What’s it like to live with a classic Porsche?
A lifetime of memories: the joys of owning a classic Porsche
Man leans against bright yellow classic Porsche 911 RSR
A classic Porsche can inspire love and devotion like little else. Just ask Frank Cassidy. His company provides a location for Porsche restorers, enthusiasts and events, and has become a magnet for fans across the UK and beyond. Who better to talk to about why owning one is such a rewarding experience?
Magic moments and making memories“To me a car is all about making memories. And you do that by enjoying it, driving it to the moon back and making it your own.” There are countless ways of owning a classic Porsche – and there is never a right or wrong way – but Frank Cassidy has firm opinions about what it means to him. “If a car to you is an ornament that you want to look at from your armchair, all the power to you. You’re making memories in your own ways. I just happen to be someone who just wants to drive endlessly and create great memories with like-minded folk.”For Frank, classic Porsche cars are his pleasure, his business, his life. His company Boxengasse – translated as ‘pit box’ from German – is an eye-opening one-stop destination for all things Porsche. Situated in the heart of the English countryside, 30km from Silverstone, Frank set up Boxengasse after selling his homewear and electronics business. It’s become home to a group of like-minded souls – restorers, a place to get your Porsche serviced and an events space. All in all, it’s a sliver of land that’s just about as close as you can get to entering classic Porsche heaven. It’s no wonder that Frank, readily identifiable to many Porsche fans with his impressively full beard, has become something of a go-to person for lovers of air-cooled Porsche cars. An enthusiast and a Porsche evangelist, who people flock to for insight.
A collection of classic Porsche cars sat inside a hangar
Boxengasse: a slice of Porsche heaven in the middle of the English countryside
A solid bond in your heartAsk him why Porsche became his all-consuming passion and no other marque, and there’s not a moment’s hesitation on Frank’s behalf. “It’s not just one thing with Porsche,” he says. “It’s the fraternity, which is awesome. The industry professionals I’ve been lucky enough to work with are brilliant. In terms of racing accolades, there’s no other car company that’s got as many. And while most cars are good at doing one thing – at going in a straight line or being reliable – a Porsche tends to be good at absolutely everything. They’re practical, great at going round corners, good for cruising and for track work. They tick all the boxes.” And although, he says, owning a classic Porsche can be difficult as they can be imperfect, it’s this very human characteristic that creates a very special bond between car and owner. When you are driving it, you rely on it – and it relies on you.Owning a classic Porsche is a commitmentAnd that means they need care and attention, says Frank. The benefits of this are twofold. “One, if you want to use it then you need to make sure that it’s in fine fettle – the last thing you want to do is go into a hairpin on an alpine pass and something to go wrong. So, there’s a self-preservation element to looking after your car, for sure. And the other side, there are those memories you make with them. Once they have been made, it moves on to the next person, so a car needs to be in decent condition to make those. It’s about being a good custodian of your car.”
A collection of classic Porsche cars sat inside a hangar
For Frank Cassidy, Porsche is a way of life
For Frank’s own cars, at least, owning a classic Porsche means custodianship with a considered touch. It all comes down to those memories again. They are there in the patina that develops in the seat leather and even the chips in the paintwork. They are created when your car is driven, which in itself makes stories. For him, the key is routine maintenance. If you can get your car up on a ramp yourself, you can check for worn brake pads and discs. More manageable for most of us is changing oil and filters, replacing spark plugs and even valve adjustments. Porsche Classic, he says, makes a grade of oil with a specific weight and viscosity that’s perfect for older 911s. And among the many other things they offer, there are spanner and screwdriver sets that fit neatly in the glovebox of a 911 – a boon for an avowed touring fanatic like Frank, where travelling light but still being prepared is vital.
A collection of classic Porsche cars sat inside a hangar
Frank’s bright orange 911 RSR always turns heads – but wait until you hear it
As a kid I saw this 964 Turbo 3.6 in Zermatt Silver. It just took my breath away. I’d never seen anything so sensational. That was a seminal moment
Frank Cassidy | Porsche aficionado and founder/owner of Boxengasse
Frank thanks his father for his love of classic Porsche touring – and his earliest Porsche memory. “I remember years ago, as a kid, being taken to Porsche Centre West London,” he says, “My dad was just having a little nose around. And I saw this 964 Turbo 3.6 in Zermatt Silver with black leather interior and red piping. It just took my breath away. I’d never seen anything so sensational. That was a seminal moment. That car really resonated with me.”Heartbreak and redemptionBut it was his father’s 3.2 Carrera that Frank “grew up with”. It created a bond that, he admits, led to his heart being broken when it was sold to a family friend in France. Although as we’ve discovered, owning a classic Porsche means a lifetime of making memories. Ten years later, Frank’s dad bought the exact same Porsche back.“We flew over together and went on a road trip to bring it back,” Frank recalls. “And we took the long way around. Loads of back roads through pretty little French villages. It not only gave me a love for the car, but just as importantly a love for touring. This year we’ve been to Europe three times touring. For me, the car is not a thing to just sit in the corner of your garage. My love affair began with that road trip that I did with my dad and that 964 Turbo 3.6 I once saw in a dealership.”
Red Porsche 911 drives up road amid sunlit snowy mountains
Memory maker: Frank on one of his frequent Porsche tours to the Alps
And it’s been Porsche all the way ever since. Frank’s own personal ownership levels are into double figures. Each vehicle is an individual, dedicated to a different task. Some of them are original cars that he hasn’t done anything to, some of them highly modified. He has a road-legal 993 Turbo track car that can take on modern counterparts with aplomb as well as others that he calls ‘barnstormers’. These are cars that he describes as “loud, obnoxious, grumpy and uncomfortable, but totally focused on being an absolute riot going down back roads”, like his bright yellow 911 RSR hot-rod. And then there are the ones that Frank dubs ‘Alpine tourers’. These are the cars inspired by that road trip back from France in his dad’s old 3.2 Carrera.“That’s a car that’s comfortable enough to go the distance because you’re travelling up to 4,000km in it, but at the same time, it can’t be too comfortable,” Frank explains. “Because once you get there, you need something that’s very engaging, so there’s always a compromise. It’s still got to make you grin from ear to ear.”
Man in grey sweatshirt tinkers with car engine
Frank sees himself as a custodian for every 911 he owns, which means routine maintenance is essential
Frank says he is always asked which car is his favourite or if he could have any Porsche in the world, what would it be. Now we’ve got to know his thoughts on owning a classic Porsche, his answer isn’t, perhaps, a surprise. “The temptation would be to say something low mileage and rare but fundamentally, that’s not a car you can use,” he says. “I’m all about getting out there, getting the cars dirty.”The simple answer, says Frank, is that it will always be the one he’s driven the most. The one he’s created the most memories with.
Maps, books, computer and highlighter pens on kitchen table
Mountain evidence: planning the next Alpine tour
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