2 February 2012

Our Cars: Brad Phillips' 1968 Porsche 911

Phillips’ Porsche was worth the troublesome 1,200-mile trip

Brad Phillips was a car guy long before he owned one. He credits his grandfather’s 1950 Dodge and father’s ’67 Corvette as the “primary instigators” of his interest in automobiles. When he finally reached driving age, Brad’s first car purchase was a ’65 Mustang Fastback. “I don’t think I’ve ever been without an old car to work on,” he said. “I’ve owned over a dozen different types of cars over the years – a mix of vintage American, British and German cars primarily, from 1955 to ’72. I’ve had a couple of vintage Jeeps that I really liked, too.” Brad owned an Allstate agency in Denver from 2003-2008 and was a very active Hagerty agent. He said collector car insurance was an easy sell since he owned classics himself and saw the value in it. It’s also easy to understand why he eventually became a member of the Hagerty team.

Title: Regional Sales Manager – Eastern U.S. (Nashville)

Years at Hagerty: 2 as a Hagerty employee, 5 prior as a broker

Car: 1968 Porsche 911

Why a Porsche 911? It is just an iconic car, especially the early short wheelbase models — no aero aids, skinny tires and a relatively simple drive train. Another great thing about these cars is you can road trip in them, track them, do road rallies, go to shows and cruises — it just doesn’t matter. They do all pretty well, even bone stock, and with relatively good economy, too. I think I get 25 mpg on highway, plus it’s still a relatively quick car for a 2.0-liter engine. (This is actually the second 1968 911 I’ve owned. I guess I really like this model year!)

Repairs and Modifications (planned or completed): This car is 100-percent stock, and that’s the way I want it — I like original numbers-matching cars; that’s sort of my quest with any new project. I identify anything that may not be original and take it back to its “as built” configuration. People make most cars worse by messing with the original designs; I like to trust the engineers. That being said, it would be neat to have a built 3.0-liter motor with about 300 hp in it! One day I’ll get around to figuring out why the original Blaupunkt radio doesn’t work, but the music from the motor is normally enough for me.

Hobby activities (clubs, events, etc.): Back in Colorado, I was a pretty active road course guy, but since our kids came along I don’t get much track time. I do several vintage car rallies every year, including the Great Race, and I’ve met some great people doing that. I like working on my own cars, taking things apart and putting them back together. I think that’s my therapy. Long road trips are also something I’ve always done, I really like to just settle in behind the wheel of an old car and see what happens. I’m fortunate that my work gives me a lot of enjoyment, too.

Interesting Car Stories: I bought this 911 through eBay. It was pretty cheap, and as soon as I landed in Grand Forks, N.D., to pick it up I realized why. The alternator barely worked, it had suspect brakes and ran rough. I’d planned to drive it back to Nashville, and the seller had assured me I would have no issues. He had to jump-start the car, then I set off in the dark on the front edge of a sleeting blizzard. I made it about 75 miles before realizing that the battery wouldn’t run the wipers and the headlights at the same time. It took me three days to drive it home, limping along in the daylight through rain and sleet most of the way. I realized a couple of weeks later that the rain I’d cursed the entire trip was the only thing that kept the brakes from locking up, as I had bad lines on both front calipers. Without the slick conditions, those rotors would have been red hot and the car would have gone nowhere. Over the past several years I’ve gone through the car and fixed everything. I even had it painted Bahama Yellow last year. I really enjoy it, and plan on keeping it for quite a while.

Favorite Drive In This Car: I drove this car for most of the 2011 Great Race, after our original entry (a 1964 Amphicar) died in mountains of North Carolina with a transmission failure. We pulled an all nighter to retrieve the 911 from my house in Nashville and rejoin the race at the lunch stop the next day. The best part of the race was getting to bring two other Hagerty employees – Mike Collins and Cris Vanderburg – into the sport.
Mike became a very capable navigator, and Cris pulled double duty as both driver and navigator during the race to Hemmings headquarters in Vermont. It was fun to share the experience with them; that’s what this hobby is all about.

Worst Moment: Just a couple of months ago, I was easing a 1958 TR3 parts car off a trailer into my garage, and it slipped off the tow strap and crunched the 911 on the rear quarter panel. I’m thankful it hit the Porsche and not my kids, and I learned a valuable lesson about double checking tow straps. (And no, I didn’t file a claim for the damage. I’ll take my lumps and have it painted sometime this winter.) Old cars are a lot of fun, but it was a good reminder that they can also be dangerous if you’re not paying attention.

0 Reader Comments

Join the Discussion