Originally published March 2, 2015
Let me tell you a secret about this silver 1995 Porsche 911 (a car that has consumed so much of my time, energy, money and attention over the last two years that my significant other would be jealous – if, indeed, I actually had one): it isn’t even really the car that I wanted.
No, the car I wanted was something a little older – a 1990–1994 model, a ‘964’ in Porsche-speak. It’s a red 964 that hung on my bedroom wall when I entered my teens; it was a red 964 that, as our family drove to Lake Scugog to fail to catch fish the summer of 1990, rocketed away from a stop sign making the most glorious noise as its rear spoiler rose into place.
Auto Trader ad for this newer 993-generation model, and, other than getting it checked out at the local dealer, did pretty much no research at all. It was almost 20 years old, I reasoned; stuff was going to go wrong. The important thing was to get on the bandwagon before old-911 prices went through the roof, and deal with the rest as it came.I spent a year and a half looking for a nice 964, spent too much time reading internet forums about all of the potential things that could go wrong. Every one I looked at seemed to manifest at least one Big Problem. I stopped looking for a while, but the desire to own an air-cooled 911 never abated; one day, I stumbled across an
When I bought the 993, I was still working at Porsche, and driving a free, new 911 as a company car. My mom thought I’d gone insane, and my friends made fun of me (“as if one goddamn Porsche wasn’t enough!”). But driving it and a brand-new 991 concurrently let me in on another secret: while my 911 may not have all of the features of the new one, or indeed its outright capability, it is just as fun to drive, with telepathic steering feel, instant throttle response, and those distinctive rear-biased dynamics.
In fact, it is actually more fun, for two reasons. First, thanks to skinnier tires and more modest power levels (my car makes 270 hp compared to a base 2015 Carrera’s 350), you can drive it harder more of the time and not be in license-losing territory. Second – and more importantly – to the general public, and indeed to car enthusiasts, an old 911 is as cool as, if not cooler, than a new one. And you’re way more likely to be let into a gap in traffic in the old car, because you’re not just some rich dude with a set of expensive wheels.