Porsches were always my first love and I've been a Club member since 1990, first owning a 1979 911 SC and later having a half-share in a 911 GT3 Cup car, which we campaigned in Britcar.
After selling the GT3 Cup car, I started looking at changing the SC. I'd always liked the 964 shape and considered the RS to be the ultimate air-cooled 911, so I got in contact with Paul McLean at GT Classics in Andover after having seen his adverts in Porsche Post and tried a LHD 964 RS. I liked the car, but I wasn't keen on the steering wheel being on the 'wrong' side because that would make overtaking difficult on the roads of Devon and Cornwall.
Happily, just before Christmas 2004, a silver RHO 964 RS appeared in a GT Classics advertisement in Porsche Post, so I rang Paul up and enquired about it. Paul told me that it had come from an owner in Devon who used the same Porsche specialist who'd always maintained my 911 SC. This was Crispin Manners at Oak Tree Garage in Newton Poppleford, near Sidmouth. I got straight on the phone to Crispin, whose verdict was: "It's a good one. If you want one, buy it". So I did.
My first adventure was getting the car home. I'd forgotten my insurance certificate, so I had to drive home untaxed. Wending my way happily if rather faster than was perhaps wise, I was stopped by a polite young traffic officer who informed me that he'd clocked me at 95mph. It was my lucky day, because he let me off with a warning and didn't say anything about the lack of road tax. I doubt that I'd be so lucky today.
It is a 964 RS in Touring specification, which means that it has more of an interior than the Lightweight, with electrically adjustable sports seats, central locking and electric windows. It also has power steering whereas the Lightweight and the Cup version, which was stripped out totally for racing, manage with muscle power only. All 964 RS models have the blue-printed engine and lowered suspension with a locking differential from the 3.3 Turbo, as well as magnesium alloy wheels, an aluminium bonnet and racing-style under-bonnet cut-off switches. The RS Touring weighs around 1,320 kilos, which is around 100 kilos more than the Lightweight version. The Touring specification 964 RS is also a real rarity in RHO form, with only seven being imported into the UK.
My car's first owner was Alan Clark - not the politician, but the keyboard player from rock group Dire Straits. Since he bought the car, it's had another four keepers but three owners because the previous Devon owner, John Evans, owned it twice! "Hope you're looking after my car," he said, when we happened to meet. Following a mention in Porsche Post in October 2022, another former owner, David Hutchison, got in touch with some happy memories of owning it too.
Crispin Manners continues to look after the car, with the maintenance being largely routine apart from an engine strip-down and rebuild because the valves were getting a bit rattly. It's needed some bodywork sorting out, chiefly corrosion around both windscreens as well as an old repair to the roof from before my ownership that needed to be corrected. I contacted R&R Specialists at Dunkeswell, who did an excellent job on the bodywork, and Simon Belli at Prestige Detailing made everything nice and shiny once again.
The car has become part of the family over the past nearly 18 years. It had a starring role at my daughter's wedding when I drove her to the ceremony in it, it's been on trips to Silverstone and there have been many fun drives over the years. However, this year, being delighted at how nice the car looked with the corrosion fixed, I thought I'd enter it in the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC) Open Day at Goodwood House.
I've been a GRRC member for more than 20 years, but hadn't ever got around to entering a car in the Open Day. The organisers pick 50 interesting cars from the applications sent in by members; apparently, there are several thousand members and a lot of entries. To my surprise, my car was picked and I duly turned up on an incredibly hot day in the middle of August. It was put on display outside Goodwood House and we were treated to a tour and lunch. We didn't win the vote for the best car, but it attracted a lot of attention and it was great to hear people admiring it.
I've decided that there's no use in just letting it sit in the garage, so I'm making the effort to enjoy it as much as I can by driving it more. That's what Porsches are for, after all. A couple of weeks ago, while chatting at a local cars and coffee meeting, I was asked if I'd ever considered selling it. I said that I hadn't. "Just think what you could replace it with," came the reply. I couldn't think then what I'd replace it with and, to be honest, I still can't.