This is the tenth in a series by Howard LaPlante on his early experiences with cars.
To continue the story of Norbert Wagner, the police turned up at the Porsche distribution headquarters one fine day to arrest Mr. Wagner. It seems that he had pulled the "does not speak English" just too many times! He’s one lucky guy, he had been called back to Germany to take another job in Porsche distribution the day before!
The 1969 911T turned out to be a wonderful car! Another one of those cars that I should have retained and put in a storage. Yes, along with most of the cars that I have owned, but always the same problem, need to sell one car to afford the next!
Because of a job change, I had time off for an extended vacation. We left Minneapolis in late August and headed north to Winnipeg, Canada. This was the start of a month long trip across Canada toward Calgary. The cross Canada roads were good with very little traffic and even fewer Canadian Mounties! I exceeded the traffic speed limits routinely – and got away with it! We were headed to Banff National Park, down through the Canadian Rockies and west to Vancouver. Then the ferry to Victoria and again the ferry to Washington, visit to Olympic National Park, then down the very small and beautiful highway 101 all the way to San Francisco. Remember stopping for gas somewhere north of San Francisco and asking how far and how long to San Francisco? The gas attendant said that it was about 100 miles and would take about three hours, but, looking at the new 911T, said that it would undoubtedly take much less time in this car! He was right! And it was fun! From San Francisco we headed east to Reno. In 1969 there were no speed limits in Nevada! The law was, as I remember, "reasonable and proper" !! Well! On the sparsely used small roads of that time, 100+ MPH seemed quite reasonable to me! The 911T was having a wonderful time as was the driver! It was the first time that I encountered the strange feeling of driving at 100 MPH and then slowing down to 30 to pass through a small town, it seemed that we could get out and walk faster! On to Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City and then north and back home to Minneapolis and back to work!
The year 1970 was full of cars! An opportunity came my way in the form of a 1968 VW Westfalia conversion pop top camper. It had been modified extensively with stove, fridge, extra cabinets and special gas heater with thermostat control. The price was right, we now owned a camper.
My son was now in high school and anxious for a car of his own. We worked out a deal. I would buy him a car, however he would have to have a job and be able to pay for the insurance, license and maintenance as well as pay me back for the car. He agreed and had a job at the local supermarket. We found him a suitable car, a 1966 VW convertible. 1300 CC engine (the only year for this engine.) All of 50 HP! 4 speed of course. Red with black top. He was very happy with the car.
At the same time the wife felt that she needed a newer car; she had been driving a VW. We settled on a new Opel Manta coupe. Really quite a beautiful car, maroon with black vinyl top. The interior was burgundy corduroy, quite nice. The engine was a 4 cylinder of 1.9 L producing 90 HP. 4 speed. A very nice looking and driving car. Everyone happy with the purchase, including daughter who loved the back seat. Until she left her color crayons there and the car sat outside one afternoon in the hot sun and the crayons melted all over the back seat!
I was really enjoying the 911T and it generated many favorable comments and then one day an offer to buy it. I did not really want to sell it, however the company that I was working for had built a new plant and suddenly my commute went from 12 miles to 40 one way! A deal was reached, I sold the car – with many regrets!
In late fall we decided to take a short vacation and drive the camper to Padre Island Texas. It was quite a trip, so different from driving a Porsche! But we motored along enjoying a fresh cup of coffee without stopping!
The first night found us south a good bit from the cold of Minnesota, but not far enough. The heater felt good. In the middle of the night, we were cold! The heater was not working! I climbed out of bed and went to start the car, it was dead! It was not about to start!
To be continued, -