posted on June 15th, 2018

Dad’s big day behind the wheel

While I’m the biggest car geek in my family, I thank my dad for my enthusiasm. He’s always encouraged me to pursue my passion, and since before I could drive he would take me to dealerships to see the newest models or buy us tickets to auto shows. At home I’d prattle off endless factoids about cars, and dad would always listen and converse as he could. Over years of me force-feeding him information, his automotive interest grew, and he would point out cars he liked or ask me what was happening in the industry.

Still, the cars he bought reflected the realities of life as a busy father of three boys. The Volvo 240 Wagon, Isuzu Trooper, and Chrysler Pacifica he parked in our driveway weren’t renowned for speed or performance. Today he’s an empty nester and dailies a Chevrolet Volt, perfect for his practical commuting needs. Sadly, though, he never gets to drive anything fun, so for Father’s Day last year, my brothers and I fixed that.

We decided to surprise my dad and split the cost of a fun car on Turo so he could go driving for a day. There were so many choices — convertible M4s, brawny C63 AMGs, and sleek Aston Martins. But if there’s one part of car geekdom I infused into Dad, it’s that driving stick is always more fun. So I narrowed my search to cars with manual transmissions, and found the perfect one: a Porsche 911.

The 911 I chose was an excellent example of the world’s best-known sports car. It was a 2006 Carrera S, finished in a classy grey metallic paint, with its bling limited to red seat belts and brake calipers. Sure it wasn’t the most powerful, the most baller, or the newest car out there, but with its rear-engined layout and a six speed shifter, I knew it would be a superb — and unforgettable — machine for Dad to experience.

Andre’s Porsche 911 (Hillsborough, CA)

Booking on Turo was super easy (it was my first time), and Turo’s customer support seemed genuinely excited about the plans I had for Father’s Day. Once the details were confirmed, I planned a route to our dinner through some of the best driving roads the Bay Area had to offer.

Father’s Day arrived and it was time to roll. By then Dad knew something was up, but we told him to go with the flow. He and I drove in his Volt to meet our host while my siblings followed in my youngest brother’s Subaru WRX. We pulled up, and there was the 911 in the driveway, ultra clean and exactly as described. After a very cordial key exchange, Dad hopped into the driver’s seat and fired up the flat six — his face lit up and it was instantly clear how stoked he was.

The Porsche 911 with my brother’s Subaru WRX

With Dad piloting the Porsche, me in the passenger seat, and my brothers following in the WRX, we drove along scenic coastal highways and through twisty forest backroads. Dad, being the responsible adult that he is, scrupulously obeyed the speed limit. I had to nag him to rev out the engine a bit, but no matter our pace, I knew he was having a blast. Surely, this was the pinnacle of his motoring career at that time.

Our lovely drive finally brought us to the restaurant where we would have dinner with the rest of the family. I could tell Dad felt supremely cool rolling up in a Porsche, and there was a swagger in his step as we walked inside. I guess it only took one day of sports car driving for it to all go to his head. After dinner and plenty of photos with the car, we filled it with gas and returned it to the host. An easy return capped off a flawless and awesome day.

This year we’re going to continue the tradition and book another car on Turo for Father’s Day. But this time, Dad is in the loop — he specifically requested a Tesla Model 3 for this weekend. While I would choose something more internally-combusted, I know it’ll be an interesting vehicle to try, and, more importantly, will give my dad another memorable Father’s Day. Thanks to Turo, we can keep building each others’ enthusiasm, just like we always have.

Alex has been a car fanatic for as long as he can remember. At 6'10," he might be the tallest auto writer in the world, and whether it's engine timing, exotic car design, or race strategy, there is no automotive topic beyond Alex's interest.