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Let loose in a 911

3 years ago

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Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder


8 April 2021

My very first memory of the Porsche 911 arrived with a loud bang. Then a strange silence followed by a lot of shouting. I was, I think, five years old.

This, then, would have been around 1971 and the car my father’s 2.2-litre 911S. The road was wet and greasy, he always drove fast and you could guess the rest. Except that you can’t, because while a total loss of control in those difficult conditions did indeed cause the crash to which I refer, it was not my father who binned the 911, but the driver of a bus who skidded across a junction where we were patiently waiting, not moving at all.

It could and perhaps should have been worse than it was, but Porsche built ‘em strong even back then. My father had all three of his sons on board and while we were all left bleeding from the brief shower of shattered glass that rained down into the cabin, none of us was seriously hurt.

This was his second 911, the first being a 2-litre car, and it was replaced by a 2.4-litre 911S which he kept until he lost all his money in the crash of 1974. I remember that car very well. But not as well as the 911 Turbo owned by the MD of the company he ran. We’re probably at the end of the Seventies now – I know it was a 3.3-litre car – and its owner was a bloke called David Heynes who went to establish a fine reputation in historic racing. He took me out in it once and the level of performance was beyond anything I could have imagined, but it was one particular corner I remember most. It was tight, second gear in one of those, and as we reached the apex all the power arrived at once, wrenching the rear Pirelli P7s loose from the road. I sat there scarcely able to believe I was going to be in another 911-themed car crash until I noticed Heynes grinning at me, foot still hard down, drifting the Turbo to the exit. He’d known exactly what he was doing all along.

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