Buying a classic Porsche: the 912 that found me
How one father’s passion created a lasting legacy
Burgundy Red Porsche 912 (F model) by water
There’s something about growing up with a Porsche in your family that forges an unbreakable link. For one classic Porsche 912 owner, it even had the power to be part of the healing process after a serious family illness
The soothing sound of the sixBack in the summer of 1978, a young boy – not quite five years old – sat in the back seat of his father’s recently purchased 1970 911 T Targa. With an ear firmly pressed against the rear firewall, even at that young age he could precisely anticipate each shift that his father made. The symphonic tones of the flat-six engine would often send him to sleep on the occasional late drive home after a long day having fun along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in northern California. That boy’s name was Billy Holmgren – me. This was my first ever Porsche memory. The unmistakable melody of the air-cooled 2.2-litre was embedded in my young mind. One that I couldn’t shift, and never will. I knew there and then that I would be buying a classic Porsche of my own one day.
Burgundy Red Porsche 912 (F model) outside large office window
We’ve all probably heard stories of enthusiasts who seek out long-forgotten cars. But who’s to say that sometimes those long-forgotten cars seek out the right owners. We always felt that particular Porsche sought out my family. Anyone who knows me is aware of my affinity for early Porsches. In fact, the day I received my driver’s licence, I drove to my local Porsche dealership and bought a key fob. It was a statement. A tangible promise, a challenge to myself, that one day I will hold the key of my own future vintage Porsche. But then life is unpredictable. In September 2010, my father was diagnosed with cancer believed to be the result of his military service in Vietnam. My family is not one to go down without a fight. We rallied around my parents as they rose to the challenge and my father fought back (I’m happy to report he is several years into his remission). Like all battles though, it meant sacrifices and left a toll. It also meant the sale of our beloved 1970 911T Targa.Buying a classic Porsche – at lastFate finally smiled on me a year later as I drove to my parents. Sitting on a nearby front lawn was a car with an old, familiar smile. I’d driven down this road so many times. How come I hadn’t seen it before? A Porsche 912 in Burgundy Red. I rolled to a stop and like Captain Ahab spying his white whale, I just stared. The paint was tired, the seats were split, the tyres were cracked. But it beckoned to me. And it hadn’t been abused – it had just aged like a dusty bottle of fine wine. I got back in my car and started to drive away – but my gut told me to stop, turn around and go and ask the owner if it was for sale. The dream of buying my own classic Porsche was as strong as it had ever been.
Interior detail of steering wheel of burgundy Red Porsche 912
Porsche launched the 912 to the US market at the New York Auto Show in September 1965
Before I knew it, I was making my way up to the front door. We were met by a kind woman who informed me that someone was supposed to turn up and pay for it that morning. My heart sank. She glanced at her watch and smiled as she said, “Six hours late? I’d call that a no-show.” Pink slip – the nickname for the ownership registration in the US – in my hand, I drove it to my parents to share with them the good news. A grin spread across my father’s face when he saw it sitting there in the driveway. Tears began to gather in the corners of his eyes – which of course got me to tear up too.
Burgundy Red Porsche 912 (F model) in a basement garage
Over 32,000 Porsche 912 cars were manufactured during its lifecycle of 1965 to 1969
A lust for life and a love of PorscheYou see, a classic Porsche is more than just an old car to our family, it represented happier times – before my dad’s illness. The minor scratches on my 1968 912 F Model, the odd rip and smalls dings in the bodywork, are a testament to its 53 years of survival. Like my father beating cancer, buying a classic Porsche represented a new lease of life for us all. It will create more smiles and memories down the road. And one day, when the time is right, I will hand my keys – attached to a Porsche fob – to my daughter so she can create many more.
Continue reading
New Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS (992.2) on twisty road
13 things you need to know about the new Porsche 911 (992.2) Discover how the new 911 – the 992.2 – draws on unparalleled Porsche sportscar innovation and technology to raise the standards of performance, design and personalisation to even greater heights Read more
Porsche Taycan Turbo GT Purple Sky Metallic static on racetrack
Everything you need to know about the new Porsche Taycan Turbo GT With astonishing performance, incredible dynamics and head-turning looks, the record-breaking Taycan Turbo GT is the fastest all-electric production car that Porsche has ever built Read more
Three Taycan cars with owners in a variety of landscapes
8 things you need to know about living with a Porsche Taycan From a smooth driving experience to easy charging to performance, three Taycan owners explain what they love most about their cars Read more