(Book cover and Porsche 911 photos courtesy of Robert McGowan).
Title: Porsche 911 – The Practically Free Supercar (‘The complete beginner’s guide to the smartest route into Porsche ownership’)
Author: Robert McGowan
Published by: Independently published
166 pages; paperback
Price (typical): £12.87, including postage
This is a Porsche 911 book with an important difference, compared with the multitude of ‘coffee table’ type publications available on the subject. Good though they may be, most tend to be rather impersonal and all about the facts and figures, whereas in Robert McGowan’s book, he writes from the heart about these Porsche models that he has cherished since childhood. Having said that, the book also includes a wealth of fascinating historical and model evolution information for those new to the 911 model, but the focus of the publication is the sheer joy of ownership, and covering in depth the different characteristics of the various versions.
Before I look in a little more detail at what’s included within the book, I feel it helpful to quote what the author, Robert, says about his reasons for producing it…
He writes, “This book is about how the average person (like me) can now realise their dream of Porsche ownership and get their money back come resale.
I’ve been a dedicated Porsche enthusiast my entire life and my goal is to write a series of Porsche books”.Within the book, Robert recounts how, when he was a lad, he always yearned for a 911, making up his mind that one day he would get one, come what may, and eventually his determination paid off. He has now owned and enjoyed several very different examples of these Porsche models, and writes with enthusiasm, but with a realistic and honest approach, about the merits and otherwise of each.
In addition to writing specifically about the cars, in his book Robert also mentions, in a wider sense, the positive aspects of setting yourself a target in life to achieve a dream, even if it seems a distant dream, and then to set about making it happen (which of course he did, with 911 ownership!).
The history of the Porsche company is included at the start of the book, then Robert describes the development and evolution of the 911 through its many different variants over the years, with a wealth of mono photographs illustrating each type.
He goes on to talk about a few of the myths surrounding the cars (including the way that they drive), while honestly mentioning (for example) potential problem areas to watch for when buying.
Robert also covers the financial aspects of buying and owning used/classic examples of these Porsches. He points out that although, on the face of it, they are seldom ‘cheap’ to acquire initially, in general they are rapidly appreciating in value (and this has been going on for some years), so when you come to sell the vehicle you can often come out of the deal having made a profit overall (even taking into account repair and running costs), or at least may break even. Of course you will also have enjoyed driving the car in the meantime. (This is in marked contrast with buying and running a new vehicle, with the inevitable depreciation costs each year!).As a cautionary note he also mentions that future appreciation is not guaranteed – the prices of classic cars can go down at any time, rather than staying on an upward trajectory forever.
He looks to the future as well, saying that, as is widely acknowledged, the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered as environmental/emissions concerns become ever more relevant, so he rightly says that NOW is definitely the time to acquire and enjoy a car like the 911.
Technical data is included for the range of 911 models, also notes on the relative good and less attractive aspects of each type.
There’s useful information too on buying (and selling) a Porsche, including having the car independently checked if possible when buying, or at least taking with you a knowledgeable enthusiast to point out the realities that might get overlooked when rose-tinted spectacles are donned, in the excitement of going to look at an example with a view to buying.
The importance of ‘proper’ regular maintenance is covered as well, as are potential running costs.
There are also several pages of views on real-life ownership and enjoyment of the various 911 models, from Robert himself.
This compact and enjoyably readable book – which I feel would be an ideal present for any Porsche enthusiast – includes a huge amount of highly relevant information for potential owners of the ever-popular Porsche 911 in its various forms. I have to admit that it opened my eyes to the fact that ownership can be far more affordable than might at first be thought.
As an independent reviewer I must be honest and just mention that there are a few ‘typos’ within the pages, but if I am honest I too am guilty of making my own typo mistakes from time to time. In any case in the scheme of things these are inconsequential. FAR more important is the genuine enthusiasm with which this book has been produced, by someone with in-depth knowledge of the cars, who is absolutely passionate about them and wants to share his love of the vehicles with others.
Robert McGowan’s passion for these vehicles is evident from his book (the first he has written), in fact it shines through the pages, and personally if I was thinking of buying a 911 I would find it far more helpful and relevant than some of the larger and more expensive volumes on the car. Well done that man.