A year in the life of an air-cooled icon with Covid restricting movement

Much like Kotto and his TVR, my dream car has always been an old 911 and I was determined to own one before my 40th birthday. Also like Kotto, when the pandemic hit I realised life is too short and I didn't want to wait anymore, so I bit the bullet and never looked back.

I could see that prices were on the rise, but I didn't want to compromise by going down the Boxster/entry level (e.g. 996) route as I knew that they would only be a temporary stop gap, so a 964 became the aim, but eventually the 993 won me over. I appreciate the classic looking front of the 964, but the other views - especially the teardrop rear end - really does it for me on the 993, and something about it being the last of the air-cooled era also makes it all the more special. Over time the 993 nose has even dislodged the 964 in my affections, especially once you start to recognise the heavy 959 influence.

There were some musts on my list; black interior, 6 manual transmission, Carrera, and only certain colours interested me. This list of requirements narrowed the search down somewhat (it seems that silver was a very popular colour for the 993 but for me it just doesn't show it off). I wasn't after a low mileage one as I knew it would be a car I wanted to drive and not be concerned about piling the miles on. So far, the 993 has been absolutely everything I hoped for - the build quality is phenomenal and it feels so much fresher than 26 years old! It does have some gravel rash on the front, I am certain if I had the front end painted it would get damaged on my way back from the painters

Usually at this time of year I'd be making my way over to Spa-Francorchamps for my annual pilgrimage, but with everything going on beggars can't be choosers, so instead I've made the most of the show season. Right now I'm just grateful to be out and about in the car again - I love walking up the garage at some ungodly hour in the morning, keys in hand, knowing there's a road trip ahead of me and the chance to see some other exceptional cars. It really gets the pulse racing. The year kicked off with an invitation gathering at my detailers - Artisan Automotive. A collection of racing Lamborghinis was in attendance, but what caught my eye most was a 50th anniversary 911 with the Houndstooth interior! People were very complimentary of the 993, I know I’m biased but it really is a beautiful car.

Next up was something different - a night cruise through London organised by the Car Cartel. The 993 slotted in between an Escort RS Cosworth and a Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2, what a sight the trio made! June saw me attend the Bicester Heritage Scramble, where I saw my some good friends and exchanged car related gifts. It reminded me these events aren’t just about cars, they are about the people also and this is something I treasure about them. Well, they're almost as important as the line-up of four 964 RS in various rare colours I came across!

Into July we made the most of the Air Cooled Appreciation Society (ACAS) weekend at my second home - Caffeine & Machine - where the photo is from. I try to attend the monthly Wednesday evening ACAS meet (usually bumping into my good friend Max), but when the opportunity came for a whole weekend worth of Air Cooled goodness…we were totally there and we even stayed the night. I ensured we had my favourite room which looks out to the yard…it’s not often I get to look at a Speed Yellow 993 RS from a bedroom. My partner Charlotte is long suffering in this respect and I have to say I thoroughly appreciate how supportive she is in my “habit”. I did get her a new Porsche themed jumper for it, it ain’t all bad right?

In-between all this, the 993 hasn't missed a beat. Over winter it received its usual hibernation treatment - trickle charger and regular start-ups ensuring I employ the fuel pump relay trick. In August the MOT ran out but that was due to my fastidiousness - you'll recall the month was somewhat of a washout and I kept postponing for a drier day. The upcoming Oilcooled21 however forced my hand, and the day before the 993 was put through the tester's paces. I didn’t expect any dramas with it, but you never know with a 26 year old car hey? It was observed that the alternator belt was a tad worn….10 minutes later and it had gone in the workshop! I think I got lucky as I always carry a spare, and where better for it to go?!

It's not hard to see I'm a bona-fide Porsche nut, and one of the things I enjoy collecting is Porsche memorabilia. Oilcooled21 might have been a damp day (serves me right for not taking the car for its MOT in the rain) but it couldn't dampen my spirits. In attendance was a 964 RS 3.8 & a 1 of 1 Signal Green 993 RS Club Sport. Also there was my dream 993 RS in Riviera Blue, owned by my friend James. It really is a thing of beauty, and I had the privilege of being a passenger around Donnington at the Supercar Driver secret event a few weeks prior. Whilst there I acquired a press pack and an ultra rare Porsche Design Orfina watch….the first one, the Top Gun one. But that’s a story for another time.

I know I haven't talked too much driving about the car itself - the exceptional road-holding and steering feedback, great touring ability, compact dimensions and oh-so-sweet flat six rumble. But after everything that's happened, it's important to remember that fellow enthusiasts are just as important to car culture as the open road and a wide open throttle. Stay safe & happy out there.

Dr. George Smith