Salty Road Trip


So fellow Fuelfed driver Frank V. and myself went for a road trip to Flint Michigan to check out a black on black 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera this past weekend. A week was spent going back and forth with the owner about the blurry pictures of potential rust, damage, CarFacts reports, and maintenance history. After ignoring my gut instinct of POS potential, I decided to make the 5 hour drive from Chicago to Flint, because “you just never know”. This just 3 days after the biggest blizzard since 1967 to hit Chicago—There isn’t a city in the USA that can clear a mess like that in just 24 hours. Truly the city that works!

Anyway, we arrive at the rural yellow ranch house at about 3:00 pm EST. The 911 sat in the driveway all shiny and cocky waiting for our probing. The owner comes out to greet us and hands me the keys and goes back in. With in 10 seconds I knew the car was hiding serious rust, despite it’s 21 years in Florida. I figured WTF, and continued inspecting for another about 20 minutes. All and all there was rust in the rockers, inner fenders, headlight buckets and front cowl. Dings as if someone shot a BB gun from inside the rear fenders. The “sport exhaust” was a cheap Scat VW muffler that hung 8 inches below the rear valence.

We were done and it was time to drive. The car fired right up as all air-cooled 911s do. Let the oil warm up, open the oil filler to check the oil and the car dies despite its 5 bar oil pressure. Whatever, time to drive. First gear syncro gone, second, third, fourth, fifth…110mph…check the brakes…blip the throttle down to fourth, 3, 2, grind 1. This repeats for the next 20 minutes. The howling flat six orchestra is intoxicating, always is. The performance, not so much. Were 3.2’s always this slow?

The 911 back in the driveway idling, the owner comes out, I hand him the keys and keep my negative comments to myself. He apologized for our long drive and doesn’t have much more to say. Was the car misrepresented, over-priced, a POS? Yes, yes, and sorta. In short it wasn’t the car I was led to believe and the owner knew it.

Time for beer!

On our long journey west we spot what looks like a banged up Dodge Stratus gaining on us. The car passes us going 100 mph, it’s some prototype wrapped in black camo padding. It had a weird Buick-like scallop on the front doors but it said Dodge on the back. Regardless, it looked ugly but was being put through its paces by a Tanner Faust looking zipper-head.

We got to Bartlett’s Grill & Tavern in Beverly Shores, IN, around 7:30. Fantastic ribs that Frank ranks in his all-time top 3. And Frank loves his BBQ. Here’s a guy that drives 10 hours to Memphis for the annual BBQ-Fest weekend just to sample local styles of dry rub.

The night culminates with more cocktails at K’s-Dugout dive bar on Foster in true Chicago fashion.

All-in-all, it was about the journey and not the destination… always is.


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