Monday, April 8, 2013

Visions of Skinny-Dipping Dance Through My Head

Readers of this blog who live in warmer climates will find it hard to believe that last night's new snowfall here and very frigid temperatures actually existed, but I assure you that they were quite real. And I'm talking about 20 degrees below freezing and my pond is still as hard as concrete. A moose walking across that ice would cause no cracking and could feel perfectly safe that he would not fall into the deep water below. Moose have been swimming around in my pond before, but sensibly only in the summer. This is a Porsche story? Yes, keep going.

A temperature of water that moose feel comfortable to swim in is not the temperature that my delicate carcass can tolerate, so it will be June, probably, before I jump into the pond to join them. Since summer is so short here, people look forward to it more. It's precious, due to it's brevity. Somewhere on the Web you can look up how many motorcycles there are per-capita in a given place (they are a proper case in point, because they are a warm weather giggle), and you will find that Quebec, where it's bloody cold, sits right up there in the rankings of motorcycle ownership. Why? What you must do less, and when you can avoid freezing to death, gains value. Warmth is like any other scarce commodity.

Such is the story with driving your old rust-prone Porsche - wait till the salt and cold are gone to make the experience bearable for you and the car. An old Porsche has an odd perfection in this climate - too cold in winter, and too hot in the summer. At any rate, people eagerly look forward to driving when they get their brief sunny summertime chance.

A few days ago

This means that I'm still working on my 'winter' projects with my car. I have been monkeying around in the engine room, trying to solve problems, replace various bits, refresh others. This business was only partly successful, and I'm not too sure how big that successful part is, but the engine looks nicer now.

Fairly soon I'll put some oil in the engine and see if I can start the contraption. Starting is not a foregone conclusion. There is a mysterious issue with the cold starting gadgetry, and so there might be a resounding explosion instead of the desired result of causing the engine to run, but these things must be dealt with one at a time.

The repainting of various engine bits went well, in that it looks good at the moment, but functionally I got less resolved. I addressed a couple vacuum leaks and eliminated certain other problems, but new aggravations arose when genuine Porsche parts would not fit properly and my main supplier turned out to be clueless about how to address this situation. That, and I couldn't even get some suspect parts undone to see if they deserved my suspicion or not. Well, enough complaining about ill-conceived fitments and such.


The main point is driving the thing. Once it is sorted out I have in mind a selection of roads that I look forward to driving once again this year, in Vermont +/-. For example, when it is nice and warm, and the moose and I are swimming happily together in my pond, I will one day venture out toward Lake Willoughby on VT Hwy 5A. This is a beautiful drive, with the road meandering along the shore of the long narrow lake, plus the general countryside in that area is pastoral and pleasant. It almost has mountains, too.

There is an additional feature, however. At the south end of the lake there is a public beach adjacent to the side of the road. The surrounding 'mountains' and woodland are part of Vermont's Willoughby State Forest, and it is a nice area for a refreshing stop on a hot summer day. The water in that lake is always pleasantly clean and very cool. The beach is contained in a small bay. Around the point that defines the bay, there is another bay that cannot be seen from the road. And, interestingly, the second bay is private property.

Somehow, somebody maintains ownership of a few acres within the state forest that include a nice beach in a nice bay, around the corner, so to speak, out of sight. And, even more interestingly, that

It's that second bay back there.
beach, which is not regulated by the state forest, is a NUDE BEACH. Right there in modest Vermont. See, I told you this was a Porsche subject. Remember, the water is always cold in this lake; swimming has small emphasis at this 'private' beach (although the public uses it), so people furtively (not) wade around, chat, and get sunburned, all over. There is ample parking for your Porsche out along the road.

OK, that lake is really too cold for swimming, which is what you really wanted to do, so never mind.

Let's consider driving some more. How far do you want to go? Just Vermont? New Hampshire? Maine? There are plenty delicious roads in the general region, but I have to warn you that this is not some big city's suburbia and you will be out there, on your own, hoping that your cell phone connects to something, but this is not a safe bet. There will be towns where people never heard of a Porsche. Think 'Deliverance, North'. If you are old enough to understand that reference, then you are older than you look and well into your 50s, at least. You will grasp my meaning when you get there.

Maybe it's not that bad for the most part, but much of this area is 'Merica, pass the ammo. Anyway, 

A warm and fuzzy recollection of the car before the trip, but now. . .
you've got a map, or Google Maps, so take a look and find your way down and over to the Kancamagus Highway (112) in the White Mountains. Do some shopping (you'll know what I'm talking about when you get to N. Conway - factory outlets) and then drive up 16 past Mt. Washington. Maybe you should even drive up Mt.Washington if it's a clear day.

Then go north on 16 until you hit US 2, now go east on 2 and hook up with 17 north and go north till you hit 16 again on which you go south to go home, if you are so lucky. If you do this, you will have gone through some very wild country, will have driven some wild roads, and will have dangled your toes in waters such as Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and maybe Umbagog Lake, too. Your elderly Porsche will have consumed 9 quarts of oil, but if you are fortunate it will still be running and looking nearly the same as before.

This not something you should do in one day, I don't care where you start from. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Power of Color

To some degree, this is a confession.  

When someone wants to obtain a Porsche, especially an older one, or maybe this 'also' applies to older models, one of the first things that pops into many people's head is performance. Which the best handling? Which has the most power? What general condition is the older example in? Should I hot rod the thing, or not, or get a ready-made hot rod, either by Porsche itself or someone else? They are, after all, performance sports cars.  

