Those of you that have read some of my past pieces will know that I bleed Rosso Corsa. Yeah, as in Ferrari red. My name says it all. I grew up in awe of the cars from Maranello.
Back then, seeing one in the wild was a far rarer occasion than it is today. Things were better too, for I used to drive a red Testarossa. The driver would pick me up from school and then as soon as I got home, my Ferrari was waiting. All I had to do was boot up the PlayStation. My uncles would always tell me that a Ferrari is for showing off, and that the brakes were awful, the driving position was no different from a jeepney, and it would take me 20 minutes to get out of the house — because the engine had to be in the right temperature, otherwise it would explode into a million pieces. I found that rather exciting.
They told me that if you wanted a real driver’s car, you had to have a Porsche. As a 9 year old boy who thought that rocket ship rides to the moon were commercially available, Porsche had failed to capture my imagination. The design was underwhelming. There were no strakes and NACA ducts. It didn’t have the ‘x factor’ of the Prancing Horse. Neither did it make the right noises. My uncle took me for a spin in his then brand new 993 Turbo in San Francisco, California. Was it fast? Sure, ballistic even— but it never spoke to me. There was no desire, even if that one had the same color as a bag of tropical Skittles.
It also sounded like a Toyota MR2, which has the vocal range of Jon Bon Jovi today — after railing two lines of Peruvian blow. Porsche was the white gummy bear. It tasted good, but no honest child would ever tell you that the white one was their favourite in the bag when you could have the red one. At a very young age, I knew that the last thing I would ever be is a Porsche guy. There was a bigger chance that the Philippines would find itself as a member of the North American continent, than I, falling in love with a souped up Beetle from the Nazis. Eventually, I too, would grow up. And in this time, Ferrari would reached their zenith. They would throw in all that they’ve learned since the early days of Formula 1 into their road cars, and naturally, they were quite successful.
The F430 and the 599 GTB Fiorano spearheaded this revolution of F1 technology for the road, and then came the 458 Italia — by and large the prettiest mid-engined Ferrari of all time — making it the most beautiful thing made by man. It was at this point that I was even more baffled at those who salivated over Stuttgart’s wide-bodied Beetle. At the very least, I understood the man who bought a Lamborghini because he remained true to himself. He lives for the noise, the attention, and the speed. He loves threesomes, a lot of ecstasy, and has no clue what day of the week it is because he’s sitting on a fat inheritance. And because he’s high as a kite, he doesn’t care either that he just mistakenly slept with a $10 drag queen. Rock ’n roll, as they say. And no, I pass. It’s not my cup of tea.
One day back in 2012, the internet went ape shit because there was a new Porsche 911 (991) — I yawned instead. The 911 has remained virtually the same since its inception. It’s like milk tea. They come in different flavors, but the essence is the same. Did they add extra pearls and crystals this time? One day I finally saw it in the wild. Marilyn Monroe hips, Aston Martin-like tail lights, a wider track, and an interior to die for. If you frequent YouTube, I could hear the Vine, “…and that was the moment he knew he was fucked”. It’s that same feeling you get when you’ve been around this girl for so long, except now she happens to send butterflies to your tummy. She’s probably in a relationship too, and that makes you want to regurgitate. It’s so wrong, but all too appealing.
When I had the opportunity to drive a 997 Carrera S and later on a GTS (car above), I lost the ability to speak as soon as I turned the wheel. I was overcome by so much emotion, for the one thing I grew up hating was something that I was now so smitten by. I fell in love with Porsche. Those that come out of the closet probably feel the same way. I felt like I’ve betrayed myself and perhaps let my inner child down, yet I felt intoxicatingly liberated. The idea that you are no longer a prisoner of your own ignorance coupled with the opportunity to explore what you’ve hated all your life and turn out to love it just as much — is the quintessence of life. It is breaking down barriers of pre-conditioned notions for sometimes they happen to be pure bliss.
There is no substitute.
FACT: Nothing on Earth feels as perfect to drive as a Porsche — not a Ferrari, not a Wambowghini, and not an Aston Martin. The way the steering has full bars of signal at any given time, matched with a motorsport engine, and a psychic gearbox makes you get on your knees to genuflect. Surely, each brand has its core strength — many of which are intangible. Going through the gears in a GT3 RS is like winning a marathon with all your crushes, completely naked and cheering you on as you cross the finish line.
