I hope everyone was able to set aside some time to celebrate this Father’s Day weekend. I spent most of the weekend with my dad on Nelson Ledge’s Road Course, enjoying the company and the passion for Porsches at the 2012 944Fest! I feel doubly blessed in that I have the means to pursue Porsches for a hobby and a father with whom to share this interest. This Father’s Day, I’ve come to realize just how much of a positive impact Porsches have had on my relationship with my dad.
Twenty months ago, I nearly lost my father to a heart attack. At the time, my wife and I were literally half a world away from my parents, relying on my mom for sporadic updates over the phone while making our travel arrangements to meet them at the hospital.
Before we heard his bypass surgery was successful, my thoughts flew between extremes of positive and worrisome thinking. I thought of my mom, and what she was going through; I worried about my sister and how she was coping with this terrible news. I tried to think of the last thing me and my dad did together. It had been an oil change or a car wash – maybe both, prepping our Porsches for winter. I thought back to times when I felt closest to my dad. I have many fond memories of time with my parents from when I was young. But on that day, as I thought of happier times, the strongest memories had a theme: Porsche.
Growing up, the two of us didn’t share a lot of common interests. A self-proclaimed, “Long-suffering Cleveland sports fan,” my dad ate, drank, and slept sports. I was more sedentary, preferring books to baseballs, Legos to lacrosse sticks, Mario to mountain biking – you get the idea. Our relationship was refocused my senior year of high school when we decided to restore a car together. That car was a 1975 Porsche 914.
The experience was unique because we both knew so little about cars going into the restoration. The most sophisticated automotive maintenance procedure we’d completed together up to that point in time was an oil change. What a quirky car to get into, as well! We had to approach the Porsche as equals, uninitiated and inexperienced. We wound up learning a lot together. The restoration was especially shocking and expensive to a couple of novices (two lessons learned: if the battery tray sounds crunchy, like rust, DON’T push on it! Weatherstripping seals for a windshield and targa top are ridiculously expensive when purchased new..), but we did it!
The 914 was only the beginning; to date, we both have 944s and dad added a great 997C4S to his stable four years ago. I can say with some confidence that there will be more Porsches in our future! We’ve spent countless hours under the hoods and under the engines of our cars together, learning from one another, sharing frustrations and technical expertise alike. Watching motorsport, another mutual interest, is a direct result of our time together with Porsches as well.
You could argue that we could have eventually discovered another strong mutual interest, or that the brand of car was irrelevant to the experience we shared as father and son. Somehow I don’t see us getting that excited about restoring a thirty-year old Honda, much less pursuing the hobby to the extent we have to date; I’m not sure we would have found a way to share as much meaningful time together were it not for that plucky green 914.
Twenty months ago, as my thoughts were flooded with memories time spent with dad and our cars, I was grateful for our time together. He has since made a full recovery and I am filled with indescribable joy knowing that he’s around to continue to make memories – on and off the track! Who got you interested in cars? Porsches? All the fun, the satisfaction from working and driving Porsches is too great to keep to yourself. Pass it
on to someone you care about, if you haven’t already; I know I will. Happy Father's Day!
Today’s post is written by frequent contributor Andrew Granieri. Andrew is a Techncial Writer who lives with his lovely wife in Ohio. His Porsche 944 pulls double-duty as a summer track car as well as a venerable winter weather vehicle. Coincidentally, those are his two favorite driving conditions.
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