Ravi Rajaram, ORPCA Member
From Detroit Iron to Porsche Precision – My Brief Journey
An oft-asked question among Porsche owners and other car enthusiasts is “When did you buy your first Porsche?” or “What made you decide to buy a Porsche?” or something along those lines.
With that as background let me attempt to briefly sketch my path to Porsche ownership.
My first car purchase in the US was a ’72 Buick Le Sabre and that choice was driven strictly by economics. As a graduate student at Vanderbilt University in the early ‘80s, I could somewhat afford the $600 the Buick cost (same as my monthly stipend if I remember right). It was a boat and floated around and was as wide as a Greyhound bus as many American cars were in the ‘70s. It did however give me mobility off campus and was in decent shape and didn’t cost me too much to maintain except for a transmission job that set me back $400.
The next car I traded up to was a ’76 VW Scirocco which I picked up on campus as soon as I got my first job offer. It was a fun car to drive and handled surprisingly well compared to the Buick. It was a tough call to make between that and a Fiat X19, a 2-seater, but I went with the VW. I had the VW Scirocco moved from Nashville to Phoenix, the location of my first job. All was fine for a few days until the temperatures started to climb well into the 100s in August and then every rubber hose started to give out almost every other day and leaving a trail of steam and coolant in its wake.
I figured that I couldn’t risk my reputation being late for work or a no show on account of car problems as a new hire – so ended up buying a brand new ’85 VW Scirocco which I kept for a few years. It was a great car at that time with impressive handling but lacked real power. So I was looking to trade up and had my eye out for Porsches, especially the more affordable 944s which I thought were pretty striking cars back in the day.
I ended up buying a ’84 Porsche 944 in ’87, a very balanced car in every way with a 50-50 weight distribution, but it was not a 911 and didn’t sound like one at all (being water-cooled), but was a great first Porsche.
That said, I was constantly looking out for a 911 (a real Porsche) and when the 993 first came out and I actually saw one (I think it was Rupert Kobelgarde’s silver 993), I was awestruck and felt it was an astonishingly beautiful car, a remarkable work of art in its proportions and benchmark performance specs.
So, I kept my Porsche 944 until 2000, when I picked up my current ’95 911 – it was a relatively lightly used car and just crossed 10K miles on the drive home. Today I have about 35k mostly dry-weather miles on it.
I intend to keep my 993 for a long time (though I confess that I have been tempted over the years by Italian exotics, but better sense has prevailed) and maybe get a 911 GT3 Touring (another very elegant Porsche) or a Tesla 2.0 Roadster as its stablemate down the road.