This is a story about my decision to go for it by selling my practical modern car and buy my dream car.
Where does the line between daring and stupid lie? I’m not sure, but I’m sure I could tell you in 20 or so years looking back on this decision. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that Bullshit.
Here I am, with the perfect vehicle setup for me: An old, but well maintained Landcruiser for the offroad trips I so love. A nice and reliable, fun as hell, good MPG Subaru BRZ for everything else. What more could a guy want? I’d spent many years driving a $4,000 Corolla saving for the fun car, the BRZ. I had finally bought it about a year and a half ago. I honestly felt guilty that I finally had such an amazing setup! There was just one nagging thing. I didn’t LOVE the BRZ. I loved driving it and in every sense it was perfect for what I wanted. It checked all the right (boxers) boxes.
Sure, she was a nice girl. She was perfect really. I couldn’t complain about anything. The BRZ was the choice that Mom and Dad are proud you made, but it just didn’t do it for me. It didn’t get me going... I needed something more...
For me, it started when I was a little kid. Seeing the bad guys drive Porsche 911’s or watching road racing on Speedvision TV I was captivated. I love the simple, no frills way of the 911. I loved that it was different than every other car on the track. Different and maybe wrong. Engine in the back, parts more related to a VW Beetle than any supercar. It looked like a friendly, simple little car coming at you and then looked and sounded like the devil from the back as it drove away.
I blame it on Condorman, the horrible Disney movie. I was a little kid when it came out and I was obsessed with the black 911’s and 935 racing around in the movie.
Let me just reiterate. This movie was HORRIBLE. Is there a thing as C movies? I don’t know, but I loved it.
As bad of a movie as it was, I guess I can just be happy I was excited about the cars and not the leather jumpsuits. Life could have taken a bit of a turn there...
I was a bit obsessed, but alas, I live a practical life so cars like this I’m content to relinquish to day dreams and far off thoughts. Those cars are for rich guys and folks with a trust fund. After all, I had it good, how dare I want for more. After being laid off and broke once in my 30’s, I’d worked a lot to get back on my feet. No time to get greedy.
The BRZ. “Zed.”
Until this one day...
A buddy of mine that I race mountain bikes with was leading a ride from his house. There I was, ho hum, are we ready to leave and thenhoeleeshiteisthata911inyourgarageyoujustbecamemybestfriend! I helped him out a couple times with his 4runner fixing things. I’d like to think I’d help him regardless since I help other friends, but I honestly was hoping he’d offer up the 911 for a few hours as payment. Sure enough, one day, he did. I drove it around for a night and had the most amazing experience. I wanted it. I wanted it more than anything. It was the car version of my Landcruiser. It was so simple and overbuilt. The smell of oil, leather and germany (or at least that’s what I’m calling it) It had that certain something. It got me going... It was the girl you don’t tell mom and dad about, but I wanted to make it legal anyway.
Fast forward about a year and he mentions that he might sell it. My first response was, NO. I just got engaged and we’ll need the money and a nice and reliable car for us so the BRZ will be fine for now.
Enter the fiance: “Why don’t you go for it?” Me: “Exsqueeze me?!” Her: “Yah, you have no other debt, you save your pennies and work hard. You have no kids, why not? Now’s the time to do it. You say that this will be your forever car and prices are going up. Plus, we could take the honeymoon in it.” Me: “Hmmm, that would be amazing. Maybe I’ll just run a carfax and take it for a PPI.” (Pre-Purchase Inspection) I was still thinking it was a silly idea I shouldn’t go forward with, but then the math just kept making sense. Not a LOT of sense mind you, but some. I could almost perfectly swap out my modern, reliable, warrantied Subaru for a 30 year old Porsche with non-working AC as my primary car... in Phoenix, AZ.... in summer.... during a heat wave where it was 117...
Look, I said it made some sense, not a ton of it.
