In 2005, I achieved my teenage dream of owning a new 911 before I was 35. I chose my specifications and waited six months for delivery. I loved everything about it.
But three days after registering it on 3 January 2006, I had to have an unexpected operation, which meant no walking or driving for six to eight weeks. Then our first son, Finn, was born in March.
So, after 10 months of ownership and 3600 miles, I sold it to a friend, who kept it for several years before doing the same. The third owner sold it to Maher, who lives not far from me.
Over the years, I occasionally spotted the 997, recognising the number plate because I’d picked the last three letters, and sometimes passing Maher’s house when out and about. In January 2020, I parked my 911 GTS next to the 997 at a local Tesco. Maher and I chatted and I had a good look at the 997, for old times’ sake.
Then in March this year, my wife Louise said she’d been past Maher’s house. There was a new 911 on the drive and the 997 was missing. Perhaps he had sold it?
I’ve owned a Cayenne S, Macan GTS and the 911 GTS, recently replaced with a Taycan Turbo. But the 997 was special and, with my 50th birthday coming up at the end of March, I’d been thinking about buying it back.
After searching in vain for a listing on the classified sites, I drafted a letter, popped it through Maher’s letterbox and buzzed the gates. When Maher answered, he recognised me. Had he sold the 997? Did he have details of the buyer or dealer, as I was interested in buying it back?
Maher said the car was actually at Porsche Centre Wilmslow for its MOT and a few other things. “I was going to sell it once the MOT’s done,” he told me. “The 911 on the drive is a courtesy car. So you couldn’t have had better timing!”
Now the car is back where it belongs. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
When my family came to live in Leeds. money was tight and gifts rare. But on my eighth birthday I unwrapped a Transformer, a white Porsche 935 Turbo that converted into the character Jazz. Porsche became my favourite car.
When my dad’s Audi 100 was stolen that year, I hoped we’d have a Porsche but he bought a Volvo 340 DL. The way I’d peer from its window as we passed Porsche Centre Leeds didn’t go unnoticed. One day Dad took me there and asked the salesman to let me loose in the showroom. We couldn’t afford to buy but the salesman knew he was selling me the dream. Only one car interested me. The 911 G in Weissgold Metallic shone like a beacon.
As a junior doctor in London 15 years later, I drove my first classic 911s, courtesy of Tower Porsche, but lack of safe parking stopped me buying one. After moving to Bristol, I test drove a Mercedes SL, Nissan 350Z, Audi TT, TVR Tuscan and a new Porsche 997. It was superior in every way: style, workmanship, handling, the way it made me feel as I drove. But I decided to buy a sensible Audi A4 Avant and search for a second-hand Porsche one day.
A few years later, my growing family required another car and I acquired an old Audi Coupe. I had it restored to its former glory and was heartbroken when it was in an accident. When the BMW 320 M Sport I leased didn’t suit me, I started looking for a 997 and was alerted to a manual Carrera S for sale in Holmfirth – 27,000 miles, Basalt Black Metallic, black leather interior and standard Carrera wheels. Best of all, it was first registered at my local Porsche Centre Wilmslow.
I drove the car and bought it immediately, arranging for a full health check and service at Wilmslow. Once that was done, I told my older son, then seven, that I fancied a new car. His eyes were wide with excitement as we picked up the keys. We grinned all the way home.
I took Dad for a spin and felt enormous pride that I’d fulfilled my boyhood dream. Every trip in it felt like an event. As the car and its technology aged – highlighted by my buying a Tesla Model S to replace the Avant – it received more compliments. Its beautiful design was timeless.
Nevertheless, I dreamed of owning a newer 911. One Saturday, my younger son and I overtook a beautiful grey 911 GTS near Wilmslow. After we parked alongside each other at Tesco, the other driver declared “That’s my car!” He explained how he’d bought and sold it and I took pictures of him in the 997 on his phone. We went our separate ways without exchanging contact details, though my son said the man lived next to his best mate.
Later that year the 997 had some work done at a Burnley independent, where I saw a G model. The garage owner said it was nothing compared to another G he had, showing me a beautiful 1989 911 Carrera Targa Sport in Diamond Blue Metallic… love at first sight. On a test drive, the sensory feedback overwhelmed me. Two days later, it was mine.
Fast forward a couple of years. and a change of circumstances. Three cars were now too many. I had to let the 997 go, taking it to Porsche Centre Wilmslow for an MOT before the planned sale. I was at home reading the health check when the gate bell rang and someone walked up the drive. Reminding me of meeting outside Tesco, he said he’d noticed my 997 was missing…
An hour later, Dave had seen the car’s health check and the history I had and we agreed a sale. The deal was done two days later, after he’d seen the 997. I was upset to tell my older son, now 14, but he immediately reminisced about the day we’d bought it.
I knew that Dave would love the 997 as much as I did and that I might see it on the road from time to time. And by keeping the G, I wasn’t abandoning my boyhood dream – just starting a new chapter, and a new adventure.