Please understand that I know very little about cars especially macho or muscle varieties. But even I am somewhat familiar with the venerable Porsche 911. The New York Times recently reviewed the 2015 rendition of the 911 GTS. The reporter, Tom Voelk, waxed eloquently about the performance and features of the $142,300 version he was permitted to test. Witness the following: “With the engine singing baritone from behind, 0 to 60 miles an hour is a 3.8-second thrill ride.”
Still Mr. Voelk’s review noted the 911’s aging features: “The 911’s delicious analog nature is a blessing in our digital world.” Or: “Issues? At $142,000, a backup camera would be nice.”
In summary, he compares the 911 to “…a BMW 18 that’s bursting with new technology. One is a Rolex. The other an Apple Watch.”
Which brings me to my 911 story; years ago, my firm arranged for a European colleague to attend a month-long summer course at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University. Designed as an intense mini-version of an M.B.A. program this chap would have little free time except for the middle weekend. Since Dartmouth is about 50 miles from our New Hampshire house, I invited him to spend a relaxing weekend with us.
We shall call him Broker X to protect the innocent. Known as a charming rascal, Broker X readily accepted this invitation and I drove him to Marlow after picking him up from his campus quarters. Tall and thin, he had a way with women and could instantly charm them. This despite suffering from bad skin that one could sum up if being uncharitable: “One day his face caught fire and they put it out with a fork.”
Despite this handicap, a church lady once remarked about Broker X, “I don’t know what it is about that man but I cannot be in the same room alone with him. If I am, I start to feel funny inside.”
The highlight of his visit was a round of golf at the Hooper Golf Club in the town Walpole on the Connecticut River. Hooper is a lovely little course with nine fairways but with 18 tee boxes. Cut into the forest, several fairways look down toward the river and neighboring Vermont.
My then 14-year-old son, Michael, joined Broker X for the round. “Tell me Mister X, what kind of a car do you drive back home?
“A Volvo,” he replied.
“No, no, I am not talking about your company car, what kind of a car do you own back home?
“Ah, a Porsche 911.”
“I’ll tell you what; we have a blue Ford Escort back home. How about I’ll trade you the Escort for your 911?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Okay then, I’ll throw in my 16-year old sister!”