If you own a Porsche, you meet people; it goes with the territory. This doesn't happen so much with newer Porsches, I don't think, but if you own a 'classic' Porsche, you are somehow more approachable at gas stations or just about any roadside stop you might make. And so people have no hesitation to step over and ask about the car, make a silly remark - "Such a little car - and you're so big!" - or say something like, "I used to have one of those, a 1963, and I sold it for $250! Man, was that a mistake." No matter that that would have been a different beast entirely, but all older air-cooled Porsche cars are hot-rodded VWs according to many people who can remember air-cooled Porsches to begin with. This is why those cheerful questioners make references to their long-gone '67 Beetle, as if it were all but identical to a Porsche of the era. Among those that do remember air-cooled Porsches, some are not aware that no Porsche has been air-cooled for decades now but, never mind, an old Porsche is an approachable car to the average person who takes notice of it in the first place. It's less intimidating, it seems.
Once I entered a small post office in northern Vermont - I keep a box there because it's faster and cheaper than the mail service at home in Canada - and when I emerged from the building there were a man and a woman standing next to my 911 and their shabby pick-up truck was parked in the next space beyond. Oh god, I thought, what have they done? Is the other side of my car in shreds? They didn't look very friendly.
"We love your car!", they said in unison, "Is it for sale?" Whoops, I read this situation improperly. The usual questions flowed forth, but then they added the unexpected detail that they had taken their recent honeymoon trip in a Porsche, but not just any Porsche. This one had been loaned to them - they were married in Germany - by her uncle, Alois Ruf! Yikes, would they have been surprised if they were to drive my car expecting it to go like a Ruf . . . I said, politely, that my car was not for sale and I thanked them for their enthusiastic interest.
Most people ask, "What year is that car?" or "What is that stuff you are adding to your gas?" (an anti-ethanol additive). These are always openings so that they can chat further about the car, and ask additional questions. I never mind this. The newlywed gave me her card and said to call if I changed my mind. Oh, and he is the Canadian distributor for Ruf's parts, he said. And they wanted my car? Maybe they would have paid a Ruf price for it . . .
You really meet actual Porsche people when you join a Porsche club of some kind. I joined PCA. I say elsewhere on this blog that, basically, the local chapter of such a club is only as good as the people who run it; this is obvious. They are all volunteers, of course, so what demands can you make? Problems arise when people offer their services but then are inclined to ignore what the club needs to run well, but this is another topic for another day. This post will focus on people you find in car clubs, not club functions.
|A normal PCA day, on the islands.|
I've met plenty of friendly, decent, interesting, generous people at PCA events; like any other affinity group, there is a cross-section of the population on offer, with every personality type, and aberration thereof, present and accounted for. I 'talk Porsche' with some of them, while with others this subject seldom comes up, just real-life adventures.
Some brag, some are modest, some have bundles of cash, while plenty of others do not; they are all just ordinary folks. The DIY types trade notes and advice, some others may trade stock tips for all I know, but the main idea is to gain friends and have fun, most often centered around a car that you know, love, and enjoy. A fair number even claim that the Porsche car is superior to every other in some enigmatic way, while others complain about the difficulty they have getting quality service in the region, if they can't do it themselves. In the end they are just a bunch of standard-issue people.
|Doggies are always welcome, too.|
One guy, who frequently points out the expanse of his wealth, said that he enjoys the Porsche club, but that he likes the Ferrari club, too. Therefore, he says that he keeps both a Porsche, and a Ferrari, at each of his homes, one in (a New England state), and the other in Florida. I have never seen any of these four cars, but that is what he says he owns - along with a collection of additional vehicles, and a lot of guns. I haven't any idea if he has more homes, too, but he is a matter-of-fact guy who just tells it as it is. He's not alone.
|Tilt. I had an awkward time getting out of my car at the far left. PCA rally.|
My car is somewhat doddery and it needs its hand held often. Many times the issues are due to aging plastic pieces, but as often aging rubber, electrical gizmos, and tiny metal parts - the big parts are mostly okay. That, and don't forget constant adjustments to every conceivable thing. Another club guy has offered to exchange parts from his car to mine as a diagnostic methodology. If using his part fixes what has gone 'off' on my car, then he will help me to find and install a good used, new, or better part to replace the offending one that has been slowing me down. And, he knows what he is talking about; his car runs like a top.
He's not the only guy I know who will go to great lengths to help solve problems. It's an amazing community. You start with Porsches, but you extend to much else. I imagine that this is true in other car clubs, but I don't know, so I'll blame it on owning a Porsche.
|W. under his car. W. under my car, in the barn.|
Obviously, I am of a certain sort, willing to get my hands dirty now and then, and this winter I'm going to do some body work, along with myriad adjustments. I'll talk to various of my friends when I get puzzled over something. One good, Porsche 'buddy' has even offered me various free parts if I want, and what he offered is worth $$$. Cool.
|C.P. under my car in my new shop. R and P needed repair.|
Nuts and bolts are one thing, but it is the more personal, human connections that I have developed that are most important. I don't think of my Porsche friends in terms of their cars, I think of them as personalities that are valuable and important to me. The Porsche Club of America has the clunky slogan on its website, "It's not the cars, it's the people." Previously the slogan was stated differently as, "It's not just the cars, it's the people." Either way, clunky or not, I finally have to admit that the sentiment is correct. PCA seems to be abandoning this slogan since it is now hard to find in any current PCA publication, but maybe they are working on a better one that expresses the same idea.
Some joke that the slogan should be, "It's just the cars, not the people." They have it wrong. It's not about PCA, either, it's about people connecting because of shared interests, and that's good. Everybody needs as many friends as they can get, and these aren't virtual, they are real. Life is good.