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Fleet Maintenance

In January I had the opportunity to pour some much needed attention onto the Australian contingent of my fleet – very gratifying. Thankfully, it has not been since the late 90′s that my collection was spread over 3 continents. These days my relatively stagnant fleet is corralled in two locations and although roughly 12,000km separate those two locations, the cars themselves are all within stones throw of each other, all stored indoors, in dry and fairly ideal circumstances. There are many car enthusiasts who have cars much more valuable cars stored in far less ideal conditions and have few cost effective options on how to improve that situation.


Secure, dry storage of my 56 year old VW

Contemplating all this while having a beer with John Forcier in Brisvegas recently, I started the trivial pursuit of remembering all my past cars. I was equally reckless enough to guess the number of cars I have owned…….. Given that John has spent a fair amount of time riding motorcycles, plus he’s a handful of years my junior, it turned out to be an unfair contest. We drank more beer and restored the conversation front and center to Porsche’s and in particular his blue coupe that is earmarked for a major freshening in 2010 – serious fleet maintenance that I expect I will cover later.

As it turns out my current fleet is 12 &1/2 cars, five of which I have never driven (yet), one I have driven only once (thanks to the bungling of CA DMV……..another story) and the one I half own, I doubt I will ever drive…


My driven once, ’67 912 barn find (36K miles)
Jimmy’s Car BBQ, Golden Gate Park, Speedway Meadow, 2008

At this point I started to draw a focus on what a daunting task a collection of needy cars can be, not so much marvelling at my own current and no doubt future plight, but more for those who operate a fleet of classic cars in the most abstract of manner – doing so without being responsible for anything but the costs of their cars.

For those of us who enjoy the knowledge of the intricacies of how a car works, what each part is named, it’s essential coexistence with neighboring parts, what it is made from and how it was manufactured, we are often empowered to release that information one piece at a time to those who need to know – normally on a “I really need to know” basis.

There is no snobbery in knowing this information, having learned it from willing teachers some time in the past, the opportunity to share this knowledge is normally borne out of necessity rather than drive to become an educator. After all, why retain this information if it cant be used for the greater good of the car hobby?

As a Porsche specialist business we know many avid collectors, some are clinically obsessed, others idly fascinated, but all are so interesting. In most cases their fleet is a beloved burden, a constant mouth to feed on the monthly balance sheet. Where to house these cars?, who to pay? Where to repair these cars?, who to pay? How to modify these cars?, who to pay?…..I sometimes wonder if the task of making all those choices is equally as fulfilling as actually affecting all those decisions.

For the techno ignoramus car enthusiast obsessed, there can be hours, days, perhaps months of collecting, collating, comparing information, opinion, fact, part-truths, straight-up deceptions and well meaning novices polluting the relatively small puddle of facts that surround simple old classic cars.

For the techno genius car enthusiast obsessed there can be hours, days, perhaps months of obsessing over the right combination of intake port diameters, valve seat angles, anti-reversion tricks and exhaust system scavenge potential. Books to read, experts to consult, leaps of technical faith to be made in the act of progressing the car hobby, one car at a time.

As long as there is a classic car hobby, it is clear it will cater for all tastes and all budgets. Even within the Porsche marque as our most familiar one example we find a massive diversity of interests and personal net worth. The 914 enthusiasts faithful to the inextricable association with VW in the 70′s, the 356 veterans who still believe the last true Porsche was an air cooled 4 cylinder car, the modern Twin Turbo power crazy tuners, ad infinitum so many niche Porsche car hobbyists.

Getting back on topic…. 

As car hobbyists we can not escape the one inevitable factor – our classic cars are only as good as the level to which we maintain them – however that be executed.

If you have a spare moment today, apply it to your own fleet, it wont be wasted. Whether or not it is deliberately separating fact from fiction, writing a storage rent check, or identifying which crankcase gasket set you need to order for the weekend go ahead and make an effort to do one extra thing to maintain your classic car today

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