The engine made that wonderful tearing-silk sound early 911s make, game for more. Summiting Gaviota Pass, simultaneously, I was transported far beyond 356 country. It would be forever before I could afford one, but a 911 was high on my to-own list.
Time In A Bottle
Decades later—indeed, just a few days ago—I stood in a cinderblock wonder-garage in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The car in front of me was an untouched—I said, untouched—1967 911. It had done a scant 24,732 miles total and fairly howled it! It also had that understated coolness about it that had annoyed us 356 owners long ago. It showed none of the let’s-go-to-the-beachness both my 356s had had…and in this wonder-garage, there were several 356s for comparison.
By the same token, the ’67 before me had none of the lavish voluptuousness of the 2013 911 Carrera 4S I’d driven to Marblehead from New York this spring day. The C4S is a “showgoyl”—buxom, slim waist, high-performance tuchus, ready to please. By contrast with the adults-only 991, this ’67 is showered, powdered, primped, wearing pedal pushers—and yet….
And yet after first seeing this delicate little car three months ago, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Alex Finigan, its beaming proprietor, master of the dozen or so other treasures in this fantasy garage, is a ranking member of the elite Paul Russell Gullwing restoration shops in nearby Essex. As winners of multiple Pebble Beach Best In Show trophies, they know when a good car is good—and Alex will tell you his ’67 is among the very goodest. It’s so good that three months ago when I wanted to do a story on it, it was impossible. Winter was outside, threatening all manner of fall-on-your-ass gracelessness. And that’s not to mention the chassis-dissolving Highway Dept. dry goods, ready to dissolve this 1967 starlet like a cube of sugar at Starbucks. Even in the present struggling spring, neither a raindrop nor an inch of wet pavement are permitted to annoy this frozen-in-amber debutante.