The 944

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4 January/Posted by aaronplaat

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the last few years, I’ve been posting photos of a Porsche 944 my mentor, Nate, has been restoring. The process has been one helluva journey, and it’s taught me a lot about life, love, and the effort that goes into making something perfect.

It all began some three years ago when I was walking through the plant. Tucked away in a back corner was a black Porsche 944, which was in need of serious repair. I mentioned to Nate that car was a dream of mine to own (inspired by my Dad) and he agreed to sell the car to me.

Growing up in a family of six children, my parents made a lot of sacrifices to provide for their children. From keeping our bellies full, to music lessons, they put a lot of their own personal dreams aside in order to invest in their children.

Many times, my Dad would drop me off at saxophone lessons and would joke about how those lessons came at a cost to him. “I could have a Porsche if you didn’t have these lessons…” he’d say.

The car he had in mind was a Porsche 944. He loved that car for many reasons, including the fact it was one of the few sports cars he – at 6’3” – could comfortably sit in. World-class handling, aggressive styling, and a seat in the back were contributing factors to his choice of car. That 50/50 weight distribution can turn a mean corner…

It wouldn’t be fair to my Dad to say his jokes influenced my desire to have a family – or not have one. Rather, I’ve battled for many years the sacrifice one needs to make in order to have children, and hoped I would one day have a ‘win-win’ scenario where I could have a family, as well as fulfill all of my wants and dreams.

Cars have always held a very special spot in my heart, and I like to drive the living hell out of them. That’s what they’re for, after all. I’ve dreamed of owning many cars, and have had the pleasure of driving my share of exotic beauties. Yet, none of these cars have captured the look, performance, and personality of the 944.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized there is, in fact, value to owning quality things that fit you. An Aeron chair keeps you productive while you work, and quality audio devices help transport you when you need momentary escape. Nothing beats a well-designed bag, or enhances your life the way quality computers do. In some ways, a few of my ‘treasure’ items have entered my life because I’ve realized they gift me with style, performance, and the enjoyment of using a well-made product.

The Porsche 944 is a timeless beauty, revered by car enthusiasts who often cite it being the best Porsche ever manufactured. No, it isn’t full of fancy electronics or massaging seats; it’s a manual car that embodies the spirit of mechanical engineering.

…you’ll understand when you hear the way the doors shut. That is how a car door should sound, and feel.

It’s taken Nate over three years, 500+ hours, and actual blood and sweat to bring her to life. He’s painstakingly gone over every detail of the car to make sure she runs better than new. From tuning the cylinder heads to replacing the dashboard leather, he’s dismantled the car and reassembled her into a masterpiece.

As we enter the final stage of the restoration, I’ve worked with Nate to prepare her for her coats of paint. Every inch of her has been carefully wet sanded, inspected, and repaired of any imperfection – no matter how small.

“This is the price of perfection” he told me as we both worked through the body; carefully sanding down the imperfections until the body is smooth as water. “Wax on, wax off” has nothing on the process it takes to wet sand a car.

Working on the car has been an intimate process, where I’m often left alone to process the thoughts and ideas that come through my head while working on her. I think about the many date nights I’ll have with my partner, or the rides I’ll take someday with our family. I’m eager to one day teach my son how to change her oil, detail her interior, and clean her until she shines in the sun.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this car is that life will give you exactly what you want, if you’re willing to invest the time, patience, perseverance, and attention to detail into making your dreams become a reality.

This weekend, I spent several hours sanding out small imperfections in the passenger-side door. The entire time, I could only think of the moments where I’ll one day open the door for my partner as she steps in for a ride.

That’s when it hit me. “This is all worth it.” I thought about the car, while also realizing I felt that way about Her.

There is no such thing as a perfect car, or relationship. What makes them perfect is the process, patience, and time you invest in them. Just like the car, there’s a price tag to pay for things that isn’t measured in dollars; it’s measured in time, love, and effort.

This year, I reach an exciting moment in my life, where I see several of my dreams come to fruition. My heart, it has grown, swelled, and expanded beyond what I thought possible as I see many of the broken pieces of my life come together to create a masterpiece I now live and enjoy every day when I wake up.

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