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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Avoidable Contact #110: Sob Rock and the rebirth of the cool Porsche | Hagerty Media

By the time you read this, two important things will have happened: John Mayer's new album, Sob Rock, will have been released-and my new Paul Reed Smith "Silver Sky" electric guitar in the gauche-but-desirable limited-edition "Lunar Ice" finish will have been delivered to my house.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/avoidable-contact/avoidable-contact-110-sob-rock-and-the-rebir...
48 REPLIES 48
audiocage
Detailer

Mayer, Porsche, and PRS. Congrats - I think that's the Trifecta of polarizing topics. Well done.

If you had worked Bonamassa in there too, it might have exploded The Interwebs...
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Oh, he's terrible.

🙂
Gary_Bechtold
Instructor

You either love him or hate him it seems. I love him (Bonamassa). Mayer is for the girls. **Shots Fired**
Germanicus
Intermediate Driver

My inner tinfoil hat suspects that Porsche quietly funds the alt-Porsches (Magnus Walker's stuff, the Safari 911s) to distract from the fact that Porsche Guys are now the same as Corvette Guys, but of a different social milieu.

An entry-level Porsche sports car would help Porsche from being entrapped by rich bores. I was watching Jason Cammisa's lovely video on the 924 yesterday, and the thing that stuck out to me the most was how cheap those cars were even adjusted for inflation. The modern equivalent, the 718 cars, are not cheap. I could tolerate a Porsche that sounds like a Subaru, with about as much equipment as a Toyota Corolla, for the price of a Mustang GT, but not at the price of a C8 Corvette.
CitationMan
Instructor

I second this. If Porsche really wanted to be cool, make a new entry level 4 cylinder with a manual only. A racy looking updated 944 with those wonderful curves would be fine with me.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

There's no tinfoil required. Porsche absolutely paid Magnus for years, I don't think it's a secret to anyone.

The problem, of course, is that Magnus might be an "outlaw" in the sense of not meeting PCA club race licensing requirements, but he's not James Dean; he's a thrift-store owner who does trackdays. (and makes GREAT videos for us!) I don't think any young woman on the street would take him over Justin Bieber.
RokemRonnie
Detailer

I don't know if he's a cool dude or not but in my experience Magnus is pretty gracious in person.
RokemRonnie
Detailer

I once asked the folks at McLaren if they could use their expertise to make a Miata-priced sports car. I was told that you have to sell tens of thousands of those to break even and they only have the capacity of about 4,000 units a year.

The only time Porsche has ever sold entry level sports cars has been by using their corporate siblings at Audi and VW for the mass production side of things, with the 914 and the 924. Fiat had to use a badge engineered Miata to bring back an open sports car.

I don't know if the market for entry level sports cars is big enough for anyone outside of Mazda to justify the investment.
kineticdg
Pit Crew

So many thoughts...
1. If you're worried about being cool- stop worrying, you're not
2. I'm not worried about being cool, and I'm still not
3. "Cool" and "John Mayer" in the same sentence?
4. Am I supposed to stop feeling the visceral thrill that is my 911 because of how mass culture perceives it?
5. "Cool" is no longer cars, for the most part. When kids talk about liquid cooling vs. air-cooled, they are discussing gaming computers- not flat sixes
6. The 911S in the opening of "Le Mans" was really expensive. Doctors & lawyers bought those cars. I imagine most of the people who bought Dino 246s were complete asshats, but that car is insanely cool (not debatable, that's unassailable fact)
mcs1000
Pit Crew

Hank Moody drove a 964 Cabriolet. That's about as un-cool as you can get and still be in a Porsche.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I think it might even be a Tiptronic, which would be the trifecta of awkward air cooling -- and yet, would you rather be Season 3 Hank or the average GT3RS owner?
Flashman
Instructor

At the risk of repeating others' points, it doesn't matter whether you drive a 2CV or an F1. If it makes you happy, that's cool, regardless of what anybody else thinks.
BobD
Pit Crew

