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15 Feb 2024

The start of a Porsche journey

Meet Club member Cliona and her beloved Cayman, Lara  

Not everybody can claim to have drifted a Porsche, and fewer still to have done so while travelling at 30mph on the M20.
It’s not an experience to be recommended but, one snowy December day on her way home from Bicester Heritage, Cliona found her festively decorated Cayman doing just that. As the rear wheels lost traction and the car twisted sideways along the motorway, she fought to turn it back into position. “Lara, you do this one more time and you’re going back on AutoTrader!” she shouted. Lara did not put so much as a tread block out of place for the remaining 30 miles home.
Cliona has named all of her cars, starting out with a Fiat 500 called Harriet. This was followed by Claudia, a Ford Fiesta EcoBoost, then Luci – short for Lucifer – the Mercedes A Class 220d, so named for the ‘WKD’ lettering on the registration plate. “I loved that car,” Cliona says. “The only problem with it was the matte paint. Living where I do, there’s lots of rural roads and double-decker buses coming down country lanes, so I scratched it front to back down the passenger side twice from having to stick it in a hedge. It was that or lose a wing mirror, but I fancied my chances with the hedge more than against the bus!
“As a joke, one Sunday my dad said: ‘Let’s have a look on AutoTrader, see what it’s worth’ and I actually managed to make three grand on it – at the time second-hand cars were through the roof. It was perfect, I paid my finance off and then the second joke was ‘Why don’t you get a Porsche?’. So I did! Lara is my 987, inspired by ye olde Lara Croft. It had to be an old money name because that’s the kind of vibe I feel the Porsches have, especially the older ones. So, when she’s misbehaving, I go ‘oh, Lara’ and the next thing I know she’s behaving, so clearly the name works.”
Although she’s not enjoying the current petrol prices, Cliona loves driving the Cayman. She chose this particular model, a 987.2, because it fitted her budget and was unlikely to cost as much as a 987.1 in terms of future maintenance and anticipated repairs. Unfortunately, there have been a few issues with Lara, but Cliona is determined to persist and has her own plans for refreshing the car’s look. The Meteor Grey Metallic bodywork will soon be paired with blue brake pads and matching blue ‘Porsche’ decals running down the sides.

“The guy that I bought it from didn’t look after her,” she explains. “I’m trying to get her back to how she was. I’ve had every panel resprayed apart from the roof and boot and I’m looking at getting the interior re-done because leather does fade, scratch, crack. I want to get her back to her former glory and I’d like to keep her long-term – but I’d like to get her back on the road first, because those brakes made a god-awful noise!”
With a gleaming respray, Lara is already looking good and onlookers assume Cliona runs the law firm at which she is currently studying. Her course has covered everything from private client law (i.e. wills and estate administration) to residential conveyancing (property law) to personal injury law (“I’ve seen a couple of shinbones”) and, after seven long years of study, she is due to qualify as a solicitor in March 2024.
Her colleagues share an appreciation for the Porsche too and Cliona is frequently voted as the designated driver on training days. “If there’s two of us, nine times out of 10 I am the designated driver,” she laughs. “We have quite a few training courses and they’ll all look at me and I’ll go, ‘Right, there’s four of us and I have two seats, one being mine... who’s going in the front and who’s holding on to the roof?’”
Her friends also share her enthusiasm and have to take it in turns for rides. In fact, she jokes, R25 are having trouble keeping up with all the different guests tagging along. Having bought Lara on 29 August 2021, Cliona joined PCGB on 2 September and has been along to as many meets as she can. At 26 years old, she is on the younger side of the membership’s age range and is keen to encourage more of her contemporaries to consider Porsche ownership. Yes, Porsches can be pricey, but there are plenty on the second-hand market which are more attainable. “You’ve got to be a little bit more careful, because it could come with all sorts of problems like mine did, but generally there are some that are financeable,” she explains. “People see YouTubers with the latest 911 with all the bells and whistles and want that; so do I, but I’m starting with a 987.”
She’s also helping to spread the word about our cars and community by taking the reins on R25’s Instagram page (@porscheclubgbkent). So far, the account has showcased several events and a wide range of Porsches enjoyed by R25 members, but Cliona is also looking to add a human touch to her posts with plans to profile members themselves and tell a little story about each of their cars. “I’m putting faces to number plates,” she chuckles.
As March approaches, Cliona is looking forward to some post-study travelling. She’s hoping to take Lara to a rally next year, preferably at Bicester, plus a longer drive on the continent. “It’s a present to myself for making it through seven years of law. It’s been a long time coming!” she explains. “I’m planning an eight-day trip, heading through France and then, if I can, I want to get Lara round the Nürburgring. And then through Monaco and a bit of Italy, then back again.”
For now, Cliona is continuing with her studies and learning more about vehicle maintenance on a Mini project car under her father’s guidance. The front-wheel-drive Mini is also perfect for going out in any cold snaps we might have this year (“either that, or I need to upgrade to an all-wheel-drive Targa!”) and she’s continuing to enjoy every Club event she can get to, updating Instagram accordingly. After all, Instagram is a much safer place to go reeling than on a snowy motorway...

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