Passion and a work of art

I have always loved sports cars. For years, I proudly drove a soft-top MG B roadster manufactured by British Leyland. Its steering wheel was on the right, and its coat was not the more familiar British Racing Green, but rather an elegant and mysterious Blue Royale. It was a lovely car—thanks to which I arrived late to countless meetings. And despite its chronic unreliability, I loved it and drove it as far as it would go, until even the most skilled mechanics (whom we saw quite often) could no longer hold it together.

Now the Porsche 911, and specifically my 993 Targa—that’s a different story altogether. Built for performance, this is a car I feel safe in and strong. It lifts my spirits as it hugs the ground, cutting through the air as it effortlessly conquers the road.

I had always wanted a 911, and in 2009, I found her. Or better, she found me. Love attracts miracles.

By then, the car had been standing for quite a while at a Porsche dealership in Hamburg. At the time, the 993 Targa that was produced between 1996 and 1998 was not particularly popular. This one in particular also had the wrong color for Hamburg, where black or gray were more par for the course.

Yet it was the color that caught my eye and won my heart. It’s a fantastic shade of deep turquoise with dark blue and green undertones, depending on the light in which you see it. It reminds me of California: the nuances of its vast ocean and the seductive night sky.

And then its pure physicality. The black leather interior with its snug bucket seats, the powerful rumble of the engine, and the heavy, satisfying sound when you shut the door. The glass roof that slides back with the push of a button to reveal the open sky. I was seduced and smitten: I even fell in love with the shape of the key!

“A typical Porsche can be touched. It has a body. It has a personality,” said Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, also known as “Butzi,” designer of the iconic 911, and grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand. This is no less true for my 993 turquoise Targa. I named her the “Aquarium”—I always give names to my cars—and hung a little fish made of fabric that I bought in Venice, California, from the rearview mirror.

Our first tour was from Hamburg to Berlin. A stretch of autobahn, some 300km long, through scenic landscapes. A drive in this car fills me with a sense of freedom. Admittedly, I would never go as fast as the German autobahn famously allows and never at the maximum speeds that this car is capable of.

The Porsche 911 is the most iconic sports car in history. Despite its continuous evolution, it has kept its fundamental shape since its launch in 1963. For me and many others, the 993 model is the most beautiful. And sexy: with gentle curves and its subtle flare at the “hips” over the rear wheels. This was the last model to have an air-cooled engine and the first Targa with a retractable roof. Mine comes with an automatic Tiptronic transmission—one less distraction from enjoying the ride.

Yet after all these years, certain things remain a mystery. For example: Why is the ignition on the left? Most theories stem from Porsche’s illustrious racing legacy. The most popular is that the feature was designed to help race car drivers start faster in the 24 Le Mans race. This way, the driver can start the ignition and put the car in gear at the same time.

Then there’s the exclamation mark. When it lights up red in the center of the instrument panel, it means something is wrong—but is it the temperature, oil levels, or the brakes? Rest assured: With the Porsche 911, everything has a purpose.

Today, the 993 Targa is justly recognized as a collector’s item and its value exponentially higher than when I got her. I have always treated her as the work of art she is. By rain or snow, she stays in the garage. In fact, she is more of a Sunday car. For more mundane tasks, I look to my first-generation Smart—a souvenir from my work with Nicolas Hayek in the late ’90s to launch it in Germany.

But no matter what: My beloved Porsche 911, I will never let you go. For she has become a part of me.

“The 911 is the only car that you can drive from an African safari to Le Mans, then to the theatre and onto the streets of New York,” said Ferdinand “Ferry” Anton Ernst Porsche. He was the founding father’s son, whose vision led the company to excellence.

Versatility, elegance, strength, and an utterly unique personality—qualities that most people would like to find in themselves. It’s no wonder that people come to identify so closely with their cars.

People often smile when they see this car out and about the city. To be honest, I don’t think it’s the color after all. It’s the perfection, the unity of form and function, which elevates it from just a car to an icon, the ultimate testament to German industrial art and the epitome of German driving pleasure: Fahrvergnügen!