Building the PorscheHaus

Not had much time for blogging lately as I’ve been doing more building at home, continuing the office and garage extension (codename Porschehaus) that fell by the wayside when the original Ferdinand owners went bust, owing quite a lot of money to me and many others. It’s taken a while to get finances back up to speed, but lots of good things are now happening and the project is moving again.

I find building very satisfying. My Victorian house was built in the late 19th century, so part of the joy is in chasing materials: architectural salvage from hundreds of years ago. Unearthing a stash of two thousand bricks from the same kiln that fired my own house was a result, as was winning a truckload of blue ridge tiles for just 99p and paying the same for barn skylight windows (for parts).

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I cursed a bit (ok, a lot) when I missed a round cast-iron Victorian window on eBay but have found a good skip guy, concrete supplier and source of steel beams not far from my house. Researching the best sources is all part of the fun when putting this stuff together, but it does eat time in the process. All this will sound very familiar to classic Porsche people.

Part of the fun of Porsche ownership has long been finding the parts to go with them, but as prices for cars have all gone through the roof, parts prices have soared, too. Gone are the days when a pair of Fuchs could be bought for £350, or a nice old pair of Recaros snapped up for less than £100. I sold quite a chunk of my parts stash for that sort of money to pay the mortgage when I first went freelance five years ago, but I still have a few bits remaining. Now that the Porschehaus project is back up to speed, I’m excited to plan for my parts to come home, as well as the cars, of course.

While dreaming of where this stuff will go, I had an email about a new Porsche-inspired lifestyle brand someone wanted me to look at. It made me wonder where the line was between gathering Porsche cars and parts with the odd bit of memorabilia, and adhering to the doctrine of a Porsche “lifestyle brand”?

911 VW JZM workshop

I’ve made a few runs of Porsche-themed t-shirts and the odd grille badge over the years, but all that stops well short of defining a lifestyle. Friends often say my lifestyle is more pikey* than Porsche, which is probably fair enough, given the brick dust, Jack Russell Terrier, Irish accent and their lack of imagination (you know who you are).

I understand the attraction to branding, but the idea that people would define their whole lifestyle by the car they drive seems quite restrictive. I doubt that a majority of my classic Porsche friends would call their car a lifestyle choice: it is not about ticking each box in a catalogue.

Waldegard ST 2 Monte-Carlo 1970

Old-school Porsche boys got by without worrying too much about what t-shirts to wear when driving their cars. No doubt we are all bound by this cult, but don’t get bogged down in where “people like us” go or what we should be wearing. There are more books to read, more bricks to lay and many more cars to enjoy before our time here expires. Keep the faith, but don’t do it blindly.

* US readers, I don’t know what your equivalent of a pikey would be: perhaps a wheeler-dealer crossed with a hobo. Submit your definitions!

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