Paul Davies reckons he’s got something in common with the frenetic piano-playing rocker Jerry Lee Lewis. There’s also a bit about his Carrera 3.2, just in case you thought he was losing the plot
Thanks for that email to contributors requesting words about their cars for the next issue. You commented that there might not be much to report on account of winter’s grip but, perhaps, we could outline the status quo.
Despair set in, was there anything to say? The Carrera 3.2 has been sitting in the, unfortunately not heated, motor house since early December wrapped up in its rather faded soft cover (a Christmas present for the 912 over 15 years ago) with the Battery Fighter plugged in maintaining a healthy charge. The odometer reveals that since this time last year an embarrassingly few miles have rolled away under the Avons.
No fast trips on holiday to France or Spain or scenic runs through the Welsh mountains to liven Porsche motoring in 2017; just some regular short trips to blow away the cobwebs, a service at Jaz Porsche and a replacement silencer. In all a somewhat mundane year for my pride and joy.
Then, Steve, I opened last issue and realised just how vital my car had become to everybody’s favourite Porsche publication. Just like the old rocker, Jerry Lee Lewis himself, we were The Last Man Standing. (Please excuse the grammar there but referring to a person and a car as ‘Last Men’ doesn’t sound right in this situation – I’m trying to get a point over.)
Keith Seume’s the reason for all this. The Classic Porsche editor confessed he’s ditched El Chucho in favour of a Cayman. Keith’s sell-out to water means, unless someone changes vehicle pretty quickly or Peter Simpson finishes his 356, that Yours Truly now has the only operational air-cooled Porsche on the fleet ( In the UK at least, Paul. There’s still 911&PW’S North American Correspondent, Matt Stone, with his Carrera 3.2 in LA. Ed). Just like Jerry Lee I’m in a very special place.
For our younger readers, Jerry Lee Lewis has the distinction of being the only remaining member of the original Sun Studios recording giants, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. In 2006 ‘The Killer’ as he was also known produced an album titled ‘Last Man Standing’ along with a host of more modern stars.
Now back to Porsche. Sorry, Steve, I can’t reveal plans for 2018 but with the Carrera 3.2 now standing alone I think it right to remind everyone just why I love mine. To quote another but younger than Jerry Lee rocker, Ian Dury, they’re my ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’. One: Sound Select third gear in the Carrera, floor the throttle and wait for the noise to sink in as speed climbs to the legal limit and beyond. A friend once described it as kicking a dustbin over. Sounds unkind, but I know what he means. No other car delivers that six-pot, horizontally opposed, crescendo. Two: Driveability Still in third gear, take any ‘fun’ road and you’ll find there’s little need to do much cog- swapping. Power flows seemingly endlessly and you can easily forget you’re driving a car that’s at least thirty years old. The power output is modest by modern Porsche standards but it could be a lot more. Three: Control Yes, there’s no power steering with a 3.2, and parking can sometimes be a bit of a wrestling match, but once you’re rolling you’re in another world. No assistance required, most certainly not of the electrical kind. It’s so precise. Four: Cockpit The Recaro seats hold firm, no ‘numb bum’ even on the longest journey. The dials are right in front, rev counter not speedo to the centre, The perfect driving position was invented in 1963. Note with satisfaction how the tacho and speedo needles are in harmony in top gear. Five: Gearshift No need to look for the lever knob, it’s just where it should be. Spring-loading moves the hand intuitively from one cog to another. The G50 ’box is lightest, but the earlier 915 can be a revelation when properly sorted. Six: Smile. Leave the daily-driver behind. Fire up the Porsche and head for the open road. Whatever a day it’s been, you’ll be smiling.
I know, it all sounds idyllic and we know there’s a traffic queue around the next corner. But with the coat of arms of Stuttgart on that front lid and air-cooled precision hanging out in the tail, there’s no better place to be. Yours, with a blast of cooling air, Paul. PW