Story and photos by Phil Karanicolas @philbee911
Back in the 90’s, a good friend of mine owned and ran the hotel next door to Porsche Centre Melbourne. Whenever I visited, we would pop next door to look at the brand new Porsches in the showroom. We also chatted with the sales guys there like Pierro as many of the Porsche guys got to know the pub owners quite well. Maybe that’s where my passion for Porsches all started. Now, 30 years later, the same 911s are there and even Pierro is still there, but no longer the sales guy, he now runs the joint, and the cars, although shiney and polished as if new in the 90s, are now old classics. I’m feeling old…
The PCM showroom today was all a buzz. Why? Porsche is celebrating our fascination with sportscars. From the 8th of June 1948, when Porsche registered its first vehicle to now, Porsche has been an integral part of sportscar history. Following the 70th year celebration last year, this year we have “Sportscar Together Day” for us to enjoy. The showroom today shows us a snippet of their cars of all eras.
There was a nice vibe when I walked in, a family friendly environment. A relaxed atmosphere with many people just chatting away about… mostly car stuff, reminiscing, peering at the cars and taking happy snaps of their favourites. The kids got balloons and a few sugary snacks. The bigger kids got to enjoy the glimmer and shine of the great examples of classic and modern cars before them. Team modern was represented by a gleaming new white 718 Boxster, a speed yellow 997 GT3, a 992 Coupe and a 991 GT2RS to name a few. Wow, that GT2 looks quite imposing up close. Dressed in a devilish red with black trim, it sat squatting quietly in the corner of the showroom, those huge front vents, huge wing at back and protruding front lip tell you quite clearly it means business. It’s a site to behold.
4 rows of cars stretching the length of the showroom, provided great eye-candy for us all. One row was a line of green classic cars. A 993 Targa, an older 70s 911, a 930, a 964 and a newly restored LHD ST replica with a set of trumpets on the engine, lid up for all to see. There it sat propped up close & personal with the barista and his coffee machine while the kids darted around the gawking adults.
John Orchards red 356 was fresh from the workshop and looked museum quality in the dappled light as did quite a few of the other classics. A real credit to their owners and the classic partner team at PCM.
It’s funny, but I feel the old restored classics create more interest. Some part of this for me is the expectation and surprise of how perfect and new they look. It’s a contradiction. The new cars, yeah, you expect perfect duco, the bits to be all snug and fit exactly, everything shiny but the old cars, you don’t have that expectation. When you get up close, these classic beauties were all close to concourse level excellence. That gets an instant wow from me and the crowd I reckon. Like the black 356 cab next to reception…. Wow!
I got talking to a fellow enthusiast who owns a 991 GT3RS. We were both staring at the red GT2 devil in the far corner and he mentioned he test drove one. It was not for the faint-hearted and a “whole other level of performance and speed compared to his car”, he quipped. Then silence eschewed as I tried to twist my brain around how fast his car was and what another level of speed above that might be and what it might feel like. I couldn’t. My air-cooled world does not compute that. Then the image of a 60hp 356 engine popped into my head and I smiled. I guess I live in the middle. The long Porsche lineage just keeps moving along. First we had 60hp, back in the 80s we had 230hp, now with the GT2, we have over 600. From 60 to over 600, where to next?
After a couple of hours of chatting, peering, and taking pics, a few of us retired by strolling across the road to the Prince Patrick Hotel for a drink and bite to eat and yak some more about…yes, car stuff.
Well done PCM. Do it again.