The biggest single reason I’ve been so infatuated with cars from my earliest memories is due to the fact that I was born into a family of major gearheads. My ancestors were from Germany, and were coachbuilders. I mean actual coach builders, because their work pre-dated the automobile. They emigrated to the U.S. around the turn of the century, and initially settled in Chicago. A short time later they learned there were a lot of Germans in Rock Island, Illinois, and they moved there. And we’re still here!
This was my great-great-grandfather’s car agency in downtown Rock Island. William Klockau and his son, my great-grandfather, Walter John Klockau, sold Ford, and later on, Jeffery motor cars. They were originally blacksmiths and coachbuilders in Germany before they came to the U.S. This picture, showing a line of Jeffreys, dates probably from circa 1915.
They sold various marques during the early years of the 20th Century. The car on the left is a 1910 Pierce-Arrow Model 48 (there was a Pierce dealership about a block away) and the open car is a 1910 Packard Model 30.
Interior pic of the shop. That is my great grandfather, Walter John Klockau II, in the picture!
Doing a google search brought up this blurb from a 1907 issue of The Motor:
From what I have gathered, this is actually the same building! Just heavily reconfigured and facelifted over the decades. According to my uncle David Klockau it was Porch Tent & Awning when he was a kid in the ’60s. There was a bank on the ground floor into the late 1990s, it was last occupied by a title company. A law firm is still on the third floor. It’s amazing it’s the same building, I assumed it had been torn down decades ago! But waitaminute, wasn’t this post about a Porsche??? Okay, okay, I digress a lot. But hey, it’s interesting, no?
Getting back on track, my grandfather, Bob Klockau, served in WWII, got on the GI Bill when he came home, and became a lawyer, traveling to the University of Illinois on his Henderson motorcycle. He also started an insurance company, Illinois Casualty Company, which provided liquor liability insurance to bars, restaurants and taverns, and his law firm provided attorneys to defend their claims on the newly-introduced dram shop act. My dad came along a couple years later, and upon getting his driver’s license, was gifted a Poppy Red 1965 Mustang convertible. Now don’t get too excited, it was a six that was originally his secretary’s car! A little bit later he bought a BRG 1965 Triumph TR-5. Nice car-when it ran. After a relatively short time, he got sick of the constant oil leaks and electronic maladies, and got his first Porsche. A 1960 356B T-5 Roadster, as seen above.
It was originally Ivory, but he had it painted in an approximation of Irish Green, a late ’60s 356/911 color. He loved it! A short time later he acquired a SECOND 356, this time a 1951 356 pre-A Cabriolet. He still had that car when I was born, and I remember its restoration as a toddler. He sold that one in the late ’80s to a collector in New York.
Why, you ask? Because he wanted another Roadster, just like his first one. Which he found, in a defunct doctor’s office just off of downtown, in 1988. Originally sold in the Chicago metropolitan area, in Etna Blue with light gray leather. It was a mess, but he had to have it! I remember when they hauled it out of the garage. It had been in there since 1968, and had ’68 Illinois plates on it. I was in third grade at the time.
Long story short (I’m digressing again, aren’t I?) the car was restored, completed in 1995, and is still in great shape today. He will never sell it.
But what about a daily driver? Well, when I was a kid it was various Volvo sedans, ’84 240 GL with crank-open sunroof, ’88 740 Turbo, ’91 940SE Turbo, and various others. Even as a family man with me, my brother and sister, his cars always had a good helping of coolness.
After us kids moved on and had our own places, he got himself a 2001 Carrera in late 2003, a low mile, loaded one with the ‘taco’ spoiler, ground effects, and full leather interior.
It replaced a 2001 Audi TT quattro, thus the rubber floor mats seen in this picture. And my dad isn’t the ‘rub it with a diaper and not drive it’ type. This car was his daily driver. Thunderstorms, rain, snow, salt, he drove it! A set of snow tires in late November/early December and off he went. He owned this car from 2004 to 2015, and I think it had about 70K on it at the end.
And then, one day, my father called me and said he was getting a new car. Well, nearly new. A specialty car dealer had just gotten this 2012 Carrera S in, and they gave him good numbers on his 2001 Carrera, so it was a done deal. It only had 22,000 miles or so, was essentially new. And since the 991 had more traditional lines than his 996, he had to have it.
A big factor was the saddle tan interior. All of his Volvos, from the ’81 242 through the ’91 940SE Turbo, had saddle tan interiors. When he bought the 2001 Carrera, it was a great deal, near mint, and a good price. But he never warmed up to the light gray interior. Many times in the years he owned it, he’d say, “It’d be perfect if it had a tan interior!” Well, now, all was resolved!
For several years after he bought the 2001 Carrera, he entertained the thought of replacing it with a 993. Back in about 2005 a gorgeous black over saddle tan 993 coupe appeared at the local Porsche dealer. It was so mint that it was on display in their showroom, and my dad was thinking of trading in his car for it, but a friend of his, a Porsche mechanic since the ’70s, said, “Don’t. It’s sharp but your 996 is so much better and easier to live with as a daily driver!” So he didn’t. But the 997 and its successor 991 had a lot of the 993’s classic lines, so it was time for a trade!
Recently, he decided he had to have the new classic Fuchs-style wheels for it. The first I knew about it was last Friday when I pulled into my parents’ driveway and spotted the new shoes. They are 19″ and actually made by Fuchs. So cool!
As a result, I was compelled to wash and wax it, and take it for a ride. I had driven it before, but it had been a while. So what of the modern Porsche? Well, it is awesome.
My dad retired in 2012, and with this car, he finally succumbed to the Tiptronic, rather than the six-speed. But it is still a damn fun car to drive. One of the things I have always loved about Porsches is that they are fine and dandy about town. Need to go to the grocery store, the gas station, a restaurant for a break, and then back home? No problem. No strain on the membrane, as they say!
The 911 is a fine car for about-town driving, and that extends to the current models. Yet at the same time, you could be chugging contentedly along, punch the throttle, and scare the crap out of you in nothing flat. That’s what a Porsche is all about!
Case in point: I took the car for a ride for some Seagram’s gin and tonic water last Saturday. I’m a gin and tonic man. On the way back, some foolish woman in a new black Camry decided to tailgate me.
Now if you have a Camry, don’t get mad, but I’ve never gone all wild and crazy for them. TBH if we’re talking modern Japanese rolling stock I’d take the equivalent Honda over a Toyota any day, but I digress (yet again!). Anyway, I was cruising along at 50 or so, so I decided to stab the go pedal, and went up to 70 in about one second, reducing the Kanmuri to a speck in the distance. Then slowed back to 50, to prove a point: I can suck your doors off, lady. Such is the fun of driving a 911.
So. Anyway. The modern 911 is a fine, fun vehicle. Ifin you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Ferrari? Oh ya, they’re cool, but if you want a sports car you can live with every day, I shall take the “Porsch” every time. I love my Lincolns, but the current 911 is a soothing balm in a modern world full of angst, fear and loathing. Check one out, you won’t regret it. And you’ll have a fine time!