Car Quest

Living in Northern California, more specifically: Silicon Valley, every car you see on the road is some shade of gray. That’s black or white, or anything in between. That includes silver, and I’m also including gold in there too as that’s a wildly popular color with the Camry crowd (which is heavily pronounced here). The lack of color isn’t limited to the ordinary, every day cars, there are no boundaries to the sea of doldrum that roams our streets. Did you know that there are more silver Ferraris than any other color here? Did you know an Audi dealer once refused to accept a red Audi A4 as a trade-in on a new vehicle because they wouldn’t be able to sell a red car here? That’s how bad it is.

I’m no exception, both my Boxster and my BMW are black with black interior. Black looks good on pretty much every car; even a Camry. I would almost say Ferrari owners are an exception, but if their car isn’t silver, then it’s red. There’s nothing less imaginative than a red Ferrari. The only real exception seems to be Lamborghini owners. They truly revel driving in a car with colors as loud as their exhaust.

ttrb

This is why I don’t want a Porsche that’s any shade of gray. In fact, like Ferrari, silver is the most popular color for Porsche here. I’d venture a guess that if there are 100,000 Porsches here, then 99,900 of them are silver. If I owned a silver Porsche, I’d likely have a hard time finding it in a parking lot. I’d probably try to get into the wrong car, then find myself baffled as to why the key isn’t working. That’s already happened with both of my black cars.

There must be some color in my life. When I park my car somewhere, I want to easily be able to find it when I leave. When I go to cars and coffee events, I want to be the only colorful car there. When I’m driving on a street, I want people to see me so that maybe they won’t cut me off because I blend in with the scenery (this happens every day). I want something that’s says “fuck you” to all fifty shades of gray.

I tapped the usual suspects first: Ebay Motors, Craig’s List, and Auto Trader. Guess what? I found plenty of 996s I could afford, but they were all black, gray or silver. There were a handful of dark blue cars too, but they really just look black. Aside from lacking color, none of these cars were in particularly great shape either. Most had higher mileage than my Boxster, or at least the same, and many just looked tired, and worn out. I did find one yellow 996 which looked quite good at first glance, but it had too many silly modifications done by its current owner and wasn’t really in good shape at all.

I spent about a week looking for a decent 996 that met my criteria with no luck. I found different cars almost every day, but they were also all the same. I expanded my search and started looking at different sites, even taking part in random Google searches. It all seemed futile. I’ll admit that I did find several in decent shape, but they were all silver! If something was a real color, then it was in terrible condition. And no one at all mentioned anything about the IMS Bearing issue being addressed. This just wasn’t going well, I knew I was never going to find one. I had set high, perhaps impossible, standards. I suppose that was really just a subconscious decision to get the Boxster fixed.

I know what you’re thinking. Some people spend months, years, even decades searching for the right car. I only spent a week, then gave up. But not really. My obsession with owning a Porsche 911 has been with me since I first saw one in Condorman. I’ve actually been seriously looking for a 911 since 2001. It was really hard to find a good example of a 911 then, unless it was new. And then, sometime in 2012, the prices started skyrocketing. Bad timing all the way around. So, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would find nothing that fit the bill.

It’s not like deciding to fix the Boxster was a consolation prize or something, I mean, I love that car. It puts a smile on my face very time I drive it, and that’s not a word of a lie. I thought I could make it a bit more enjoyable for myself by adding one more expense: find a removable hard top for it, since that would make it less convertiblely. I had made my decision, and I was sticking to it. I’ll deal with the financial crap tomorrow. After work. After dinner. Maybe the next day.

Who am I kidding? It was a Tuesday night, just after 10:00 PM and I decided to do the infamous one last search before going to bed. I started looking at sites I never look at, which included (of all places) cars.com. I put a lot of criteria in that search, so much that it only returned 26 results. That’s not a lot when you consider how many Porsche’s are for sale nationwide. Of those 26, I found two that looked promising: one was yellow, the other was a very rare shade of red called Orient Red Metallic.

I read the ad for this 2001 Porsche 911 Carrera and found the car had a name, Corinna. It also boasted low mileage—under 54,000. It’s in great shape, full leather interior, six speed manual transmission, pretty much all the bells and whistles. And, the IMS Bearing solution had been performed by Flat 6 Innovations. I could hardly believe what I was reading, I kind of felt like this might be some sort of a scam.

I decided to contact the owner. It was about 10:30 PM and I wasn’t hopeful because this almost always plays out in one of three ways:

  1. The seller simply never responds.
  2. The seller responds, but informs me the car has been sold.
  3. The seller responds with little to no information, doesn’t answer my questions, and acts like he’s not interested in selling the car.

I woke up the next morning around 9:00 AM and checked my email. What is this? There were ten emails from the owner of Corinna. The first one answered every question I posed in my original email to him. The other nine were full of additional photos of the car. I responded back, then spoke with the owner, Ron, later that same day. I pretty much knew I was buying the car right then. One tiny problem: the car is located on the other side of the country in Georgia.

Over the next few weeks, Ron and I exchanged over 100 emails, multiple phone calls, and several text messages. Ron is very much a car enthusiast, and spent a great deal of time making me feel comfortable with buying a car from such a great distance. But it wasn’t all for me, he was very particular to whom he sold the car. He had already declined selling it to two other people before me due to the way they treated the car during test drives. This man earned my respect. Fast.

This car couldn’t be more perfect, it was exactly what I was looking for. Is this really happening? It’s a 996, but it looks incredible. The mileage is low, it’s in excellent condition, it’s a gorgeous color, it has every option under the sun, it’s owned by an enthusiast, it’s affordable, and it’s had the freakin’ IMS Bearing fixed by the people who invented it! There’s a popular colloquialism associated with situations like this, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

This definitely seemed too good to be true.

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