Life was different in 1991. John Major was Prime Minster, Bryan Adams had the top song of the year with ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It for You’, David Beckham made his debut at Manchester United and Peter Harding spent his first year as a member of Porsche Club Great Britain (PCGB).
Peter joined the Club after buying his first Porsche – a Pewter 924 Lux. He explains: “I was originally looking for a newer, more exciting version of the car I already had – a 1984 Sierra 2.0 GL with twin Webers. I test drove a Mercedes 190e Cosworth that somehow caught fire when I took it out for a spin. This being the early ’90s, I then had to find a phone to let the salesman know about the car’s miraculous spontaneous combustion. I soon decided on something a bit sportier and, after seeing a rotten 924 in a used car lot, my heart was set.
“Prior to seeing this 924, I didn’t know Porsche offered anything other than the 911 - a car I knew very little about. Being a Ford man at the time, I didn’t really care for the Porsche brand but there was something about that rusty old 924 that flicked a switch in my brain.
“After this, I got chatting with a friend who just so happened to have recently read a classic car magazine with a feature on buying a 924. He gave it to me, and I still have that issue.
“Back then, getting information was not easy so it was magazines, the library and Auto Trader every Thursday. I found a 924 at a specialist dealer near Henley-on-Thames, about 15 miles from where I lived with my parents. I was only 19 at the time.
“The guy selling the car just so happened to be the same chap who supplied the magazine article that my friend gave to me. The dealer was the late Michael Ticehurst of Michael Ticehurst Specialist Cars. I had a choice of two 924s, with only one within my exceptionally stretched and ambitious budget.
“Naturally, I bought it. The car was a bit untidy in places, but these were all things I could attend to as time and money allowed. I subsequently bought two other cars from Michael, and I still have his branded duster in my 996 Turbo.”
Since his 924 in 1991, Peter has owned nine subsequent Porsches, each with their own stories to tell. To start, a 924 (a racer on a half-share basis) which was both an ex-AFN Reading race car and publicity show car. Then, Peter moved onto a 924 Lux in Guards Red
with an absolutely immaculate black interior. Soon it was time for something new, a 944 Lux, again in Guards Red, that was, in Peter’s words, “pretty rough”. Soon it was time for more power, so a 944 Turbo in Taubenblau Metallic Blue was Peter’s next pick. The 944 had a white leather interior, LSD, adjustable suspension and was definitely too fast for him at the time. After dipping his toes in the 944 world, he then opted for a Grand Prix White 3.2 Carrera sport – a car that didn’t particularly agree with him.
After getting a taste of the 911 lifestyle, he switched to a Turquoise 993 Carrera 2 that he had for six years. As his family began to grow, so did Peter’s Porsche and a Black 955 Cayenne S stayed with his family for nine years. When it was time to downsize again, along came a Seal Grey 996 C4S. Last, but certainly not least, came a Carmon Red 996 Turbo with a grey interior, the car that is currently gracing Peter’s driveway.
Prior to his first day as a Porsche driver, Peter always had a keen interest in motorsport. “I remember watching F1 with my father at the weekends, with Murray Walker constantly shrieking away in the background,” he recalls. “I also went to Le Mans every year from 2002 up until 2013. I had to miss out that year because my wife, Catherine, was due to have our daughter, Carys, the following weekend. After her birth, I then went every year up until 2018. My chums and I always used to camp at Houx and, up until about 2012, we went by car – generally in Cayennes.”
Peter has also had a few turns behind the wheel on a track, driving on most of the UK circuits and mainly in 924s. He also had a fair few accidents, with wheels flying off, engines exploding and spinning out.
Interestingly, the Harding love of motorsport didn’t stop with him, and Peter’s 15-year-old son Torin shares this exhilarating interest.
Peter explains: “He loves F1 and we’ve been to see the World Endurance Championship with PCGB at Silverstone twice. His favourite non-F1 drivers are Derek Bell, who kindly signed a poster for him at a PCGB concourse, and Jan Magnussen, for a similar reason. Jan spotted Torin in a busy crowd at a European Le Mans card signing at Silverstone and gave Torin his last signed card. It was really nice of him.”
After 31 years, 10 Porsches and two children, Peter has surely learned a lot of lessons. “Buy the best you can,” he shares. “Don’t be scared of buying privately (they are only cars) and there are lots of members who want to help, so take it! Additionally, offering help to others is far more rewarding than receiving help.
“There is lots going on to get involved with as a member of PCGB. You can dip in and out as you please, and you’ll always find someone to talk with, or borrow tools from, or find that obscure spare part.”
When asked how he feels about his 31 years of Porsche Club Great Britain, Peter said: “You know what, I’m pretty proud of it. I can’t believe how quickly that time has passed me by. Am I an old grouch? I do try to be.”