What to Drive Today–Porsche or Ferrari?
Owner and photographer: Tom Lassen
Year, Make, and Model: 1981 Porsche 911SC (and a 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello)
Location: Northern California, USA
I’ve been interested in cars since I could walk and just love the go-cart feel of a properly set up 911. My 911 came from my mechanic’s neighbor: the original owner bought the car for his wife on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday (she always wanted one) and after driving it for a while she realized that she didn’t like it, so it sat for 5 years. I bought it in 2006 with 45k miles. I plowed over $4,500 into it for brakes, shocks, bushings, tires and fluids and then I lowered it to euro-specs and had it corner balanced.
Since then, I’ve mostly driven it around my area. The longest drive I’ve taken the 911 on is up to Napa for a long weekend. The roads around Lake Berryessa are just awesome! I’ve taken it down to Monterey a bunch of times, all without incident. In fact, the only time I needed a flatbed was when the clutch cable snapped. I was close enough to home to limp it back, but then flat-bedded it to the shop.
The most difficult part of Porsche ownership is the cost of parts and maintenance. It seems that every time I pick up the car from the shop my wallet gets lighter by a few thousand dollars. The other difficulty is finding a competent shop. Ideally, you want to find a shop that possesses high expertise without being a snobbish boutique. The shop I use is run by a weekend racer. I like him because the stuff he learns on the track makes into my car in many cases. The car has been lowered and corner balanced with a little negative camber added, and is a blast to drive through the twisties in the Santa Cruz mountains. This year I plan to add headers, a sport muffler and a high flow intake to help the 3.0L flat-six to breathe a little better. I’ll do that after I recover financially from a major service on the Ferrari that is currently underway.
In terms of preference, the Porsche and the Ferrari are completely different worlds, and each has its own attributes. The Ferrari (a 550 Maranello) is big, refined and comfortable. It pulls like a D9 Caterpillar (big bulldozer)! It’s a perfect blend of comfort and performance–a true gentleman’s GT. The 911 on the other hand has a race car feel and it’s a little tinny, light, and quick. The A/C doesn’t work very well (I’ve owned 3 911s and the A/C never worked), but that’s part of the character of a 911.
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