I went limp giving no resistance as Death gently embraced and lifted my soul away from its shell. she’d cut me loose into the black that gave way to the brightest sun no one can bring back as a souvenir.
the most beautiful dream was waiting to take possession of my soul in exchange for a reality I’d spent a lifetime pursuing.
this angelic little creature led my spirit down a corridor bathed in the afterglow of a setting sun. we flowed past open doors displaying the most carnal desires and temptations.
one room had an enormous gold chalice resembling a birdbath filled with this viscous brown goop in the center. all around it were nirvana souls slumped in white orbs injecting themselves with this dirty honey to an even higher state than the one we occupied.
another was filled with the finest selection of middle-aged women I'd ever seen in toned proportions of nudity but for the white scarves covering their necks. the most fantastic masturbation fantasy fell short of ever imagining such a scene.
we glided on, and there, double doors gilded with delicate foils of metalized white corrugations stood before us. we’d arrived to my first stop of what was sure to be one of a thousand missed opportunities I’d left behind.
then, the heavy doors swing open letting a white-hot glow bleed out from the space they were revealing. there it was, a 924, its pieces neatly laid out in all their holiness. they knew all about me up in this joint. what an overwhelming higher state of consciousness I was feeling.
the entire scene was a movie except the cast was in the flesh…I could reach out and touch one of the craftsmen or the 13mm spanner if I wanted. the odd thing was they’d progressed in the restoration of this 924 as my mind imagined it. like changing the channel, if I’d close my eyes on the idle staff, picture them meticulously tearing down the gearbox, and open my eyes again, that exact thought became the scene. I squeezed my eyes shut and backed-up to the very beginning.
he stopped talking and gently motioned me next to him; the tired 924 was rolling in. it was a ‘79…not a very exciting year, but the process of its dissection and rebirth would make it so.
Santiago explains why he chose this runt of Porsche’s litter and how so many have been slain and dumped in weed infested fields left to rot and sink back into the Earth. with fluid perfection, he recites the poesy I’d once written regarding this little car as a very relevant and important part of Porsche’s history. yes the 911 and 356 are almighty, but this little wedge has it’s own storied pedigree, enough to draw the attention of even the most prejudiced historians. oddly, I knew what he was about to say before he even uttered the words.
"Santiago smiles and begins to politely shake his head suggesting I’ve got it all wrong."
chassis number: 9249197078
engine number: XK027866
gearbox number: YR07039
exterior color: H5H5 Málaga Red
interior trim: TG
options: M442 prepared for radio without antenna, M568 tinted windshield and side glass
first registration: Luxembourg, April 1979
the old girl held up pretty good, or so it seems. Santiago smiles and begins to politely shake his head suggesting I’ve got it all wrong. under that paint, he says, lies the truth.
she’s been resprayed disgracefully; painted door seals, orange peel, untreated corrosion had been carelessly painted over, metallic cancer lesions pepper the undercarriage and more intimate spots. the suspension had lost its cartilage while the brakes lost their youthful firmness. her heart has severe palpatations suggesting loss of compression and erratic fuel pressure.
Santiago asks if he’s allowed to proceed with the dissection; my spastic wide-eyed nod in exchange for words is understood. the lights dim save for the wide beam over the 924 as he motions his craftsmen to begin.
like ants, the craftsmen start with the interior. the seats, dash, ugly steering wheel, plastic trim pieces, carpets, ventilation ducts, all carefully pried, pulled, and unbolted from their origins and gently placed on the immaculate shop floor. for no reason than out of meticulousness, the dismembered interior is positioned on the floor resembling their previous order of relationship to each other. my thoughts drift and a freeze frame of this macabre display sits behind my shut eyelids. when I open them, my snapshot is realized as if I'd taken a print screen; work has stopped.