Your dopamine levels are at an all time high. There is nothing like it. It is a drug with an unparalleled high, but because it is, you can’t take it every single day. A Porsche, and I mean almost any one of them, Macan included, is a much simpler joy — but one that you can have all day of the week. It is simply any kind of cuisine that you crave for served to perfection every time you get behind the wheel. The quality is consistent, precise, and done to complete perfection. The craving is always, always satisfied.
Porsche has the ability to punch completely above its weight class. I recently had an Aston Martin DB11 at the same time that I had a base 718 Cayman. There is almost a 20 million peso price difference between the two. And because they are a similar breed of car, in the sense that they are both sporty, you’d expect the Porsche to be completely humiliated. Wrong. The Cayman offered a driving experience that the Aston couldn’t at a fifth of the price.
The base Porsche felt tactile, precise, and invincible — whereas the Aston felt disconnected. In the DB11, you feel like you are driving an extravagant exotic car whereas in the Cayman — you become the car. And that feeling is the most challenging thing to replicate, yet Porsche does it every time even in their entry level models. It takes all of three minutes to find your bearings in them. The driver always gets a direct line to the engine, the gearbox, and the chassis.
I absolutely love the 718 Boxster, and until this day it one of the best cars I’ve driven without a roof. I said that I’d take it any day over a Nissan GT-R. Even if Godzilla leaves me for dead and its driver has to wait for me at the next petrol station, I will arrive looking like the village idiot who can’t wipe the smile of his face and he’d just be a smug man sipping on cold coffee. And all the romance you get with the clouds and sunshine as your roof made me think that the Cayman wouldn’t stand a chance, but again, I was wrong. My assumptions with Porsches are never right, and this is no exception. The Cayman is a completely different thing from the Boxster.
This is precisely why Porsche has been so successful with the 911. There are so many variants of it, yet they are the only brand I know that has triumphed in using one base platform to create completely different cars in the same category. The 911 GT3 RS and the 911 Turbo S are not similar cars with a different engine, body kit, and interior trim pieces. They are as different as a medium rare Peter Luger Porterhouse steak and French Laundry veal. They don’t just sound different, they feel different. They’re fraternal twins, one is an artist and the other, a banker. It baffles the mind.
Live for the chase.
Many will tell you that the reason Porsche makes the best sports cars in the world is because you can use it every day. I disagree, but not because what they’re saying is wrong. I believe that they do because it connects with the driver in a way that is completely alien to anyone who hasn’t driven one. You see, when I’m asked what car I would love to drive in the middle of the night up in the twisties, I never say Ferrari. I always say Porsche. Whether you give me a 911 or a Cayman is irrelevant. Just give me a Porsche sports car. And the fact that I bleed Ferrari tells you everything you need to know about how special and personal the experience is.
It is one that is created for the driver and not the bystander. The best driving experiences I’ve had in my life happened behind the wheel of a Porsche, and I will cherish them until my final moments on Earth. Riding in one doesn’t cut it. It’s a driver’s car, and that’s the only seat you need to occupy to make a firm assessment. The worst thing about it is that it only takes one car to get your foot in the door, and then you realize that Porsche is a galaxy on its own. All 991s are different from each other, which makes every single model from a 997 down — just as unique as well. And that, is when you are really screwed. You need to have all of them.
The deeper you immerse yourself with the brand, the more it challenges your opinions. You start to think, “Hmm, I used to hate the 911 and now I love it. I still hate the 964 though”. In three months time you’ll start thinking, “Hmm, that 964 is ageing quite well. I’m starting to like it”. And then It becomes a vicious cycle, and before you know it you’ll be talking to like-minded people while spending hours on their online configurator — creating the perfect one.
It’s a bug. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a relentless passion. It’s love — the kind that you didn’t know existed. It’s having a child you weren’t ready for. It’s a whining and crying baby that’s annoying most of the time, but if someone decided to take it away, you’d kill them. The best thing about it? Porsche waits. When the time comes that I can afford one — there will be a brand new 911 rolling out of the factory. God, help me. I’m only 30, and I’ve become a Porschephile.