The New Yorker who saved for 22 years to buy a classic Porsche 911
The US Navy veteran treated himself to his dream car upon retirement
Man wearing glasses sitting on bonnet of classic Porsche 911
Hector Espinal spent 22 years in the US Navy. His retiring gift to himself? A classic Porsche 911, which he lovingly restored
Hector Espinal has a special bond with his Porsche 911, a car he bought after retiring from the US Navy. The New Yorker – born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC, Hector has always been fascinated by cars, collecting automotive magazines and dreaming of buying a classic 911 of his own one day. A dream that would one day come true. Today, Hector’s Porsche 911 is not just a car, but an embodiment of his life’s journey – one where the connection between driver, machine and the open road is both raw and very real.The dream of buying a Porsche 911Hector, known as Tito by friends and family, served in the US Navy for 22 years. His Porsche 911 was a retirement gift to himself. Today, it’s a timeless treasure that he lovingly restores. “I’m that Brooklyn kid who chased a dream and then, quite literally, drove it,” says Hector. “When I was younger, I’d lose myself in Car and Driver magazine – not just for the pictures but for the stories. Those pages fuelled my ambition, and I said to myself: ‘One day, this 911 will be yours.’ And now, here we are. I’m very grateful.”For Hector, the charm of the 911 lies in its silhouette. “It’s one of a kind. People often throw me the thumbs up when I drive by,” he says. “Some of the best days I’ve had were spent wandering around the Porsche section at motor shows, looking at the lines and curves of the cars. It’s that rear fender that really gets people going and makes them feel emotional.”
Man wearing sunglasses sitting in classic Porsche 911, door open
Hector’s Porsche dream, like many, started with a poster he put up on his wall as a kid. Today, he owns a classic 911 (type G-Series) of his own | PHOTO: Joshua Espinal
The joy of owning a manual 911Hector says that he wouldn’t switch his classic Porsche 911 – a type G-Series model from 1986 – for the world. “I like the smell of oil, of petrol and the tactile feedback,” he says of his car’s manual gearbox. “It’s a 1986 model, complete with the original 915 gearbox. This car demands my full attention. There’s no digital intervention. No traction control, no state-of-the-art gadgets, no power steering. When you’re behind the wheel, you merge with the car. It’s just you, your skills and the open road. No excuses.”As well as the joy of driving, Hector relishes the hands-on experience of maintaining his 911, relying on expertise and plenty of intuition to keep the car in good shape. “Cars have been a lifelong passion of mine and I’ve always done my own work on them,” says Hector. “I may not be able to do anything crazy, but I learned the basics from my stepfather and the guys I grew up with. Over time, fixing cars became a passion. I can handle a wrench here and there.”
White Porsche 911 (type G-series) parked on New York street
Every detail of Hector’s Porsche has been meticulously thought through, from its body colour to the red Pegasus on the passenger side front wing
Why choose a 911?When you buy a classic Porsche 911, it’s the stories that build up around it that help give the car its particular character, says Hector. He’s the third owner of the car, which first arrived on US shores in 1985, where it was registered in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It has remained in the tri-state area of the US – the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – ever since. A particular curio when Hector purchased his 911 is that it came with an old logbook kept by its original owners in which they recorded fuel prices and mileage for every year. “We’re talking a full tank of gas for $12 in 1985,” says Hector. “It’s pretty cool to own this little piece of history. It feels like being in a time capsule every time I get into my car.”For Hector, it was important to buy the kind of car he could make his own. Over time, the Porsche has become an extension of his creativity and style. “I think my car represents me a lot,” explains Hector. “I’ve always been told that people are drawn to me when I walk into a room. And what does the 911 do when it appears? That’s right – it attracts people! Everyone looks. I’d say I have good energy and a story to tell. And that’s what the 911 is all about. It’s got a remarkable story and people love the authenticity. And you can still smell its original leather! I love that.”
Close-up of wooden Porsche 911 steering wheel with Porsche crest
“It still smells like Germany in here,” says Hector of the original leather in the interior of his 911. It’s details like these that make him feel intimately connected to his car | PHOTO: Joshua Espinal
Caring for a classic Porsche 911Since he bought the car in 2018, Hector has been restoring it bit by bit, replacing old parts as they wear out. He also sometimes takes it to local car shows where he likes to talk about its technology and fittings and where he gets to meet new people. “My 911 gets me into circles that no other car would ever get me into,” says Hector. “Because of Instagram and the following I have in the community, I get invited to places all the time and meet great people.”The Porsche community has helped Hector in more ways than one. From friendly advice on where to get the best car parts to tips on how to fix his 911, Hector has found it easier to rely on their help and insight than trying to figure it all out himself.Why the Porsche 911 is the perfect car for a road tripHector now works as a security consultant for the US Department of Defense and takes his car on his work trips, most recently a seven-hour drive down to Hampton Roads, on the Virginia coast. Hector loves to travel – and his 911 is a steadfast and faithful companion. “I go upstate a lot,” he says of his trips deep into New York state. “I go up to the Catskill Mountains, I go to Montauk, I go to Long Island – wherever I know there are good roads. I drive a lot. And I love that I can take this car anywhere.”
White Porsche 911 (type G-series) on road with roof rack
“We’re creatures of comfort and not a lot of my friends want to drive a car that’s so raw,” says Hector. “But I adore it. It makes me feel alive”
However, the multicultural melting pot of his hometown of New York City remains a huge inspiration. Hector says that he’s always learning something new from the city – picking up bits and pieces from all around him and translating them into his own ideas.“This is the New York City lifestyle,” says Hector. “Cars, fashion… I mix those things all the time. I think the main thing I love about fashion – and also about my 911 – is that I can make it my own. I like to personalise my clothes, my style, my car. Everything has to have my touch. And everyone knows it. That’s Tito. That’s his unique style. And they recognise me from afar.”Hector’s Porsche 911 is testimony to that style – examples include its Grand Prix white exterior colour with black interior, the red Pegasus sticker on the passenger side front wing (a symbol of the Mobil oil company, who sponsored early Porsche racecars like the 356 and 911) and other stickers added to his car. All precious pieces of Porsche memorabilia that Hector has picked up along the way, giving his car a unique and highly personal touch.
Consumption and emission information 718 Boxster (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 9,7 - 8,9 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 220 - 201 g/km; CO₂ class: G. Taycan (WLTP): Electric energy consumption combined: 20,0 - 16,7 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A.
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