It was late 1964 somewhere in what was then West Germany when I saw my first 911, just a year after it had been launched.
In fact, I didn't see it first, I heard it. That distinctive air cooled flat-six wail was totally alien to an English lad brought up on a diet of in-line sixes from Jaguar and Aston Martin, rare enough sights themselves in the UK, or gruff fours from Triumph and MG. And, of course, as I turned to see what was making the noise, it had to be a silver spearing across the German countryside.
I've had a special fondness for the brand ever since, although owning one has so far eluded me. So, when Porsche `phoned and asked if I'd like to sample the new GTS for a few days which coincided with this year's , I think it would have appeared churlish to decline such a generous offer.
And, naturally, when the car turned up it had to be silver – just like that first 911 47 years ago.
Of course, the car is completely different compared to the original: the engine is water-cooled and its propensity to swing the tail out without a hint of warning, in wet or dry, has virtually been eliminated. But as I turned on the ignition key and six cylinders burst into life it still sounded as I remembered.
One of the big differences is how much bigger the latest generation 911 feels inside, that intimacy of almost rubbing shoulders with the front seat passenger and side glass in older models has gone, but so many other sensations remain.
The steering is intuitively precise and linear, although Lotus Mat Becker and I both agreed it could feel a little nervy in a straight line while the seven-speed PDK when coupled to the car's 310 lb.-ft. of torque delivers a car with two characters. Slip the PDK into `D' and there's a docility to the car that belies its 188 mph top speed and a 4.2 seconds sprint to 62 mph; there's no peaky urgency to the engine urging you to keep the revs piled on, it simply pulls smoothly, quietly. Of course you can use the paddles to shift gear, but around town why bother?
Find an open, clear stretch of road, slip the PDK into Sport and, suddenly, its sporting nature is revealed. While it might not qualify as the `dark' side you find straights have magically shrunk, bends appear sooner and a lot tighter. But the pleasure in balancing the car and the sheer intimacy you feel with the car as it feeds back every nuance of the road surface is very special indeed, something else Mat and I agreed on.
Maybe when my lottery ticket comes in...