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posted on December 11, 2020

A perfect “Top Gun welcome back”

Turo host Marc O. is the lucky owner of a wonderful 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster replica. Even though he lives in Massachusetts where the roads and weather are generally unfriendly to older cars, he’s owned plenty of classic sports cars over the years, including old Porsche 911s and Triumphs. “It’s always been a passion for me,” he said. “I really like having something to play around with, at least for a few months of the year. And the 356 is sort of the ultimate pure classic sports car.”

On a late October Saturday, Marc got a request for a trip with his Speedster that would start that Sunday morning. Because guests tend to book his Porsche for photoshoots and special occasions, Marc usually spends a good amount of time preparing and cleaning the car before trips. “It’s a beautiful and iconic car that brings up emotions for a lot of people. I’ve had guests take it for wedding photoshoots or simply for a nostalgia trip.”

Normally, this would’ve been too short of a notice for Marc. But in his message, the guest said he and some fellow Airmen wanted to bring the car to their Air Force base to surprise their squadron commander, who was returning from a three-month deployment in Afghanistan. “So how could I say no to that?” said Marc.

When a couple of the guys came to pick up the car the next morning, they told Marc that their commander was returning on a nine-hour flight on an A-10 Warthog. “Which I came to learn is a pretty old plane originally from the ‘70s. So it was likely an uncomfortable and exhausting flight,” said Marc. “They told me he’s a big car guy and said ‘we want to give him a Top Gun welcome back. He’s going to freak out when he sees what’s waiting for him!’”

If you recall the 1986 classic Top Gun, Charlie, the instructor that falls for Tom Cruise’s character, Maverick, drives a black Porsche 356 Speedster around Naval Air Station Miramar. As you might guess, Top Gun is a favorite among US military pilots. And for die-hard fans who are also gearheads, the 356 Speedster puts them right into that zone… the… well, you get it.

When the commander landed at Pease Air National Guard Base, about eight of the Airmen in his squadron were waiting right on the tarmac beside Marc’s Porsche. “They didn’t have the car for long, but they got some great pictures, drove it around, and took it to the hotel where he was staying. That night, they had a small gathering with close family and friends to celebrate his return.” Imagine landing on US soil after serving your country abroad, and you’re greeted with that scene. What could be a more fitting and touching welcome back?

Marc’s 356 Speedster replica

Besides its starring turn in Top Gun, the 356 was the model that started Porsche’s reign as one of the best sports car makers out there. Thanks to its alluring design and elegant simplicity (and since the originals are collectible and pricey), the 356 is an extremely popular car to replicate. Marc’s example was built in the mid ‘90s by Intermeccanica, a Canadian company that specializes in 356 replicas, and he completed the car’s restoration when he took ownership last year.

Considering the weather in the Boston area, not to mention everything that’s been going on this year, Marc says the Speedster has been quite popular since he listed it in March. “It has really fit a neat and interesting niche this year — I’ve had a lot of inquiries for things like surprise birthdays and anniversaries. And some people just need to get out of the house and have fun for a couple days.”

Luckily, these Airmen found just the right car and the right host to help their heartwarming plan come to fruition. If you’re in the Boston area and want to create some special memories of your own (weather permitting), look no further than Marc’s little Speedster.

Marc in his 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster

Steven is an avid car guy and content maker at Turo. Between Golden State Warriors games he can be found getting lost somewhere in California.