Childhood memories ignite passion – Andrew Gunn

Childhood pursuits can turn into lifelong passions. Almost 40 years ago Andrew Gunn fell in love with a Porsche 356. He bought the very same car in 1969. And he still owns it. It was followed by more than a dozen more.

The sun is trying hard to penetrate the dense cloud cover. It’s a cool winter day in the Cape. Somewhere between the fertile Elgin valley and the rugged False Bay coastline. A couple of successful sun rays are penetrating the mist, hitting a tiny silver car, that is thundering down a twisty dirt road. Trailing a huge dust cloud behind. It’s a 1958 Porsche 356. Who on earth is taking a priceless classic car like this off road? It’s 66-year old Andrew Gunn, a local farm owner and an instantly likeable guy. “I am not a collector, I drive my Porsches’, the tall man with the deep, calm voice explains. He resembles a well aged actor. A bit like Patrick Stewart with just the right amount of Bruce Willis thrown into the mix.
img_3089And driving he does. Even SUVs have difficulties keeping up with him at this pace. He is obviously having fun on the heavily corrugated track. And the 356 doesn’t mind. It is from a time, when there were still dirt roads in Germany and the Austrian Alps. And Andrew and the silver 356 have been together for ages.
The South African entrepreneur bought the 1958 model, his first Porsche (and car for that matter) in 1969. From a guy by the name of Brian Broderick, whose father Johnny, an industrialist from Vereeniging, had purchased it new. Pretoria-born Andrew was 19 at the time and paid 675 Rands from wages earned the hard way. By working in the steel mills of Vereeniging during his university holidays, whilst studying for an engineering degree. It was a fortune back then. Or as he puts it:”I didn’t have a rich father”.
When he first saw the car he was about 15 years old. That’s how childhood pursuits turn into lifelong passions. In 1968, he was taken for a ride. In another Porsche, a then new short wheel base 2.0 911S. According to him, a car, far ahead of its time. Imagine what an experience like this does to a young man. And today the silver 356 obviously acts as some kind of fountain of youth. When Andrew talks about Porsche, the enthusiasm sheds at least a decade off his 66 years.
img_5719He will never sell his first Porsche. But the 356 saw 16 other cars out of Zuffenhausen coming and going over the years. Andrews latest aquisition is a 2016 911 GT3 RS. Delivered in January and he already clocked more than 5000 kilometers. Driven, not collected.
Andrew’s most memorable Porsche experience was definitely the infamous green hell. Spending two days at the Nurburgring. With a 991 GT3 during a performance driving course in 2014. It was a real opportunity to push the car and himself to their limits. Afterwards and back in South Africa he had to have it. A bright yellow one.
And it wasn’t delivered to Cape Town. Andrew picked it up in Johannesburg. With a couple of mates in equally potent rides, they hit the road. Hard. A bit like their own private Cannonball race. ‘I used all my nine lives on this trip’, the Bruce in Andrew adds.
He was very happy with the car, until the GT3 RS launched in South Africa. Andrew instantly traded his yellow racer in. Realizing that a fast silver car is very hard to see for other traffic participants, especially when the sun goes down, he modified the colour scheme by adding some red. The two-tone suits the car surprisingly well.
img_5745The silver 356 was followed by 16 more Porsche cars. That’s when passion turns to addiction. And what was his personal favorite? “Well, that’s like asking who your favourite child is”,  Andrew says with a smile, “and I have five. I think, it depends on how they are behaving and what the circumstances are”. But if he had to choose, it would be the 2.2-l. 911 S from 1970, fitted with Recaro seats, limited slip differential and dog leg gearbox. According to Andrew: ‘It was a very special car to drive”. Closely matched in driving pleasure by the 964 RS. His 991 RS on the other hand is perfect, he adds, but it is almost impossible to experience on public roads.
And how often does he visit the Porsche’s Mecca Zuffenhausen? A few times. He was president of the Porsche Club of South Africa for some years and had the privilege of meeting the man himself, Professor Ferry Porsche, on one of the international trips. “Through all my years with Porsche cars, I met the nicest people. All over the world”.
Does driver-not-collector Andrew have any more Porsche-related dreams, that he hasn’t yet realized? Andrew smiles: ”Yes, I would love to do the Mille Miglia in my 356”. Well, that would definitely be the perfect driver event for Andrew and his silver childhood dream.

Porsche 356 A

Chassis-No. 105747
Engine-No. 72180
Delivery date: 8th December 1958


Published in the November 2016 issue of the Porsche magazine Christophorus


27 October 2016

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