Every child who develops an interest in cars sets their alliances early on. When I was 12, I had posters of a Ford GT and an E30 BMW M3 up on my bedroom wall.
With time, some alliances stay, and my BMW roots will never leave. Some alliances, however, brew and mature with time. Whilst my appreciation for the Ford GT stays mighty high, if I could go back a decade or so I would have replaced the Ford poster with one of a Porsche.
A 996 C4S, to be precise. That rear light bar is iconic Porsche, the wide hips and no rear wing are classy Porsche, and the 996 is my Porsche. The model may have divided opinions at the time of launch, but it’s firmly set in my mind as the supercar I grew up with. I saw it in both the contemporary automotive media of the time and on the streets when I immigrated to South London as a child.
With age, my interest in the Porsche brand grew by taking in more media, meeting some owners, getting to actually drive one and, hell, even reading a book about them. Naturally then, when I saw the gents behind Players were putting on a Porsche-only event called Flat Six at my favourite venue, it was a no-brainer to grab my camera, make the trip to Goodwood Motor Circuit and dive head-first into the UK’s Porsche community.
I think this is the firth or sixth Speedhunters article in the last two months that’s come from Goodwood, so you all know about the high quality venue by now. Flat Six invited Porsche owners to present their pride and joys in the paddock parking, and race their pride and joys around the historic race track.
As the name of the show and its tagline suggests, Flat Six is ‘A Celebration Of All Things Porsche’. There were no specific restrictions on what could and couldn’t turn up, as long as it was a Porsche. Unsurprisingly though, the event was dominated by 911s.
For now though, let’s step over and away from the rear-engined icon and focus on a model that was in my opinion rather under-represented at the event. To my surprise, there weren’t a lot of 986 Boxsters floating about at Goodwood.
Often living in the 996’s shadow, the 986 offers a mid-engined, precision tool Porsche experience that we know and love in today’s Cayman, all the way back from 1996. And with the roof missing. In the UK, the prices of these cars have reached rock-bottom in the last year or two (somewhere in the £3,000 region) but are now steadily on the way up.
Porsche made an appearance at the event with their own booth and heritage cars. Predictably, they had some impressive stuff on show, including a 959, a 997 Sport Classic and a safari-spec Cayenne. Side note, check out the clocks in their 959 – not often do you see a speedometer that goes up to 340km/h.
My highlight of their display stand was the 986 though. Now that the car has reached that peculiar 25-year-old modern classic mark, Porsche themselves see the significance of the 986 chassis. This car is from their collection, has roughly around 1,000 miles on the clock, and features light gold touches to align it with the original 1993 Boxster concept car.
The car is a pre-production model meaning Porsche could never sell it after they made it. I’m glad they held onto it, as opposed to binning it like most pre-production cars. You can actually a see a slight dimple imperfection on the front headlight washer recess, giving away the fact it’s not quite the final product. Also, this car has a claim to fame: it ended up in James Bond’s Tomorrow Never Dies. The more you know…
Despite Porsche being a sports car maker aligning themselves with the driver in mind, Flat Six had a lot of families in attendance. Those small rear seats in the 911 get flack for being unsuitable for adults, sure, but they prove to be of great use for families with younger children. I saw more child booster seats at this Porsche event than I have at any other event I’ve been to.
Seeing this 996 RUF RTurbo loaded up with a young family was a highlight. I only briefly chatted to the owner, but he told me the car started off as a standard 996 Turbo before the first owner drove it to RUF in Pfaffenhausen, Germany back in 2002. RUF fitted a number of parts – including the wheels – before the car returned to the UK.
The RTurbo was one of many serious cars at the event. Every rare Porsche model people lust over was present at this celebration, and it was almost sensory overload being surrounded by so much special metal. From the Carrera RSR…
…To the 997 RS 4.0…
…To the 964 3.8 Carrera RS. Believe me, I could go on!
Porsche themselves yet again played the good sport and brought over the brand new Cayman GT4 RS. The car was getting a lot of attention throughout the day, and I saw bigger crowds around it than the 959 parked alongside.
Simplicity wins for me though; the 912 Classic would be the one I take home from the event. Whilst other cars have sharper performance, I can’t help but gravitate towards the effortlessly classy and athletic looks of the older cars. The steelies are the cherry on top.
The most common chassis at the event had to be the 996. Perfect for me, as I said, this is the car I saw growing up and still lust over to this day. Every single colour, engine and flavour of the 996 made an appearance at Flat Six, effortlessly pulling at my heartstrings and desire to save some cash and maybe grow my wallet big enough to snatch one up.
One of the more niche 996s has to be the 40th anniversary model, made to celebrate four decades of the 911. These are some of the last to leave the 996 production line and bridged the gap over to the 997. You can spot one through their all-silver Turbo front bumper yet narrow hips and lower skirts. Oh, and the badge on the back. Only around 200 of these came to the UK.
Ah yes, the C4S with the wider rear arches. That’s the one I’d have.
Actually, you know, I wouldn’t say no to an early Aero kit version.
Okay I’ll admit it, I’d have all of them. This early one with amber indicators also takes my fancy.
Also, let’s chuck in some 996 GT3s for good measure.
Whilst the sporty bunch were represented in all their glory, I’ll admit there wasn’t a lot of stance going on at the event. I can already hear you screaming at me through the monitor that Porsches should not be low, but I’m someone who appreciates form as well as function. I think the body lines of most Porsches suit being on the floor (please don’t hurt me.)
Take this Rubystone 946 as an example. Simply beautiful.
Gemma Dingwall’s static 944 is a brilliant example of what I mean. Classic, angular shapes of the 1980s with a low altitude adjustment make for a simply lovely visual spectacle.
Right, back to racing. One of Goodwood’s selling points is that the race track gets opened up for those who are brave enough to push their motor in front of a crowd of show attendees.
The queue for the pits is the little crowd warm up where you can get a real look at what people will be taking out on track. Amongst the 911s were this Cayman and Boxster. Flying the flag for the under-represented cars at the event, their appearance spawned a lot of conversations amongst myself and friends there of just how desirable they really are.
Once you head into the pit lane, you wait for your green light and head out for action. Cue the mini photo album.
And after all that, I keep coming back to my old friend the 996. Amongst all the cars on track, the Renn Eleven 996 Track Taxi, which was giving rides, was going at it the hardest. I saw this thing punch well above its weight, giving some of the newer models a good kicking. The driver, William Francis is the key ingredient here, but his weapon of choice just adds to my love for the 996.
James Stewart’s 964 embodies what Flat Six is all about though. He’s had the car as his track weapon of choice for over 10 years now, and this time he finally managed to bring his son Jake along for his 18th birthday and first track day.
Whilst for some it was their first track day, others have plenty laps under their belt. I didn’t get a chance to ask for this gent’s name; as as soon I took the photo the pit lane opened and the drivers were whistled to come in, meaning he hopped in the 356 and fired it up.
I’m going to assume though that this wasn’t his first rodeo.
As first Porsche show experiences go, I think I struck gold at Flat Six. The passion and willingness to chat from these people, inviting outsiders like myself into their hobby and interest made for a good example of how these cars are designed for enthusiasts and owned by enthusiasts.
Naturally, I couldn’t help but to take an endless amount of photos. I’ll wrap my coverage up here, but am leaving you with an additional gallery chapter to flick through below.