words by pablo deferrari

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1991 model year fact book
I think it was around 1997 or 98, I can't remember, that I lusted after this little 1991 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.6...it was a W201 chassis with the M103.960 160hp straight six. I didn't know much about it then, so I poured over a few books and got well acquainted with the model to know exactly what I was getting myself into.

so I spotted on at a local Mercedes dealer where I met a salesman named Werner. now this was my first experience not only buying a car from a dealership, but buying it from what I thought would be a salesman with very little knowledge about a product that was now obsolete.

I was wrong...this salesman knew more about that 190 than I did.
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here's the 1993 version
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1994 model year fact book
the fact is, I had a bias. you see, I worked in a dealership and got to see first hand the sort of "pretend knowledge" the slick sales team had...it reeked of canned responses.

so, acting like an arrogant 20-something sonofabitch that I was, I didn't give this gentleman selling me my first Merc enough credit...but he was used to dealing with people like me. I softened up a bit when he began engaging me in some Mercedes history I thought he hadn't a clue about. we must've carried on for over an hour or so before signing the papers after which he took about another 45 minutes going over every little detail of my new purchase before driving off...a crash course on the workings of what was now my 190.

a deep impression had been cast.
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and one from 1998
the fact is, the people selling very exclusive cars like this need to be well versed in such matters. and even though anyone purchasing a Porsche may already know exactly what they want, there still may be an enthusiast who needs a little history lesson and model familiarization of the Marque.

when I came across these Porsche fact books on eBay, I became intrigued on exactly what Porsche was educating their sales staff with compared to the hard facts and knowledge most of us know...I think Porsche already knows what kind of die hard fans we are and how very knowledgeable we can be about their product, so their representatives had better be well-versed in anticipation.

when I read the "key points," I thought they were a bit silly, you know, like saying "hey guys, these are the reasons why we're trying to get that guy seriously considering a BMW to choose a Porsche instead."kinda amateur I think...take a look at the "24 Key Selling Points" they preached in 1991 to see what I mean:

  1. Design Goal: The Best!
  2. Classic Lineage
  3. The Definitive Sports Car
  4. The Porsche Crest = Winning
  5. Form Follows Function
  6. Performance Engineering
  7. Uncompromised Manufacturing
  8. High Durability/Reliability
  9. Low Maintenance/High Perfomance
  10. Over-Engineered for the US
  11. Systems Engineering
  12. Accident Avoidability
  13. Accident Survivability
  14. Exceptional Handling Capabilities
  15. Long Lasting Quality
  16. Handcrafted
  17. Unexpected Utility and Cruising Range
  18. Retained Value
  19. Air Management
  20. Weissach Engineered
  21. After-Manufacturing Quality Assurance
  22. Ergonomics from Endurance Racing
  23. Sophisticated Comfort Engineering
  24. Incomparable Driving Experience
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one with more recent models
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MY'09 Boxsters, Caymans, 997s, and Cayennes...would be nice to brush up on those
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foreword and index of the '09 book
they do make good points, but they're rather generic...words are woefully incapable of really showcasing any Porsche here. the sound vault-like thud/thwack of the doors, the slight whining sound heard from the engine, the way the seats hug you nearly as good as your better half...I could go on. these detailed points are what keeps us coming back, what sells the product, what convinces you to make a steep invest in something that pays dividends in all things sensory.

I would love to sell the product...to be able to share everything I know about Porsche to someone who has been bitten by passion would be an absolute pleasure. maybe in my retirement, and if I clean up a bit, you know, not look like a disheveled drunk with a spike collar around my neck; I may just have a chance.

for now, our knowledge can only be amplified by such books—especially the ones pertaining to the cars of our vintage. eBay is a great source such things, these examples can be found as of this writing.

highball!

1964 fact book


1970 fact book

1991 fact book

1993 fact book

1994 fact book

1995 fact book

1998 fact book

2006 fact book

2009 fact book
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1970 model year sales book
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1964/65 356 porsche facts
 


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