Flashman I couldn't agree more. Don't most people figure out somewhere around late adolescence that one's own sense of what's cool is not defined by others? Yikes, definitely not vibing with the joke here.
compaqdeskpro
Intermediate Driver

The coolest Porsche has been is in that scene in Scarface, where the guy from Law and Order is doing a standup routine and Tony is looking around paranoid, and assassins come in and shoot the place up. Tony managed to crawl his way out of there, and hop into his Porsche 928, and flip the headlights up, making me say "oh now it looks like a Porsche".
KarayaEins
New Driver

While I see your point, it’s been the complaint since David E, Davis, and Patrick Bedard bemoaned Gucci loafers backing turbos off mountains in C&D during the Regan administration
rick8928
New Driver

Define cool. Regardless, I have no desire to be cool, needing no external validation. I'm retired, in my late 60s, haven't needed to 'court' a young maiden for decades, and simply enjoy driving my 2016 Cayman S manual. I drive the Porsche just for fun and never sedately. Regularly take fast drives in the local countryside, plus periodic weekend hooligan experiences in the West Virginia and Smoky Mountains. The car is bone stock, reliable, comfortable, quiet when you want it to be but with an ethereal howl near redline when you're on it, steers great, feels hewn from a solid chunk of metal, and is fast as f**k in the twisties. Seems cool enough for me. YMMV
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

All of this is true!
danhise
Intermediate Driver

A man is cool if he can compose a sonnet whilst falling off a horse. A woman is cool if she can break down a Glock 19 whilst falling off a horse. These are simple matters, people.

Ah, Jack, you sinister iconoclast. Will Porsche pay any attention to you? They should. Ferdinand needs a brand new bag.
FPTiv
New Driver

The new 911s? Three very bad T's: Touchscreens, Two pedals and Too much technology. Another T? Total excrement. I'll be keeping the maintenance going on my three pedal 997 series until my cold dead fingers have to be pried from the gear level.
RobH
Pit Crew

Ah, comments from a Jack Baruth article - love it! Smart, witty, self-effacing - a joy to behold. 1975 930 Turbo in a pastel colour - that's cool. Crank windows, no A/C (not cool?) standard Fuchs and no slant. Cool. Thanks for making us both think and laugh Jack - enjoy all you do!
Tsaxman
Detailer

Jack, maybe you should go back and listen to Tower of Power's "What is Hip?" and ask yourself, if you think you know.

A Porsche 911 was cool in the 1960s and remains cool. They are a wonderful meld of engineering and design. Driving my 4S with the top down is as good a visceral experience as any car I have owned. It is also fast, comfortable and reliable.

John Mayer is a real talent, and who knows what he is maturing into as a singer/songwriter/guitarist, but hey, he played at Crossroads and toured with what's left of the Grateful Dead, so they know he has some seriously good abilities.

Finally, that PRS looks a lot like a Strat. For about $2400 in that sky silver color, why not have the real thing?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Sir, I already have the real thing, in several flavors including Fender CS Masterbuilt 🙂

JohninNC
Advanced Driver

What about a redo of the 914- sort of like a miata type vehicle.
I'd love to see a new version of the 928 with barely any exterior changes, a timeless car (to me).
930Flachbau
Intermediate Driver

Jack, we're still cool, there's just fewer of us now. And that's OK. It just makes us a more precious commodity now. I bought my 930 Factory Flachbau back in the 90's when buyers were looking for 930's unless they were Guards Red and/or Slantnoses. I went for both. What sold me was the drive. Looking out the front where the front disappears into the pavement before me, the 930 transmission whining away, the turbo sucking and whistling the air through its impellers, the feedback through my hands and the seat of my pants, the Mount Everest of torque curves.....and those brakes!
Now, I'm retired and have now finished my second engine rebuild. I'm now more concerned about $15K engine rebuilds instead of driving "like I stoled it". But, it still invokes 'cool' no matter how you slice it.
Jneal3
Pit Crew

Cool was when William Hurt’s character in The Big Chill drove up to the funeral in his seriously beat up targa and switched off the ignition still going 20 mph and rolling to a stop.
MATTMERICA
Instructor

