By Bill Stinner-Trimble
To me, my father is a legend. Not because of heroic deeds, but because almost all I know of my father is through stories, pictures, and home movies. My dad died in 1968 when I was five years old; however, I have no first-hand memories of him that I can access. I don’t know why, as five-year-olds are quite capable of remembering. I just don’t.
My dad owned two Porsches before his death: a red 1960 356 B Super Hardtop and a white 1966 912. As far back as I can remember, Porsche has been an icon for me – not because of their legendary status as fine, fast automobiles, but because they were what my legendary father chose to drive.
As a kid, I remember collecting Porsche models, Porsche Hot Wheels, Porsche magazines, Porsche posters and a jacket with a large Porsche patch sewn on the back. In fact, I have a friend who remembers me wearing that jacket in the first grade. I always dreamed of owning a Porsche.
I’ve always judged that Porsches were out of my reach, both financially and practically. But time and circumstances have changed, and I suddenly found myself in a position to acquire one. It was actually my wife’s idea: in a discussion of how I would replace my leased auto, I was leaning towards an Outback or a RAV4. Angela said, “What about a Porsche?” I said, “I can’t afford a Porsche.” She said, “Have you looked?” Porsche enthusiasts know that 911s from 1999-2007 can be had for under $30,000. Until I looked, I had no idea. I searched for months, preparing for the day that I’d return my current lease and pick up a new car. When I found the perfect Porsche (well ahead of schedule), I jumped at it: a 2007 911 C2 manual transmission in very good condition with 65,000 miles. Cobalt blue with a sand beige interior, the exact color combination I wanted. As a bonus, it had a new engine, replaced under warranty, with only 5000 miles on it.
As I drive my new-to-me Porsche, I find myself laughing aloud, thinking about my father, in heaven, saying, “Son, it’s about time! What took you so long?” The car itself is so… elemental. I’ve previously owned three manual transmission cars, but none felt anything like the 911. It’s a visceral connection to both machine and road. It’s a serious automobile that requires respect and skill. The acceleration is stunning. And the sound of that flat-six engine hypnotizes me. I’m fortunate that my 997.1 has PSE or Porsche Sport Exhaust. With the push of a button (a $2400 option at the time of purchase), I can increase the growl from my engine quite impressively. I must admit, the PSE is active most of the time I’m driving. And I’m rarely listening to the radio, preferring the music of the Flat Six Symphony behind me. I find myself going out to the garage, looking at it, unable to fathom that I now own a Porsche. Each time I drive it – or even look at it, I am reminded of Christmas morning as a kid.
This would have been enough: a 50-year-old dream-come-true story. A connection to my father – to his legacy. But there’s more! While visiting my 92-year-old mother, I rummaged through the files in her back bedroom (she saved EVERYTHING). I found a file containing the original invoice, bill of sale, and repair records of my dad’s 1960 356. What an amazing find! I felt such a thrill knowing that my dad had filed these papers – they were tangible evidence of his love for the marque, and for the car, I’ve only known from stories and a few photos. As an aside, he paid $4343 for that car… if only!
Armed with the original invoice, I performed an internet search using the serial number of the 356. I was led to a ten-year-old discussion board, where one user posted information on his Porsche – with the same serial number that was staring at me from my dad’s invoice. I opened a new tab on my browser and searched for the name attached to that discussion forum post. I found a phone number – and I called it. The gentleman who answered was wary at first, but when I explained my crazy mission, he confirmed that his car and my dad’s car are one and the same! Not only that, but he has lovingly restored this beauty to better-than-new condition; it was even featured on a television show that tells what your car is worth. Side note: it’s worth A LOT!
It gets even better – in a few weeks, I’ll be traveling in his general area (in my 911, of course). I asked if it would be possible for me to come see the car. His response? “Wouldn’t it be grand to have a photo of you driving that car down the street?!” So there it is: in a short while, I’ll get to sit behind the wheel of my dad’s legendary 356. I’ll have photos of my Porsche next to my dad’s Porsche. And his legacy will be complete. I can’t wait….
Legacy – A Porsche Story
Copyright 2018, Bill Stinner-Trimble. All Rights Reserved.
First published February 21, 2018