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The Red Book

What I bought thinking would be a book to help me learn more about the history of the 911, has really been more of a conversation opener.  The 3rd Generation Red Book Porsche 911 is the most current and most comprehensive book filled with the information about every 911 from 1964 to 2014 - the specs available, the number of cars made, the data codes, etc.  It is a book to help learn, but also a book with enough information that you could take any Porsche VIN or chassis number and know how to bring it back to stock options.

The book is known as the 911 Bible in some circles, which may rub some the wrong way, but everyone agrees that it’s a must-have for any 911 owner.  They are hard to find and used ones are selling for hundreds of dollars.  There are now 2 available on Amazon (which is where I got mine just over a year ago) so, before you buy one from a blog site, check Amazon.

It was fun to read and learn just how rare some of the older models are.  The GT series was NEVER a line-up of cars that ‘anyone’ could buy. They were always so limited that it would take a connection or strong dealership relationship to buy. Did you know that from August 1993 to December 1993, only 144 RS America (964 era) cars were made for Canada and the US?  That was the entire run.  Then, in January 1994, they updated the car to become the 993. A quote from the book reads, “Serial number code changes were as follows: The tenth digit changed to “R” to designate the 1994 model year. The new model designation of 993 was shown by the seventh and eighth digits, which changed to ‘99’, and twelfth, which became ‘3’.”  It is that clear. That is a complete paragraph. No filler or perspectives from the authors. Only facts.

My copy of this book has become far more though.  With the book on my desk and Porsche fanatics sitting with me throughout the day, every day, it wasn’t long before I noticed clients looking up their current or previously owned cars.  I would go to the printer, come back and someone would show me either their old car, their stored car, or even their daily driver that they admit isn’t in museum shape.  It was fun to watch them learn about their old car and learn just how rare it is (or common in some cases).

I wanted to remember which cars they all had to read about it later, so I asked one client to mark the photo of the car. My client then signed his name. In the coming days, I had the idea to see how many autographs I could get during my tenure at Downtown Porsche.  Of course, my goal is to get them all, but I realize that some are just too rare.  I have 35+ autographs now and I have never been told “no” when I ask for a signature.  This is worth pointing out as a sales guy….no one wants to sign anything at my desk without talking to their partner first!

My favorite signatures are the ones that resemble those of pro hockey players who would add their jersey number. Except instead of a jersey number, my customers would sign their name with the numbers of their VIN. They didn’t need to see their car or insurance slip to remember it.  They know it.  They’re proud of it.

A memorable moment was the time a client (who has become a friend) learnt from the book that his car was originally White, not Silver. We know because of the coding of the VIN. For a moment, he was upset that it was painted, and we managed to find some white on the car as proof, but, as it turns out, knowing more about the car made him love it even more. He learned that his was the first year of the 911 S (1974). In years prior, the larger engine cars had an E, not an S to denote that fact.

It’s not quite something of monetary value, but this book has become something personally special. It isn’t every day you come across something that you really love which can’t be bought. Having said that, you can have mine in exchange for a 1982 Turbo!  I guess that puts a value on my book…but I can tell you that there were only 89 built for Canada, so I'm not holding my breath.

 

- Scott McCallum, Porsche Brand Ambassador

Date Posted: February 7, 2018