A Porsche Calls to Me

Ron Karpinski  1995


Not every man can own a Porsche.  For one thing, there are only so many to go around; and it is an expensive breed, beyond the means of most folks.  Still, somewhere out there, a Porsche calls to me.

Once, in the Summer of 1978, I rode in one.  It is an experience that stays with you.  A fever settled deep in my soul that day, and I have wanted a Porsche of my own ever since.

My best friend, John, owned a 1967 Porsche 912 Targa beige with brown interior.  It boasted ninety horsepower, not much by today's standards, rather austere, actually; but the wind whistling through the open cockpit brought a new dimension to driving.

We were serving in the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia, near Columbus.  On weekends, the bright lights of Atlanta beckoned, a hundred and nine miles away.  Today, you can get there in less than an hour and a half on Interstate 85; but, back then, the rural, two-lane Highway 27A was the only route.

One Saturday, John called to ask if I would join him on a quick trip to the big city. Twenty minutes later, he picked me up, and we set out.  Without the Targa top piece and soft rear window, the car resembled an open-air convertible with a wide, stainless steel roll bar.  Eight dollars filled the sixteen-gallon gas tank.

The trip took three hours on a twisting road through rolling hills, dense pine forest, and that famous red Georgia clay.  John shifted through the gears, and the fine-tuned four-cylinder motor changed pitch with each approaching curve.  From the passenger seat, I gazed out at the passing countryside.

Small hamlets, like Waverly Hall, Warm Springs, and Harris City, whizzed past.  Each had a Civil War monument in the town square.  Local police, sitting in large Ford cruisers, kept a wary watch, as our strange exotic beast rumbled down Main Street at thirty-five miles per hour.

I can't recall why we drove to Atlanta that day.  Too many years have dulled the memory.  What does remain in my mind is how much fun we had getting there.  Two young men on a carefree afternoon, the warm sun above, and a winding country road all added up to a perfect day behind the wheel.

Perhaps it is nostalgia, but I'd like to relive that summer day.  I'd like to shift the gears like John did and hear the wind whistle through a Targa cockpit of my own.  It is a dream that visits in the night, an old Porsche somewhere out there . . . that calls to me.


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