From 2003 until 2005 I worked in film at a small production company in LA. The owners were a couple who came from old money and made a shit ton more with his AVID editing and her motion graphics skills. When I worked for them they had 3 of my dream cars; an SL500 convertible, an S500, and the holy grail- the Guards Red 1989 911 Cabriolet identical to this one (minus the turbo):

I started out as a Production Assistant with the company and often ran errands in my personal vehicle, a well-kept 1987 BMW 325. It was your garden variety red coupe with a standard tranny. It was an absolute fucking beast and I loved it. I often had to drive the bosses to or from their home or the office and occasionally to the airport in my car. Periodically, Mrs. Boss would have me take her to Chanel so the girls there could get her plowed on expensive champagne so she’d take home $20 or 30k worth of clothing. There were occasions when my $2000 BMW carried upwards of $50k worth of Chanel and a wasted Mrs. Boss whom I would have to practically carry up the stairs and into her room. As they lived in the Hollywood Hills this meant up and down through the gears and pushing the car’s envelope on Mulholland on a daily basis.

One day I picked up Mr. Boss at home to take him to the hangar at Burbank Airport where he kept his aircraft, a Bell Jet and an L-39 Albatross. He complimented my car as he climbed in and we were off. I noticed him eyeing my driving, watching me brake, shift, how I entered sharp turns, etc. After a few minutes, he says he likes the way I drive and that he wanted me to take the Porsche out once a month and, in his words, “blow out the cobwebs and give it an Italian tune up”. I might have actually pooped a little in my pants. That body style 911 was always, always, since I was a kid, my dream car. I prefer a hardtop or Targa, but hey, something, something gift horse…

I regularly drove both their Benzes already as part of the job and they were fantastic. Mr. Boss’ SL was a brute. Big, heavy, and near bulletproof like an old 300D. Mrs. Boss’ S had all that power but with a sophisticated refinement. It was a damn fast car to be so big. Once when the Bosses were leaving for Paris, Mrs. Boss had me take her 10 or 12 psychotic rescued exotic birds to the boarder in her car. It must have been a sight with bird cages stacked high in the front and back, all the birds screeching at the top of their lungs, windows open so I didn’t go deaf, me doing a buck twenty westward on the 110/105 with feathers flying. I had to drive like a madman because Mrs. Boss needed me to return and take her to the airport.

The 911 was a special perk of the job. It was something beyond driving their Benzes, a stocked office fridge, catered lunches, hanging out at the hangar, or company brunches at The Four Seasons. This was a mint example of my dream car and I was asked- no, I was tasked with driving the shit out of it once a month. Mrs. Boss bought the car new to- ok guys and gals hold onto something- LEARN to drive a stick shift and she loved to tell the story about how she drove it back to the dealer after a couple weeks and asked them to put fat, comfy seats in it because the seats were uncomfortable. They sternly refused. “Ma’am, that is a racecar, we refuse”, the story went.

So, the first time I drove the 911 I had to retrieve it from deep within the bowels of the Universal Plaza parking garage in a private, double gated, climate controlled basement under a cover. After I pulled the cover off, I stood in awe of the sight before me. I’d seen these before up close, but this was my first opportunity to get inside and climb around and open things and look in, on and under everything, to put the top down just to see how all the latches work, etc. I ran my hand along the glass-like paint on the fenders, literally pressed my face against the cool, smooth, shiny expanse of the bonnet. I climbed inside and the scent I’ve come to associate with old Beetles filled my senses. It seemed so familiar.

After folding the cover, stuffing it in the boot, and disconnecting the battery maintainer, I gingerly drove the car out of the garage and headed toward the freeway. I was lucky to catch a freeway onramp with a green light and just stomped it, screaming through the gears like I’d driven the car a thousand times. Every shift point was right where I expected it would be and it shifted so quickly and smoothly I couldn’t believe it. The car was everything I expected and more. The distinctive and familiar sound of the air cooled mill behind me was music to my ears. I mashed, it wailed. I downshifted, it sang. Every time I stomped the gas at any speed it always pressed me back in my seat. It was amazing and I never wanted it to end.

I took the 101 north to the 405 and headed toward the beaches at speed. I don’t think I dropped below 120 except to change freeways. I cruised around the beaches for a while and dropped the top. For the return trip I took the 10 East and got off to roll through Beverly Hills, up to Sunset then east to Laurel Canyon and up to Mulholland which is when the fun really began. The car drove amazing on Mulholland, without a doubt the most amazing drive of my life. I had never before and have not since driven a car that handled so well. I wasn’t driving like a pussy, either. I was driving that motherfucker like I stole it. We’re talking Ferris Bueller’s Day Off joyride for an entire day. I smoked tires, did donuts, got sideways, caught air, and basically drove the car with reckless abandon the way a grown man-child in possession of the toy he always wanted is prone to do.

Per Mr. Boss’ instructions, I was to park the car in their home garage after the first drive so it was more accessible for the monthly floggings (which I would go on to deliver with vigor and gusto, on schedule, and without fail). The car reeked so strongly of burnt rubber and hot engine that I was thankful they weren’t home when I dropped it off.

The general experience of working for those folks in that industry was pretty outrageous. I could write a book on the insane shit I saw and experienced working for them as a Production Assistant and later as Production Manager. I saw firsthand why movie budgets are in the high millions. Everything from daily catered lunches at the production facilities, sushi delivery for the entire staff during late night and long weekend production crunch times, the aforementioned brunches at The Four Seasons, getting our cars washed every Tuesday, their aircraft, luxury autos, international travels- all that is factored into the price of your movie experience. The entire Hollywood/LA lifestyle is contained in and sustained by that $20 ticket.

But it’s all good because the excesses of two Hollywood executives allowed me to regularly flog one of the most amazing cars ever built. Driving that 911 reinforced my love of German cars and engineering. It was a pure driving experience free of traction control or any of the other nanny systems that separate us from the driving experience. I am as determined now as ever to someday own an air cooled 911 as a daily driver.