Here’s the thing,
I’ve been thinking about something off and on for about a year now, ever since I went out and bought my Porsche 944. And that is the state of being a fanboy of certain cars, certain manufacturers, what have you. Growing up, I wasn’t much of a fanboy. I of course defended the car I owned at the time because, well, it was my car. I didn’t want people talking crap about what I drove. However, everything changed once I decided to buy my 2007 Chrysler 300 Touring. It had a 3.5L V6, was RWD as well as big and roomy. What else could you want (besides more power of course, I still kick myself for not getting the HEMI)?
Once I started really driving it, getting used to it, cleaning it, and just in general getting close to my car, I noticed that I started developing a love for Mopar vehicles. I wouldn’t give any other kinds of cars the light of day, whether it be European or anything JDM. I wasn’t having it. I specifically remember telling my wife that I would never, ever, own another Asian car again. And I hadn’t even considered any European cars at all
And then, of course everything change. It was not by my choice however. My wife had to go to school for two months, and I had to take my kid to daycare. So naturally, once my wife came back, my kid still wanted to go to daycare. And seeing as how I have to be up at the ass crack of dawn to go run and do pushups and stupid stuff like that, we needed a second car so my wife could drop her off.
I had a roommate at the time, a fellow car guy, and he had told me how he was looking at a Porsche 944. I just wanted to check it out, because I had my heart set on a (again, Mopar colored glasses) Dodge Stratus R/T. I saw the 944, absolutely loved the shape, and I immediately started seeing anything from the 80’s with rose colored glasses because of my first car. So, I decided while looking for a Stratus, to look at 944’s as well. I looked at 928’s, and 924’s, but I loved the 944. Eventually I found one I was happy with. Really, what caught my attention was the guy had bought a cup holder that would fit in the car and I saw it in the pictures. So I figured this guy had probably drove it a bit and showed it some love. And he did. He had replaced a laundry list of parts, but only drove it 200 miles in the past year. So I went to test drive it, and immediately fell in love. So I bought it, and paid 2900 all in twenties for the thing (good thing he worked at a bank).
I named her Rosie.
But at the same time it felt… strange. The 944 was the first car I had ever purchased solely with my money, solely for myself. Everything just clicked, everything felt right. Everything from how I sat in it, to how they designed the center console perfectly to have your arm rest on it when you weren’t shifting so that your hand didn’t rest on the shifter. My wife loved to remind me all the time how I used to say, “Mopar or no car huh?”, and I always felt like a dumbass. Because in all honesty, being a fanboy to a degree of shunning all other vehicles is kind of like being a bigot towards cars just because they aren’t a Chrysler, Ford, or Honda. All cars have something to offer, you just have to be willing to really look.
For example, let’s take a look at my 1986 Porsche 944. It was my first RWD car with a 5 speed attached to it, so I learned the amazing feeling of being able really control my car. It was really just meant as a car for me to drive, but I bought it before I really understood it. I didn’t know it had a transaxle, I didn’t know that transaxle was in the back, hell at the time I didn’t even know what a transaxle was. I had to look it up. I was still sort of in the mindset of “It’s not a Mopar, so it’s just some car I’ll drive.” It was just some car I drove, until I started driving it more, and more. Within a month it had over 1000 miles on it, I just loved driving the damn thing. Now, to get to my point, the clutch started screwing up. Eventually I found out the transmission was perfectly fine, great even. The clutch grabbed fine, granted it slipped a little at maximum torque, but the culprit was the pilot bearing. What I didn’t know, and what the previous owner didn’t know, was that the clutch in it was a good 20 years old. And whoever did the last job, only replaced the disc and pressure plate. Everything else was old and chewed up, and the flywheel had never been resurfaced. So my point here is even though I just bought it to be just another car, I ended up seeing it more for what it was. I saw it as a sports car, an amazingly balanced RWD car, and more importantly, a German car. When I was looking for a clutch kit, I realized that I wasn’t just messing with another car, I was messing with a Porsche. That’s because the clutch kit ran me 800 dollars. Ouch.
It wasn’t until after I dropped the transmission, the torque tube, struggled getting the bell housing off, and I bought the clutch kit that I realized: I cannot just jump into a car and hope for the best. I can’t just shrug off not knowing about a car before I buy it. And in order to really learn about a car, you can’t just write it off and not be interested in learning what makes it move. Honestly before I started working on my car, I didn’t know truly how a clutch truly operated. Now I do, along with knowing how it works with the rest of the car. I know exactly how the transmission works, including the gearbox, and how everything moves together. I didn’t know what an interference engine was, and honestly if I had when I was looking at a car to buy, I wouldn’t have bought my Porsche. Timing belt change every 30,000 miles? Come on, that is just sadistic.
Along with me trying to figure out exactly how everything worked, because there was a lot of mystery to the car, I ended up getting a few vehicle reports. Through these reports I had found out my car was originally built in West Germany (just think about it, my car was built in Germany during the cold war, that’s just crazy cool. Even with all that stuff going on they still managed to build amazing cars). It was also sold in California, had a ton of miles put on it quick, then sold at auction in Arizona. And then through the years it eventually made its way to me, in Virginia.
I would say that my refusal to really allow myself to be interested in cars, other than the ones I was all obsessed with, led me to arrogantly purchasing a car I knew nothing about. And I paid for it in more than one way. But, because of this car I learned how to do a clutch job, rebuild an entire brake system, take apart a fuel system, drop a transmission safely, and even drop a rear suspension. So even though I bought it for the wrong reasons, I’m keeping it for the right ones. I’m going to fix it up right, throw it around a track, and keep it in great fighting shape. If there is one thing buying the wrong car taught me, it’s to always keep an open mind, and allow yourself to like a car outside of your comfort zone. You might be surprised, and you might have quite a unique story to tell.
And, that’s the thing that’s been on my mind.