According to 356C owner Catherine Sutton, “the whole point of owning an old car is that it’s a choice rather than a chore.” Despite the work that comes with owning something antiquated, that is a truth that rings through for all old cars. What does not ring true for all is the feeling of harmony Catherine gets from her 356C. In a classic Porsche everything works together in a logical way. The floor hinged pedals are connected to a world of feedback. At every stage the Porsche is honest about what it is and what it can do. Excess girth isn’t concealed by electronic aids and a preponderance of power. With simplicity comes a purity of purpose and a sense of adventure many modern cars lack.
For those of us who regularly drive very old cars, there is something that makes every trip special. I daily drove a pair of Studebaker pickups for a while when I was in my late teens and going into college. The newer of the two, a ’56 Studebaker Transtar 1/2 ton, made Catherine’s 356 look positively modern. It also lacked the carefully engineered inputs and high minded nature of the little sports car. Its original intent was far more down and dirty. In the canyons of Southern California it would have felt about as in its element as a moose.
But like Catherine’s 356, it was never a means to an end. The journey wasn’t wasted time bookended by home and a goal, it was part of the adventure in itself. The world out the windshield was a panoramic vista vignetted by the hazy corners of the curved windscreen, and centered by the long, curving hood.
Like Caroline, the truck was never perfect. It was laced with the patina of age, and as she said it added to the story. It contributed to your own understanding of your role in this vehicle’s history, whether that history came from honest labor or from the joy of driving a Porsche.