As an owner of a less reliable older, higher mileage Porsche, I can list my top five most annoying aspects of roadside emergencies. They are as follows:
- Discovering the air pump is broken when changing a flat tire
- Discovering I don’t have the tools on hand to complete a repair
- Discovering half the electrical system is either shorted out or otherwise in need of repairs
- Not having spare clothes to work in the rain
- (In addition to item number two) NOT ENOUGH LIGHT
While the burden falls on me to check supplies, be prepared and take care of preventative maintenance, there are always electrical gremlins that are impossible to predict or account for, so like most folks with a Porsche 924/944/928/964 etc., I have to devise a backup plan in case I’m stranded somewhere, day or night, rain or shine.
Before I Saw the Light…
My backup plan to date consists of a few emergency flares, a first-aid kit, and a 170-piece tool kit in the back hatch of the 944. In winter months, I carry a snowsuit and a blanket, too. I used to carry a 2,000,000 candlelight spotlight, as well. I saw this as an advantageous addition to my tools because it threw a lot of light and it allowed me to give people driving behind me with their brights on a taste of their own medicine (Please Note: This is so illegal it’s not funny, but it’s so incredibly entertaining that I’ll laugh anyways, and it’s still a very effective deterrent. FlatSixes.com does not in any way condone treating fellow drivers like this. Unless, of course, they deserve it). However, the spotlight was purchased from Wal-Mart, and its battery was useless after a year’s time and after two years it ceased to work at all! This left me up a familiar creek without a paddle any time I had to make nighttime repairs, especially now that my interior lights don’t work.
… But Now
This changed when I was introduced to the 12VSpotlight Rechargeable Flashlight. I admit I was very skeptical when I initially saw the device; the whole thing is no larger than my big toe, it has only one LED – I’ve been accustomed to a trusty 7-LED flashlight. Even so, I gave this thing a one-week trial.*
That was about six or seven weeks ago. I don’t know where my 7-LED flashlight is, and I don’t care! The 12VSpotlight packs tons of power in a tiny package! I was VERY happy to find that it’s about as bright as my old light, and where it lacks in luminescence it more than makes up for with portability and durability.
An Extended Trial
The first weekend I had it, the future Mrs. heard a cat crying outside her apartment late one night and I was so excited to have an excuse to play with and test the functionality of the Spotlight that I ran outside in search of the poor creature. Ten minutes later, I found myself precariously perched on a wavering wire fence, half climbing, half hanging from an oak tree in an effort to rescue a black and white cat that was stuck atop a branch some 15 feet above the ground. In spite of its darker colors, this animal was seen as bright as day, thanks to the Spotlight! There were several times when I lost my footing and had to drop the light to grab the tree trunk while coaxing the cat down. Any other flashlight would have fallen to the ground, but not the Spotlight, which comes with a handy lanyard, ensuring the Spotlight was always within my grasp.
We’ve since moved into a house together, and while I was still unfamiliar with the locations of light switches I oftentimes took the Spotlight around the house. I should also mention that in all these seven weeks, I’ve used it many times, and it is still on its first charge. My old LED light would have required four AAA batteries by now – which reminds me, this little guy doesn’t require batteries! Just plug it straight into your car’s cigarette lighter. Speaking of cars…
I was asked to write this from a Porsche enthusiast’s perspective, not some SPCA member! Strictly cars, from here on out!
Brilliance and Utilitarianism
Before my cigarette lighter ceased to work, I found the Spotlight was an excellent road-going companion. After the lighter conked out, the Spotlight’s performance wasn’t adversely perfected (obviously), but I became worried about being unable to charge it. Two months on one charge has since negated this opinion, though!
The Spotlight can be dangled through tricky spaces under the hood to diagnose oil leaks and examine the belts. 944 owners will also appreciate the fact that Spotlight’s brightness is strong enough to see the coolant level in all but the most hopelessly cloudy 944 coolant expansion tanks. The light is also small enough to examine the portal in the bell housing to find the mark on the crankshaft. The gritty, dirty work under the car is much brighter with the Spotlight. I found myself underneath the 944 more than a couple times, chomping on the Spotlight as if it were a Churchill-sized cigar, keeping both hands free to handle tools.
Elegance and Convenience
Because I needed an excuse to drive my father’s 911, and not to leave owners of newer Porsches out of the fun, I borrowed the key’s to my father’s 997 C4S to test the Spotlight’s capabilities within the commanding confines of a newer 911. Newer 911s have a cigarette lighter near the gearshift and a power outlet in the center console storage area. The Spotlight outlet splitter fits in the console’s outlet and allows drivers to use another device besides the Spotlight, but it limits the amount of space left in the console – it’s small to begin with though, so this may not matter to most drivers. I can honestly say that the Spotlight is just as useful in a new 997 as it is in my 944.
In a darkened parking lot, 997 owners should know that I did not have to remain next to the car to shoo off hoodlums, thieves, infants or anyone else that could breathe on the car improperly. Thanks to the Spotlight, I was able to be as far as 40 feet away and still see the car, almost worry-free!
Inside the car, the Spotlight is just as useful. I was able to open a bottle of Remy Martin Napoleon cognac with no guesswork, and filled the snifter without spilling a drop on the expensive leather interior. The wine test was not as seamless, but the Spotlight’s lanyard left both of my hands free to use the corkscrew and the red wine was opened without incident. I was again able to fill my glasses without incident; I even saw some of the rich, Italian vintage 2004 Reserva Sangiovese starting to drip from the bottle and was able to wipe it away with my silk handkerchief before things got ugly. The only complaint I can speak of is that the lanyard wrinkled my Armani shirt. Oh, and the Spotlight’s color – the Spotlight’s green metal casing clashed horribly with the 911’s stately black interior and refined white exterior. I’ve been informed that Spotlights are available in a variety of colors, so my father (along with other 911 owners) will be able to select a Spotlight with a color that compliments their 911’s colors. [Editor's note: You'll have to excuse Andrew's ranting regarding 911 owners. He's just jealous. ]
A Bright Addition to Any Tool Set!
As a Porsche owner, the Spotlight helped me when I worked past sunset or in confined spaces. It fits in places most flashlights won’t, so you can always get light where you need it. The battery life is unbelievable, and will provide plenty of light between charging times. It is the smallest tool in my arsenal and it is easily in my list of the top five most useful! My verdict: A worthy investment for any Porsche enthusiast!
[Editor's note: The makers of Spotlight are not a sponsor of PorschePurist, nor were we paid for this review. I asked Andrew to try out the light and give me his thoughts from the perspective of a Porsche owner, the review above is his answer to that question.]
Today’s post is compliments of frequent contributor Andrew Granieri. Andrew is a graduate from Miami University with a degree in Technical & Scientific Communications and a minor in Entrepreneurship. He has a strong passion for cars and is working hard as a private contractor and freelance writer so he can continue to support his (pseudo) extravagant enthusiast lifestyle. He currently drives a worn but strong 1986 Porsche 944 that his future wife has come to appreciate and adore.