shit. this clever trick is a novelty repeated use will make familiar. everyone vanished, it’s just me and the Porsche. like being in the middle of a blizzard caught in the slack tide of the winds, there’s an eerie silence. the gulp of Corsendonk and the faint crackle of burning tabac are the only noises.
inched higher to eye level, the ants are now under the shell of the beast resembling an insect with clear view of its guts through openings where its legs had been ripped-off. they position wheeled scissor cradles under the gearbox, engine, and the backbone that connects them while two other ants are found under the nose and ass of the quartered beast. they continue the task of disconnecting the final strands of black sinew and tubes bled of their fluid from her four-cylindered heart, fuel, and brake systems they’d began above. this operation takes a few minutes, then they clear off.
I walk around the Porsche’s scattered offal and bones imaging them in some sort of Teutonic order. forgetting the new found powers of the imaginative mind, they reappear in this fashion when my tired eyes refocus. a drag of the robusto stirs a dance of blue smoke; the break is over.
the Maestro, Santiago, reappears looking refreshed and calmly excited…the fun is now about to begin.
every single component is carted away to either be refurbished or replaced with its virgin factory-made twin. the body is stripped of its warty red skin and protective callous on its belly then measured for trueness with miraculous results to spec. the scenes of the engine and gearbox tear downs are shown one at a time with long pauses, replays, and slow frame by frame playback…these are parts I'd dreamt of in the thereafter.
there was no rushing this bit.
the partially molten #4 piston, the scarred crank, pitted sump and bellhousing, syncrhos with busted teeth, and worn bearings are replaced or refreshed. the suspension, steering, and brakes endure the same glorious transition into a second life.
the despair brought on earlier by the dissection’s dirty and greasy conclusion had been replaced with excited angst. the glistening fresh red skin on her body flattering the light it caught had everything to do with that.
the ants came back. Santiago the Maestro cues his wand, positions are assumed, and the task of putting the old girl back together begins. bits and pieces begin disappearing from pillowed cradles and put back into their ancestral place. the absolute joy of reassembling pieces free from grease, dirt, and the residue of time has no equal short of driving the recreation. this is precisely Santiago’s thoughts as the final bolts are torqued, fluids are transfused, and the battery reconnected.
someone, somewhere in this time warp will know what 1979 felt like. those who knew first hand are few in numbers, but the assurance of an involuntary smile as the eyes consume nearly a 1000 hours of thought around them is the same.
pistons begin beating. the mind struggles to choose which sense dominates, sound or feeling, as they pound in their bores. each beat is felt in the chest and in the bones of the ears; boom-pow-boom-pow-BOOM-POW-BOOM-POW. the muscles twitch, the smile beams stronger...
“Honey…HONEY…wake up — It’s 6:45!”
in the distance, the roar of six diesels pulling a string of containers approaches the first crossing; the lead unit’s air horns blare two long blows. the mind changes the scenery before the eyes open to the twilight leaking through the windows…
I’m happy to be alive one more day.
some wish for 1000 virgins, others for endless refills of Dewar's and water. for me, the afterlife will be played out exactly as I wrote it here.
when flüssig's correspondent in New Zealand, Jae Ekman, posted the work of the Santiago Rodríguez, I heard my soul cry out tears of joy from deep within my chest. THIS is what I've always wanted to see, a random little 924 give the sort of love reserved for upper crust Porsches.
some time ago, the Porsche Club of America sent a tattered long hood 911 out to Porsche Classic to have it completely refurbished, the program was called "Revive the Passion." watching Zuffenhausen's craftsmen completely disassemble the 911, refurbish EVERYTHING, and reassemble it as if a new car, I loved every single moment of it...I didn't want it to end. and here's Santiago doing the same thing with this little girl...only he's doing with Aviation Standards!
I suspect this sort of public documentation so generously shared by The Planet 9 marks the beginning of a series that other firms will ape—an official declaration to save our beloved endangered species.
Thank you Santiago...you've sent me to heaven in a skyrocket painted Málaga Red.