Friday, March 17, 2017

fancying for a porsche - part 7

My recent fever for wanting a Porsche reignited my love for sports cars. Strangely as I spent sleepless nights in anticipation the arrival of my Cayman GT4 I feel more appreciative of my 12 years old R53 Mini Cooper S. It has been a car that I enjoy the most, and over a Mazda MX5 preceded it in road and track use. The saddest thing is, with the arrival of the GT4 the Mini will be exposed to the elements so the more expensive GT4 will be stored in the garage.

In this past few weeks, I have been more in love with my Mini than in recent years. My attachment to it is no less than its first arrival in 2004 by an enclosed carrier in the long journey from Ohio. I have daily go into the garage to admire its interior and exterior design. In the few days with good weather, I would even take it out onto the driveway to have a more expansive view. I know with the arrival of the Cayman that is worth 20 times more I would continue to treasure, if not admire more, this little car for years to come.

the interior of the R53 Mini Cooper S which has excellent indirect lighting in the foot well and many other features which Porsche charge significant dollars as sell-up options

As I thought that my preference for white car started with my purchase of the 1989 VW Westfalia Vanagon Camper. Except the 199x Mazda MX5 and the Mercedes James Cook camper all my vehicles are white. As I recall when did I being to grow a preference for white cars memory from long ago emerged. It was in my teens living in Hong Kong. My family was less than well-to-do then and I dropped out of high school twice. I begun my living working in a factory of making early transistor AM/FM radios, and later on in an appliance store. On my way to and from work there is this MKI Ford Escort RS1600 Cosworth always parked near our home. It was all decked out "road car" with all the racing bits that are in every car enthusiasts wet dream. I would linger and admire how pure and beautiful this car was. The reality of my economics then a car like that was a impossible dream. Even a standard issue Ford Escort with a 1300cc engine was unreachable with the meager salary of working 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.

What etched in my young memory was how pure the car look with the no-nonsense white paint scheme with black classic bold racing strips. It had no front and rear bumpers, and with flared fenders, and to me it was the most gorgeous sports car, and it was a humble Ford.

I cannot find the closest photo of a car the most resemble that. The few following photos should convey how beautiful and pure the MKI RS1600 is.

Ford MKI RS1600 Escort was the beginning of my love for white sports cars

even today the humble Ford Escort MKI is one of the most beautiful cars Ford ever produced; of course being a lowly Ford it has "live" (better call it dead) axle and very crude suspensions

I recently saw one Escort MKI here in Portland, Oregon the proud owner who tracks it.

Walter Davis' RS1600

Each time I walk by the car I would stop and admire how gorgeous it was and dream that one day I may own one. That dream never materialize but for me I realize how beautiful white sports car can look. One day coming home after a big typhoon my image of a perfect car was shattered. A big neon sign was blew off by the hurricane force wind during a typhoon and landed dead center of the car from the high rise apartment building that was the residence of the well-to-do owner. Months would gone by, and in the parking sport I would found a creamy white Mini Clubman with performance bits. I knew even then right away it must belong to the same owner who's sort-after Escort RS1600 was destroyed in the typhoon. To me the Clubman was so wrong even then. It had the worst plastic surgery of the classic Mini Cooper S.

the Lancia Fulfia coupe was one of the sexiest coupes ever made, especially the rear end; and yes, above the Alfa GTV and way more expensive

the Lancia Fulfia coupe has to be a sports car with one of the sexiest rear ends; the car also has one of the most uncommon engine - a 1300cc and 1600cc V-4

the V4 engine in the Fulfia with two Weber DCOE - I bought one DCOE once but alas didn't work well in the car that I had during college

it is slanted to achieve low center of gravity

Some of the favorite cars in those years are Austin Mini 1275 Cooper S, Alfa Romeo Julia and GTV, Lancia Fulvia, BMW 2002, Ford Escort RS1600, MGB GT, and Ford Cortina E, It would turned out I I was never able to afford an automobile before I left the former British colony for North America. I did obtain a driver's license and drove a company owned Mitsubishi Galant, and my boss's excellent Audi coupe. I did owned a Yamaha 2-stroke motorcycle that was the giant slayer then.

while out walking I came across this very rare Chevy Vega Cosworth engine; I have seen one like it in a Pebble Beach Classic Concour video

A lot has happen in this past 5 weeks. One that is most significant is Porsche's announcement of the second generation of 911 GT3 (AKA 991.2 GT3). When I first found out about the 911R and then the Cayman, I told myself that I would not want to be caught up in the super car fever, or performance car fever. I know all too well that doesn't matter which super car you decide to buy, even if money is no object, that as soon as you bring your darling home, there will sure be another faster, better, and more seducing car to follow. Until the announcement of the 991.2 GT3, I have no interest in the Porsche GT3 or even GT2 for that matter. It is because both of these super cars are only available with the excellent PDK.

Guess what? Porsche has obviously heard the faithful "purist" owners and this time around, offer a 6-speed manual transmission option for the 991.2 GT3.

