I am driving my 1992 928 GTS on the Swiss highway at 100 km/h. Destination - Germany. I started this weekend trip on an early Friday morning, in order to be in Freiburg Germany before 12 noon.
To my right was my wife; she was asleep. In the rear right passenger seat, my 3 year old son was doing the same.
The light of dawn begins to enter the valleys in the Swiss mountains, I am comfortably sitting in the pilot seat. The cockpit's temeprature was cozy despite the cold air outside; ten day old snow was piled up on the side of the highway. Suddenly, the passenger side wheels clipped a mound of slush and as I twitched the wheel a bit to get the 928 back on asphalt, it hit me; how did I end up with a Porsche after generations of Bimmers in my family?
History began in May of 1998. I was in my last year of superior school, what we consider "high school" in Italy, that a school mate would sometimes give me a ride home since we lived close to each other. This ride was a sharp contrast to the dull train that often took me home; rather than being bumped around on rails, I was in the lap of luxury in his uncle's 928 GTS.
It was Midnight Blue metallic over a Marine Blau interior complete with a sunroof and a manual gearbox because according to him, automatics are for taxi drivers here in Italy.
“when I decide to sell this car, I'll give you a call; I'd like to give this car to you."
But dreaming isn't illegal. I kept an eye on that car because it was like the first girl you fell in love with…you never forget.
The uncle was a man who understood people at first sight, he figured out this passion I couldn't hide. He told me, “when I decide to sell this car, I'll give you a call; I'd like to give this car to you. " A handshake ratified the agreement...but it was easier for a man like him than for me to make such a commitment.
Years went by when an “unknown” phone number sprang up on my mobile phone; it was my old school mate now 35 and had two sons. He left me his uncle's number reminding me of the promise he made me with that handshake.
The time had arrived; it was now or never.
Speechless, I told him I was very busy at the moment. "We can talk about the car this weekend," I said. "I'll call you back, I promise."
There lots of reasons why I forgot to call uncle Umberto back; I'm not sure any of them were valid. Eight weekends had passed before I would finally call him.
His wife answered and told me Umberto left our world about three days after he phoned me; an aggressive cancer had its way. It wasn't really the right time to ask for the Porsche. But she asked me, so I explained the matter, this promise we shook on telling her how it didn't matter in the same breath. I was actually embarassed and a bit sad.
It was the end of February 2011. Time to act...and quickly.
I called the dealer in Belgium; the car had been sold to another luxury car seller. So I called the second man, the luxury car seller, who told me he sold the car to a man in France two days before my phone call to him. I started to think the chances of getting this car were eluding me. If the new owner in France agreed for the seller to pass his contact info to me, I still had a chance. I pleaded with the seller to pull through for me...he did.
"I wanted to make sure this was the car that was coming in and out of my life, that made me dream, suffer, fall in love, be unfaithful with BMW, and made me lie to my wife..."
It was after mid August during summer vacation. My wife was pregnant at the time and not too keen to go on holiday so we stayed home. I tried to get in touch with the Frenchman again.
This time I sent him an email before trying to phone him. I was so sad. I didn't want to hear the voice of his mobile voicemail umpteenth time. But it was my lucky day; this time he promptly replied to email. He was happy to sell the car for the same amount (a fair price to be honest) he bought it. Turns out he wasn't happy with the manual gearbox. I did not mention the history of that 928 to the owner; such emotions might jeopardize the price. We agreed to meet.
I kept calm when we met in France. I wanted to make sure this was the car that was coming in and out of my life, that made me dream, suffer, fall in love, be unfaithful with BMW, and made me lie to my wife because she knew I lost hope some months before. She didn't know I was in France to see the car.
I had enough money on my porcelain pig to get it. I wired it 2 or 3 days after getting off the bus to France to get the car with a lot of apprehension. My wife was in thefinal stages of pregnancy and was under the impression that I was fishing with an old friend - I behaved like a terrible person and felt awful.
I drove the car back to Italy to a hidden place offered by a fellow petrol head friend, put new licence plates on it when i eventually drove it home to my wife and my newborn son on the 23rd of September 2013. My wife was astonished but understood everyhting in few seconds.
A revelation occurred just before I crossed Saint Gottard Pass. This car was waiting for me before I started looking for a 6 Series in 1996 or any other BMW. I swore that I would never have done such a thing for any other car.
I had a 635 for almost 12 years, one of my best friend owns a MB 560 SEC that I drove a lot. I avoided the XJ S like the plague, my friends do too, because there aren't any good examples in Italy; never mind that they weren’t reliable when new...I would imagine that after 20 years it would be a suicide.
I think I love this car just because it not only does what a GT car should do, but it does better than any other GT. This car isn't only a simple summary of qualities a GT must have, it has some compromises like any other car but Porsche really engineered the 928 in order to emphasize the peculiarities of a GT car and fulfill the needs of the classic GT driver. Once you drive it, you don't need anything else from the outside environment, except the air. Porsche worked hard simply to make the 928 and his driver a whole. They made it possible.
My wife simply adore this car. 10 kilometers after German border she woke up and said, “can you push on a bit more? We're never going to arrive before 12 o'clock.”
I told her to look at the speedo.
“Is it faulty?” she asked.
“mmh...no.” I said.
“Please slow down, for the love of you son! Incredible, I thought you was going much slower...so reassuring at this pace.” She turned her face back towards the door glass, and went on sleeping till I parked in the center of the city, ready for a tourist weekend.
I slowed down to normal crusing speed; I was going at 170-180km/h in case you were wondering.
This is why I love my 928 GTS...and will never sell it.
flüssig's correspondent in Italy