Driving Exciting New Cars Enhances Porsche 993’s Appeal
Owner and photographer: Laurance Yap
Year, Make, and Model: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My dad was the original influence–he worked at a car dealership in the Philippines briefly when he was a kid, and when we moved to Canada, he worked as a car jockey at Budget Rent-a-Car even after he landed a job in banking, which was his chosen profession. But very quickly, I became more obsessed than he was, consuming every car magazine I could get my hands on; I loved to go for car rides, loved to sketch cars and build them out of Legos. By the time I was attending university, I’d managed to land a gig writing a car column for the local newspaper, something that I did for twelve years. My first story was a book review, but I soon graduated to reviewing cars.
Having actually worked at Porsche for six years (first in PR, then marketing), I have to attribute part of my love of old cars to my time there. But after twelve years of reviewing new cars, I was all about the latest technology, or the most up-to-date styling. Working at Porsche nurtured the other side of my automotive brain, introducing me to the concepts of continuity, heritage, patina, and unbroken lineage. I spent a day at the Porsche Classic restoration shop early in my career, and wasn’t the same since.
I spent more than a year looking for a 964, and almost bought two of them. The first was at a local dealer, and it was beautiful, having been the subject of a semi-restoration, with a total engine rebuild, glass-out respray, and a set of tasteful modifications; someone beat me to that one. The second, I found through the local Porsche club, and we’d agreed on a price and everything, but when the car came out of storage the spring I was to take possession of it, the owner discovered a couple of mechanical issues, and didn’t want to sell it in that condition. I’m actually in touch with the guy that did end up buying it.
All the while, I was browsing online classifieds, and came across this nice, local 993. The price was right, it drove nicer than the 964s I’d tried out, and I liked its light-coloured interior, which hides the cracks in the leather better than black does.
It was as much timing as anything else. I’d spent so long looking for an air-cooled car that I was just ready to make a move and the price was right. I’m glad I bought it when I did; value was never really a consideration when I was shopping as I wasn’t looking for an investment piece, but it’s nice to know that I could probably sell it for what I paid for it, including what I’ve invested in maintenance and repairs.
Other than the radio, it’s one hundred per cent original, down to the (broken) cassette tape holder in the centre console. The originality is something I’ve really come to appreciate, as it’s a comfortable cruiser as well as a great sports car. The high mileage (I’m up to almost 170,000 km now) didn’t bother me, because it meant the car had been driven and enjoyed, and maintained. As soon as I got it, I invested a few dollars in a major service and had the brakes done; nothing’s gone wrong since then except for blowing a tire out on a pothole in downtown Toronto, and having had to replace a couple of the (fortunately inexpensive) power window switches.
I love the purity of its design, and that it’s the most evolved version of the classic 911 shape. I love how it feels simultaneously mechanical and raw, while also being completely civilized and suitable for longer drives.
Also, I feel like it suits my personality. It’s small and kind of funny-looking, but capable and speedy when asked. It’s straight-laced and uptight in a way only a German car can be, but smiley and happy, too. It has its share of scars, and it can smell a bit funny, but it cleans up pretty well. I like it because it’s a more honest representation of who I am than the glorious stuff I’m fortunate enough to drive on a daily basis; I like it because I feel more like myself in here than at pretty much any other time.
I know it was made for much nobler (and faster) things, but the 993 is really a terrific little urban runabout. It’s tiny, easy to see out of, fast, and feels tough as nails. Like wearing a watch whose depth rating is overkill for sitting at a desk, the Porsche’s “density”, subtsance, and ability make the most mundane tasks feel just a little bit special.