It has been almost three weeks since my tender of the offer was accepted. The Cayman GT4 finally arrived via enclosed carrier in the early evening yesterday. I did not have the chance to see it unload as the driver already done it before my arrival to the unloading location.

my white GT4 arrived last night

this morning I want to give it a good wash so I can thoroughly inspect the paint finish and look for any blemishes on the wheels; rain was foretasted to start early

I am glad to see that the Porsche dealer didn't wash it nor detail it

there is no swirl mark that I can find, and not one speck of paint chip in the high impact areas

These are all the photos that I could take before the drizzle begins so they are poorly composted and shot. I barely have time to perform a thorough inspection of the exterior.

The car has very low mileage that it is not even pass the break-in period so it is virtually new. I am extremely pleased of having found this car after countless hours of searching and screening the potential cars. While it is a private sale, the transaction was done through a Porsche dealership as well as the Porsche Preowned Certification.

I have been doing a lot of reading on the rennlist forum while waiting for the arrival of the car. What I found the general consensus of the veteran Porsche owners is that the new turbocharged 4-cylinder 718 Cayman S is an excellent car notwithstanding the reduction of 2 cylinders. Some even points out that it has the potential to be very competitive against the GT4 if equipped with equally good tires. That has been my conclusion in my research. I would have been quite happy with a brand new 718 Cayman S that I specify to my exact liking, and taking the European delivery at Leipzig or Zuffenhausen. However, I decided that I really want to own a NA Porsche 6-cylinder boxer engine, as well as a street legal track car without the need to perform many aftermarket performance upgrades.

a 718 Cayman S would look rather ordinary compares to the GT4
There are two cars amid the many cars debuted in the recent Geneva Auto Show that I like. One is the 2018 Porsche 911 GT3 which for the first time can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission. The other is the retro of the famed Renault Alpine A110.

Porsche 2018 911 GT3

the very light and small Alpine A110 that won't be coming to the US in 2018

I only have time to play with the inside of the GT4 for like 20 minutes, and I can tell you that I reassert my claim that there is one perpetual universal constant - all OE audio systems suck no matter how much you spend on their over-touted sell-up mega-watt audio with more speakers you can shake a stick at. My car has the baseline head unit but the standard amplified speakers. The head unit UI and sound absolutely suck. I am weighting which 2-din aftermarket head unit to install. I generally like Alpine's clean styling. Without a doubt I want one with the best CarPlay implementation. Right now Alpine is the only company that has announced support for wireless CarPlay. What I don't like the Alpine iLX107 is it does not has built-in GPS and is more expensive than comparable units that have from Pioneer, Kenwood, and other quality brands. However, no other aftermarket head unit except the Alpine has announced support for wireless CarPlay. To me wireless CarPlay, if properly implemented, is more user friendly though you would likely still want to plug a cable into the iPhone to charge it.

Alpine iLX107 is the first and only one right now with Apple's wireless CarPlay

There are many perils in driving the GT4 on the road, especially when the country's transportation infrastructure continues to deteriorate.  The wheels with the extremely low profile tires can be damage if you are not mindful of the potholes. The low ride height and the low hung front air dam can scrape when entering and exiting most driveways. Even with my driveway I have to take extreme caution to negotiate. I have to approach the driveway at 45 degrees or more angle very slowly to not to rip off the front air dam lip.


  1. Yippee! I'd be twitterpated to have that in the driveway!

  2. We have incessant drizzle here today, and more rain is forecast tomorrow. The dealer neglected to ship the car with the temporary tag. Hope it arrives tomorrow in time for Sunday spin.

  3. Congrats on the new Porsche! As a Westy (James Cook) owner myself and admirer of several of the cars mentioned as well as the purist philosophy, I enjoy reading your posts. In particular, I'm thinking about adding a Mini Cooper S Manual to the mix. My question is which generation/what year of the BMW-made car do you feel holds truest to the purist ideal while having reasonable mechanical durability. Any suggestions?

    1. Thanks. I am very happy with the acquisition. On the Mini Cooper S, I can be bias. I prefer R53 over the later years because they got bigger. The second gen is faster with the turbocharger, and people who owned both generally says they like the later interior more because it is more refined. I beg to differ as I think gen 1 maintains the most lineage to the classic Mini WRT the design cues. The supercharge gen 1 sound nicer than the turbo despite less HP and torque, and to me Mini is all about being small. Gen 2 has subtle front end changes due to pedestrian impact requirements. I think only you have to decide for yourself. North American Motoring is one great forum and you can find threads that compare the different generation of Mini's. Of course, with Mini, manual is the only way to go unless one cannot drive one. If you opt for R53, try to get the later years and LSD would be really nice to have. There are plenty of very low mileage and lightly used out there.

  4. Thanks for the Mini insights! Will check out the forum and drive a few. I agree with you that the whole point is about smallness, yet each generation gets larger. True of so many cars but especially odd when one is called "Mini."