People can say what they want, but drive it on the track, or drive it on public roads, they will have the snot driven out of them. OK, I say elsewhere on this blog that elderly Porsches are driven gently on sunny days in the summertime. The question is, what is 'gently' for a Porsche? Those who drive these cars while never exceeding 3000 rpm are in the wrong car, or are boulevard poseurs, whatever.  So, a performance car is asked to perform; duh, no wisdom there to stop the earth's rotation. Some people keep them as collectible tchotchkes, never mind.

But, speed, handling, that sound, et al, aren't the whole picture. A new Porsche costs an obscene amount of money. Some people have an obscene amount of money, so Porsche also charges an even more obscene premium for the options they hope you will lavish onto the car; they are very good at this. One of the costlier options is this - paint to sample. This means you can supply Porsche with a sample, and that means any kind of sample (a lock of your dog's hair, a fender from an old Studebaker, etc.), and they will paint your shiny new Porsche in that exact color. You can have your wonderful Porsche in any color that exists on the planet Earth.  So, color must be important in this whole equation.

Obviously, color has a variety of meanings and functions in different cultures. White means purity in a number of ways in our culture, while it is the color of death in Japan. I don't know how popular white cars are in Japan, but otherwise red is in the middle of the Japanese flag, and red is (around the world) commonly associated with danger, sacrifice, passion, fire, beauty, blood, anger, simplicity, purity, candor, and in China and many other cultures, with happiness. The fashion statement that your Porsche makes isn't fixed, except locally.

By the way, repainting your old Porsche, if a truly good job is done of it, can cost more than the frightful price Porsche would charge for a special color on a new car. Therefore, be sure to choose the color of your car carefully in the first place. 

Now here is a fun fact:  I took a look at the inventory of new cars at the largest Porsche dealership in Montreal, the nearest big city to my location. Get this - 100% of all new Porsches they had in stock have a black interior!! How about that for imagination? 100%? Can it really be true that potential Porsche owners in Montreal have zero individuality and they all want black? Whenever I have attended a gathering of Porsches, people swoon over interesting colors, especially interior colors. Maybe this is because nobody gets a chance to buy anything but black. . . Given a choice, I wouldn't be caught dead in a car with a black interior, unless it was a hearse with me as the only passenger. You can find all kinds of information about colors, and then pick and choose what you like. Here is the first thing I found about the color black, "Black is authoritative and powerful; because black can evoke strong emotions, too much can be overwhelming. Black represents a lack of color, the primordial void, emptiness. It is a classic color for clothing, possibly because it makes the wearer appear thinner and more sophisticated." Got that?

It's a cliché that women will see 100 different colors, while men will generalize those same hues into the primary or secondary colors - red, yellow, blue, etc., thereby reducing subtlety into brute irrelevance. Too bad for those men, but this isn't universally true. Sometimes you can reverse the genders, but generally speaking, some people are just not that visually oriented. There are male Porsche owners who are passionate about what color their car is, but on the whole they are in the minority. Otherwise why would there be so many boring cars out there? Porsches included.

Sorry, but I have strong color preferences, and some combinations really resonate for me more completely than others. Get yourself a small, cheap Korean car and it is a sure bet that the interior will be grey almost all of the time. There is a reason for that and it's called 'lowest common denominator', or similar words which mean that this is the most anonymous possible color that will offend the smallest number of people, or, put another way, make them all the same and they get cheaper.

Alright, forget all of that, ignore the cost, and repaint your old Porsche in a dynamic, individual, assertive, subtle, harmonious, contrasty, personal, bold, delicate exterior color and interior color combination as best you can, but think about it. You are driving a Porsche, after all, doesn't that make you a dynamic, assertive, etc., etc., person who thinks outside the box?

I said this post was a confession of sorts. I bought a grey Porsche. And above I spoke in a disrespectful way about grey interiors.  My car doesn't have a grey interior, it has an orange/tan interior and the exterior looks very much like the hard metal the car is made from, rather than 'grey'. To me this equals a warm, organic interior surrounded by a hard, impervious exterior. Just like me.

Not super orange, but leaning toward orangeness.
Orange means warmth, joy, heat, sunshine, success, encouragement, change, enthusiasm, determination, fun, stimulation, happiness, balance, sexuality, enjoyment, health, freedom, expression, and fascination. It is one of the healing colors and also strongly denotes creativity. Orange promotes a sense of general wellness and emotional energy that should be shared, such as passion, compassion, and amiability. Orange will help a person recover from disappointments, a grieving heart, or an affront to one's pride. While orange is made up of red and yellow, it carries less aggression and fierceness than the color red does because of its combination with the calming color yellow. Some research shows that the orange color can create physical effects such as increased hunger, heightened sense of activity, increased socialization, boost in aspiration, stimulated mental activity, increased oxygen supply to the brain, increased contentment, and enhanced assurance. Orange also helps aid decision making (should I shift gears now?), and enhances happiness, confidence, and understanding. Who would not want the inside of their car to be orange? It does everything for you.

My car's interior isn't all orange, but plenty of it is; enough, anyway. I gave it a lot of thought.

YIKES! Over the top. (It's a Cayenne.)
Don't just buy a car in any old color. Do yourself a favor and put some real effort into selecting the colors that your valiant Porsche will wear. After all, perception is reality, to some extent, and you will be seen driving around in a very special automobile. What do you want to say?