I like Porsches, but don’t tell anyone
John Boggiano loves Porsches but rather other people didn’t know
There’s obviously something funny about me. No, apart from that, I mean.
On the one hand, I like Porsche 911s. I like them a lot, as it happens. I drive one, I have a substantial amount of literature on the subject, my computer’s cabinet is home to a small but tasteful collection of 911 models, and even a large part of my wardrobe is to some degree associated with the company that produces them. There’s more: my bedroom walls (and more walls besides) are adorned with posters and pictures of 911s, my garage’s also, and even my mobile phone’s wallpaper is a picture of one. Almost every day for something like 15 years I have worn my Porsche leather belt. I write about Porsche 911s in a Porsche 911 magazine. Much of my free time is spent doing something related to them, or it’s wasted talking about them on the internet, on the telephone or face to face. My holidays involve them. Anyone who comes into contact with me for more than a few moments will easily clock that Porsche is quite an important part of my life. I wear my Porsche-enthusiasm like a nun’s wimple: you really can’t miss it. But… that’s not really me.
I know it doesn’t really sit well with the foregoing, but I’d be perfectly happy if not a soul in the world knew anything about my enthusiasm for the Stuttgart brand, or my ownership of the finest car it has ever produced. It’s all for me, for my own pleasure; in spite of the easy-to-spot evidence, not a single quark of any of it is to impress, provoke or attract the attention of anyone else. I sometimes have a vague unease that I will be perceived as someone who likes to be known as ‘the bloke with the new GT3’, or more pertinently perhaps, is known as ‘the prat with the new Porsche’.
It’s especially likely in my case, because I always pronounce the word Porsche correctly, with two (well, sort of one-and-a half) syllables. No matter what the company, whatever the circumstances, I will not and do not succumb to ‘Porsch’. It’s not right, so I won’t do it. Sometimes that can sound pretty pretentious, but it’s somebody’s name for heaven’s sake: it’s either right or it’s not. On occasion, I’ve even found myself speaking to people employed by Porsche who are using what I would call the lazy pronunciation while I’m using the proper one, which is a really strange feeling.
The thing is, although all this stuff is high-visibility in my case, and although I sometimes harbour this slight fear about the way it will be perceived, I have never encountered one solitary incident which might substantiate my apprehension. Actually, that’s not quite true: many years ago, someone did once give me the finger, but I was in a 944 (so it doesn’t count) and very young. The offender was driving a tarted-up Sierra Cosworth and wearing a wrong-way-round baseball cap, so he doesn’t count either.
When I’m out in the GT3, it does attract some attention obviously, but I’ve now covered more than 11,000 miles driving this stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb white eye-grabber and not for a moment has the spectre of a ‘problem’ appeared. Quite the opposite: more than once I’ve had people openly admiring it, gazing at it and so on. Van drivers have come alongside and asked to hear it accelerate away. People have given thumbs-ups and generally behaved the way you would expect to be treated if you were driving a classic Ferrari through some rural Italian village. It’s all been great. The same was true with my 964, which was Guards Red, so also not exactly a colour to blend in with the background. But it’s almost like I want people to notice and appreciate the car, because it’s such a beautiful and wonderful thing, but not really to associate me with it.
It’s not that I don’t want to be associated with it, just that I wouldn’t want anyone to think that being associated with it was the raison d’être of the whole exercise.
When I took delivery of the GT3, the salesman had a hell of a job trying to raise a smile out of me for the photographs. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the experience — of course I did — it’s just that all that stuff; champagne, flowers, meeting the team, and so on isn’t me. I just want to get in the car and drive it. I don’t need or want to make an occasion out of buying it.
So what does it all mean? Right now I’m wearing a yellow Porsche T-shirt while I’m writing this and when I’ve finished I’ll be taking my current 911 out for a quick blat around a favourite local route. But I don’t want anyone to notice…
I should stick to driving instead of self-analysing : it makes a lot more sense.