When you spend your workweek with Porsche owners and enthusiasts you begin to become curious about what story each car has. At least I do. I’ve never regretted asking a fellow enthusiast how they happened to come upon their car. Sometimes the answer is something simple like: “I saw it on the dealer’s lot and bought it”. Other times, the stories are happy stories of how someone saved for many years and always wanted to buy their dream car – which they now have. Occasionally, the stories tug at the heart strings – a loved one passed and the car was left to the current owner. I still haven’t heard two stories that were exactly alike.
The takeaway, of course, is the meaning that each car has to the owner. No matter what brand or type of car it is – you never know how hard someone had to work for it, or what significance it had to them. Mostly though, the machine is an artifact of a happy past. A time machine if you will. A treasured object.
I was reminded of this recently when my dear wife got a door ding in our Cayenne at a shopping center. We had sent it out to our favorite body shop to have some of the years of wear on the paintwork corrected and a few small, dreaded rust spots repaired. It was gone for quite some time while the work was done and returned looking new. She was driving our Loaner car in the interim and missed out on a good portion of the winter without what we consider to be the perfect tool for winter driving. Our old Cayenne Turbo S is still the workhorse of the fleet and has served us faithfully for many years. I felt as if someone had hurt the cowgirl’s favorite horse.
As her automotive story goes – she came home grumbling about the ding just a week out of the body shop. I sympathized – of course. I began to think – I’ll bet the person who put that ding in our door didn’t even know that we had it in the body shop for weeks! They probably didn’t. Why would they? As a lifelong car enthusiast, I have always opened my door carefully and tried not to ding the cars of others – maybe because I’ve been the recipient of the odd door ding, but also because I’ve seen many cars over my automotive tenure and have heard so many stories about how much cars mean to some people. I’ve always considered it a courtesy. A tip of the hat. I was reminded of this during our trip to Amelia Island this spring.
Near the event, we stopped in at a grocery store and there was a young man in his 20’s driving a yellow Saab 99 EMS through the parking lot. Some of you will know what I’m referring to – and others may not want to know. Anyway, I had a Saab 99 Turbo back in college and loved it. It was my dream car at thetime, and I have many great memories associated with it.
In a sea full of six to seven figure cars, I saw this kid and yelled out “Hey! Nice Car!”
You’ve never seen someone with a wider smile. I guess it meant a lot to him too. For me, it was 1992 for a split second and lots of good memories came rushing back.
After we parked, I opened the door carefully as usual.
I’m not going to be the guy to ding someone’s time machine.