If I had to pick a favorite car from all of those that I have owned over the years, the winner would be my Ossi Blue 1968 Porsche 912. 1973 was a time of change for many people in the enthusiast world and many Porsche owners had gone from using them as cars to collecting them and “wrapping them up and kissing them goodnight.” At the time, I was living in Baltimore and drove that 912 to work every day just like it was a Toyota Corolla.
The drive to work could be a challenge in the winter and it was hard seeing through frosty and fogged windows due to the car’s inadequate heating and ventilation idiosyncrasies. You can call’em problems if you like but this car cost me $2500 (that’s right, there’s no missing zeros) in 1973 and unlike leaky modern 911’s–to me that’s a problem—with a car that cost lots more than my 912 did.
What made me smile each day was driving home after working all day for a Great Metropolitan Telephone company. Shortly after turning right off of US 40 onto a neighborhood street I drove into Baltimore’s Leakin Park and was surrounded by trees while navigating a winding road that followed a creek driving the 912 through the twisty Wetheredsville Road to my home in Dickeyville. Just thinking about that drive makes me smile even today. The 912 wasn’t all that fast but had impeccable road manners and there was a litheness that I find so lacking in overweight, overprotected modern cars that, while they may have wonderful heating and ventilation controls, lack the spirit of a real sports car like the Porsche 912.
While I enjoyed that drive home each day another drive sticks in my head that I can’t forget. I had just spent 18 days in St. Agnes Hospital and many more days at home recovering. It was the holiday season and when the docs decided I was strong enough to drive and I drove the 912 the short distance from my home to a nearby mall to do Christmas shopping. Driving it produced a feeling of elation and freedom that even the newest Ferrari would not have produced.
I’ve driven a new Mustang convertible down the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down and while that was the most beautiful drive I’ve ever made, the short trip to the mall in my 1968 Porsche 912 was the most memorable.
photo above: By Rizzo (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0