Reader Submissions: There Was No Way He’d Put His Porsche 911 on a Transporter

There Was No Way He’d Put His Porsche 911 on a Transporter

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
February 11, 2015
22 comments

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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RickInAZFrank AnigboCHRIS DAGNOLOStephen FergusonS OLeary Recent comment authors
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RickInAZ
RickInAZ

Great story and great car! I had a similar adventure when bringing a 996 Carrera 4 from Indiana back to Arizona with my son. It was an epic trip and our first time in a Porsche. We didn’t have time to tune it as it was a spontaneous purchase over 4th of July, so we had to hurry back. No mechanical issues, but learning every button and switch on the fly made for some interesting moments, especially in the rain. At night. And it took a few struggles in the passing lane to discover that Porsches don’t wake up until… Read more »

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CHRIS DAGNOLO
CHRIS DAGNOLO

Stephen, Great story and, great car! Now that you are back in H-Town where it’s a LOT harder to find decent roads, I hope you’ll plug into the local scene. Our Lonestar Region PCA group is very diverse and whether you’re into concours, autocross or track events, you’ll probably find plenty of friendly folks. Always good to see another old air cooled 911 in town!

Chris
’82 Targa

S OLeary
S OLeary

Thanks all for the positive comments. It was a drive to remember and i would do it again tomorrow. A few reflections from the 2,400 miles: No regrets about buying sight unseen. Road tripping home is awesome. A great way to bond with your car, learn its habits and use it as intended. Don’t attempt to drive through a deer filled valley after dark at speed (it was close). Chat to folks on your way through. Don’t throw on a car bra or painters tape (chips i got tell the tale better than i do). The seats are comfortable and… Read more »

Stephen Ferguson
Stephen Ferguson

That is pretty much my perfect 911, and a great road trip.

I like the little Berne, CH crest on the ducktail. Is there a story there?

S OLeary
S OLeary

Thanks Stephen! The short of the long story is that the Bern Canton flag was a nod to the birthplace of my father (Utzenstorf) for a Euro car meet. I liked it on the duck too!

S OLeary
S OLeary

I collected a few stickers from the road trip too. They are now on my tool box in case i need a reminder to “get out there” !

Stephen Ferguson
Stephen Ferguson

Ha… small world. Utzenstorf was a regular part of my weekend cycling route when I lived in the area.

Jason Fitzpatrick
Jason Fitzpatrick

Owning an awesome car and taking adventurous trips in them is what it’s all about! Glad you had a great experience and thank you for sharing.

Guy Smith
Guy Smith

Frank-I don’t kick myself for not buying one when I had the chance, but for selling them when I shouldn’t! In ’89 I bought a ’71 911E for $10,000 and now they’re selling for over $100,000. I also used to own a ’73 Land Cruiser FJ 40 that I bought for $3000 and are now going for about $45,000! Who knew?

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

Guy, don’t beat yourself up too much, those of us who have played with old cars long enough inevitably live to regret something we gave up to have something else. In one case for me, though, I decided not to give up my 1750 GTV for a Sprint Speciale advertised for $15k. I still have the GTV and adore it, but truth be told, I would adore the SS even more if I owned it now. Come to think of it, maybe not. You can’t buy history and the GTV has given me more of that than any other car.… Read more »

Jeremy DeConcini
Jeremy DeConcini

I never get tired of the Ducktail on a 911

Neil Bedwell
Neil Bedwell

Great car, great story. Well played boys

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Now you should service the car in another state, just for the fun of other road trips! Great story and pictures!

Richard
Richard

Fantastic. Great car and great story – A trip to remember!

I just bought and drove back a 1967 Peugeot J7 camper van from the south of France to England. Only 750 miles but we got home 36hrs. I wish it was fast enough to get a ticket!

Mike Jones
Mike Jones

Hey awesome story and great car. From one Houstonian to another, check out Houston’s edition of cars & coffee. Great excuse for an early drive.

Vincent P
Vincent P

Love this story and it really exposes how big a puss I am. When I got my 911 I borrowed a truck and trailer for 150mile trip home. 🙁

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

Here’s a good Petrolicious Question: what car do you kick yourself for not buying when they were still affordable? For me, this car in this color.

Great story, great car, beautiful drive. I’m jealous.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

Frank – totally agree. The SC’s and Carrera’s of the late 70’s through 89 have just shot up in price. Anything “air cooled” in the Porsche world too, really.

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers

Frank,
My “one that got away” car was a 1931 Ford Model A. Being a dumb kid at the time (1991), I rejected it on the basis the stock powertrain would not suffice for daily usage while I saved up to buy hotrod parts. The prices are out of my reach now.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

Always great when someone uses the car as intended!

Martin James
Martin James

Yup ! And hey .. by the way Mr O’Leary ! Be glad you didn’t have WA or CO plates on the thing . If you had its almost guaranteed driving thru WY etc you’d of gotten pulled over for a full fledged , stem to stern , Sniffer Dog search ! [ for 420 of course ] Cause … you guessed it … having either plate [ especially on a Porsche or any other premium car ] automatically has you profiled for potential search in over ten states now including WY , MT , Idaho , KS , UT… Read more »

Michael D'Silva
Michael D'Silva

Very cool… great story, great photos, great experience.
Congrats 🙂

Car looks sensational too.