wheel. I enjoyed the effort I had to apply to turn. there was a genuine connection between the road, the car and me, the way it should be. When I finally got the hand of the driving and power and really got on it, I powered around a corner, and with Dwhite as my witness, the 40/60 weight distribution made itself known as the tail came out abit. It was awesome. I wasn't scared either.
The acceleration for regular driving is OK, nothing compared to my ST, but that doesn't beat the flat-six sound from the rear. It's not fast compared to modern cars I guess, but it certainly was fast enough for my enjoyment! The fastest I ever went was about 60. The car is very light at around 2400 pounds and with only 150hp and 175 1b-ft of torque, once you jam the throttle, it really goes like hell! the 2.7L is a motor that loves to be in the higher RPMs, but I assume that of all 911s.
I'll be honest, After filling up at the gas station, I didn't really take it straight home... I really wanted to get a feel for the car, so I took it on a quick drive around town, and up and down Woodward a couple times to get a feel of the shifting, clutch and brakes. Finally took it home after an hour and gave my dad a call to thank him for the opportunity that I had waited my whole life for. The first question he asked me was how I liked driving it, hinting at the fact that he knows I didn't just drive it to the gas station and back, I couldn't think of the words to say, I had "driver's block" so to speak, so he just said he'd think about letting me take it out with him the next evening after work!
And we did! I took him out to see what goes on at Woodward after dark and I'll just say that many heads were turned to see an 18 year old driving a 911, mainly because no one knew that I had one at my house and that I had been there with an ST the night before. Driving around, he knew I was still getting used to the car and told me that the car was very different from what I was use to, and I sure knew it! He later told me that I could take the car out whenever I please, so long as I let him know what I doing or ask for permission first, but the only caveat being that this wouldn't be an every week thing sadly, but I digress. Driving up and down Woodward, it was as if the roles reversed and time flew backwards, 15 years after my first drive up Woodward with him at the wheel, I was returning the favor in a way, and I was having the time of my life.
The rest of this week, I used the 911 as my daily to better understand how life was like back then, taking it to school for my last final, getting groceries, driving to work and Even taking it to Dwhite's house for a quick mini photo shoot and a quick drive for his birthday, and finally washing and waxing! I understood how much skill it actually took to drive these old cars with their mechanical everything; no electric, hydraulic or power assisted anything, just pure muscle, effort and skill. Cars like these truly offer the best driving experiences, and I'm so glad that I was able to not only have the experience, but to share it with you all. What it's like to drive an old car like this from the perspective of a modern kid driving a modern hot hatch.I can't wait for the day to come, when I graduate from college and save up to get a car, You all know what I'm gonna get, as they say the apple doesn't fall far from the bush. :)