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5 years on
it's not you, it's me...
It feels weird to type this up. I'm currently planning the Scottish tour, which will no doubt be on the next page. But I think I'll probably sell the Porker afterwards. That's despite the fact I've just done the major service, so nothing to worry about for a couple of years there, I've just re-insured it for peanuts (one of the few benefits of being old) and taxed it for 12 months. I think I may be falling out of love with this stunning machine, and it's a lot to do with Porsche the company rather than the car itself.
Things are starting to wear and break on the car. Fair enough, but in my opinion they're things that bloody shouldn't and it's all down to corner/cost cutting. First of all, I know they're not built like the were in the 80's. But I think things have gone too far the other way now. We know all the stories about the design flaws that they're slow to acknowledge in new cars and are likely to make you cough up to repair on old ones as they wiggle out of the warranty. This is more mundane stuff.
Let's start with the really simple stuff. The battery they fit is shit. You're lucky to get two years out of it, some get even less. They will charge you £290 for a new shit battery. If you do not take that on the chin and you have a warranty, they'll likely not honour it. Thankfully I don't and I long ago swapped it for a Bosch S4 for £90 that's still working beautifully 4 years down the line... The thing is, this is how Porsche as a company builds their cars now. Again it's marketting genius that we as consumers of their products, put up with it.
Sound Package Plus (probably about a £500 option) uses a 3 channel amp to run the centre speaker (no I don't know what that does either) and the two door bass speakers. Do a search for ASK amplifier failure... Yep. It's another substandard part that's known for failing. Luckily I found Bergvill FX in Norway who repaired it and offered a 5 year warranty on his work. He can do this as he removes the design flaws from it (seeing what he's done, I suspect it had a surface mount regulator that burned up. It's got a higher rated item in there now and some beefier components around it. Probably about 50p in parts for the manufacturer, if that). This was a very reasonable 120 Euros vs 400 Euros that it would have been for a new unit from Porsche that would likely fail again.
Almost immediately after that my A/C stops blowing cold. I was worried this would be new condensers as they're known for being made of cheese and needing replacing. But the leak was found to be with one of the pipes that connects to the pump on the front of the engine. If anything, more of a pain in the arse to swap. But that's not what balks me about it. It's the £180 for the part from Porsche. A part that is obviously sub standard for it to fail on a car with less than 27,000 miles on the clock.
If, as the instances above, I could repair/replace the whole system with a more robust, non-Porsche one that's likely to stand the test of time, I'd actually consider it. But swapping one pipe seems pointless when I KNOW something else will be next, that's if it's not leaking already and we've just not found it yet. Also, I'm reluctant to fund Porsche's bullshit attitude to substandard parts.
Amusingly I was looking at my fantasy spec for the GT4 earlier and I revised it, removing the A/C, because I know I'd own it long enough for it to fail. Likewise I went for the radio delete option. Not because I didn't want a radio, but because I didn't want one that's shit. I remember doing this when I bought my Lotus, avoiding things that could break when I looked for one. I even mentioned it in the blog for that, and it didn't stop me being plagued by one problem after another. I suspect that's where this feeling has come from, Two failures in a row and one looming... I'm getting Lotus shivers!
I don't know if I have too high standards, and I know it's a cliche, but I genuinely feel that they really don't make them like they used to. The MX-5 I found for my brother is 19 years old FFS and is in way better health than a 7 year old Porsche. That's just not right, and I think it's the reason that the Porsche is the last modern car I'm going to buy.
The sad thing is that, the above rant aside, it's brilliant. It's not unreliable per se, it's just not as well made as it should be, and that irks me because I think something with the reputation that these cars have should be. Hell it's why I bought it over another Lotus which dynamically is a better driving car. Financially it'd have been a better decision also, but who would have predicted that! The Cayman is worth buttons now whereas an Evora has dropped very little in value from what they were selling for when I got it. The joke's on me there! That's moot though and just me being bitter, and £15k poorer when it comes to selling it.
I should say something positive... I still stand by everything I've written to date in this blog. I still believe it's the best car of it's type that I've owned and in a lot of ways one of the best cars I've owned. All the cool stuff that went before this post is I think why this is smarting so much for me. My attitude might change after the Scotland trip. But had it not been for that, the first person to come along with £15k could have driven it away. It's an over-reaction, I know.
UPDATE: The above rant was about a week of frustration let out in text. Just one thing after the other and I was feeling more than a little disillusioned. So today I intentionally took it out for a run in the sun, windows down (as is now necessary when it's sunny) with Spiritual Beggars providing the soundtrack at tremendous volume (now the stereo is working again) and just realising, that I love this bloody car. All is forgiven again. I really should drive it more.
I think I've still got some of that Lotus owning mentality left over where you can forgive the shite, simply because the car is so good.
UPDATE 2: The reality of this over long, wordy rant is that I can't find anything I want to change the Porker for. Everything has a downside. The Evora I adore to drive, but would cost double what I can get for the Cayman. I'd love a late Esprit GT3 with the buckets and no spoiler in mint condition. But I've only ever seen one listed, ever. An Elise, again I LOVE the way they drive, but I've been there and done that and don't really want to revist it.
The long and the short of it is that I actually love the Porsche, so instead I think it's finally worth so little I can justify going to town on it. The main area the car has always dissapointed me is ride. So I'm going to investigate getting some more compliant suspension. No slamming or any such nonsense. Also, the seats aren't as good as they should be. So I'm watching with interest a guy who's swapping in a pair of Recaro Sportster CS chairs in (same as an Evora has) and if he's successful, will be following suit. Basically, yes, I'm making it more like an Evora. At least that's the plan. A Povora (works on many levels). Also, it's booked in on Monday to get the air-con fixed. BAH! ;)
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