ESSENTIALS

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A Vintage Car

The globe-trotting photographer, blogger, and TV personality on why there's a lot more to one's choice of automobile than getting from point A to point B. Like, for instance, the chance to relive your adolescent movie fantasies.

The author and his 1987 Carrera Targa.

I’m a child of the ‘80s. The movies and TV of the decade shaped my worldview, my style, and my love of the exotic. It was Magnum’s red Ferrari 308, Sonny Crockett’s black Ferrari Spyder, the Lotus Esprits Roger Moore drove as 007, or Jeff Bridges drag racing down Sunset Blvd. in his Porsche 911 Turbo. Not to mention Tom Cruise’s legendary Porsche 928S.

Matt Hranek, living the dream.

My first car wasn’t quite Risky Business worthy: a 1971 four-door, blood-red BMW Bavaria with a tan interior and — sadly — an automatic. No matter, it was everything to me at 18. It had an eight-track tape player under the seat with the Rolling Stones’ greatest hits jammed in it. I took great road trips of discovery in it, steamed the windows on that vehicle many times with college girlfriends, had my first accident with it, and blew out my first engine (stuck accelerator).

I cycled through a few random beauties — a BMW 2002, a Volvo 240 Turbo, a ‘76 Chevy stepside pickup, ‘71 International Scout II — before ultimately committing to practical daily drivers like a Chevy Tahoe or Land Rover. But practicality is overrated, and I still own two classics, a 1946 Willy’s Jeep that appeals to my country mouse tendencies, and a 1987 Porsche 911 Carrera Targa that appeals to everything else. I got the Porsche several years ago in a spectacular horse trade (which also landed me the girl, but that’s another story). It’s metallic chocolate brown with black Fuchs wheels and a Champagne interior, and it’s been very good to me.

I drive it on sunny weekends with late ‘80s hip-hop blasting from the Alpine — my movie fantasies come to life. And that, in a nutshell, is the appeal of a classic car — a chance to tap into (and if you’re lucky, fulfill) your adolescent dreams, and (again, if you’re lucky) to do so in a way that actually gains in value. I’m reminded of what an old, less-than-P.C. grease monkey once told me: “If it’s got t— or tires it’s going to cause you problems.” Maybe so, but completely worth it on both fronts.

Matt Hraneks photographs appear regularly in Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, Esquire, and other publications. He’s the host of ‘Alternate Route’ on the Esquire Network, and he also has a blog, The William Brown Project.

More Matt Hranek:
Read our earlier Q&A with Hranek [2013] >

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