Aug 22, 2018

80’s Fashion Meets German Function: Gregory And His 944

A few months ago, while in Brooklyn, NY, I stumbled upon a magnificent 944 driven by a very young guy- the fact that in such a young age he drove a car like that made me curious about his story and I knew immediately I wanted him on Carphiles. The heavy traffic was on my side, as I decided to approach him. It gave me the time to walk up to him, and awkwardly introduce myself, giving him the Carphiles business card. “If you like the project and you want to be featured give me a call!” and so he did on that same afternoon. Here is what we talked about:

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Gregory. I’m 26 years young and I work for Bonhams Auctioneers, in the collectors’ motorcar department.

What was your first car?

The car was a ’97 Laser Red Audi A4, 1.8T sedan. I purchased it from the original owner who ticked every box for options except one: Quattro, surely something you’d like during Northeast winters. No matter, it didn’t stop me from loving the car. It had manually operated, heated cloth sports seats in grey, how could you beat that?

How did you first become interested in cars and why especially in Porsche?

I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with my dad. He continually had interesting cars, always restoring, buying, selling, and trading. When I was young, he had a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A, red over black, a ’90 Dodge Shadow Competition Package (1/30) and an ’87 Porsche 944 Turbo…but those cars were soon traded for others, and those were traded too.

From sitting in the child’s seat to the passenger, to eventually pirouetting the car around a track, although I’ve changed, the car has remained constant. Porsche to me has always been aspirational and I’ve always admired them. The differences between an ’84 and an ’85 or a ‘68 and a ‘69 are subtle but linear. I love the evolution.

How and when did you come across the 944?

I’ve always been a fan of the transaxle cars, especially 968s. Although my experience was more so around 968s, I wanted something different. Where 1980s fashion meets German function, out came the stylistic 944, and I needed one. I was looking for some time, but nothing really came up. Finally, I saw a listing for a car in Connecticut, in the local Porsche community classifieds. I got a few photos and knew it was a good one. One weekend with a friend, some cash, and a plate, we signed the papers and passed the ownership.

Do you know about your 944’s history and previous owners and do you have any particular story to tell?

I moved on this car because of how honest of an example it was, complete with all the books, toolkit, and invoices since new. The owner before me was a machinist, he ensured the car was perfect from a mechanical perspective. He had the car for most of its life! I’m just the 3rd owner. The car has original Fuchs wheels and is complete with Sport Seats, a Sport Steering Wheel, and a Limited Slip Differential.

What is it about transaxle Porsche you like compared to traditional air-cooled machines?

To me, the car is faultless. Every angle, every aspect is pure. There is no vanity, only purpose. As I drive along, visibility is clear and the chassis poised. I’ve moved an electric piano in this car, I moved a mattress with this car. It’s a no-nonsense, no compromise sports car which to me fundamentally surpasses its air-cooled brethren.

What’s your favorite detail or what do you love most about your car?

I love the simplicity of the early 944s model. From the 5-digit dash, to the 1pm positioned tach which sweeps down. It goes back to that whole, “no nonsense, no compromise” bit I said earlier.

What is your favorite memory with your 944?

The car gets used a lot as a prop in whatever nonsense my friends and I get into. It’s privy to some startling stuff.

How does it feel to drive a classic car in a city with a lot of traffic like New York? You use it every day?

It’s an absolute delight really. The City offers a unique set of challenges. Try timing the lights – ask any cab driver this. Servicing a car isn’t super easy in the city. A friend and I found a quiet spot under a bridge here in Brooklyn – surely a great place to do a brake job. As for everyday use? I stick to being chauffeured with the help from the M local train.

Is there any other classic car you would like to have?

There are so many. If I was to stay in the transaxle world, I’d like a ‘93 968 Turbo S, one that hasn’t been converted into a racecar: Porsche created just 16 examples. Going pre-war, I’d love a brass-era Ford Model T. A Lancia Flaminia 3C Coupe would be great in my stable, as would a ’71 Plymouth Cuda.

Always service your car.

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