words and photos by andrew volkoff
1998. The very first Porsche dealership was opened in Russia. So when we’re talking about any model made prior to this year, they simply weren’t officially offered…think about it; 924s and 944s were never sold new here. What makes this fact even more interesting is that every pre-98 Porsche has a unique story of how they became Russian citizens.
In July of 2002, my father bought a dark blue 944 from a Porsche mechanic in Moscow; I was sixteen at the time. When he brought it home, I immediately began driving it around our property and when I turned 18, I got my driver’s license and that 944 became mine.
"...it was nailed in the rear by a drunk driver; hey, it’s Russia, what do you expect!"
It was the first car I ever drove; I guess you could say that this car taught me how to drive allowing me to hone my skills with rear-wheel drive. One of the things I love about my 944 is the phenomenal, yet predictable, handling making this car ideally suited for snowy Russian winters.
This 944 was imported from Switzerland into Russia in 1996. Then it changed hand a few times during where at one point it was nearly totaled in 2000 when it was nailed in the rear by a drunk driver; hey, it’s Russia, what do you expect! It took nearly a year for it to be restored before we got it, but one thing that bothers me is that it no longer had the original Porsche paint which was a striking dark blue that almost looked black…ah well.
I know that a non-sunroof option was a rarity with 944s, but I really wanted a Targa top (944s with sunroofs are called Targas in Europe). But there was a compromise…it had AC. The the modifications began. One of the first was the installation of Centerforce clutch and a stainless steel exhaust system both installed by the only independent Porsche shop in Moscow. Then I installed an aftermarket sound system along with a few other maintenance items in which I only used OEM parts.
I essentially went over every detail of the car and tried doing everything as the factory would. As you could imagine, replacement parts for Porsches, especially 944s, are hard to come by in Russia and pretty expensive when you do find them. So, being a college student at the time, the budget was tight, but it was my love and the sacrifices made were a pleasure.
I achieved level of intimacy with my 944; each moment behind the wheel is utter bliss. Nothing beats getting up in the wee hours to go for a spin right before sunrise in early spring/summer when the streets are empty; it’s a total Zen-like experience. Man and engineered perfection become one.
When did Porsche passion start for me? At around three years of age. My father is a famous painter in Russia, so on his travels around the globe, he’d collect a few catalogs and automotive journals and brought them home for me. That’s when I spotted the 944…it was love at first sight. I remember him telling me how the 944 was the best car ever made and loved my new found passion for the 924/928/944 series Porsches. I then started collecting die cast models of 924s and 944s, which only fanned the flames…I love these cars to death!
So since July 12th of 2002, on my sixteenth birthday, my dream finally came true by becoming the owner of this very special 944. And the passion intensifies with each year that passes.
flüssig is honored to welcome Andrew Volkoff as our newest correspondent in Russia where Porsche passion is alive and kicking.
Andrew's father, Andrey Volkov, is not only responsible for planting the Porsche seed into Andrew's mind, he's also a world renowned artist in Russia who has been highly published. His bio can be found on wikipedia. Check out his link here:http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/adrey_volkov