x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

My Car: Porsche 993RS is an air-cooled hottie

Business owner Phil McGovern is addicted to Porsches, and his 993RS Clubsport is the pick of the bunch.

Phil McGovern's first car was a Volkswagen Beetle and, after owning a few Bugs in his time, he moved onto jointly investing in Porsches with his father, Alan. Courtesy of Phil McGovern
Phil McGovern's first car was a Volkswagen Beetle and, after owning a few Bugs in his time, he moved onto jointly investing in Porsches with his father, Alan. Courtesy of Phil McGovern

What you're looking at here is one of the all-time great 911s, which makes it one of the very best cars in history. As anyone who's into Porsche's venerable sports car will tell you, given half the chance, the models built from 1998 on just aren't the same because the 911's engine, until that point, was cooled by nothing other than the air it sucked in. Radiators on 911s, according to the real enthusiasts, signalled the beginning of the end.

Two letters: RS. They might not mean much to you but when they're part of a Porsche's nomenclature, they signify something special. RS models are hard-core, stripped-out and highly focused road racers, so the fact that the 993 generation was the last of the air-cooled 911s, coupled with Phil McGovern's immaculate Speed Yellow example being an RS should tell you all you need to know. For millions of Porsche enthusiasts around the world, the 993RS is the pinnacle of Porsche's engineering and styling prowess. McGovern, who is originally from Warwick, UK, but lives in Dubai with his wife Emma and their two young sons, is a partner in Awesome Group, which has three arms: publishing, photography/videography and corporate communications. Set up just 18 months ago, it's doing rather well, but it's fair to say that performance cars play a huge role in both his home and work life. For many of us, being able to turn a hobby into a business is the ultimate dream, especially if it means being able to buy and run cars like the 993RS.

"My obsession began when my dad bought me a VW Beetle for my 17th birthday," he says. "I owned a succession of Bugs and then went on to the vans." It was inevitable, perhaps, that an interest in air-cooled 911s would follow, and this came to fruition properly when he and his father decided to choose one as a joint investment that could be enjoyed rather than simply tucked away in the back of a garage. They bought a 964RS (one of the most sought-after Porsches of all) from a respected dealer in the UK and, 18 months later, they went shopping for a 993RS.

"We decided it had to be a Clubsport model [which is even more track-focused than the regular RS] but it had to have air conditioning, for obvious reasons, which was a tough call because Clubsports had the A/C deleted [along with other luxuries such as electric windows and the stereo]. We wanted a Riviera Blue one, but eventually settled on this Speed Yellow because it was available and was totally original."

It really is a gorgeous thing to behold, even with the comical rear spoiler, and it certainly causes heads to turn wherever it goes. "Those who know their Porsches know what it is," smiles McGovern. "And I'm constantly nagged to sell it but I can't imagine we'll let it go until I've retired." He's only 32, so there's a while yet before he hands over the keys to a new owner.

McGovern and his father, Alan, who also lives and works in Dubai, between them also own a 1968 Porsche 912, which is nearing the end of an extensive restoration project, and a VW Golf GTI race car. "We share them but I usually end up looking after the 993 while he prefers the 964RS's harder edge. He likes the way the diff clunks."

As far as McGovern knows, this is the only 993RS in the UAE, but that doesn't stop him using it whenever possible. "It had 48,000km on it when we bought it and now it's showing 72,000," he says. "They were built to be driven hard and last year I used it for nine months as the daily driver." As for Mrs McGovern, he says, "Emma worked for Porsche in the UK. Umm, let's just say she accepts my addiction."