Today’s post was written by Wilhelm (Billy) Roedenbeck. Billy was born in Lima, Peru. He bought his first Porsche in 1973 and never looked back. He resides in Miami, Fl. with his wife and her Boxster.
Back in the sixties Lima, the capital of Peru, was a city of perhaps 2 million people. It had beautiful boulevards and very little traffic.
Cars were mostly American-made and families were, like in the U.S., either Ford or GM (Chevy) families. My cousins and I, car enthusiasts in our mid -teens, knew all the marques and could easily distinguish the differences between a ‘55 or ‘56 Chevy.
There were, of course, very few luxury cars in those days. Because non-American cars were so rare, we generally knew the cars and who owned them: here was Mrs. F’s 1958 Mercedes 300 S Coupe, or Chachi D’s 300 SL and even Johnny S’1928 Rolls Royce. There were five Porsches in all of Peru, three 356 and two early 911, and naturally we knew who the lucky owners were.
One day in 1967, I was driving my father’s 1965 Chevy S-10 pickup, the bed loaded with avocados from our farm. I crossed an intersection and, to my surprise, there it was: a gray Porsche Cabriolet waiting for the green light.
I had never seen that particular Porsche before, and I was curious to learn more about it. I wanted to u-turn and follow the car, but road rules did not allow it. The Porsche disappeared from sight and I went home a bit disappointed.
In the following weeks, I asked around: had anyone seen this gray Porsche? Who owned it? But nobody seemed to know anything about this car. A few friends even told me I must have mistakenly identified it as a Porsche, but I emphatically defended my identification. But I never saw the car again, and in time forgot about it.
Six years later, in 1973, I was a newlywed with a baby at home and another one on the way. My wife and I were having lunch at my in-laws’ when a friend of my father in law’s casually mentioned that Mr. I, a famous lawyer they knew, had died recently. “He had three cars”, his friend said, “a 1956 Cadillac Convertible, a 1952 Cadillac Limo and one of those little German cars that you like so much,” pointing at me.
It was a dark gray convertible, he told me when I asked for more details. Unfortunately Mr. I had no direct descendants, so our friend had no idea what would become of the Porsche.
One of the benefits of living in a small city is that it is often quite easy to know someone who knows someone who knows what you want to know. In my case, I called a friend who had the same family name as Mr. I and asked him about his relationship to the Porsche owner. It turns out Mr. I was his eccentric uncle who had maintained no contact with the rest of the family for over 20 years and, as far as he knew, had left his net worth to charity.
I was able to obtain the name of the lawyer that had been placed in charge of selling his estate. I was able to get in touch with the lawyer and persuaded him to tell me who had purchased the Porsche when Mr. I’s estate sale had taken place a couple of months before…
The second and final part of this story will publish this coming Friday.