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23 Feb 2023

Chasing a childhood dream

Club member Paul Rhodes started with a toy Porsche but soon worked his way up to the real thing

As far back as I can remember, I was absolutely besotted with cars of all styles and makes, but I always had a special love for Porsches.

I will never forget the first toy Porsche I had as a child in the mid-1970s. It was a white Carrera in the style of a German police car with green doors and a huge siren/horn attached to the roof. The first Porsche I ever sat in, however, was a 914 loaned to my mother by a family friend who was a car dealer. I was exhilarated and can remember being dropped off at school in it before she – disappointingly but probably sensibly – returned it.
As a car-mad young man, I was delighted to pass my driving test shortly after turning 17. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I was regularly falling in love with different cars and would often find something in Autotrader on a Thursday morning that I simply had to have. Back then, I was lucky to be a young guy living at home on a decent wage and regularly blew all my money on cars. Looking back, this was very foolish but the experiences and memories – both good and sometimes very bad – are now priceless.
The first Porsche I ever owned was a C-reg pre-facelift 944 in grey with Fuchs wheels. It was a real bin of a car, but I was 19 and wouldn’t listen to any of the friends I took with me for support to do the deal in a car park behind a very shady pub in Birmingham. The prospect of driving home in my own Porsche was too much for me to resist and, despite it having engine issues that I confidently and naively thought would be a small thing that I could overcome, I went ahead and did a deal. Pretty soon, I ended up having to buy a replacement engine. Although needing to replace the engine marred the experience, I still remember the car fondly. Being a thrill-seeking youngster, it didn’t last too long before the lure of a Vauxhall Astra GTE 16V took hold and, after blowing a small fortune, the 944 was gone.

Over the next 10-20 years, I continued to go through cars when I was in a position to do so. In 2004-5, I managed to get a blue 2001 3.4-litre 996 Gen. 1 Cabriolet. I loved that car dearly and kept it until, after a couple of years of enjoyable and much-missed ownership, I had to let it go for work reasons.
That takes us to where I am today. I started seriously looking for a 911 in late 2015 after I stumbled across the now-legendary Urban Outlaw video on YouTube. I was instantly captivated by the story about this rebel-looking guy and his cars and it turned out he had the same hometown as me. After seeing how much enjoyment and love what he was doing gave him, I decided that was what I needed in my life too. 

After embarking on a search, I bought my Speed Yellow 996 C2 in January 2016. I literally went into it blind, having bought the car from way up in Scotland without even seeing it, but it really was a case of love at first sight and I just got that instant feeling that this was what I was after. It was registered in mid-December 1998 and I’ve since learned that the supplying dealer was Porsche’s HQ branch in Reading. Due to its rather generous list of options, I like to think that somebody was treating themselves for Christmas.

I joined PCGB soon after buying the car, and I still very much enjoy being a part of the Club and the community spirit it provides to this day. It has enabled me to create more great memories and increase my knowledge.
I try to get out to as many shows and events as I can within reason, although I will admit it has not been as many as I would have liked. My favourites have been the Yorkshire Festival of Porsche due to it being such a local and well-run event, the Silverstone Classic (on two occasions, so far) and the Donington Historic Festival where I once got to take the car around the track on the parade lap. I have also had a couple of very enjoyable Sundays at Chatsworth House events. I still very much want to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Simply Porsche at Beaulieu too.

Since I took possession, I anticipated needing to take care of a few jobs here and there but this sort of escalated. I have a list of things I would like to do to the car when time and money allow me to get around to them but, overall, I’m very happy with it how it is now. I have also spent a lot of time pottering about, tending to silly little things around the car without actually taking it out. In the years since buying it, I have not used my car as much as I would have liked due to a combination of an increasing workload and a lack of time, coupled with three new arrivals to the family and two sad and slow losses of elders. Nevertheless, I have still managed to clock up around 10,000 miles without any serious issues.
It’s been an enjoyable relationship so far, and one I hope will continue to be so for many more years. We’re continuing to create great automotive memories and this is probably the car I have loved more than any other. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to own it and enjoy everything that has come from it, not least the fact that it has certainly calmed my ridiculous prior tendencies to keep changing cars every time the wind changed direction.

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