Porsche Carrera GT
A lesson in meeting your heroes.
This is a photo from some time ago, but I feel it deserves a post if only for the fact that I'd never think I'd ever see a Porsche Carrera GT in-the-metal.
Australian laws on driving left-hand drive vehicles vary a little from state to state, but I feel most can be summed up as "Nope, unless it's classic or if it's a one-off drive" - the latter being relevant to tourists who wish to bring their own car.
Basically, "Unless your car is old, expensive or a mix of both."
When a rally came to town that featured many different kind of exotics, I was a bit astonished to see this Porsche Carrera GT parked in the prominent spot near one of the fahncy hotels in town. Whenever a hotel guest brings something a bit special, the hotel likes to park it out the front of the building in order to turn heads. If there was any car deserving of such a prominent and celebrated spot, it was this one.
The Carrera GT has long been a favourite of mine. The unique manual transmission. The reputed behaviour that required a driver with focus. That sumptuous 10-cylinder.
Yet, I remember looking at the Carrera GT as it stood before me in the car park, and thinking that it looked strange. It could have been the hardtop that it was wearing that threw its proportions out a little, or perhaps it was just a little underwhelming from all the hype in my head that I had assigned to the rare creature. Its rear was too long and the nose was ordinary.
It was still a vehicle that had presence. It had a gravitas about it. Yet, the more I looked at it, the more I wondered why exactly I had desired such a vehicle in the event the numbers ever fell my way. Knowing that I wouldn't get so close to another example of this Porsche for a long time, I took my picture and departed.
At the time, I was working in a neighbouring building to where these cars were gathering. Every now and then, when fetching a coffee, I would nosey out the window to see what else had arrived. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and other exotics arrived and left. I kept looking to the Porsche, just to see when it would drive away.
And eventually, it did.
That noise. It was distinctive. It stood out, even amid the songs of other Italian and German sopranos. When it ignited, I knew that it was the Porsche and nothing else. The driver warmed the engine before giving it a few revs to explore octave range. I gawped out the window and watched, rubbernecking with a grip that Michelin would envy.
The Porsche rolled from the hotel's driveway and the driver gave it the gas up the nearby terrace, giving it what joy they could within the limits of the laws - and even then the noise was beautiful. For a brief moment I heard, live, the noise that features in this particular segment of Top Gear.
There is a level of caution in meeting your heroes, I know. From all appearances up front, they may impressive but they are ultimately human. But it's only when they're deploying their talents that you realise exactly why you love them.
I like my heroes for their talent, but I often doubt that I'd like to be their friend.