“My Porsche 996 GT3 has rapidly become a favourite”
How a trip to a legendary LA dealership sparked a 911 love affair
Black 911 (996) GT3 on gravel, mountains behind
When Loren Beggs was 13, growing up in California, he used to visit the first ever Porsche car dealership in the US. Here, road cars would be displayed right next to their racecar siblings. No surprise, then, that it caused him to fall head over heels for Porsche
A short walk that inspired a lifelong journeyWhen I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, my dad would take me along whenever he would visit one of his friends who lived in Hermosa Beach. I loved making that trip with him – and for one reason in particular. Every time we made that journey, I would inevitably take a walk down the street to a place that always got my attention – as well as that of every other budding local car enthusiast’s. That place was Vasek Polak’s famed Porsche dealership and race shop on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Close-up of rear aero of 911 (996) GT3
911 fan, Loren Beggs, has owned more than 35 Porsche cars over the years – like this 2005 Porsche 911 (996) GT3
Vasek Polak lived an incredible life. He was a Prague-born former motorcycling champion who escaped communist Czechoslovakia for the US in the late 1940s. After a period as a car mechanic in New York City, he eventually ended up opening the first ever standalone Porsche dealership in the United States at Manhattan Beach, California, in the 1950s. The company moved just down the way to Hermosa Beach the following decade.As well as the dealership, the racing arm of Vasek Polak was one of the most successful outside of the Porsche works team. The plain black, block-lettered Vasek Polak text was applied to the fenders, hoods and wings of some of the greatest Porsche sportscars in history – from 935 to 917, 911 to 356. These Porsche racecars would be on display in Vasek Polak dealerships, sitting alongside Porsche road cars, in an ingenious bit of marketing now used by every manufacturer with a race team these days.
Black leather interior of 911 (996) GT3
Loren’s Porsche journey began with a 1970 911 T – his 911 (996) GT3 is a rather different proposition
Building a classic Porsche ‘family’It was here, wandering around this famed dealership, that the Porsche bug bit me. I was an obsessed 13-year-old – and it didn’t stop there. I bought my first Porsche not that long after I had learned to drive, at the age of 18 – a 1970 911T. My Porsche life had well and truly begun. After owning the 911T and enjoying it for half a decade, I sold it to my cousin. It felt important to keep it in the family. From there, I formed an automotive ‘family’ of my own, which grew and grew. A succession of Porsche sportscars has passed through my hands over the years. By my reckoning, I’ve now owned over 35 of them.Currently, I have nine in my collection – and my black 2005 Porsche 996 GT3 has rapidly become a favourite. The 996 generation has polarised opinion over the years, but I sense that’s now changing. A car that marked the beginning of the new water-cooled generation of Porsche sportscars, as a 911, it’s part of a unique and special mythology. There’s a lot that’s been said and still left to say about these cars, but I always like to put it very simply – it just does everything well.
Image of engine of Porsche 911 (996) GT3 engine
Six-cylinder heaven: the legendary 3.6-litre ‘Mezger’ engine in the 911 (996) GT3
Consumption and emission information 911 GT3 (WLTP): Fuel consumption combined: 13,0 - 12,9 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 294 - 293 g/km; CO₂ class: G.
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