Welcome to My Wheels, Jehan. You are a massive fan of cars and motorbikes aren’t you...
First off, I would like to thank you for featuring me in the magazine, and yes — I sure am! My father being a car and bike fanatic himself greatly influenced me when I was a child. I started riding motorcycles when I was 8 years old back in India in and around the back roads.
The first time I drove a car I was 12! My father taught me on a Maruti Eeco with a mere 73bhp engine and no power steering! Since getting my licenses, driving and riding are now a vital part of my life.
You’ve owned some interesting cars in the past, tell us about them...
I’ve had quite a varied range including a Nissan Tiida, BMW Alpina B10 V8S, VW Golf Mk5 GTI and a Peugeot 207RC which was a serious pocket rocket. My father and I have quite a motorcycle collection too and own a Goldwing, Harley Davidson Street bob, Honda CB1300 and a completely restored CD200 road master.
And now you have a lovely 924S. This model has an interesting history; it started off as a Volkswagen but then they ditched it and Porsche stepped in and made it its entry-level sportscar. It was a massive sales success but you rarely come across them these days. Where did you find yours?
I always dreamed of owning a low slung red sportscar and I was fortunate enough to have this dream become a reality very early in my life. I picked up this car from the US a little over six months ago and have cherished every moment I have had it. It was a clean title and registered with the PCA (Porsche Club of America). It had just 16k miles on the clock with original paint and no body rust.
These cars are rare to find these days as most are converted into track cars due to their drop in value in the early 00’s. The interior was a little battered, which was expected of a 30 year old car, but there were no mechanical faults and it started right up once it was here. Once it arrived I had the fluids all replaced, put on a new set of tyres and with the assistance of ATC UAE, had it registered as a Dubai Classic.
The 924S is based on the 924 which had a 2.0-litre VW engine. Then VW decided to stop production of those engines so Porsche dropped in the same engine and drivetrain from the bigger 944. Funnily enough the aerodynamics of the 924 made it quicker than the 944. The engine was hence detuned a bit to help follow the same hierarchy.
I wasn’t particularly looking for a 924S but did want a classic car for a while. After going through thousands of classifieds I stumbled upon it.
What other models were you considering?
A Datsun 280Z, second gen Mazda RX-7, and a ’65 Mustang. The Datsun just seemed too common for UAE roads with loads of them just lying around Ras Al Khor and being converted to drift cars. It also in my opinion didn’t have the styling anywhere close to the Porsche. The RX-7 being a rotary engine had me sceptical of picking up one which I haven’t seen in person and the Mustang was a completely different story. Everyone’s inner eight year old child drools over a classic Mustang but the one I was considering was a six-cylinder and it was pretty much a rust bucket and not worth the price.
The Porsche fit in perfectly, it was clean (both physically and mechanically), reliable, looked great and most of all it’s like a unicorn in this part of the world.
You can say that again! How are you finding the maintenance?
Surprisingly, yet thankfully, I have been faced with zero major problems with it. I expected it to be a car on which I would learn a lot when things went wrong. But, touch wood, none have come up so far.
Minor problems however keep happening which are expected of a car this age. The AC blower duct got loose once, the antenna for the radio decided to give way too. Probably the biggest difficulty I had with the car was when I took it for a proper car wash and the guys there pressure washed the engine bay. My heart really sank when it refused to start but just a simple reconnection of the hall sensor connectors and it fired right up and is working relentlessly ever since.
Classic cars as we know are usually high maintenance, and that’s part of the fun of owning one. This being my first classic I needed something both reliable and easy to work on. The 924S is renowned for being bulletproof with examples clocking upwards of 100k miles with no major issues so you could say that my engine is still passing through its breaking in period. It comes with modern day fuel injection, proper air conditioning and even has ABS. It is more of a modern classic with all of today’s peace of mind and timeless looks.
What’s the 2.5-litre four-pot like, how much power does it have?
The engine is a real gem. It has Bosch fuel injection and behaves surprisingly well for a 30 year old sportscar. The engine makes a claimed 150bhp which doesn’t seem a lot but pair it to the 1,080kg kerb weight and it has a respectable power to weight ratio. It feels plenty fast and has no breaks in the rev range; it’ll happily sing all the way to the redline. The engine however feels most at home in top gear cruising at 3,000rpm. It has enough power to overtake on freeways and that’s what I love most about the engine — its response. There is no lag or hesitation once you get on the throttle and this is one of the biggest missing features in cars these days. It is a real cracker to drive.