What makes John Mayer cool? Well, let's start with the obvious - he has gotten more a$$ than a toilet seat, and if you actually compiled that list of talent, you could include some chicks he said were too psycho and crazy even by his standards (that would be directly referring to Ms. Swift), but the short list:
Jennifer Anniston, the woman from the Verizon (or is it the At&T commercials?), Vanessa Carlton, Cameron Diaz, Katy Perry, and pretty much every other A and B list hottie in the western half of the country. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention Jessica Simpson. Sure, the rock stars get money for nothing and the chicks for free, but the real reason he is cool to me is that he actually took over Jerry's spot in the GD. If you can stand in for Jerry - and he has, exceptionally well I might add - you just gotta be cool. Enjoy that new guitar, and props for Hank Moody reference, he is a gem
SuperDeLuxe
Detailer

Dear Jack, please find a creative pseudonym, (something like Jack Beam) and write all about those vodka-fueled deprivations. I will read every chapter, wishing I was the dashing Mr. Beam in the shopworn 993 Carrera 2, self-aware to the point of irony, looking for his next 48 hour adventure ...
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

As soon as I get fired from here I'll release my, ah, "novel".
el_zato
Intermediate Driver

When I see somebody driving a Tesla, or a SUV of any brand (including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley or Rolls Royce) or -God forbid!- using an iPhone, or wearing a digital watch or smartwatch, I automatically think they're uncool. No matter who they are or what they do, and that include musicians I admire a lot who are for some reason attracted to iPhones and other Apple products (blerg) like moths to lamps.
JonMiller
Intermediate Driver

When 'cool' is assigned to people and things it is often done so with tinge of envy. Actions may fall into a different category; admiration. As example: it is cool to be a wordsmith and create journalistic art. The same can not be said if that talent is used to write a salacious account of past encounters.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

I agree with you, but Henry Miller sure got away with it!
ccrvtt
Pit Crew

The 1969 911T Targa driven by William Hurt's character in 'The Big Chill' is, hands down, the coolest famous Porsche of all time. Shabby chic but eminently drivable.

Another fine article from Jack. Thank you.
Rider79
Instructor

"Mayer" as in "player". Regardless, a darn good guitarist, to be sure.

To me, at least, 911's are still cool - always will be - even a 1968 Sportomatic 911 (if only barely).
Swamibob
Instructor

Excellent Column Jack;

Just to prove my un-coolness; I need to ask: "Who is John Mayer?"
For me there really hasn't been a 'cool' Porsche since... the air cooled 911 days. Also, just to stir up the pot; I don't think any 924 or other front engine Porsche could be called cool. That is subjective, of course, but I throw it in there to help stir up those poor souls who think a front engine car could be a Porsche. That's like thinking a Dino is a Ferrari. But, there's no accounting for taste. 🙂
I've never owned a Porsche. I've never owned a Ferrari, unless you count that time when a guy in a red 308 thought he was going to blast by me on a lonely freeway some time ago. I was driving my Wimbledon White '64 El Camino, at the time. (It's powered by a 425 hp 327 and a Tremec 5-speed with a fair amount of handling goodies too.) He came up on me quite quickly, so I gave him the left lane to go by. He was passing me, then for some reason slowed down to meet my pace. He revved his oh so cute V8 a couple times and scooted out front of me a couple times, then looked over at me and smiled. I smiled back and quietly downshifted into 4th and nodded. He nailed the throttle and I let him have a half car length and then slowly pressed down on the accelerator.
By the time we were at 90 mph I had pulled up next to him and quietly drove past, still not in top gear. I love guys who think their car makes them cool. As the Dalai Lama once told me: "Swagger, much like Change, must come from within". Or, as the Great and Powerful Philosopher Swamibob has said... "They who stand in the rain will get wet; they who stand in the ocean already are". __Swamibob
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

El Caminos have been cooler than Porsches since, oh gosh, maybe 1980!
Heitman
New Driver

