Opinion: You might not be grown up enough to 'get' the Porsche 911
There comes a point in everyone's life when the 911 finally clicks – are you there yet?
I was a bit of a freakish child. I'd have salad cream with literally every meal. Fish fingers? Yep. Chicken pie? Hell yes. Steak and chips? I wouldn't often have anything that cultured in my Essex ghetto, but sure as the sky is blue, I'd be dipping my dead cow in Mr Heinz's yellow gloop.
But then I hit an age where my tastes changed. Fine, I'll still only eat a pork pie if I have salad cream to dip it in, but that's about the last weird vagary of my youth. Now I'm quite partial to whatever you put in front of me, although I do have a penchant for that foamy vegetable stuff they smear on your plate in posh restaurants in France.
That is to say: my tastes have matured.
It's been the same for me and the Porsche 911, and I think it's true for all car fans. When I was a wee lad playing the original Need For Speed on my Sony PlayStation I'd always pick something yobbish such as the Dodge Viper, leaving the poor 911 Carrera gathering dust in the heavily pixellated garage. My tastes were unrefined – craving the sharp salad cream tingle to set my tastebuds instantly alive, rather than let the beef stock reduction foam creep up and envelop me with its splendour like Series 3 of the Wire.
Porsche is unveiling a new 911 very soon. And if you're not a fan of Porsches and 911s then I beg you to withhold your scorn. Partly because it's very, very unlikely it'll be a bad car. But also because you're probably still just in the salad cream phase.
There'll come a point in your life where you'll suddenly stop thinking all Porsches look the same too. Your eyes will shed their Teletubby filter and come to appreciate the details, the curves and the understatement designed into most Porsches. You'll perhaps get to drive one, which will forcibly put away your childish feelings.
First drive in my brother's Boxster S: This is the exact moment I stopped mocking and started saving furiously
I remember the moment the Porsche switch flicked on in my brain. My brother had just bought a lovely Porsche Boxster S in 'GT Silver' (something to do with a colour the V10 Carrera GT came in), and he let me have a go on some winding Surrey roads. Up until that point I'd seen Boxsters as something of a non-petrolhead's car – like being given a goldfish after haranguing your parents and lusting after a pony. I think I'd not even got out of first gear when the steering wheel came alive in my hands and I was converted. The gear shift, engine noise and damn near everything about that car shouted 'I have been engineered to make you feel classy'.
And that has become my new interpretation of what a Porsche is. They're things for connoisseurs. And that definitely doesn't mean boring – it just means that I've finally grown up enough to appreciate things for what they are, rather than forcing them into a pool of not-quite-mayonnaise to suit my tastes.