1400 miles, 3 days, 2 drivers, 0 tickets, 1 C2

Old 01-23-2008, 04:29 AM
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Default 1400 miles, 3 days, 2 drivers, 0 tickets, 1 C2

What an upgrade! As of this November I had been driving a 964 C4 cab for a four years. It was an fun car for summer touring and suprisingly practical year round with the AWD. But to me it was missing something... Was the AWD too intrusive? Was the open top too unnerving at speed? Was it the ineligibility for track events? The more I drove it the more I realized that I needed a coupe, and that despite having owned only AWD cars since, well, ever, I needed to shed the security blanket and get a C2. Along the way to doing so I learned three important things...

After convincing my wife, CJ, that her favorite car needed to go (yes, she drove the 964 as much as I did), and after taking a bit of a raking on the actual sale of that car, the hunt for a replacement began in earnest. My good friend Dennis was my dedicated personal shopper and he sent me literally dozens of cars to look at, and these were just the ones that made it through his first screening. But each either didn't fit the budget or was missing the necessary ingredients. We were looking for either a good 993 C2 or a great 964. There aren't that many great 964s kicking around, and Dennis only has eyes for the 993 so our hunt eventually narrowed to OBDI 993s. After a few months of looking (daily), it was getting tiresome. I thought I'd end up a Porscheless old man scouring Craigslist endlessly looking for "the one".

But then it appeared. A curious thread about a cheap Turbo showed up on RL and what did I spy there among the posts, but a nonchalant for sale post from Chris Walrod for his C2. Could it be? Really? I pinged him about it and yes, it was true! There followed about two weeks of back and forth, pictures of the car from every angle, mails about this, that and the other thing, questions, answers, and more pictures. The more I saw of the car the more I thought there must be something wrong with it because this was way too good to be true. Not only was it a 95 C2 and already had every upgrade I knew about, but those upgrades themselves were upgraded. Chris manufactures lightweight brake hats for the Turbo brakes, his replacement urethane bushings go well with the S Car Go-installed PSS9s, and the list goes on… Finally, after a PPI (the tech said if I don't buy the car he will) I told Chris I'm pulling the trigger. In fact, I had pulled the trigger before the PPI and bought two one-way plane tickets to LA because I already knew that the PPI would go well. It had to!

Lesson 1: Chris Walrod is a first class guy and he knows his P-cars. He's honest, knowledgable and does what is right for a car. And he obviously loves cars. Without divulging too much about his garage, it's pretty obvious that he loves to tinker and build what he needs to make a car just right. He was completely up-front with every imperfection of the car: the PPI turned up nothing new but some soft codes. He is by far the most reasonable, flexible and responsive seller that I have ever dealt with, and this is my 3rd long-distance car buying experience. I had inferred all this from his RL presence and reputation, but having actually met and dealt with him I can say for certain that he’s a terrific dude.

OK, back to the story. Up at 4AM on Saturday, arrived in the burbs of LA at 9:30. Chris picked us up at the airport, drove back to his place, showed us the car and all the things wrong with it, all of the things that had been done to it, the stack of receipts, etc, and then let us drive it. All were formalities at this point, but it was fun and we learned some stuff along the way.

Lesson 2: Sometimes cars for sale really are as good as the ad says. In this case the car is even better than I thought it would be. Chris' portait of the car was that it's his beater track appliance. Well, this "track appliance" turns more heads and hauls more *** than the Swedish Bikini Team Bus. I'm still not as comfortable with her as I was with the 964, but the performance improvement from the old car is amazing. Even though it's a high mileage car (100k miles) overall she feels much newer than our 964 did (70k miles). The paint on the 964 looked better but the 993 is so tight and the interior so clean that to me it feels new. The only cabin noise is the occasional creak from the windshield seal or rattle of the front license plate which is in the glove box where it belongs.

After we sealed the deal we started our drive back home. We had two and a half days left to drive from LA to Seattle. We figured we could drive the Coast Highway back as far as Central Oregon and then blast down something straigher for the rest of it. It turns out that Google Maps is terrible at estimating the time required to drive the Pacific Coast Highway. Which brings me to:

Lesson 3: The Pacific Coast Highway (highway 1) in California is the most exciting road I have ever driven. I've driven mountain roads in BC, the Washington Olympic Peninsula, the Oregon coast, backroads around Seattle, the Autobahn, highways and back roads in Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Sardegna and New Zealand. The PCH is an order of magnitude more technical and more beautiful than anything I've driven before. Here is the route we took.

As a consequence of Lesson 3 it took us way longer to drive this route than we planned. The first day we sat in LA traffic for far too long and by the time we hit the coast we had only an hour of daylight left but we enjoyed it thoroughly. The drive at night was good, however, because there was little traffic. With twilight and the near-full moon we had good visibility and dry roads. We had planned to be in San Francisco before 9PM to have dinner with our brother-in-law, but didn't get there until almost midnight. We partied till 3AM anyway and got some much-needed sleep the next morning. A mini-lesson along the way to SF was that drivers in California as a rule don't use turn signals and drive in whatever lane they damn well feel like driving in. But on the other hand there weren’t any jackasses so it evens out

The next morning we had breakfast at Tartine, which was a big highlight for CJ who spends at least as much time on the culinary blogs as I do lurking on Rennlist. We stretched our stay in SF out until the early afternoon, and then bade our host farewell as we got back on the road. San Francisco traffic was a breeze compared to LA, and we were over the Golden Gate and in the coastal hills in no time. Sunshine all day, stars and moon at night – perfect driving weather. Our naive plan was to be in Crescent City by night. Ha! Not even close! We stopped in Gualala at 9PM for dinner and realized that we may as well find a motel because that's our last chance to find anything that will be open that night. We were told that we were 8 hours from Crescent City. How humbling – we thought we could make much better time than this. At the first motel we checked out the brand new owner was celebrating his birthday. He gave us a good rate on an oceanfront room, two Coronas and some birthday cake. Apparently there were whales playing near shore that day but we weren’t there long enough to see any sunlight or whales. We slept till 5AM, back on the road before 6.

