Graeme Langford has motoring in his DNA. Growing up in Edgware, he lived in a flat above a used car dealership. His mother believed this influenced the young Graeme’s brain, because he chose ‘car’ to be his first word over the more typical ‘mum’ or ‘dad’. Later on, he became obsessed with cars and dragged his mother to every showroom he could find to sit in each and every car.
He grew up, got married and began to try out a range of marques, but nothing ever seemed to be the right fit. Throughout this period in Graeme’s life, he was not a Porsche fan. In fact, he believed Porsches were nothing more than “overgrown Volkswagen Beetles” that suffered from “a yuppy car image” that he held no interest in. However, this all changed on one day in 1991 thanks to Graeme’s friend, Russell.
Graeme first met Russell in 1978. A friend of a friend at the time, over the years the pair became inseparable. Unlike Graeme, Russell was an avid Porsche fan and, in 1991, he switched out his 1978 911SC for a 1989 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupé. Believing that this may be the car to finally lure Graeme into the wonderful world of Porsches, Russell invited Graeme over for a test drive.
As Graeme explains: “When I first got in, I asked whether he was going to join me for the ride. He swiftly declined and so off I went. Well, I was gone for more than 40 minutes. The 911 completely blew me away. I had never driven anything that was so tactile, so involving. I was totally gobsmacked. I just loved the build quality; I thought it was phenomenal. The fact that you can drive a 911 really hard and it does not break is truly a testament to their build quality. The tactile steering and gear change was unlike any car I’d driven before and I had never driven anything that felt so mechanical. It really blew me away.”
In fact, he was gone for so long that Russell’s wife was convinced Graeme had crashed the car, only to be reassured by Russell: “Don’t worry, he’s just enjoying the experience”.
Naturally, Graeme bought his own 911 two months after this test drive: a 1988 3.2 Carrera Sport Coupé in Guards Red.
The years passed and, in 1993, Russell made yet another impact on Graeme’s life. Working as a professional photographer at the time, Russell had been given free tickets to photograph Mike Pickup’s car during a round of what was then the Pirelli Porsche Production Championship at Brands Hatch and he invited Graeme along to watch the action.
It only took one trip to convert Graeme to the world of Porsche motorsport. He went back to his wife, Kerry, and made her a deal. He explains: “If I can raise some sponsorship money, I will sell my current 911 and buy a race 911. If I can’t, I’ll still sell my 911 but put the money into our new house.”
He did, in fact, manage to raise enough sponsorship money so, unfortunately, the home improvements had to wait a little longer and the couple welcomed a 3.2 Carrera Super Sport to their new driveway.
Graeme raced with the Club from mid-1993 all the way through to 1996. After that, he had a varied motorsport career. “From 1997 to 1999, I raced 911s in both the AMOC Intermarque and the Porsche Open. In 2002, I went on to race a 996GT 3R at the Daytona 24 hours along with Mark Sumpter, Mike Jordan and David Warnock. Interestingly, we were the first British team with an all-British driver line-up to ever finish that race! Then, in 2004, I raced in the British GT Championship in a 996 Cup Car and in some Britcar races in a 935 lookalike. In 2010, I built another 1989 911 3.2 Carrera Super Sport which I raced in the Classic and Sports Car Club. Lastly, in 2015, I raced a 1965 2-litre 911 for a few more years before I hung up my helmet. Perhaps I’ll race 911s again one day but, at the moment, I’m enjoying the front-engine historic stuff.”
He has thus far owned 16 Porsches; 14 air-cooled and two water-cooled. Currently, he owns four and one of them is a 1958 356A that he bought from his very good friend Mark Sumpter of Paragon. As Graeme explains: “I’ve only had it for three years but, wow, do I love this car. Obviously, it’s not the fastest car in the world, but it is just such a wonderful car to drive. At 65 years old, it’s a pleasure looking out of its low windscreen, hearing the roar of the engine and catching the smell of the exhaust. I adore all of it. I wish I’d got one years ago; it’s Kerry’s favourite car.”
After 30 years rich with Porsche history, Graeme surely has more stories to tell. When asked about his time in PCGB, Graeme shared: “I’ve met a lot of people that I’m still best friends with. It really is great to have so many like-minded people all in one place. It’s wonderful having a club that unites those with a shared passion and gives us all a space to connect. It really is wonderful.” So, good friends, gorgeous cars and going fast around a track? That sounds like 30 years well spent!