Why Hollywood stuntman Riley Harper loves his classic Porsche 911 Targa
How a dream car in a dream colour creates connections
Man next to green Porsche 911 Targa, ocean in background
Los Angeles-based stuntman and photographer Riley Harper on his classic 911, the joy of family road trips and California’s vibrant Porsche community
Growing up in Los Angeles, Riley Harper was surrounded by car culture. The city’s hot rod scene, in particular, was what turned the professional stuntman and photographer on to classic cars. And there’s also what his father did for a living. Riley’s dad worked as a stuntman and stunt coordinator, and by the age of seven Riley was already being used as a double for child actors for simple stunts, such as crashing bicycles.“It was a family business which I latched onto early,” says Riley. “And I carried it on. In my teens and twenties, I was on the road for nine to ten months of the year, making film after film.” A motocross enthusiast, today Riley specialises in motorcycle chases, but has also been involved in countless car sequences on film, driving everything from a Porsche 356 Speedster to high-end supercars.Riley and his wife Paige are now expecting their first child. As his daughter grows up, Riley – who owns a classic Porsche 911 Targa in Irish Green – hopes that she too will become interested in cars. “Cars have always been a thing in my family,” says Riley. “I think with my Porsche in the garage, it’s a natural thing for my daughter to grow up loving cars. I’m already thinking about how I’m going to fit her baby seat in the front of the Targa or whether I should put her in the back. I haven’t worked it out yet – but it’s going to happen.”
Green Porsche 911 Targa driving down coastal Californian road
Riley Harper grew up around California’s exciting hot rod culture – but after driving a Porsche for the first time he became bitten by the bug | PHOTO: @mounce for Type 7
Riley is looking forward to taking his family out in his classic 911 Targa on Californian road trips along the ocean roads and into the hills that surround his home town. Riley tells us the story behind his Porsche fandom and why being a member of the Porsche-owning community is so special.Tell us more about where your love of cars comes from, Riley“I used to go with my dad to this place called Bob’s Big Boy, which is an old-school diner in LA that holds hot rod nights every Friday. It’s where you go to eat burgers and look at cars. There weren’t a lot of European cars there, of course. However, as I got into my teens, I started to understand their appeal and learn more about them.“And the more Porsche cars I drove, the more I thought how cool they were. When I drove a Porsche 911, it clicked. It became a dream of mine to own a 911. My very first Porsche was a new 911, from 2020. But I’ve always been around classic cars growing up, so I felt a pull towards owning a classic of my own. I eventually sold that new 911 and bought a classic 911 Targa in Irish Green – my dream colour.”
Close up, man in green Porsche 911 Targa, door open
Dream car: Riley’s 911 Targa is over 50 years old, but he’s kept his updates low key – like a set of original Fuchs wheels | PHOTO: @mounce for Type 7
What’s the story behind your classic Porsche 911 Targa?“My car was first owned by a guy here in California who worked at a naval base down south. It sat around for years until the second owner – the one I eventually bought the Targa from – took it over. He did a great job fixing it up. I found him on a website that specialises in European cars. I called the guy and we talked for ages. He told me all about the car’s history and sent a huge Google Drive link full of all the restoration photos. So, I sent the car details to a close friend who’s my go-to person for checking cars. Over the years he’d warned me off buying so many cars that I had been interested in, but this car was different – he was instantly excited.“I wasn’t able to go and see the Targa in person, but my friend told me to just go for it and buy the car unseen. When I got home from a trip, the Targa was already at my house. I did have to put a little money into it to get it just right, but now it’s perfect.”What is it you like best about your classic Porsche 911?“My mechanic had a set of original Fuchs wheels, complete with the original paint and even the original centre caps, so we put them on my car. I don’t like to see classic cars like my 911 modified too much and the original wheels gave it that clean look. Granted, the wheels were a bit weathered, but that gave my car a bit of roughness that I like. And then the tan interior is such a great combination with the Irish Green paint. People freak out when they see it. Men, women, kids – they all love it.”
Irish Green Porsche 911 Targa parked on road, fields behind
California boasts one of the most vibrant Porsche communities anywhere – and Riley’s 911 Targa looks totally at home in it | PHOTO: Riley Harper
“There are so many great cars here in California, and there are always people to drive them with. If I park my car anywhere, someone will usually come up and say, ‘Hey, that’s a beautiful car – what year is it?’. My 911 brings joy to people, which I think is the coolest part.“My favourite moment I’ve had in my car was when I was driving in Malibu, trying to find a parking space. A woman stopped me – she was probably in her late 60s. She waved at me with a big smile and said, ‘Wow, my husband had one just like it! Irish Green is my favourite colour and it just brings back so many great memories.’ She was so happy to talk to me about my 911 – and that made me happy too. That’s the special thing about having a Porsche. Anywhere you go in the world, you have an instant connection with other Porsche owners.”
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