Of course Porsches are cool. They've always been cool. Yes, this kinda garbage grabs eyeballs, but is that what Hagerty wants for a brand identity? Cut the crap.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

So what you're saying is that this website should focus on serious historical automotive discussions and cut out the clickbait? You might be right! A Hagerty website with nothing but clickbait would be like a Porsche dealer with a row of SUVs and electric cars outside! 🙂
gmw
Pit Crew

I have an '88 944 that I bought for $400 and pieced it together with spare parts that my son and I had laying around the garage. I found some turbo S brakes and sway bars at a swap meet to increase stopping power and improve handling. The last modification was to install a 5.3 LS V8 in it. It really pisses off the old guard at PCA club events. Is this cool?
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

It's cool, but...

*adjusts PCA cap*

...that's an AUDI! 🙂
Air_and_Water
Detailer

At the dealership we used to call 924s a "100LS Liftback".
CSX3170
New Driver

I am always amazed to see the air cooled 3 pedal people talk about how much they dislike the new Porsche's. The new Porsche's will destroy those rickety old crap boxes in any kind of a speed contest. I currently own a 991 GT3 and a 992 Turbo S both of course with PDK. Those systems are wonderful, never miss a gear and are always in the right gear. I also own a highly modified original 427 Cobra (CSX 3170) that weighs less than 2400 lbs, has upgraded suspension, brakes, wheels and tires and an FE based NA engine that makes 820 hp and 562 lb/ft and is red lined at 9500 rpm. Obviously, I do know what it is like to be in control of a very visceral vehicle. The Cobra has a dog box (Jerrico) so no clutch is necessary except for starting, it also has a Bosch racing MK 5 ABS system and JRI shocks so it is no slouch under any circumstance. I still prefer the Porsche PDK in either the Turbo or GT3 because they allow you to concentrate on going faster and isn't that what it is all about? My experience with this issue is the less than serious people who drive fast on public roads like manual shifting. People that are serious about going fast prefer the dual clutch solution. I have also owned a 2005 Ford GT with 862 whp and a 2018 Ford GT. I prefer either Porsche over those cars. In my view new Porsche 911's are very cool if you like fast RELIABLE cars that always get the job done.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

If you were really serious about going fast, you'd have a Radical and a ZX-14R, like I do.

*wink*

That being said, you're a Porsche owner and not, say a ZR1 Corvette owner. So there's something about Porsche that matters more to you than a raw lap time or racetrack ability. And I think that's the "cool factor" that has gone missing for a lot of people. Is that fair to say?

Oh, and THANK YOU for actually driving your CSX instead of storing it!
DaleL
New Driver

"I am so cool that I can tell you that you are not cool." That's not cool.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Not cool of you to point that out! 🙂
DaleL
New Driver

Then we must agree to be uncool together.
JRJones
Intermediate Driver

The 911 platform is seductive. Yesterday I was visualizing the experience and the concept of womb return came to mind. Outside of Heidi Kulm that nationality tinged analogy is a struggle.
My latest potential indulgence was a Craig's 912 with moderate race bodywork and a GD SBF literally sticking through the rear facia. I resisted the compulsion to save it. In addition to the rebalancing, there was the oxidation. An intrinsic experience can be created for less time and treasure albeit with less market value. I acknowledge that marque devotion and restoration are not ROI compatible. Jethro Bovingdon theorizes that current Porsches are driving the resto-mod and replica markets. I think he is right.
RS255
New Driver

First of all I do not care about the guitar you just got or where you are going this weekend , but if you are a true guitarist you would not be writing about Mayer , but maybe Steve Vai, Jeff Beck , Shawn Lane , Paul Gilbert, and of course Buckethead to name a few, as most guitarist know Eric went pop and just flatlined which is too bad, go to a Buckethead concert and join a house which is usually full of guitarist just trying to figure out just how he does it , he might even give you a toy.
JRJones
Intermediate Driver

What is a "hook"? Why is it appealing? Why is it necessary?
In a Porsche two come to mind, aesthetics and tactile.
In a musician two come to mind, acoustics and presentation.
Something for everyone.