words and photos by tim martinez
introduction by pablo deferrari

Money was always tight growing up. When things were busted, we'd have no choice but to mend them because buying a new this or that was simply out of the question. But there was no sense feeling sorry for yourself because there's a sort of intelligence gained living like this, especially during your formative years.
Without getting to warmy, feely, doilie toilet about it, my fondest memories were fixing the family Opel with my Pops. I learned a hell of lot, gained tons of knowledge, now that I think of it,  it's how I got my skills as an ace Porsche mechanic. This brings me neatly to my point.

As adults, we have a responsibility in ushering in the new generation...that is to say, taking the young'ns under our wing for a bit. This is a great thing for lots of reasons.

"Twenty years from now, the youngest 944, for example, will be 43 years old..."

We, as Porsche enthusiasts, are grooming the next generation of owners in learning to appreciate these vintage models and why it's so important to keep them alive for future generations. Twenty years from now, the youngest 944, for example, will be 43 years old...43. What that means is that the 12 year-old you're mentoring now will be 32, and that's an age when one can seriously consider adding a vintage Porsche to their collection.
So imagine, if you will, a kid who grows up in a world where everything is done by computers and electronic wizardry. If we focus on cars for example, they're witnessing trunks and doors closing themselves, or going absolutely dead if they even sniff booze on your breath, or even braking for you when you're getting too close to the car in front.

Yes, these spoiled kids may one day slip behind the wheel of a 928 and won't know what the third pedal off to the right does, and open the ashtray hoping the SatNav is in there. Tim Martinez knows this, and he's doing something about it...today.

I've spoken to Tim about this very subject and there's hope. He's out to rescue kids from the electronic vortex that's quickly sucking them in leaving behind any knowledge of all things mechanical in the scrap heap along with Luddites like myself.

So, what's to be done? Well, if you have a son or daughter who just may have an interest in expanding their Porsche knowledge, I urge you to get in contact with Tim. This Rally idea he's developing is just what the next generation of Porsche enthusiasts need to experience these great cars and get a taste of the camaraderie that goes with them. 

The most critical part of this project? To get the opportunity in sharing one of the most memorable moments with your child.

Enjoy Tim's story.

pablo
el jefe
Picture
tim and his son sam standing behind the mechanical encyclopedia that is sam's 944.
I was 14 years old walking home from grade school. I noticed a 1967 Chevrolet Impala sedan in the backyard of a neighbor’s house. It was one of those twin path driveways with grass between the lanes of concrete. The house was a simple stucco exterior. I noticed from the sidewalk that the car had been in an accident; the car had been sitting there for a few weeks. I decided to ring the doorbell and ask the owner if he had any plans for the car. After a short discussion we struck a deal and for only $50, I was the proud owner of my first car.

What made me think I could repair the Impala? I knew the car was worth more than $50 and that I had enough money to buy it, but I knew very little else. This car deal became the basis for much of my future career in developing people, businesses, cars or whatever.

Now, as I approach my fiftieth birthday I have a few sons of my own. How do I relay all of my life’s experiences to teenagers coming from a seemingly different planet? The teenagers today are mystified by the endless downloads of new information. Their world is cluttered with dot-something and instant pictures streaming from people they might not even know.

As fathers, we have to compete with all of these fascinations to gain just little spurts of our teenagers’ attention. 

"The Porsche 944 has, what I believe, to be a perfect platform for everything automotive."

We won’t get their attention by telling them our history, it’s just not tangible. They won’t listen long or close enough (insert the sound of the engine). If you are like me, you don’t have an endless budget. During the most important years of our kid’s lives we have to do the responsible stuff first; braces, private education, college funds and the constant demands for balance between work and life. If you were fortunate enough to have a trust fund, or a wildly successful business, don’t worry I will get to this later.

The Porsche 944 has, what I believe, to be a perfect platform for everything automotive. After a lifetime of tinkering with cars, I find that there are key considerations that are fundamental to the goal of teaching life with a car as the canvas. Here are some of my key standards:

Simple, but with advanced engineering

Inexpensive to purchase and maintain

Fun to drive

Safe—most serious teenage accidents involve carloads of kids

Distinctive— I can spot my son a mile off. In fact, I can recognize which son is coming home at zero-dark-thirty by the sound of the car.

Not over-powered, I hope this one is obvious

Sensory— a teenager should learn to feel the road through the car. Standard transmissions and manual steering not only teach a car-to-road sensation, but they also have a great side effect; it makes it just too difficult to text and drive.
I am a second-generation foster parent. Like my parents before me I have raised over forty foster kids. It wasn’t uncommon for there to be 13 kids at my parent’s dinner table. My home seemed quiet when we only had four foster kids along with my two boys. But, the gap between the severities of care required from one generation to the next had widened. In my tenure it was not uncommon to have teenagers delivered to my home in handcuffs. One was delivered with the advice that we must understand that the natural father was “the biggest drug dealer in the county”. I write this just to describe the realities of how bad it can really get. Let’s hope that your situation never involves teenagers in handcuffs.
Father-Son/Daughter Rally

This summer I am planning an event to put rubber to pavement and bond relationships. There are a few ingredients necessary for a firm relationship with a teenager:

Time- there is quality and quantity requirements. But, there is no substitute for time together.

Fire- as iron sharpens iron; the heat of adversity, or challenge, melds people together. Avoid the temptation to make the ride uneventful and without challenge. Avoid the temptation to solve everything.

Creative challenge- teens need to be challenged. This can be route planning, repairs, logistics, or time planning. If the teen can drive, all the better. Avoid the electronics and headphone or sleeping teen routine.

Awards- real and earned, are the best. Make some realistic and attainable milestones. Don’t forget to celebrate the accomplishment of the goal.

The specific event we are planning for this summer’s rally are intended to accomplish the above tenets. Our plan is to commence in the Midwest (likely Detroit) and head towards California. We would like to plan route stops at sponsor’s locations. Here are some program highlights:

Build-a car: Each sponsor should participate actively in a specialty add on to the lead car. The stops should actively include the teens. Prizes should include accessories or gift certificates. Instead of buying a new engine turn-key a vendor may have an assembly clinic to have the kids handle assemble parts or entire engines.

Tours of the supplier: kids can learn a lot from seeing the working end of the supplier’s business.

Camaraderie:  teens have a natural desire to make new friends. Nights can include fun like swimming, bon fires and dinner.

Rally: driving from city to city. The reality is that there is a whole lot of America to see. This won’t be timed or anything other than a driving pleasure of seeing these automotive works of art in motion. This is where the cars make sense. Teens are not impressed with just comparing the shine of a new paint job- they need to experience the thrill of touring. Participants are welcome to make a few of the stops along the route, but most likely will join for only a segment. Different participants will join us along the way.

Affordability: this rally is being developed with a goal towards inclusion. For the price of a reasonable first car and some gas money attendees can participate. We will ensure that everyone is welcome regardless of income level.

No-fear: many classic car owners are apprehensive about driving their cars over a distance. With a strong support community that will participate in a rally like this, participants should be more likely to drive further than they might on their own. Depending on supplier sponsorships, we may be able to offer some parts and/or towing support.

You see, we constantly compete for our teens’ attention. We will have to prepare for this competition just like any other. We have to be deliberate. We have to sacrifice. We have to model what we want them to see.

We would love to hear from you. Any indications of interest or recommendations would be valuable as we plan the event. Please feel free to send any personal father-son/daughter examples, especially those involving the 944.   

Please drop me a line if you're interested in joining us!

Tim Martinez 

govmartinez@icloud.com

 


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