Second Bill

A 74-year-old and his 175-mph, 610,524-mile, one-owner 1976 930.

January 20, 2012
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Photo by A.J. Miller
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NEARING 171 MPH IN A CROSSWIND AT THE TEXAS MILE set Bill MacEachern to reflecting. Not at that very moment, busy as he was behind the wheel, but later, on the way back to the hotel. He’d driven his 1976 911 Turbo some 600,000 miles up to this point — closing in on one million kilometers in international measure. Fair to say his feel for what was happening in this most recent mile exceeded the norm for seat-of-the-pants feedback.

“It just didn’t feel 100-percent stable, a little dancey-prancey shall we say,” he describes it. Bill is 74 and a story­teller. Nearly half his life is tied to this car, and life was never better than with its most recent engine developments, generating 480 hp during one run down the Texas Mile as determined by Traqmate.

“The wind was coming up — a heavy-duty side wind — and it was blowing me toward the cones,” continues Bill. “And I was going, ‘Whoa, I don’t want to turn this wheel too much because I don’t want to spin out or anything!’ So I thought on the way home to the hotel, you know, just driving over the years told me, ‘I’ll put some more air in these tires for tomorrow’s runs and see what happens.’ I had 40 psi in the rear. The rear was sticking like glue and was perfect. And I had 33 psi in the front. So I said, ‘Well, I’ll go up to 36 psi.’”

Dancey-pranceyness aside, entry number 930, the sole Porsche 930 running in the foot-to-the-floor festival in 2010, felt strong — and certainly capable of more speed the next day. How it had felt in the drive to Texas, though, from Toronto, Canada, via Atlanta, matters more in this story. And it felt better than ever before.

Bill drives everywhere, has been across the continent five times, and uses his 930 daily in his work. He loves being behind the wheel of the car he calls “The Wild Pony.”

His affinity for tire pressures began with his very first drive, May 3, 1976, on the way home from taking delivery at the Toronto airport freight depot. He was shocked to find the car wandering, the steering kicking back with every bump. Hans Pfaff, who founded the Porsche dealership that remains Canada’s largest, responded calmly when Bill climbed out of the car complaining.

“Hans just says, ‘I’m so sorry, Bill, I forgot to let some air out of the tires, they had pumped up the pressure for the shipping,’” recalls Bill. “And once he made that adjustment, it was perfect.”

His was the first 930 ordered into Cana­da, in the fall of 1975. Pfaff initially tried to talk him out of the $35,000 purchase. “He basically said, ‘Bill, are you crazy? I have a 911S in the showroom right now, this is what you should be buying. Turbo­charging is new, it’s unproven…’” But Bill’s sights were firmly set on the 3.0-liter, 234-hp Turbo Carrera, the most muscular road-going Porsche ever. His second Porsche, a 1973 911T with a fuel-injected 2.4-liter six had disappointed him by not being faster than his first, a 1969 911T purchased in 1970.

“I’m one of those guys who likes what’s new and different, and I had been reading about turbocharging ever since Porsche introduced it in racing,” he says. “Another reason it had to be a 930 Turbo: It was the time of the first fuel crisis. Word was that sports cars were an endangered species. Miles per gallon was all that was going to matter in the future. So I figured it was my last chance at buying a truly exciting car. In fact, I ordered a custom license plate that thumbed my nose at the bureaucracy: MPG 021. It made Christophorus.”

Also from Issue 199

  • Driven: Cayenne S Hybrid
  • Driven: Boxster Spyder
  • Inside the 2012 991
  • Preserved 1957 356
  • Rescusitated 1971 911T
  • History: 1971 Daytona 24
  • GT3 Cup wins Thunderhill 25
  • The evolution of Porsche lighting.
  • Richard Attwood: The quiet Le Mans winner
  • Tech: Smoke, oil filter, airbag light, IMS
  • U.S. military officer drives the Nürburgring
  • Disappearing Porsche toolkits
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