Collecting a Porsche is always a special moment. And it becomes even more special when you collect it from the same people who make them. On a small street in Stuttgart, within sight of the famous Porsche Museum, lies the largest Porsche dealer in the world that nobody has ever heard of.
But it’s not one that anyone can buy from, as Porsche Werkswagen deals exclusively in former Porsche company cars, moving them on to dealerships all over the world – plus a few lucky individuals.
I was lucky enough to join that unique club, which is why – not for the first time in my life – I found myself in Zuffenhausen, a quiet northern suburb of Stuttgart that is synonymous with only one car brand.
I’d selected a gorgeous Cayman in GT silver: a lustrous colour that is the very emblem of Porsche in motorsport. Inside, the interior is all Alcantara and leather: snug and purposeful at the same time. Of course, this is Germany, so there’s paperwork involved in any car purchase: lots of it.
But eventually – after a wait that was slightly longer than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic – it was finally time to collect.
The feeling of walking into a factory Porsche dealership in the knowledge that you are going to be driving out is a hard one to convey. Excitement, pride, and expectation, in short.
You’re impatient, as you want to get your hands on the keys and drive away as soon as possible. Yet at the same time, you want the sense of delicious anticipation to last as long as possible, as you’re aware that these are special moments you will always remember.
There’s coffee, signatures, a painstaking explanation of the manual and documents, which only rack up the exquisite agony. It moves up a gear when the keys come out and get placed on top of the book.
Then you’re invited to the part of the showroom marked ‘customer collections’ – a few steps that mark the very beginning of what you know will be thousands of incredibly special journeys. You’re actually aware of your heartbeat quickening as you wander past those shiny Cayennes, Macans, Taycans, and 911s on the way to your new car. This is the tradition that you’re entering into.
And then, you suddenly see it. When you buy a car from Porsche Werkswagen you’ve generally seen your car before, as you’ve selected it personally, but seeing it complete with numberplates and everything else is another thing entirely. Especially when it’s pointing towards the way out and you have the keys in your hand.
You open the door. Settle in. You’re aware of everything being a first. This is the first time you start it, the first time you put it into gear, the first time you gingerly press the throttle pedal and hear the new tyres squeak on the tiled floor as the car creeps forward for the very first time. The first time you hear the guttural bark of the engine as it fires up. The Cayman’s turbocharged flat four’s voice isn’t to everyone’s taste, being lumpier than a V6 and distinctly more abrasive.
Personally, I love it, as well as the associated nod to history through the 718 Cayman’s name. Back in the 1950s, Porsche produced the 718 as an achingly beautiful mid-engined silver flat-four racing car, weighing in at just 530 kilograms: truly the spiritual predecessor to what we see today. This feels like a thoroughly modern car and engine, yet with tangible links to the past.
And strangely, that’s exactly the sort of thing that goes through your mind looking at the famous logo and instantly-recognisable central rev counter staring you in the face. Different times and different contexts, but exactly the same heritage.
The whole experience of collecting the car is being carefully filmed and documented. Then it’s a final halt at the presentation bay, equipped with posters and plush seats, just ahead of an enormous shuttered steel door that represents a tantalising portal to the outside world.
Sipping yet more coffee from a Porsche-monogrammed espresso cup, there are just a few final details to go through. Satnav, performance modes, heaters, radio, phone pairing. The days of jumping into a new car and driving off are long gone. From start to finish the whole process takes about an hour.
But eventually, the shutter door clanks open, admitting a sharp blast of crisp Stuttgart air. A whole new motoring life beckons.
Porsche not only makes incredibly special cars, but it also makes the mere mortals who drive them feel just as special. Collection in Stuttgart is an amazing experience – and that’s particularly thanks to sales expert Gregor Griegel: a man who stops at nothing to make things happen, and who lives and breathes his passion for one of the world’s most charismatic car brands every day. Thanks to people like him, the day you collect your very own Porsche is one you never forget.
Anthony Peacock works as a journalist and is the owner of an international communications agency, all of which has helped take him to more than 80 countries across the world.
Photographs courtesy of Porsche AG and by Anthony Peacock