Yep, I see no issues. Let’s move forward. I put the BRZ up for sale and heard... nothing. Not a peep. Not an email. No calls. I was debating going to Carfax or a dealership and seeing what paltry offer they would give me. Then one day the internets woke up and I received 4 or 5 calls. A gent in his 40’s came buy and offered cash. I countered and we agreed. It was sold. HolyshitwhatdidIjustdoI’msorryZed. That was actually a sad car to let go of. It was just so damn fun. Onward...
So, I buy the 911, sell the BRZ. That all went smoothly enough. Now I’ve spent almost every night with a break here and there working on the car. The list is too immense, but here are some of the items I can remember:
New braided Brake lines, flushed brake fluid, bled clutch, raised ride height through reindexing the torsion bars (3 times to get the right height because I stoopid), removed Catalytic Converter and replaced with test pipe (Cat-bypass since old cat was plugged up), Plugs, Wires, Cap, Rotor, Adjusted all the Valves, Plastidipped the wheel centers back to their original black color, Scotchbrited the outter lip of the wheels back to a flat finish, installed a fire extinguisher and mount in front of drivers seat, replaced all fuel lines, fuel filter, air filter, oil change, new door seal, door sills, wipers, new battery, strut bar, waxed it 5 times so far (the paint is good from 20 feet, but not closer. It’s ROUGH), New Hood Struts so it stays up, new sound/heat shield in engine bay, new exhaust tip (old one was ground at a 45 degree from the car being so LOW. (STANCED BRO!), Drain refill diff/trans, install new working speakers using factory covers so it looks oem, Fix driver door lock so I can lock the car!, replace heater control knob, remove original floor mats and install some decent rubber mats, remove bumperettes on rear bumper, install cool air intake for oil cooler on front bumper, new brighter head lights and fog lights, new Michelin Pilot Super Sports and an alignment. Phew, I hope you skipped through that boring list, but needless to say it’s been a busy few weeks. It’s also been the most rewarding in a long time. I’ve never, besides the Landcruiser, fixed a part on a car only to think “Ah, good, so that’s good to go for another 15 to 30 years.” Its so different than replacing a part that you know you’ll have to replace again in 30,000 miles. It’s so much more rewarding! Every single thing I improve on the car, I feel like it’s permanent. It’s remarkably easy to work on and there is better access to the engine than I would have thought! Of course the online resources are thorough and literally anything I could want to do to the car has a step by step guide.
The parts aren’t even very expensive?
Genuine Porsche Oil Filter = $13.75 vs. Genuine Ferrari Oil Filter = $85.00 Maintanence kit for Porsche = $163.50 vs Maintenance kit for a Ferrari 355 = $1,697
Valve Cover Gaskets
Oil Drain plug gasket
So far the most “exclusive” part has been a door seal that cost $165. I thought that was a bit much, but on the door seals everyone says go Porsche genuine and not Bosch or Uro.
I don’t have a fancy workshop, a lift or fancy tools. Hell, I don’t even have walls on the sides of my garage. I think they call these carports....
The work in process. Not a single job was done without my Fiance by my side helping and handing me tools. Yah, I’m a lucky guy. Yah, she chose poooorly...
Old battery, new battery. Of course the old boat anchor died on my on third day of ownership....
I can’t accurately describe the feeling of working on a car in a carport, in Phoenix, in summer. It’s a unique kind of hell. It has been a particularly rough couple of weeks ranging from 105 which equates to: F-in hot, I am drinking a glass of water every 15 minutes to stay conscious!
All the way up to 117 (I may snap and start punching people because I’m hot angry and disoriented... rrrrrrhkjlgha;siuhnfueiacuineywbyuawe23io56!)
I did have some extra parts left over...
She can’t be scared of dirt or grease and be married to me.
So, after all that, here is how it sits. Meet “Condor.”
Will it bike?
Will it Costco?
Will it overland??
Hmmm, I think I’ll keep it on the easier dirt roads for now...
I could..., but should I? YES. Yes, I should and I will. We’ll be taking a several thousand mile trip in it for our honeymoon. Hopping from hotels to camping and back again as we make our way up Pacific Coast Highway from bottom to top!