Even now, as one thinks back to the late 1950s, Porsches were always so smooth and squat in comparison to any other cars – also faster and more expensive! Reading about the marque in motoring magazines, and the way the Porsche name was listed in top placings when racing or rallying with only half the horsepower and size of other cars, never ceased to amaze me.
My mind was made up to own a Porsche.
Over the following years I would own many different cars, starting with the Austin A40 in which I learnt to drive. The VW Beetle’s mechanical layout appealed to me – a bit like a Porsche – but with no power or finesse. Then there was a Renault Ondine, the sporting version of the Dauphine, that I later tweaked with Gordini parts. The Renault was a bit temperamental but I did manage to win a hillclimb in it.
Later on I bought a Sunbeam Alpine that had been treated to a performance conversion courtesy of Alexander Engineering of Buckinghamshire, UK. The Alpine’s previous owner had been the aide-de-camp to Lord Cobham, our ninth Governor General. The Sunbeam came with a soft folding top and a hardtop, and both leaked badly through the top windscreen corner next to the door glass. One night while driving it in heavy rain, I saw my good shoes float across the Alpine’s floor as I negotiated a corner. I said to myself, “That’s it! I am going to look for a Porsche!”
Over the years I had got to know Bill Hanna and John Liley of Havelock North Motors – they used to race and set up Minis. John said he was going to Auckland and would look for a Porsche for me.
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