Twenty-Footer

Also from Issue 197

  • 2011 911 GT3 RS 4.0
  • Michael Mauer on the 991
  • 1950 356 cabriolet
  • Falken's change of pace
  • 1994 911 RS America
  • 1978 928: A lovely old shed
  • Project 914 3.6 — Part 18.5
  • Slave and master cylinder
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Exchanging the directional-arrow turn signal mirrors with traditional side mirrors should be straightforward. New rubber seals would fill the gap between the vent windows and the roof. Proper bodywork and new paint would make her sparkle. A lower stance would give the Targa a more aggressive look. Adding a sport muffler and a performance chip would certainly “un­lock the true potential of my Porsche.”

My wife injected a second dose of reality. She reminded me I own a ten-minute miler, not an Olympic medal winner. I can park in a supermarket lot without fear of an errant grocery cart or careless door ding. Locking the car and hermetically sealing it at every stop is unnecessary. The Targa is now actually fun to drive. She elicits finger pointing and shouts from teenage girls and old men.

I am saving money.

Of course, Camilla was right. I moved mentally from a place littered with cotton swabs and car care catalogs. I envisioned my Carrera from a different perspective, the “20-footer perspective.” You know, the dynamic of looking “pretty good” from a distance of 20 feet or more.

Now before you toss your boar hair brush and wring your chamois in disgust, let me say that I acknowledge a place for garage queens…true concours contenders. Perfection is, well, perfection.

There must be some perverse pleasure derived from knowing that one’s body fasteners are properly plated. But my 20- footer perspective brought peaceful tranquility to me. I would simply clean it, maintain it, drive it, and enjoy it.

I invested in a bottle of 3M Imperial Hand Glaze, a jar of Blue Magic Metal Polish, and a case of Schlitz beer. Over the course of several days, I gently caressed, buffed, and rubbed my girl, erasing many scratches and simply winking at the rest. I vacuumed and scrubbed the interior, draping the floor mats over lawn furniture to dry in the sun. I removed that rear spoiler. I removed the wheels to clean thoroughly those faded red calipers. I massaged generous dollops of Mother’s Back to Black body lotion onto the rubber trim.

Yesterday, Camilla and I celebrated my 62nd birthday. We meandered “down Cape,” winding along Old King’s Highway through Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Dennis in the Targa. We enjoyed the sunshine, the shops, and the burble of the flat six’s exhaust. We chuckled at a niggling squeak hiding somewhere beneath my seat. I did not long to rocket from 0–60 in 2.6 seconds; third gear suited us perfectly.

Stopping for coffee and a Buffalo Chip cookie at the Mercantile, I glanced back to admire her. Not bad for a 20-footer.

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