Who would have thought it, but run­ning a cat is clearly more ex­pen­sive than run­ning a Porsche, as our man Fennelly dis­cov­ers, with just mod­er­ate ex­pen­di­ture over his four-year dal­liance with the Cay­man

911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche -

In early Jan­uary the in­surance re­newal for the Cay­man fell through the let­ter box. Look­ing out the pre­vi­ous year’s doc­u­ments, I found my­self leaf­ing through sev­eral years of Cay­man ser­vice in­voices. Over fifty months and 33,000 miles I added up that, ex­clud­ing in­surance, RFL and MOTS, I had spent a grand to­tal of £2756 on the ju­nior Porsche. Con­sid­er­ing that in­cluded two ser­vices, two in­ter­me­di­ate oil changes, three tyres and £300 odd for a wing mir­ror and hous­ing it struck me once again that Porsche mo­tor­ing does not have to be ex­pen­sive. That’s a third of the rate of ex­pen­di­ture on my 993 which, ad­mit­tedly, was a far older car re­quir­ing more in­ten­sive ser­vic­ing. How­ever, a re­cent poke around while the Croc was on the ramps showed that the (sec­ond) wa­ter cooled gen­er­a­tion is not im­mune to the vi­cis­si­tudes of age­ing: cor­ro­sion around some of the ex­haust pipework is now vis­i­ble and, if not yet life­ex­pired, some of the clips will need re­newal in the next cou­ple of years. There was hap­pily no sign of oil seep­age any­where and the rear brake discs won’t go much be­yond the next MOT, but oth­er­wise I seemed to be in the clear. Then at the front, a dark patch on one of the a/c con­densers re­vealed it­self: these front ra­di­a­tor as­sem­blies are very ex­posed and if al­lowed to fill with de­tri­tus which then re­tains mois­ture, cor­ro­sion sets it. Reg­u­larly clean­ing out these cran­nies, though fid­dly, has avoided the lat­ter, but alas a stone has ev­i­dently punc­tured the ma­trix. The up­shot is that sud­denly I am look­ing at a bill of about £700 for two new a/c ra­di­a­tors (“We nor­mally re­new both sides when we do these, sir”), their var­i­ous pipes and clips, labour and in­creas­ingly costly a/c gas.

Af­ter four years I thought such ex­pen­di­ture was par for the course, but then a larger and to­tally un­re­lated do­mes­tic bill ma­te­ri­alised: our gin­ger cat sud­denly shot through his cat­flap with such speed that the flap dis­in­te­grated, land­ing sev­eral yards away. It was pure Tom & Jerry ex­cept that he was trail­ing blood ev­ery­where. Some­one, pos­si­bly a fox, had had a se­ri­ous go at his tail. Sev­eral vis­its to the vet later in­clud­ing am­pu­ta­tion of his pre­vi­ously rather splen­did tail and we were star­ing at in­voices amount­ing to £1100. This was quite a shock: our hith­erto low-main­te­nance mog has re­quired only love, food and a sofa or prefer­ably lap to sleep on. It cer­tainly put the cost of run­ning the Croc into per­spec­tive.

I must have been pre­oc­cu­pied by this dis­tress­ing episode when I climbed into the Cay­man not hav­ing used it for a fort­night or so. Af­ter ten min­utes, I re­alised I my gloom was be­gin­ning to lift and it took a mo­ment to re­alise this was the well-known Porsche dopamine ef­fect. The re­sponse of the steer­ing, the en­gine, the pre­ci­sion of the shift and the con­trol weights, the er­gonomics – that com­bi­na­tion of dy­namic virtues you miss driv­ing other cars and a re­minder of why I al­ways take the Cay­man in pref­er­ence. I was in­ter­ested to read re­cently in the Au­to­car that An­drew Frankel could find only one ‘sub­stan­tive’crit­i­cism of the 991, namely that, sat­is­fy­ing though it is, “you have to be push­ing (very) hard be­fore it will do what it does best.” You could say that of all mod­ern Porsches, but at least with a Cay­man, there is plenty of ex­cite­ment to be had lower down the regis­ter. Although it is clearly not in the Ex­ige class, it does feel like a sports car at quite le­gal speeds, an ex­pe­ri­ence I in­dulged fully again the other week cut­ting across Lam­bourn Downs en route for Glouces­ter rather than the con­ven­tional M4-A417. It took longer and the roads were in­ter­mit­tently mucky, but you can’t put a price on the joy of tack­ling such a va­ri­ety of bends, hills, dips and short and long straights with al­most no other traf­fic. Go­ing the longer way doesn’t al­ways work, but more of­ten than not, with the Cay­man I have fun.

The in­ten­tions for 2018 will as ever be just that, nec­es­sary trav­els, but mak­ing some­thing of the jour­ney, too: Al­sace on the routes dé­parte­men­tales be­fore Easter and south­ern Ger­many in the sum­mer, plus a cou­ple of track days to name the ma­jor fix­tures. The only de­vel­op­ment that could bring a fifth happy year with this Croc to a pre­ma­ture end is 981-itis, which I have had for some time: this wors­ened con­sid­er­ably af­ter an af­ter­noon in a Cay­man 2.7 981. Although it looks so sim­i­lar to the 987, re­sponse, en­gine and cabin fin­ish are in an­other class; then Mr Seume did what I had done in 2013 and swapped his air cooled El Chu­cho for a Cay­man 981. Once again I was scru­ti­n­is­ing the clas­si­fieds to see just what I’d have to spend. Per­haps though I’d bet­ter wait to see what Mr Mog’s in­surance pre­mium is go­ing to cost next time round… PW

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