“I’m not sure what Porsche specifically did with it,” says Coe, “but the car already had 1,200 miles on it from its promotional duties.” The original owner drove the car quite a bit; the odometer showed 27,000 miles before he sold it to owner number two. The second owner added another 14,000 miles before selling the car to Coe.
“I picked the car up in 2007 and it had about 41,000 miles on it,” says Coe. “It’s got about 45,000 miles now, so I’ve been using it. A little bit, not a lot.”
AS WE DELVE DEEPER IN TO 968 TRIVIA, I’m anxious to get behind the wheel of the Mint Green 968 and shake out some cobwebs. After all, memory tells me that 968s are a lot of fun to drive. An added benefit: it’s a spectacular New England Saturday with bright sun, low humidity, and crisp, cool air. It’s a perfect day for top-down driving.
Coe has planned our route to include a variety of roads, from a fast highway (the always challenging Route 95) to interesting twisty two-laners and a cruise along a picturesque oceanside back road. As a passenger, the first thing I notice is a pretty stiff ride. However, once I get behind the wheel, I don’t notice it as much.
Handling on fast exit ramps and challenging two-lane roads is pure Porsche — flat and direct — and not at all dated. The brakes are also quite good. Early 944s have less than impressive brakes, but this 968’s four-piston brakes are excellent. It’s clear that the brake systems in Porsche’s front-engined cars made huge strides in the ten years after the first 944s rolled off the line.
The other thing that impresses is the power of the 3.0-liter four pumping away under the hood. It feels a lot quicker than I expected given its relatively modest — by today’s yardstick, anyway — 236 hp. The fact that the car has a six-speed gearbox probably helps keep the big 3.0 in its powerband. And, speaking of the shifter, it’s just fine — a bit notchy but easy to use.
Cruising back to our starting point via the highway is a relaxed and comfortable affair, this despite being on a notoriously lumpy North East Coast expressway. I glance at the gauges and see that, in sixth gear, we’re loafing along at 70 mph. This keeps the engine noise level down and the gas mileage up. You’d probably want to shift down a gear or two to make a quick pass, but, under normal driving, the power and torque are more than adequate.
So what’s next for Coe and his minty 968? After thinking for a minute, he says, “If I go to the Porsche Parade, I’m driving it there. [But] I’m more of a cruiser. For me, putting the top down, driving on a nice fall day or in the summer in the evening — that’s it for me.” Smiling, he says, “It’s a real joy to drive.” And, thanks to his generosity, I’d have to agree.