There are many things about cars to attract automotive enthusiasts. Every one has different features; a different design and engine performance. But it’s perhaps when these differences are unique to a vehicle that people long to own it.
Like many others, Chayanin Dhepakham is car crazy. But there’s a special place in the car racer-turned-businessmen’s heart for Porsches.
As soon as he was able to afford one, he didn’t hesitate to make his dream come true by purchasing a 1996 Porsche 993 Twin Turbo. It has a unique design – even among other Porsches – and is the last of the legendary air-cooled Porsches. Its 3.6-litre flat six engine also has a unique sound, and this, more than anything else, tempted Chayanin to buy the car.
“I like the sound of the Porsche engine very much. I personally think it is sexy. It sounds like it has something struck in its throat, but then it sounds like a lion’s roar when it is revved up to 4,000rpm. Engine sound attracts me most about cars. I also ride Harley Davidson motorbikes and their engine sound is similar,” he says.
1996 was the last year in which Porsche used air-cooled engines. Its engines are now water-cooled.
“Despite the change in cooling systems, the sound of Porsche cars remains unchanged because it is the same engine. My car is a collector’s piece because it is the last model equipped with air-cooling.
“Normally, Porsche dealers arrange a training course for Porsche drivers because the cars have rear-wheel drive and the engine is installed in the trunk. Cornering in these cars is unlike cars with engines in front. If you brake while driving a Porsche through a curve at high speed, your car is likely to veer,” he says.
The former racer says he does not drive at high speeds these days because he is not on a racing circuit.
“I drive quite slowly on the road and I frequently drive the classic cars in my collection. For instance, I have the first Mini car model, made in 1959 when the brand name was Austin, and I also have the last Mini model carrying the name of Rover. It was made in 1999, before the brand was sold to BMW,” he says, adding that the old 1959 Austin Mini has so far taken five years to repair and renovate, and it’s still a work in progress.
“It takes a lot of time to seek out spare parts, but the car is of value to me. Sometimes, driving fast does not make me feel smart. Driving slowly and searching for parts makes me feel better,” Chayanin says.