Would You Paint Your 911 Mint Green?
Photography by Josh Clason
Jim Bauer grew up in Long Island, New York, under the GM Flag. A chance encounter led him from American muscle to German iron and he currently owns two Porsche 911 SC’s. Jim, now a creative director in Los Angeles, has used his artistic nature to build the unique details and color of his latest 911.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I work as an art director/graphic designer for Odyssey BMX/Sunday Bikes/Fairdale Bikes. I’m married to a wonderful lady who lets me have fun with cars, and I have an amazing daughter who has only thrown up once in my car.
Q. How did you find this 911?
A. I found it through Pelican Parts, the go-to forum for all things Porsche. The best thing about it is the people on there are so knowledgeable and ready to help. While car enthusiast sites are not exactly classy, Pelicans in general have a lot of class. The classifieds section is full of great Porsche stuff, but it also is scoured by fellow enthusiasts. I can’t believe someone else didn’t scoop up the Sun-dried Tomato before I did (before I bought it, this car was a Guards Red 911 living outdoors in San Diego for years, hence the previous nickname). I had replaced my totally reasonable E36 M3 daily with a full-on race 1971 Datsun 240Z.
I loved it and had always wanted a Z since I grew up in one, but taking the steering wheel off and on everytime I got out or in was getting old for a daily driver. I replaced the E36 because it was too new, and while I love driving my 1981 911 SC, it was also a little too sports-purposed to drive it everyday. Since the Z was not an improvement in that department, I figured a bone-stock SC would be the perfect daily—even one my wife could drive.
Q. How did you become interested in 911s?
A. Like any young boy, I always loved cars. I always liked 911s, but I didn’t see them often in Long Island, and I always thought they were out of my league. Also, I grew up under the GM flag. I was saving up for a 77-78 Trans Am when a chance meeting with a 911 happened. I was in Arizona, visiting a friend who has a 911 SC. His dad (a Porsche mechanic) had left the car to him, and at the time of my visit it was running great, so we took it out that night. On the way home, my friend had to drive his friend’s car home, so I got to pilot the 911.
I was a changed man. That day, my Trans Am fund turned into a 911 fund. I started on eBay and very quickly was hunting for the right 911. I was very green on the Porsche front and didn’t find out a lot of information until after I found the right 911. Thankfully, even with all the mistakes I made, I found the right car, and to this date it is the the most reliable car I have ever owned. I still own it. I call it The Bulldozer—a 1981 911 SC.
Q. What is it like to drive this mint-green 911?
A. This 911 drives like a lightened-stock SC, which if you have driven one, is very easy (with practice). It’s nimble, fun, and powerful enough to blast through anything a daily driver needs, even with the other modern cars on the road.
At first I was a little scared while driving in the canyons, since my other 911 is lower, has more traction, more aero, and just seems more planted. This car is a bit lighter in some places and I really feel that weight savings. All the car needed was some suspension tweaking and simply getting used to the new set up. I am fully confident now—I just needed to learn some new dance moves.
Q. Why mint green?
A. I have always been one to stand out in a crowd and not do what everyone else did. Years ago this mint-green idea would have been orange, but a flood of orange cars have been built since then.
I was on the fence between a Slate Grey/Nimbus Grey hybrid and the Seafoam/Mint Green. But when I went to a Porsche show with four Slate Grey cars, that pretty much sealed the deal. I loved the Mintgrun 964 RS, but we never got the RS in The States. The 968 shared that color, but I think the 968 registry says only six were ever made. That combo of a “real” Porsche color and exclusivity was what I wanted. Real is in quotation marks, because I’ve never seen the Mintgrun in real life, so the color is still a custom mix to my eye and not the paint code from Porsche. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it color, but I would rather have that than a middle-of-the-road color. Luckily, I love it. When I asked my painter, Martine of Areta Auto Body, whether he liked it after he shot it, he said he hated it, straight up.
Q. What do most people that you meet think about the car?
A. In person, I have only heard good comments from everyone. There has been an internet hater or two, but those are great odds coming from the internet! While my idea for the color was forming, my friends were doubtful of the outcome, but I think in real life and not on paper (or in my head) it all makes sense together.
Q. Describe your favorite drive in this car:
A. When I first finished it, instead of the passenger seat you see here, I had a Recaro child seat mounted in its place. I started to build this car when my wife was pregnant, and my daughter was born during the build. The first time I got to take my baby daughter out in the car was my favorite drive.
Aside from that, anytime I take it to the canyons with my friends is great. It is a daily driver, so I am just happy that it makes a normal LA commute into something special. It makes the other cars around me everyday seem so boring. You would think anything gets old, but I still do the glance-back every day when I park the car and walk away. I still take a second to soak it in and be glad I am able to be so lucky.
Q. What do you love about the car?
A. The fact that an “exotic” sports car from the ’80s can be driven everyday so easily. It has panache and style and purpose when so much of car design is boring and soulless. Its a blend of minimalist sports purpose. It has everything I need and nothing I don’t need. I would drive it across country right now, if I had the time. I could go pick up groceries or go to the racetrack and have fun doing both while looking good doing it. How many cars are like that?
Q. With this car, is it a fling, or are you in it for the long haul?
A. Long haul. I still have more plans for it.