Based in the Forest of Dean in West Gloucestershire, Steve Gaskin never thought that he would be a Porsche owner. Despite having always been a car fan, Steve grew up believing that owning one of the cars of his dreams was just a fantasy.
While at work in his first job behind a bar in 1969, he met Kathy, a fellow bartender. After using what Steve describes as “his best chat-up line” on her, they fell in love and enjoyed nearly 50 years of marriage. A pair of twin sons joined the family along the way.
In 1996, Steve bought Kathy a brand-new Mazda MX-5 (MK1) that inadvertently ended up starting his connection to Porsche. As he explains: “At the time, the Mazda was a big investment for us, but it was a great car and we enjoyed owning it. A few weeks after we bought it, the dealer that sold us the car closed and quickly reopened as a Porsche dealer.
“We were passing through the area shortly after the event and I was curious as to whether Rob, the sales executive who sold us the Mazda, was now working for the new Porsche garage. I suggested that we could pop in to see him. To our surprise, he was still there and, while we were chatting to him, he asked whether I would like a test drive in what was then the newly launched Porsche Boxster.
“We settled my nervous-looking wife with a coffee and off we went for the test drive. Well, to say I was blown away is an understatement. The car held the road as if it was glued to it and the drive was exhilarating. I thanked Rob for his time and went home dreaming of winning the lottery one day so I could buy a Porsche. Well, of course, winning the lottery never happened, but Kathy and I continued to enjoy open-top motoring with a series of MX-5s, a Mercedes SLK and, at one time, a classic MGB.”
In 2016, Kathy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. During the following five years, she slowly deteriorated until she lost the fight in March 2021.
“It was very hard to come to terms with my change of circumstances, and still is as I miss her so much,” Steve says. “I thought about what she would like me to do. So, in 2020, with help from the great people at Dick Lovett in Bristol, and following an even more enthralling test drive than my first one, I became the proud owner of my very first Porsche: a 2018 718 Boxster. The Boxster had me well and truly hooked, and I fully tested its potential shortly afterwards on a break to the Isle of Wight. What a fantastic trip.”
A few months later, Steve started to wonder about something else that had been at the back of his mind.
“I used to go to a private doctor through my job for a yearly health check and I remember he always had a 911 parked outside of his office,” Steve explains. “I once asked him if he only used it on special occasions and, to my surprise, he used it every day! That idea really stayed with me, and I often wondered if I could one day be a daily 911 driver. So I sold my BMW and the Boxster and bought myself a 992 cabriolet from Porsche Centre Reading that was going to be my one and only car; the one that I would use each and every day.
“It’s the best car I’ve ever owned. It was a fabulous car. I loved it. However, the novelty soon wore thin and I noticed that, when I popped to the shops in the pouring rain and felt cautious that someone would knock my car, the 992 was not the most sensible choice.”
In September 2022, Steve sold his 992 and now owns both a Panamera 4 and a 981 Boxster GTS which he found with both low mileage and one previous owner. After finding a good balance, Steve now has his Panamera 4 as a daily driver and the Boxster for those “really fun days”.
As well as being a car enthusiast, Steve is also a keen photographer and has even helped his local Region (R16) with a car photography workshop. He explains: “I first became interested in cameras back in the 1960s and, while I was working as a draughtsman, I saw a job opening at my local Dixons. I applied and later enjoyed a 31-year-long career, culminating in becoming a Divisional Manager with responsibility for more than 130 stores with a £150m turnover.
“I like the process of taking pictures: thinking of what I want to take, planning how and where I might do it, setting the camera up and the actual ‘moment’ of capturing an image that might be ‘the greatest shot’ I’ve ever taken. I then like the post-processing of the image: cropping, tweaking the colours and other settings to create a final image I’m happy with.”
How did the R16 photography workshop happen? “This came about as I had been posting images of our wonderful Porsches on the R16 WhatsApp Group,” explains Steve. “People were complimenting my pictures and then someone asked, “How did you get these shots? Could you show me?” This led to me being asked by Paul Salter if I would be happy meeting up with those who might have a similar interest. With Paul’s help, we found a venue and I put together a short presentation covering my approach to photography with a few hints and tips. After this, we went out into the car park to photograph the cars. Following the photo session, we returned to the conference room to chat and share ideas and experiences. There were some very competent photographers there, so the shared experience seemed to work well.”
While Steve’s story contains heartache, there is also joy to be found within the firing of the pistons. As he explains: “Despite 2021 being the worst year of my life, it awoke a dream that soon became reality and that has become the legacy of my lovely wife. I am now well and truly a Porsche owner and loving every minute of every drive, whether it be through the winding country roads on my way to play golf, cruising the motorway when visiting family or on the trip to the local supermarket. I’m well and truly smitten.”
To see more of Steve’s photography, please visit: stevegaskinphotography.co.uk
Steve’s top tips
• Learn about your camera and where the main controls are so that you can operate it without thinking. Make sure that you feel comfortable using it.
• Learn about composition: the rule of thirds, leading lines, camera angles and when to use portrait over landscape.
• Learn about how light affects your image as well as how to use apertures to control depth of field and shutter speeds to avoid (or deliberately create) blurry images.
• Create projects for yourself. This will force you to plan what, where and how you will create your project photographically.
• Enjoy it, have fun and, above all, share the photos you’re most proud of.