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

The 2005 Porsche Boxster was sitting 10 miles up the Bear Tooth highway with antifreeze leaking on to the road! Well nothing to do but to see if we could limp the car back to Red Lodge, Montana, or at least to cellphone service. Quickly discovered that at 60 MPH the temperature would remain in the normal range. We made it to Red Lodge and found a hardware store that was open and had antifreeze for sale. Of course, it was not the Porsche approved type! We made calls to PCA and to Porsche of America. No use! It was Saturday after all. Talking to a couple on a Harley motorcycle that had stopped, they had problems as well. They said that there was a well respected VW dealer in Billings. By driving no faster than 60 MPH we make it the 50 miles to Billings MT, and the VW dealership. Of course, it is Saturday and nothing can be done until Monday. However, we were treated as though we were favored customers rather than Porsche owners, with problems just in off the street.

On Monday I called PCA and spoke to Vu Nguyen, he told me that there were several Porsche owners in Billings, He said that he would contact them and see if they could be of assistance. I had hardly hung up the phone when I received a call from a Boxster owner in Billings. He assured me that he VW dealership was OK and could be trusted to do good work. He strongly suggested that any parts that would be required should be purchased from the Porsche dealership in Portland OR (much better prices!). The shop in the meantime had diagnosed the problem, and a new water pump was required. I called the Portland dealership and found that the price for a new water pump was $250.00 less that the “non Porsche part” that the VW dealership was quoting. By Tuesday Portia was ready to go, the “transplant” had been successful. The balance of our 15,700 mile trip went without incident.

Our 2005 Boxster was really very satisfactory in every way. Intention was to keep it for some time. In 2015 we were planning a trip to Hamburg Germany, (Elfi’s birthplace). My thinking was that would be and excellent time to pick up a new Audi, to replace her 2007 Audi A3. Well! I was surprised to find out that she liked her present car and had no intention to replace it!

That put a different light on the car situation! She was not interested in replacing the A3 – well, perhaps a newer Boxster? Mentioned it to Porsche salesman extraordinaire Don Oakes. In time he called me and said that he had a 2013 Boxster with extremely low miles (7651)! The car had almost all the options available that year. However, it had a PDK transmission! I really had no intention of trading for a PDK transmission Boxster, But the car had everything else that I wanted, After all, I had only purchased one new automatic transmission car in my life, a 1954 Studebaker coupe. I did not know if I was ready for my second automatic car. I really did not have any hard objection to a PDK. -Unlike some Porsche owners who maintain that “a real Porsche has a manual transmission!”

The decision was made when I asked Don Oakes to take me out in the car and show me why I should buy a PDK transmission. He convinced me! The car could be shifted in the same manner as a manual, yes, there was no foot clutch, only a paddle on the steering wheel. But the effect is immediate!!
Now after 25,000 miles, I can say without hesitation that I would do it again! One caveat, if it was possible to have a Cayman GTS with a manual transmission to enjoy our wonderful North Carolina roads, and a Boxster with PDK for the times when the car is to be driven in traffic, well yes that would be a wonderful solution.

And so we have come to the end of my car stories. At least as it appears at this date. I will turn 86 in a few weeks. Will his be the last of my Porsches? Hard to tell. If my health were to improve and the finances as well, would love to pick up a new Boxster at the factory! But for now, it has been enjoyable to reminisce about the cars that I have owned and the love hate relationship that ensued.

Howard LaPlante
Arden NC

3 December, 2017