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19 May 2021

Born ready: Fully charged

Club member Kiran Haslam is enjoying a full-throttle love affair with his 1973 914 and new Taycan 4S...

For quite a while after my first long drive, I had an ache in my face from grinning!” Kiran Haslam is talking about his new Taycan and his enthusiasm is infectious. “It’s such a complete car,” he says. “There’s no compromise. The 911 is everything you expect, but the Taycan exceeded my expectations. It’s so good, a wonderful car.
Kiran is not a new convert to Porsche – he loved the 914 he used to own so much that he bought it back years after selling it. And he knows his way around a car, thanks to the early influence of parents Danny and Maria Filomena.
Danny worked as an engineer for various big-name companies, including in the automotive sector, with a particular specialism in non-ferrous metals and applications for new alloys. Among other achievements, he was involved in creating the first crimpable battery terminal and a gear box housing for Nissan.
He passed on a practical, hands-on interest in cars to Kiran, who also inherited his mother’s eye for a classy motor. “Dad would pick me up in amazing cars – the Godzilla Nissan Skyline GT-R was one – and we rubbed shoulders with some amazing racing drivers, including Jim Richards and Mark Scaife,” Kiran recalls. “He also taught me that the most important thing about cars is knowing how to pull them apart. When I was about 12, he told me I was going to drop out an engine and strip it down.

His interest in cars led to a brief racing career (“A season and a half – it was hard on the wallet”) in Formula Vee in his native Australia and he also studied engineering before a first career as a professional musician led to meeting his wife Victoria in Oman, one of 11 countries in which he’s lived and worked.  Kiran subsequently swapped music for marketing and is now chief marketing officer at Plymouth-based Princess Yachts, a role that has seen him settle in Devon with Victoria, daughter Akira, 12, and son Jaco, 10, plus his 914 and the Taycan.
When he first bought the 914 many years ago, it had been resprayed Amethyst Metallic and various parts arrived in boxes. “I had it a long time,” says Kiran, who put the car back together with a friend. “Then I sold it and more than a decade passed. My dad helped out the guy who bought it, and I’d told him to let me know if he ever decided to sell it."
Out of the blue, he contacted me three years ago.  I bought it back and shipped it over to the UK. It was my daily driver for a while, but now it’s a big project waiting for me in the garage. It went back to bare metal and is now in its original 1973 Ravenna Green, but I’m yet to reassemble it.

So, for now, it’s the Taycan. Kiran admits that he may once have been one of those inclined to automatically reject electric vehicles, but his interest was piqued through working alongside an “inspirational” Princess Yachts colleague with connections to Rivian Automotive, Rimac Autobili and Pininfarina, all involved in the cutting edge of EVs. That led to the opportunity to visit the circuit at Tarragona in Spain, where he was able to drive a range of EVs, including Formula E vehicles and a host of Teslas.
Tesla deserves credit for making electric vehicles acceptable,” says Kiran. “ I’d describe them as competent cars – you don’t feel that you can nuance or throw them around or carve lines through a canyon in one. But when I picked up the Taycan and got it home, I felt as though I had struck gold – like the luckiest person inthe world."
From a mechanical point of view, it’s intelligent performance, totally incredible, the stuff of ICE dreams. And though it’s a big car, Panamera size, it doesn’t look it because everything is in proportion – it belies its real-world weight and feels so dynamic. Comfort, safety, functionality, power and acceleration are all of the highest quality. Porsche always plays it safe, and I’d say range is slightly better than the claimed figure. Think what the technology gives us already – and it’s going to get better and better.  There’s no reason why a modern daily driving vehicle should be anything other than electric."

I’ve worked as a motoring journalist and been involved in projects since then that exposed me to driving prototypes, race cars, regular cars on track and EVs. My view of the Taycan as an incredible car is based less on combustion vs EV  but more on Taycan vs every other EV I have ever driven or tracked – and I’ve driven some pretty special EV track cars."
I feel more excited right now about the Taycan than anything else I’ve driven in recent years,” Kiran adds. “I will never get rid of my 914, because the rawness, valve chatter, fumes, rattles and lack of refinement are also to be cherished. An ICE has to be loved and understood. That’s what makes classic cars so special."
“But I think we sometimes forget that it was real car people who decided to develop EVs. Porsche has done what it has always done ‒ under-promised and over-delivered ‒ in an EV.  And this new era of motoring is so addictive that there are going to be many junkies out there. I think I have just become one.”

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