It was just like you said, Le Chef...
Er, no, actually I'm the conflicted guy from back in November who couldn't decide between keeping his ///M Roadster, buying a Boxster and buying a 911. I'm sure there was the notion of an Elise in there somewhere too, but that's the gist of it.
Over the past few months I've grown more and more discontent with my BMW. Despite the low mileage, the car's five years old and has been developing a healthy list of little annoyances. While the brutal power was always fun the handling was never all that much to write home about and I think I am finally starting to outgrow the car's capabilities on the autocross track. I can point to a few specific turns or laps where the car was the weaker link, not me. Despite these frustrations, though, Le Chef's words from that thread back in November were giving me comfort...
Le Chef said: Buy one only when you can't live with the idea of NOT driving one.
All winter long it wasn't too hard to live with the idea of not driving a Porsche.
Then disaster struck. My girlfriend found a buyer for all the "go fast" doodads that she's bolted on to her MX-5, which was the tipping point to push her into buying one of the new MX-5s (which are, unbelievably, quite an improvement over the already peerless first and second generation MX-5s). So, last Saturday saw us cleaning out her old car preparing it for sale and test driving a whole slew of other convertibles so that she could be sure that another MX-5 is what she wanted to buy. We drove that Pontiac thing, tried to drive that Saturn thing, and generally spent the day in a car-looking frenzy. Towards the late afternoon she suggested we take another drive by the local Porsche dealership "just to kill some time before dinner."
Our helpful salesman queued up a 911 and a Boxster so I could drive them back to back to really get a feel for the difference between the cars. I'd driven the 987 before, but my last 911 drive was in a 996. It was the first time I drove a 997. All told we spent about two hours between the two cars. The Boxster was as I remembered -- immediately comfortable and familiar. It was like putting on a tailored shirt. The Boxster just goes where you tell it and I always feel like the car makes me a better driver than I really am. It's quite a gratifying driving experience.
The 911 was a different experience altogether. It didn't immediately feel comfortable, or confidence-inspiring. I didn't feel like the car was helping me to be a better driver. But there was something there...
There's this one road near my house (Old Spicewood North of Mopac, if you're an Austinite). On this one road there's this one corner going up a little hill. I love that corner. After five years of driving the ///M Roadster and I are familiar like an old married couple, particularly on that road in that corner. Just the right turn in point with just the right blip of the throttle and the rear suspension of the ///M settles just perfectly into that corner and the car just hunkers down. When I nail that corner just right the car plants itself perfectly for a surge of acceleration so that coming out of that corner I can really punch it into the straight. It's the greatest feeling in the world.
So there we were, driving through just a random residential neighborhood around just a random, boring, and flat corner. And what the hell if I didn't get that same sort of "planted" feel from the back end of the 911. I wasn't even really pushing it and the car sort of gave me a nudge and let me know that whenever I was ready it was just waiting for me to catch up. It was right then that I totally "got it."
That test drive was on Saturday. By Monday I couldn't live with the idea of not driving one. I wrote the cheque on Tuesday. (pics here)
I've been going on gratuitous drives all week, buying groceries one item at a time, and I'll be gently autocrossing it this Sunday. It's already perfectly clear to me -- this 911 is going to be a rewarding car to learn how to drive properly. I don't think it's going to be easy, but I already know it's going to be worth it.
Thanks again, everyone, for your earlier advice and feedback. Reading through the past and current threads here on Rennteam was both inspirational and informative for me as I dipped my feet into the Porsche world.
'07 Guards Red Carrera S Cab