This time the weather wasn't so nice. Overnight on the coast the fog rolls in, condenses and leaves the roads wet. To make it more interesting an hour into the drive it started to rain, and then it started pouring. Those narrow winding roads are not fun in a RWD car that has nearly bald rear tires. We lightly hydroplaned a few times but weren't going fast enough to lose control. So we took it easy and tried to make the best of it. It was actually quite beautiful: even though we were getting rained on it was clear over the ocean and we could see the stars and the big moon setting over the water. The light made it feel like a scene out of a black and white suspense film. Oh, by the way, Chris: I can report that the wipers work, and they didn’t even streak!

The rain lasted for a couple of hours. It cleared up in time for the sunrise and the road started to dry off as morning came. The rest of the time on the coast is a blur of corner after tight corner, peppered with brief stretches of straight road to get into 3rd before jumping back on the brakes into a 180 degree turn that, when missed, drops hundreds of feet into the Pacific. We made the rest of the “8 hour” drive to Crescent City in under 6 hours, including a breakfast stop.

From Crescent City to the I-5 was a sedating drive through redwood forests and, when we got to Oregon, snow-covered hills. Even though these roads were also far from straight they left us longing for the spaghetti track of the coast. The other thing we weren’t excited about was the snow and frost on the side of the road. If we got caught in frost or black ice it would be big trouble. Fortunately the worry was all for naught and we safely found our way to the big boring slab of concrete that is the I-5.

The only other interesting part of the drive is that we stopped at Gran Prix Motors near Portland for the second time in a few months, even though they’re nowhere near where we live. The first time was when the alternator on our 964 died on a road trip to Oregon last year on the Friday before the Labor Day long weekend. That time the guys at Gran Prix took really good care of us on super short notice. This time we needed a quart of oil. Chris liked to leave the oil near the lower marking on the dipstick and while refueling I noticed that we had burned through that reserve. None of the gas stations in the area had anything synthetic and we were only 15 miles from Gran Prix. We got there just as they were closing up but they dug up some Mobil1, opened up the garage for light and provided a funnel. I got to hang out in the stock room as they booted up their computer again for me and played with some Lamborghini rotors. Those suckers are massive.

From there it was an exercise in patience and self-restraint as we fought Portland traffic, and then endured the drudgery of a highway that has no redeeming qualities other than being our fastest way home. We were back home at 9PM, enough time to eat, have a beer and pass out.
This morning my back was a little sore, but considering the amount of time in the car it’s a miracle I could even walk. The car performed admirably, which is a testament to both the Porsche and to Chris’ care of her. This afternoon I skipped out of work to get the car through emissions and registration so the tax man can take his share of the fun. It’s odd how the book value on our cars is so low… oh well

If you endured this far I hope you enjoyed reading this. Here are some of the nicer pictures we took along the way. In order they are: Chris and me before we start the trip, CJ in the hills between LA and SF, the morning of our impromptu motel stay, early morning driving with the moon and slick roads, the fuzz (we simply stopped in front of a parked police car but it made for a good picture), the road kisses the ocean before it climbs and gets twisty again.
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:13 AM
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Congratulations!!!! Nice write up and great car!!!
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:40 AM
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I made it through the entire post and it is 4:30AM!!! It speaks highly of the writer!

Congratulations and welcome to the 993 world – nice looking C2 you got there! I've had my 95 C2 for a couple of months now and I couldn't be any happier with it - always wanted one!
I'm glad to see another owner in the Seattle area.
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:59 AM
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Congratulations and welcome to the madness.

Glad that Chris' car stayed in the family. Now we need to find Chris a TT!
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:30 AM
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What is the book value for these cars?
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:47 AM
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:40 AM
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Great story and great car. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:51 AM
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Great write-up! Enjoyed it immensely. Congratulations on the new car!
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Old 01-23-2008, 10:54 AM
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Fantastic write-up! Welcome to the crazy world of the 993.

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Old 01-23-2008, 10:56 AM
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Great story! Looks like we became 993 owners on the same day.
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:16 AM
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Loved that story and the rain shot is good stuff. Enjoy.
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:20 AM
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Michael -- thanks for the kind words! I am glad you two made it back safely!! Nice writing, I enjoyed reading it.

I am glad the wipers work - I had never used them I was a little concerned with the rear tires as they are 'getting there' and I knew you'd be near or on potentially slick roads. Glad all is well!
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Old 01-23-2008, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by samsnead View Post
What is the book value for these cars?
The registration broker/agent wouldn't be specific but said "in the range of $20k". In the past I've called agents and asked for book values under the premise that I wanted to make sure I wasn't paying too much for the car (or rather, too much tax ).
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:00 PM
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You got a great car from one of the most dedicated 993 guys around. Nice trip home, too.
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Old 01-23-2008, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by chris walrod View Post
Michael -- thanks for the kind words! I am glad you two made it back safely!! Nice writing, I enjoyed reading it.

I am glad the wipers work - I had never used them I was a little concerned with the rear tires as they are 'getting there' and I knew you'd be near or on potentially slick roads. Glad all is well!
Thanks, Chris. The drive was ideal and I'll remember the whole adventure for a very long time. It wouldn't have been the same if it weren't for your part in it. Now I hope your TT plans work out. I feel a little guilty about leaving you Porscheless after you treated the car and us so well
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