In the early morning light I can tell this 911 Cabriolet is far from perfect. There are scratches on
the front bumper, the wheel nuts have a bit of rust on them, the hubcaps on the BBS alloy wheels are missing and Ashique Tahir, the owner of the 911 that’s lived a fruitful life, tells me that a Maruti 800 once rear-ended his Porsche and he had to have the bumper repainted. This 911 hasn’t had an
easy life; but from the looks of it, it’s had a very interesting one!
And that is why I am here – the digits on the odometer of this particular 997-generation 911 Carrera Cabriolet are about to swing past the 1,00,000km mark and I’m in Calicut (where Ashique lives), to see how well this supermodel has aged.
Thanks to the adventures it goes on, the 911 gets to mix with supercar elite and common folk, alike.
Ashique is mildly annoyed I think. This is his daily car and for the couple of days that it took us to get our photographer, film-maker and assorted support crew together, he had restricted use of his car. We had unofficially banned him from driving it until we got there and took that picture of the digits turning over. He later tells me that if he can’t use this car, a lot of his work gets affected. And that of all the supercars he owns and has owned so far, this is the one that gets used the most. My interest is piqued and I get him to tell me all about it. Here’s his story:
THE BUG BITES
Like most young boys back then, I had a 911 poster on my bedroom wall; and though I’d never driven one, the car always inspired me. I loved the design but I never thought I would own one, for two reasons: the first was the big question of whether I would be able to afford one and the second was that at that point, Porsche was far from being in India officially – we were still in the age of Maruti and Ambassadors, back then.
Ashique can’t go for more than a few days without his trusty 911.
When Porsche finally did come to India, I ended up buying a Cayenne because I really wanted a Porsche. After using the Cayenne, I was confident about Porsche’s service and the durability and went for the 911. I bought the Cayenne in 2007, and in 2010 I bought the 911.
I never imagined I would cross 1,00,000km in this car when I bought it. The first day, I drove it around in Bengaluru and the very next day I drove it 400km back home to Calicut.
Most of these cars end up being garage queens, but with this one, I knew I could use it every day. It never gave me any problems. Once I got used to this car, I got really bored of driving my other cars. So when I’m not travelling with my family, this is my weapon of choice. I’ve driven it to Bengaluru at least thirty times and I’ve driven it to Coimbatore many times, too. After a point you don’t realise how much you are clocking – you’re just using the car. The 911 is so usable, that I clocked this mileage without actually realising it.
Rims look the worse for wear; but that’s the story.
I love the reliability. The car will not break down that easily. I feel this car is more reliable so I tend to use it everywhere and take it everywhere. I also find that you can park it anywhere. It doesn’t attract much attention and in this colour, it is not a supermodel like a red Ferrari. People who know cars know the 911 and respect it – so they generally don’t come and scratch it.
Good service support is very important, and I have that with Porsche. The service centre in Kochi isn’t too far away so whenever there is an issue, the problem is usually solved in one day. I’m not taking any names here, but there are other companies that take weeks or months just to come and see what the problem is. Ultimately, I see it like this – anything that costs you peace of mind is expensive. It is very irritating to have a car stuck with some issue and the company doesn’t give you a proper response.
The car is so reliable that he takes it anywhere and everywhere – quite literally!
Initially I was scared about encountering bad roads and all that; but I quickly realised that you have to forget you’re driving a sports car. Once you learn what it can and can’t goover, you’ll actually start using it. If you are scared, you’ll only use it once or twice and you’ll never use it like it is meant to be used.
HARD ON THE WALLET?
It is not prohibitively expensive to maintain—the brake pads are reasonable and I’ve not had any major issue with the car. For normal wear and tear, parts are really reasonable and I’d even say it is just about as expensive (or inexpensive) to maintain as a Mercedes-Benz.
If you crash these cars, then things get very expensive. The front bumper on a Huracán, for example, is Rs 4.9 lakh, the wing mirror is Rs 5 lakh – I know, because I’ve done it. On the 911, I changed the suspension at 80,000km; and it wasn’t exactly cheap, but I don’t think it was expensive, either. I don’t remember the exact figure but I remember thinking then that it was okay.
On the subject of depreciation, if I was looking at the car as an investment, I’d rather buy land or gold. I’m buying a sportscar to enjoy it – and when the time comes to sell it, I’ll take what I get for it. That’s the price I’m prepared to pay for living the life I want to live and drive the cars I want to drive.
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