road trip

I had had eyes on a new car for very long, but not until a few days before xmas had I found what I was looking for. My two options were: a reasonable and reliable Mercedes-Benz C220, or the adorable classic called Porsche 944. Of course, as so often is the case with me, heart prevailed over head, and I fell for the Porsche like it was a hot naked girl. This is how it went down…

It was always going to be the Merc. Practical, rear-wheel drive, and money-looking on 18 inch wheels, what more could one want? My great German connection was scoping out the scene down there, digging up suitable candidates for import.
Somewhere along the line of I stumbled upon a gorgeous Porsche 944, whose price tag even matched my numbers. Would I dare buy into the legend? I wasn’t sure what to do, and tried to look the other way. I spent a few days surfing the vast German supply of Porsches. It quickly became clear that this holy and hallow brand is what God himself drives when he travels in Germany, and they are thus priced accordingly.

So I looked back. The Porsche 944 is so underrated here in Finland, that it would be criminal not to take advantage of the situation. Soon I was deep in negotiation. I managed to get the price down a bit, and when I learned that the car had been religiously maintained by furious pedants, green lights were flashing all around. It had a full service history, guaranteed miles, and an amazing excel table pointing out every single thing that had been done to this car – down to the littlest wax jobs. Even more so, every single receipt had been saved!

All said and done, it was easy to make up my mind. There was only one snafu – the car was in Kuopio, and since it has not been used in winter before, it was sitting on summer tires. Heck, I’ll drive it back anyways, I told myself, and set a date with the owner to come and check it out. However, Father Frost was not co-operating, much as usual, and left me with little choice but to borrow my uncle’s big Mazda pick-up truck, to which I hooked a huge car trailer I rented for the day.

Now, I like to be on the road, but this was easily the worst road trip I ever did. During the darkest day of the year. Along these elk-infested roads that cut through the blackest forests. In slippery conditions, half-wet, half-iced, fully fucked. Oh, I kept waiting for the trailer to overtake me. There was the absolute bare minimum of visibility the whole way halfway to the North Pole, and I was all alone, if not for the the company of Bruce Springsteen’s every single studio album.
I got up at 2:45 AM to be in Kuopio at ten in the morning. By the time I got there, I had experienced near-death at least half a dozen times. The snow, the darkness, a jumping trailer and wandering lorries conspired to drive me to the brink of insanity. This had better be worth it…

As the friendly owner pulled the covers off the Porsche, I instantly knew that it had, indeed, been worth it. I knew that I was buying it. This was my new car. It was just so low, so fat, so full of attitude, resembling a horny toad, or Gordon Gekko ready for another hostile takeover.
Sure, I went through the motions of disinterest, kicking tires and pointing out tiny flaws in the paintwork in hope of getting the price down further, but eventually I just said “I’ll take it“.
I had bought a Porsche without even getting out of second gear! Yeah, we took a spin around Kuopio town centre, with me at the helm, but we were more sideways than straight. Wide and worn-out Pirelli P-Zeros offer little grip in snow…

Little boys pointed and stared. I was them some twenty years ago.

Papers were signed, a pile of money was counted and recounted, then we sealed our separate destinies with the sacred handshake.

One dream delivered. Check that box.

Reality came far too quick when it was time to get the car up on the trailer. I had just bought a shiny red Porsche, but it was so wide there was not a hair more than two centimeters of room on each side to park it on the trailer. I despaired! Was I going to scratch it already?!
Well, here goes everything. And the rear wheels just spun on the snow. It very rapidly became apparent that I had to reverse it up the trailer. Great – like that was going to make it any easier…
Instead of breaking down and weeping like I wanted, I grabbed the car by its neck, did a donut on the snow, backed it right up the fucking trailer like I was going down the empty autobahn on an early Sunday morning. Woooohoooo!

How hard can a heart pound before it explodes?

The former owner, a terrific guy on his own, helped me tie down the car, and I promised him once again to take care of it like it was my first-born. He had just bought an old 911, which had forced him to sell this 944, but I felt sorry for him when we bid our farewells and took to leave. I watched as he walked away. He turned to look back several times… god bless.

The first part of the road trip done with, the second commenced. There was still a few hours of daylight left, and I wanted to make hay. The Porsche key was bulging in my pocket, but I had to patiently steer this diesel-draining Mazda train all the way back to Karis. Darkness came uninvited, and all too soon. The Christmas traffic was in my headlights. The bastard child of snow and rain was dropping from the skies. Vision? What vision? And the wet roads started to freeze over again. O-h n-o. Not again.

Thankfully, the weight of the car calmed the trailer down, and only a few almost-fatal incidents occurred. Can you imagine the relief when I drove the Porsche off the trailer in Karis, unscathed?

Just the mere sight of this car on my driveway was worth the undisclosed sum. But right now I’m waiting harder than anyone to drive it in sweet anger.

Pearly pictures will follow soon.

59 thoughts on “road trip”

  1. ‘Tis the season – to make dreams come true. You have me dreaming along the guidelines of all day long. If only someone came by and dropped a wads of Euros on my front door… it sounds like you found a pearl in Kuopio. An ’85 it is? I reckon it’s fairly damn rare to get full service history with a car 21 years old… god, now envy you even more. I’m slowly turning into a green celery.

  2. Yes, 1985/2 – with the newer interior, the same one the 968 has. Indeed, it has been babied for much of its life, which is 175.000 km on the clock. Wait until you see it on those awesome Porsche Cup 3 17in wheels… 255/40 on the rear, 225/45 up front. Thing’s got STANCE!

    Thanks for the look-out in Germany, again. I just got lucky this time. It’s not everyday you find a reasonably priced + well-kept Porsche in Finland…

    I hope you soon get one for yourself! Then we could both head down to the Ring, and kill ol’ 911s in the bends…

  3. Are you sure you can beat 911s of the same age in bends? Or would you need a turbo-charged 944 for that? (Or my secret über-dream, the rarer-than-snow-in-Tahiti Porsche 924 Carrera GTS?) How about coming down here next summer and we try in that lovely greenish hell…

  4. Yeps, I am sure as sugar. The ex-owner confirmed this fact to me – he is a long-term Porsche Club Finland member, and this club arranges competitions for its members. In a slalom course, the 944 kicks ass. Of course, on longer straights it’s another story… the 911 has more ooomph. A 944 Turbo, well that is yet another story… one that I’d like to write as well.

    I like the 924 Carrera GTS too! That car certainly lifts the lowly 924 name to proper heights. Too rare, of course… how about the 924 Turbo?

    By the by, I will probably join the Porsche Club Finland in 2007. Could be fun. But what definitely would be fun would indeed be a tour to the Grüne Hölle… have to consider that extensively! I’m not sure I can afford that many brake pads… haha!
    [I’m still cursing the fact that the track was closed when we were there a few years ago, remember? That Ring Taxi would have been heaven!]

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