This is the eighteenth in a series by Howard LaPlante on his early experiences with cars.

There Elfi and the BMW sat alongside the busy road. The car was not about to start! She called the dealership and they sent a tow truck. Once again the electric fan motor had failed! It was repaired for the final time and never had any further problems with that component. However, from about 40,000 miles on we would hear a strange click when shifting in to 5th gear. Asked the dealership in Asheville about it every time that the car was in for service. The answer was, “they all do that,” or, “it is nothing to worry about,” or “we could not hear anything.” Well it was something! At almost 100,000 miles the transfer case for the all wheel drive went out! The repair would have been 5 figures at the dealership! Managed to have it repaired at an independent shop for less than half. At 100,000 mile we traded for an Audi A 3.

Excuse me while I go off on a tangent. The word is that in perhaps 30 - 50 years we may not be able to drive cars on public roads! It could well be against the law! Too dangerous! It may be all autonomous cars by then. We will just call, and a car will be sent to us. We will tap our credit card and tell the car where we want to go!? Our beloved Porsches will only be able to be driven on certain tracks. The thought is terrible! I and most of my Porsche friends have enjoyed perhaps the most wonderful automobiles and the delight of driving. So it was of interest when I came across this listing of automobiles for sale in the US in 1928: Auburn, Buick, Cadillac, Chandler, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Elcar, Erskine, Essex, Flint, Hudson, Hupmobile, Jordan, LaSalle, Locomobile, Marmon, Moon, Nash, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Overland, Packard, Paige, Peerless, Pontiac, Reo, Star, Studebaker, Velie, Whippet, and Willys-Knight. How many are still in business? How many do we have now?

Another interesting fact from 1928, Bell Telephone was advertising that the cost of long distance was going down! The new rate for a call from the farthest distance in the US, from Maine to Half Mood Bay California was now only $10.00! And contrary to what some of you may think, this was before my time! Although I do have an original magazine ad for all of them!

Now getting back to my recollections about cars that I have owned.

It was sometime in 2003 that I was talking to a client, a long time Porsche owner, when he mentioned that he was trading his 1997 Boxster for a new one. He was complaining about the trade in price on the ’97. I asked what they were going to allow? He told me, my response was that I would be willing to pay that much. Oh? Well we worked out a deal that I thought was good. WRONG! Turned out that the Boxster had spent much of its life with his daughter in Florida. She had not been kind! Unfortunately I did not find this out until it was too late! The miles were low, the price was right, but the car had many scuffs and chips, and it was dirty beyond belief. But I again owned a Porsche. It took me a year, but after much TLC, elbow grease, and having the wheels redone and painted the Boxster was respectable. It did have one “quirk” that was never totally fixed. Sometimes, the ignition key would refuse to turn on. No matter how I tugged on the steering wheel. Changed the ignition lock to no avail.

It soon became all too apparent that I really was not in a position to have two sports cars, the Mazda would have to go. I advertised the car in Hemmings. Almost immediately I had several inquiries. But then nothing came of the interest until one day a woman in Boston called and wanted to come and look at the car. She came drove it and was willing to pay the price. The deal was made. Kind of sorry to see it go.

In 2004 when I retired, we sold the house in the Boston area and moved to Asheville. Elfi drove the BMW and I drove the Porsche. We were so fortunate, we raced a bit on the Blue Ridge Parkway without getting caught!

It was in May of 2005, and we had driven the Porsche into the parking lot of the Asheville mall, parked and started to put the top up. It went up part way and made a noise and stopped! Would not go up or down! Now what?

To be continued –