Anyone still out there?

Wow.  It’s been a loooong time.  Just so you know, I’m still here.  I’ve had a hellacious year, in 2014, with a giant amount of change.  My role at work took a left turn right around my birthday, after running a a successful internship for two very talented interns.  What followed was a really tumultuous 4th quarter that had me stepping out of my role gradually, and onto a bigger stage.  When the dust settled, and the year turned over, I had given up a lot of the 24/7/365, customer-facing duties so that I could focus on the big projects, the big picture stuff that had moved the company in new and big ways.

What else has happened in the interim?  Oh, we took a trip to Disneyland, with the whole family, which was a ton of fun.  Experiencing the Happiest Place on Earth through a 3 year old’s eyes is a completely different experience, and was unbelievably hilarious.  It was the first time I had been to California adventures, which was better than I had thought.  It was my first time staying at Disney Resort – that was fantastic!  They really do it right, I tell ya.  Not only do you never have to leave (Michael and I had a great steak dinner at Steakhouse 55), but you also get an extra hour prior to everyone else entering the park, and they have pretty nice rooms and great service.  If you have kids, I fully recommend it, especially since naptime is like … 1/4 shorter if you stay on the property.

Mom sold her house.  I took a trip up to clean out my stuff, and clean out some of the house.  It was super sad.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Finally, I got a new car (FINALLY).  It’s been an odyssey, I tell ya.  Maybe 2 or 3 years ago, I had thought about buying something, but couldn’t figure out what I wanted.  On one hand, buying the next step up (like a larger sedan with a bigger engine) seemed like the logical choice.  But that was also the most boring, and lowest intrinsic ROI option too.  It was like my continued search for my next driver – if the magnitude of out-performance between a new club vs. my current club is only incremental, why spend the money?  Almost every car I looked at in my budget fit into this trope: a sensible, incremental upgrade that was faster, bigger, and more boring.

It started to get kind of silly.  At one point, I had convinced myself that if I was going to go boring, I should at least go ridiculous.  Cadillac had discontinued making their CTS-V Wagon, which was a station wagon with their supercharged Corvette engine in it, generating over 500 hp, and did 0-60 in ~5 seconds.  You could find some of these used, though, as time went on, the hipsters bid the prices up.  Nothing like being able to fit a fridge AND beat the next guy off the line.  Then, just to be silly, I expanded my search to foreign cars, exotics, and the ultra-luxury class.  I could get 20 year old Rolls Royces and Bentleys well inside my budget – like $15k inside my budget! – that were in good shape, but got sub-10 MPG and were maintenance money pits.  Anytime you can get a corded phone and enough space to fit 17 bodies in the trunk, though, you have to at least give it a thought, right?  Audis, Benzes, and BMWs were good driving, if boring, cars (and, frankly, my experience tells me that owners of BMWs, MBs, and Audis are famously douchebags, in general (or old Asian people)).

This went round and round for years.  I’d get excited about a car, look into it more, and get bored.  Finally, Michael sent me a Jalopnik article the top sports cars selling for reasonable prices on E-bay.  There were some classic cars and beaten up Italian exotics on the list … and a 2008 Cayman.  It never occurred to me to look at Porsche; I had just assumed that they were out of my price range, like Ferrari’s and Aston Martins et al.  Lo and behold, used Boxter and Caymans both were well inside my price range!  That set off a 3 month research sprint about Porsches.  Guided by Michael (who was an invaluable resource with regards to pitfalls and things to look out for when buying a Porsche), Rennlist, and Planet 9, two Porsche specific forums, I identified all the things I’d need to look out for, all the specifics about the options I was looking for, and the version of the engine I wanted.  I was hunkered down for a long search; all indication was that to find what you wanted sometimes took 18-24 months on the used market.

Sometimes, you just get lucky.  One of the first cars that I looked at was a Guards Red Cayman S with less than 11,000 miles.  It had most of the options I wanted, and sport bucket seats to boot (which are terribly expensive as an aftermarket option because of the special airbags and wiring they require).  I kept looking, but nothing I could find could come close to the combo of miles, options, and price.  There really just aren’t many gen II Cayman Ss on the market.

It was a deal that almost didn’t happen.  I went back and forth with the seller, was scheduled to go out to California (where the car was) on one weekend, but the seller cancelled last minute.  I nearly gave up, thinking that some things are meant to be, and some things aren’t.  But finally, the stars aligned, and I was able to get out to Camarillo to get the car looked at by a mechanic.  It was in great shape, and the exterior/interior shape was great, 9/10.  Two weeks later, after squaring away financing, I drove the car back to Vegas, enjoying a 350 mile drive in a super fun mid engine sports car that connected me to my familial automotive past.  I wrote on Facebook:

Things have a funny way of working out. When I embarked on a car buying endeavor, I set a budget and looked at a bunch of cars. Some were sensible, some were ridiculous good (CTS-V Wagon, yo), some were ridiculous bad (1984 black Bentley Arnage with a corded phone in the center console, anyone?), and others weren’t in my price range. Sometimes, life happens as you intend, and others, coincidence or fate plop you down in a place you didn’t think you’d get to.

Such was the case this weekend. It struck me that what was simply the best cost to value car I could find one day, suddenly is more significant to me, on Father’s day weekend.

One of my father’s passions was his Porsches. He owned 2 to my recollection, a black convertible 911, and a gun metal/ metallic blue/green Carerra C4S. He loved those cars dearly, and though he never got to drive them nearly as much as he would have liked, they were some of the things he took the best care of in his life, and one of the things he did purely for himself. That’s significant, because I have many recollections of my father, but very few of things he did selfishly.

My mother passed that C4S on to Michael, my brother, when he graduated from business school, and he, like my father, has cherished that car. He has installed some racing parts, and has carted it across the country, from Los Angeles to Baltimore; it’ll come back to the west coast with him when he makes it back here some day. Like my father, he doesn’t get to drive it as much as he’d like, but also like my father, he has turned into a (sometimes) selfless, (mostly) generous man. And this is not to mention my Uncle Gerry, a collector of vintage Porsches, and who’s love of Porsche is so deep, he opened a store in Vancouver to support his passion!

Becoming a part of that continuum isn’t what I set out to do, but is something I arrived at anyways. I think the car I ended up choosing – a Cayman, Porsche’s mid engine coupe – is more than a little coincidental. If they are the iconic originals, I hope that maybe I am the new blood, the untraditional, the one who takes a longstanding heritage, and makes it something different, but just as good.

Happy Father’s Day, to my father and all father’s out there; I hope you did something selfish this weekend.

It was like I had joined a club I didn’t know I wanted to be a part of.  Family friends who had known my father well and family members who knew him and his love of his Porsches reached out, reminisced, and congratulated me.  It was a little cathartic, to somehow, posthumously, get a little closer to my dad.
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Anyways, this saga has been long enough.  I’ll try to update more this year.

 

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