There Was No Way He’d Put His Porsche 911 on a Transporter
Photographer: Tom O’Leary
I had been hunting for a clean, classic Porsche 911 for a few years, watching prices skyrocket. My cousin Tom, who is a mad 911 fan (but unable to buy thus far due to family situation and city living), and I would exchange emails about suitable candidates. Being a masterful procrastinator, the opportunities would usually slip by as I prioritized other activities. When I eventually got serious though, my aim was laser focused. I wanted to buy a car as far away from Houston (my home) as possible to drive it home. I found a 1981 911SC with 80,000 miles on the clock in Richland, Washington. This gave me a 2,400mi drive home to Houston with some of the best roads and scenery the United States has to offer. There was no way I was going to put it on a transporter.
Tom and I bought our one-way tickets to pick up the car. I bought AAA coverage with maximum tow (200 miles) hoping that would get me to a nearby town, just in case. I packed a small bag, a tent, and a small tool kit.
The trip took six days. Highlights include blasting through the Columbia Valley, Yellowstone, the Tetons, the Rockies, and northwest Texas.
For me the road trip was an opportunity to bond with my new car, hang out with my cousin, and listen to the air-cooled flat-six engine howl around bends on some amazing roads before reaching Houston’s flat lands.
Coincidentally, all the speeding tickets came in Wyoming. The good news is that Wyoming also appears to be the cheapest state to be slapped with a speeding violation.
Aside from run-ins with Wyoming law enforcement, the starter motor became heat-soaked and seized near Pueblo, Colorado. As it was summer, temperatures were warm and the long operating hours may have been too much for the thirty-two-year-old part. To be fair, it was the only mechanical issue we had. The car was a solid, very correct (minor modifications), honest example. It was a credit to the dealer. The challenge was roll-starting the car as we got deeper into flat-old Texas. Parking on any gentle incline was the goal at any stop.
But a warm airport pick-up by the dealer and plenty of local knowledge for some sights to see heading into Yellowstone were a big plus along with camping out of the front of a Porsche 911SC and waking up to big sky and amazing scenery.
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