Best of all it has a five-speed manual...
This further enhances the driving experience and depending on the mercy of your left foot and right hand you can switch between a comfortable cruiser and a naturally aspirated screamer of a car. Although I don’t have the heart to put my foot down often and drive her very carefully and respectfully, it has more than enough power to put a smile on your face.
The seating position is low and sportscar like and the steering falls straight into your hands making drives both fun and comfortable. It is not a hard-core sportscar but more of a GT and is more at home cruising than being driven hard. The chassis is beautifully balanced and it just points right where you want it to go every time.
I fitted a K&N cold air intake made specifically for this car and it really makes it breathe better. I also ride motorcycles here and this car comes close to one in terms of thrill factor. This is rare to find in cars these days. It has stock suspension which was known to be on the softer side but I love the setup as it offers all the cornering grip I need while still keeping the comfort of an old Cadillac on uneven roads. The power steering is a good old hydraulic unit, very direct and you can really make the car point to where you want to go and it just holds the line. But the almost 50:50 weight distribution means you have to be careful of lift off over steer as it loves to bite if you make a mistake. But get it right and you can really make the car dance.
With the car being aimed more at the general public rather than enthusiasts it feels more at home on long sweepers at half throttle than gunning down a set of tight twisties. But years later the Porsche DNA is still very prevalent and it’s amazing to see how in that time they made a car with such a well-balanced chassis and direct steering.
You follow a strict routine to ensure it stays in top condition don’t you…
Every Friday morning I take it out to get the basics checked such as the tyres and all of the fluids and then give it a full body scrub. I occasionally take it on long drives and sometimes at night if I’m running errands in the area. I enjoy taking it out to Lahbab during early mornings. The long winding roads are a treat to cruise along and it instils a sense of freedom like none other. For those few hours it’s just you, your car and the road. It serves as a great way to unwind after the whole week.
I’ve not had much of a chance to take it out as summer came along, but now that good weather has started I shall enjoy it a lot more. I am an extremely proud owner and love to show it off whenever I have the chance. The car commands a lot of respect on the roads and receives it. Every time I pass the car in my basement I feel this rush of joy that makes me giggle like a kid. It really is a childhood dream come true and my chest swells up every time I think of it.
What do you like best about it?
This is by far one of the most difficult questions I have been faced with. There’s a lot to like about the car. But, if I had to point out just one thing I like best about it, it has to be the driving feel. I have driven a lot of modern day sportscars, but none give the same response and feel of my Porsche. The mechanical feel that driving has to offer is lost in today’s age and every time I enter my Porsche I’m reminded of just how honest and simple driving needs to me.
I love every bit of my car but if I had to be really picky I would say that I don’t like the fact that the seating is too low to judge the front of the car properly. This however is my personal judgment.
Tell us about the time you let a total stranger drive it...
That was surreal; I was merging onto Jumeirah road and an M5 just zipped past and the driver then slammed his brakes to a stop. He then continued to follow me and kept flashing his headlights at me. I eventually pulled up into the petrol pump and an elderly German man got out of the BMW and asked me if he could have a drive around the block in it. I was really perplexed as it felt like a very unusual request. However, I agreed for some reason and he went on to tell me how it was the one car he regretted selling and enlightened me on all of the ins and outs of the car.
It was him who actually showed me there was a boot release button in the footwell while I kept manually opening it with the key. It was a very eventful evening and one I will never forget.
It’s a real head turner with people slowing down when passing on the roads and it gets loads of thumbs ups and compliments. Whenever parked kids want their photos taken with the car and are always fascinated with the pop up headlights. The car is widely mistaken for a Ferrari thanks to its colour and people are usually shocked when I say it’s a Porsche as everyone just connects old Porsches to the 911 shape.
What do your family and friends make of it?
My family has been very supportive of my passion and I really would not be able to fulfil this addiction without their understanding. The car is also a hit with my friends. Although it is out of bounds for anyone but me to drive, I happily give them a passenger rides which always leaves them smiling.