photos by vytenis rauchas story by pablo deferrari
Now there’s a fantastic dynamic here. I’m a sucker for any Porsche story coming from someone under 25 who happens to own one, if not already had a few pass through their stables. But exactly how did this happen?
I mean, at that age, I barely had it in me to even think about getting one of these complicated machines. Instead, I settled for 1977 Mercedes-Benz 240D for $500 because I thought it practical for my lifestyle at the moment. The thing belched black smoke, couldn’t get out of its own way with 67HP, and became the ire of many motorists along my daily route to work. One old lady passed me craning her head round as she roared by expecting me to be some pensioner much older than her because I was driving at such a slow pace…embarrassing. But while the Mercedes is probably still dieseling on, the lady may be growing daisies... on her belly...
To better understand the psyche of pre-pubescent owners, I asked Vytenis how he became enamored with Porsche:
“I kept hearing this talk about front-engined Porsches for a while now, but I just never had the interest to check them out. But When the time came to look for a car, my thoughts were for something a little special, you know; a car you’re not likely to see frequently.
That was when the 944 popped back into mind. That was all I needed to go and see one in person, drive it, and really get a first-hand experience of what they were all about. The first 944 I drove was naturally aspirated. It was after that drive I realized that my next car was going to be a 944. From that moment on, the only thing I could talk about was Porsches”
Humph…simple as that.
“I was just looking for a Porsche 944. My first test drive was an N/A and I liked it very much. But then my 2nd test drive was a 1986 951, and I was sold immediately when that thing hit full boost pushing me into the seat. After that, I knew I’d be buying a 944 turbo.”
That’s all it took. He didn’t fuss about it or second guess his decision, none of that. He just drove it, became intoxicated by its brute strength, and BAM! ...pulled the trigger.
The car he would eventually settle on had a bit of a cloudy history. Apparently the first owner was a PCA member from Kentucky and during a DE event in Mid-Ohio, he missed a turn and crunched the front end. From there, he sold it off to the second guy who gave her a nose job and then came the third owner. Strangely, he only autocrossed it for about a year and then kept it in his garage. Then Vytenis came strolling in like a 12 year old at a stag party where loads of whoring and boozing are going on. And while he admits that a young guy like him chasing after a buxom firecracker like the 951 is a bit uncommon, he couldn't care less what others may think.
As her future owner struggled to find a nipple to feed on, this 1989 951 left the factory—it was September of 1988. Vytenis would come to find this out a bit later into his ownership and it only seemed to make the bond between man and machine that much stronger. As the relationship matured, she was slowly letting him in on a few bits about her past. He discovered that most of the modifications were done by the first owner, and the deeper he went in, the more surprises he discovered.
One gem happened to be an aftermarket Turbonetics turbo that was installed at some point, whether it’s a T04B or T04E is beyond him. Then others followed; a Lindsey Racing blow-off valve and dual port waste gate with manual boost control, a complete Billy Boat exhaust system with wrapped headers. An Accusump system was another one.
Moving to the inside, she had Sparco seats, Sabelt 5-point harnesses, a MOMO steering wheel and an Autometer boost gauge. Hell of a nice cockpit set-up to experience the joys 2 Atmospheres of air crammed into the cylinders can bring.
I don’t think he could’ve found a better car, honestly. With everything that’s been done, modified, and replaced, this thing is a 944 Turbo lover’s wet dream especially since the mileage was low at around 80K.
“What’s your day to day gig? Are you a student, professional, vagabond, uh… Trustafarian, perhaps?”
“I’m a student in college…and I work as a Limousine driver.”
“Let me ask you this. As a college guy, you certainly have to have a fair share of girls hanging around you simply because you have a Porsche. Come on, what’s it like?
“When you tell a girl you drive a Porsche, just pray that she won’t ask you what year it is. The last time a girl asked me that question, she started to laugh. I’ve learned my lesson now, I’ll just say that it’s classic! All things considered though, the 944 Turbo is a real head turner.”
“No doubt, this 951 has become a hobby of yours which naturally leads to lots of acquaintances with other enthusiasts.”
“Well, yes it is my hobby. I love cars and I love tinkering with them plus I really like to see how people personalize theirs. Lots of the times, by looking at someone’s car, you can tell a lot about the person who owns it. Being European, it’s also a great way to meet other European people— and there are lots of them driving all sorts of European cars so it keeps things interesting.”
“Road trips…Porsches were certainly meant for those. Have you taken any with the Turbo?”
“I try not to, since it has Sparco Evo bucket seats. The longest drive I had was around 3 hours and this spring, I’m planning on driving my 951 to Helen, Georgia, which is about a 10 hour drive from Illinois. That will be an interesting experience!”
“The winters up in Illinois can be brutal, what’s it like driving her in shitty wintery weather?”
“I bought it this summer, so I didn’t have a chance to drive it in the snow yet. I’ll try not to drive it as much as I do now because of the salt on the road. But If a big snow storm comes and the plows can’t keep up with it, believe me, I’ll be on the roads in the middle of the night fish-tailing and counter-steering all over the place!”
“Tell me about that 4am drive you liked so much.”
“Those early morning runs are often the time I have to get to work. I drive out to pick up my “work car”, a Lincoln Towncar, and then go straight to picking up passengers. But that particular morning, I was out to take a stretch limo for my first trip. So I figured I’d take the 951 and just drive it to where the stretch was parked. I was glad I took the Turbo because I immediately woke up once I started the engine. You see, driving the limo makes me feel sleepy. But that drive out to the stretch invigorated me; it was loads of fun and a hell of a quick drive since the roads were empty. That’s the best time to drive, I think.”
“I’m with ya on that one. I always love to drive my Porsches in the wee hours when I can. It's a much more intimate and intense experience. But let’s talk about the flames coming out of your exhaust…what the hell did you do to the car to make it do that? It’s gotta be the coolest thing to witness on a street car.” He laughs and goes on to explain.
“Well the flames, they look really nice and impressive, but that lets me know I’m running little bit too rich. I get it to pop most of the times, especially when I change from 3rd to 4th gear at around 5000RPM. It works great against tailgaters! Once I popped it so loud that the guy behind me turned on his hazards and stopped. He must’ve thought he’d blown a tire or something; that gave me a big laugh!”
“I do like the power, but there’s a problem. There’s never enough of it!
But the sounds; I just love the sounds this car makes! Lots of the times I have the radio turned off and I just listen to the car and road. That’s the best music to my ears.
And the handling. Wow! I remember the first time I took my 951 into the corner; I told myself, ‘This thing handles like a big go-kart!’
I think what really impresses me about the Turbo is the styling, the design. Not every car can claim to be as timeless in design as this one. It always looks contemporary, never dull or old-looking…timeless, really.
I also enjoy the challenges this car presents me with when I need to address maintenance or repairs. I never realized until now how much fun it is to work on these cars!”
So, what’s a passionate guy like Vytenis up to these days? Look him up on Facebook, because if he managed to shoot flames from his exhaust, one could only guess what crazy antics this young guy’s up to with his mechanical Doppelganger.
The expression that youth is wasted on the young? Bullshit! When you talk to a guy like Vytenis, you’ll realize that there’s always the exception.
Keep on keepin’ on.