Name: Richard Sharkey
The classic: Porsche 911 Targa
‘I’ve done lots of things in my life, but owning the Targa is one of the best. It’s my job to look after it: to make sure it’s used and not just polished and sat still. It’s good on fuel, fast enough to be enjoyable, robust, comfortable, engaging, and it lets you feel the road on every corner. I love feeling the power it has, the sound of the engine and the speed of it. It truly is a classic which was ahead of its time.’
Richard Sharkey is the proud owner of a beautiful black Porsche 911, an iconic classic loved by enthusiasts and owners alike. ‘I bought the car in 2009 after a career change; I was made redundant and then became self-employed. I made a promise to myself that if I doubled my redundancy pay-out, I’d buy my poster car: an air-cooled 911. After years of research – and a lot of hard work – the a black 1987 3.2 air-cooled 911 was sat on my driveway, looking every bit as beautiful as I’d imagined. That was 12 years ago now, and I still love it as much as I did when I first bought it.’
Although he doesn’t get as much use out of his classic as he’d like to, Richard has spent a good deal of time working on making her perfect. ‘I’ve slowly been sorting out the minor fur-balls,’ he tells us. ‘There’s still a long way to go, but my target is to get her as good as any 30+ year old car can be whilst still being able to take her out in all types of weather.
‘The thing about the Porsche 911 is that the design of it is fairly unchanged from 1960s versions, although I’ve put in a more original stereo! This car was actually made on 17/12/1987, which is a big coincidence as I passed my driving test just four days after that, on the day before Christmas Eve. I even had a toy car Targa when I was a young boy! It’s serendipitous: as though it were made for me, in a way.’
The feeling of first ownership
Richard is no stranger to the lure of a classic car, either. ‘Before the Targa, I’d owned a VW Beetle van and a Triumph Spitfire, but I realised that they both had a problem with rust,’ he recalls. ‘Truthfully, it put me off classic cars for a while. That was one of the reasons I bought the Porsche in the first place; I wanted a classic which didn’t have that problem. It was also down to the fact that I didn’t like convertibles and the coupes were very expensive, so the Targa made sense to me. Funnily enough, I found it on eBay, although I contacted the person directly and viewed it that way. It did need a lot of work doing to it, but I bought it there and then.’
As a carpenter and electrician, Richard is naturally gifted when it comes to working on his classic and getting it where he wants it to be. ‘I take it out a lot, although I’m not using it for the morning commute just yet! When I first bought it, it felt as though I was driving a borrowed car; I was almost embarrassed to drive it! But it’s black, sleek and it’s not overly in your face like a Ferrari would be – I like that about it, because it can be discreet.
‘I took the kids to school in it when I first bought it. It was a lot of fun, although they didn’t like the roof down because it blew their hair around! They enjoy it far more now, although it’s a struggle for them to easily fit in the back.’