Porsche Heritage Drive in Hawaii
We’ve literally traveled all over the world in Porsches. Even flying alongside a few of them in a cargo plane as part of a multi-continent test drive. Our latest Porsche adventure takes us to the big island of Hawaii, where we find out that with Porsche, the more things change, the more they thankfully stay the same.
BRIAN ROBINSON: Aloha, and welcome to the Big Island of Hawaii, an island known not just for its incredible beauty, but for its active volcanoes that are constantly growing and reshaping the island itself. Yet through all of the change, there’s a tremendous sense of heritage and culture weaving through just about everything: something that could also be said about Porsche.
I’m here on the Big Island of Hawaii to, uh, get a real first-hand experience of Porsche’s sense of heritage, by driving some of their most historically significant vehicles back-to-back with their modern-day counterpart.
That, of course, begins with the car that started the Porsche story: the 356 Speedster. Driving one was definitely on my bucket list, and it did not disappoint. You are truly in the elements, and a very active participant in the joy of driving. Yet, it’s shockingly comfortable and easy to drive.
Porsche has kept the Speedster name alive with occasional limited-edition release, but the car in their current lineup that provides an equally visceral experience to the original is the 718 Boxster T.
This 356 may work with a lot less horsepower from its 1.6-liter air-cooled power-plant, but it doesn’t feel underpowered at all, easily keeping up with Hawaiian highway speeds.
This Boxster 25 years is a special edition limited to 1,250 examples. The Neodyme color, front fascia, side intakes, and 2-tone 20-inch wheels harken back to the original Boxster and the concept that gave birth to it.
The ultimate Boxster is of course the 718 Spyder with its naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter engine and 6-speed manual transmission. Its predecessor in spirit is the 914/6; the first production mid-engine sports car from Germany. Yes, it was a joint venture with Volkswagen, but it felt all Porsche ripping around the Big Island.
Leaving the Boxster scene, yet keeping the top down theme intact, next up was a spin in the Type-964 911 Cabriolet. This quintessential 911 brought a host of new technologies along with it when it arrived in 1989, and still looks gorgeous today, but of course the current 911 Carrera S is better in every measurable way.
And I can’t get through this whole experience without some Turbo time, specifically the current 911 Turbo Cabriolet, as well as its 944 Turbo Cabriolet predecessor.
Porsche’s story began in 1948 with the Type 356; and after 55-years of building sports cars exclusively, 2003 saw the arrival of an SUV, and of course later a sedan, and even fully-electric vehicles. Yet no matter what form it takes, it always truly does feel like a Porsche.
Changing with the times, while keeping a strong sense of history and culture is what has made Porsche the special brand it is today; much like it makes the Big Island of Hawaii a special place to visit any day.