I had managed to shoehorn my fascination with cars into many of my school projects, so I proposed ‘An investigation into the evolution of the external styling of the Porsche 911’ for my final-year dissertation at university.
It was 1997 and I was studying industrial design and technology at Loughborough.
The proposal was approved, and the following few months felt more like fun than study.
I visited dealerships, spoke with salesmen and owners, pored over magazines and even interviewed Tony Hatter, designer of the then-current 993 model.
My mum ran a 944 S2 in the early ’90s.
I loved that car, but the 911 was the model I really wanted.
And the more I studied the car’s evolution, the more I felt the 993-generation 911 was a brilliant interpretation of the classic shape, with subtle tweaks to bring it up to date with the rest of the Porsche family.
I also loved the sound of the air-cooled flat-six and the ‘hewn from granite’ build quality.
And the model I liked best was the C4S: the perfect blend of classic, unadorned styling allied to go-anywhere sure-footedness.
The ‘911 idea’ brochure I had for reference featured a double-page spread of pictures of a silver C4S racing through mountain passes.
That was it: one day I’d own a 911. Preferably in silver.
I came close in 2001 when I found a silver 993 C4S with only 1000 miles on the clock.
But I was moving to a new house at the same time and even I couldn’t get the man-maths to work.
Then in 2005 I bought my first 911, a new 997 Carrera in silver, ordered from the same salesman that I had interviewed as part of my dissertation.
I loved that car, enjoying trips around Europe and a memorable night-time run up the Stelvio Pass chasing a Cayman S and a Ferrari 348.
Over the following 15 years, I worked through a number of 911s and a 981 Cayman GTS (the latter being the best modern car I have owned), but fast-forward to 2019 and I still needed to scratch the 993 itch.
I checked the car classified sites religiously and set up notification alerts for any new 993s on the market.
It became a bit of an obsession.
Then ‘my’ car was advertised by the independent specialist Paragon.
It was silver and had the ultra-rare X51 3.8-litre engine upgrade.
I texted my dad and said: ‘This is a keeper!’
His reply was simple: ‘Get it, then.’
I was on the phone to Paragon the following morning and saw the car the next evening.
It had done just 7000 miles, was in perfect condition and featured some exclusive interior extras, and the underside was as clean as the bodywork.
Plus it had been purchased by Mark Sumpter, the owner of Paragon and a well-known racing driver, for his own collection.
A deal was done, and I arranged to pick up the car on my birthday.
The 993 took pride of place in Paragon’s showroom – it could have been mistaken for a new car – and the team had gone out of its way to make it a special day.
After only a few months I had already driven my 993 more miles than it had covered in the past several years.
It proved to be the perfect antidote to the lockdowns, and I’m looking forward to participating in Porsche Club GB events for many years to come.
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- Owned by Chris Carter
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