Think of a sportscar and within the first few guesses I’m sure you’ll chance upon the Porsche 911. We’re big fans of the Porsche marque and the 911 in particular. Aircooled, watercooled, Mezger-engined, lightweight, they’re available in a number of different flavors. Turn the clock back maybe three years and things were a little different.
I had known of Porsche from the time I was a child, and growing up in the ‘90s, I had my fair share of 996 scale models to play with. Even into the early 2000s, the newest was the best. I remember the launch of the 997 and the subsequent model deviations within the lineup, but I was still too removed from the marque. I remember a high school friend taking me for a ride in his father’s beautiful 997 Carrera S and yet, while I appreciated the “sportscarness” of it, I just didn’t fully appreciate what Porsche stood for.
At the end of my first day as an intern at Crank and Piston, I remember walking away from the building, only to turn around and watch Phil drive away in his yellow 993 RS, the raspy flat-6 tone acting as it’s calling card. I had begun to hear the term “aircooled” more frequently, but still didn’t know what it stood for and why people across the globe were suddenly going gaga over these machines from Stuttgart.
I kept seeking information, but what I made up in knowledge, I was lacking in pure sensory experience. It took a very spirited drive in a 2.7 RS with Assyl for me to “get it,” which may explain why I felt it necessary to express myself in words and put them into a story, which ended up on Petrolicious and also formed the very basis of the Bandit.
As I continued to read up on the rich motorsport heritage behind the brand, a deep affinity developed, which further cemented itself during my visit to Benton Performance and the PECLA. Suddenly, I was contorting my neck to catch a view of any Porsche, while other marques received less attention.
I definitely preferred the aircooled cars to the watercooled ones, but as in all things, a good measure of reality and practicality take effect. With early longhoods changing hands for six figures(!!!), and a certain lack of patience on my part, they were out of my consideration. The 993s and the 964s, while very capable, just somehow never appealed to me aesthetically.
Bang in the middle of the entire 911 lineup, lies the G-series era. Starting out with a 2.7 liter flat six in 1974 and growing to 3.2 liters by 1989, the cars are known best for their impact bumpers. Plagued by emissions equipment that was hastily added on in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis and new DOT regulations, the cars never received the admiration that they deserved.
I dove in head first into finding out everything I could about this generation of 911 and after months of reading, I arrived at the conclusion that the perfect car for me would be the 1978-1983 Porsche 911 SC. The search then began for a suitable candidate, which I found in Idaho, in a pleasant burgundy hue, known as Wine Red Metallic. Built in 1982 and since given a black leather interior, it was exactly what I was looking for. The car eventually made its way to Los Angeles and I’ve been enjoying her ever since.
As in the case of any classic car, the story has a lot more to it. Getting used to the 915 5-speed gearbox took a little time, along with the relatively small size of the SC and the minute quirks that come with a car of this age. She has required mechanical attention from time to time, for which she has been in the capable hands of the team at Benton Performance. The learning curve was steep and my senses had to be recalibrated, sometimes in a slightly violent fashion.
However, I’ve come to appreciate a number of things. The SCs are relatively reliable cars, with the 3.0-liter powerplants being rather robust if maintained well. Sure, 180 hp doesn’t sound like much, but in a light 1980s sportscar, its more than enough, I assure you. Get the downshift right, blip the throttle and bury your foot into the floor-hinged accelerator pedal – the resultant scream is better than going to the opera, at least in my opinion. These cars were also relatively simple, and my confidence has increased incrementally as I took up small projects to get the SC to match my vision of her.
Every ride is an adventure. The sound of the exhaust in your ears, the sight of the two front fenders allowing you to place the car within a lane, the fact that you will end up perfumed with a pleasant combination of leather and motor oil every time you drive, regardless of how much cologne you sprayed that morning. All these factors combine to create a fully involved experience, which is one I have come to love.
While I could go on about the car, I will also mention that the people I have met in the Porsche community have been nothing but fantastic. A friendly, more enthusiastic bunch is hard to find, and while I’m sure that there are those who support the “Porsche owner stereotype”, I’m glad to say that I haven’t met them yet.
As I write this, my bags are packed, as I get ready to embark on Wein11’s longest trip to date. We’re going up to the Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey tomorrow morning, and to say I’m excited is an understatement. Before I left however, I thought it only right to give you a brief introduction to the Banditmobile.
Catch you on the flip side!
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