It finally happened. I am a Porsche 911 man now. Shit.
For many years I felt nothing more than a distant respect for the famed rear-engine sports car; a kind of quiet and reserved admiration for its heritage, motorsports legacy and performance, but little more. It was never a car I myself strongly desired to own. Then I spent a week in that 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, the longest amount of time I’ve spent in any new 911. And now I get it.
Allow me to explain. In many ways the things that make the 911 good are what make it such an obvious, popular choice—a Mazda Miata for people who aren’t broke. They’re good cars! They’re very good cars. They’re just common and everywhere and, to a degree, even basic.
Most 911s are good drives, no matter when they’re from. But I never found the majority of them to be compellingly interesting cars, save for the crazy restorations by Singer or RWB or Accumoto and others.
And then there’s the owners. Don’t get me wrong, most of the ones I’ve met are very nice people and true car enthusiasts, more so than probably most exotic owners. But my god, some of them are insufferable. Especially the air-cooled people. To them the 911 isn’t just the best car, it’s the only car, and at the drop of a hat they will go on an on about how hard it is to match their houndstooth jackets to their interiors and how aftermarket wheels ruin 993s and did you see the latest ‘Ring video? And how Safaris are out and Speedster conversions are where it’s really at and how, you know, the latest PDK shaved a 10th of a 10th off the old zero to 60 mph time on the new Carrera S so how bad can it be, all while sipping coffee out of their Porsche-branded thermoses.
They all deeply indulge in the fact that every fourth Petrolicious video is about them and their ~*special*~ car, and why does it matter that they’re always rich guys in Los Angeles?
We get it, you own a 911! And it’s good! Shut up already!
Jalopnik’s own Reviews Editor, Andrew Collins, concurs with my opinion—to a point.
“Part of me wants to hate 911s just because,” he said, “but every time I drive one I’m like... goddammit.”
And there’s the problem. Or at least, my problem. When you drive one for more than even a little bit, you get it. You get what happens when a company spends five decades evolving the same car to be the best it can be. You get that unlike most sports cars it’s decently practical, and easily daily driven.
You get the advantages of a short front end with an engine in the back, propelling you toward your future hopes and dreams. You get how fast and balanced and good in the corners they are. You start to wonder why nearly all cars have their engines up front, and you think that’s kind of bullshit, maybe? And you think that maybe there’s worse things in the world than a dedicated community around a car like this one.
The competitors—the F-Types, the AMG GTs, the M-cars—they all start to feel not quite. Like pretenders. That Aston Martin DB11 we drove a while back? Kristen Lee loved it, but to me it didn’t have a damn thing on the Turbo S Cab, and the Porsche was $60,000 cheaper. You realize those thermos-toting jokers are on to something. They were right all along.
You become a 911 person, as I did.
But then I get to the other problem: I still can’t afford to be a real 911 man. I can be one in spirit, but not in reality. There are no cheap 911s. Not the way there’s cheap Miatas or Mustangs or Mercedes-Benzes or even BMW M3s. The air-cooled ones are better investments than houses or gold, now. The early water-cooled 996s aren’t bad, but they have complicated problems. Hell, they’re all on the expensive end of things when it comes to maintenance.
Until then I must remain a 911 man on the inside only. I must get the branded polo shirts and the Porsche Design sunglasses. I must have the jackets and the thermoses. I am getting a tattoo of Patrick Dempsey’s face on my own face. I will be at the Rennsport Reunion. I have strong opinions about the Boxster.
I am a 911 man now. This is bad.