The Gold-Plated Porsche: How I Sank a Small Fortune into a Used Car, and Other Misadventures
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Just as life is often described as a road one takes through the aging process, Wilkinson's experience rebuilding a Porsche is the exit ramp that leads straight into his garage to a world of wires, leather trimmings, and memory pit stops with each turn of the 911 manuscript.
Quirky, cool, entertaining, and opinionated, Wilkinson's rebuilding project leads to inspired digressions on his life. Learning about the inner workings of a car is also a lesson in tracing the thought-streams of the human mind. While rebuilding his car, Wilkinson waxes eloquent on the history of Porsche, American engineering and culture, personal status, his unfulfilling stint as editor of Car and Driver, his love of flying and all things mechanical, not to mention the integrity of wedding dress silk when it's woven amidst engine pistons. According to Wilkinson, "Most of the work that my Porsche required, I was confident I could do myself. Turning nuts and bolts, replacing pieces and parts, disassembling and reassembling, rewiring and renovating were within my basic-competence envelope. Anybody who can overhaul a lawnmower knows how a car engine works. Anybody who can drive a vacuum cleaner or polish shoes can redo a car interior. Anybody who can read a home-wiring diagram can at least begin to fiddle with a car's electrical system." He makes it all sound so easy. Yet, the expensive misadventures he had while rebuilding the German masterpiece were like mirrors of a life experience; the eventual purr of the redone motor felt like a long-awaited jaunt upon a road temporarily closed, and the traveling sure was sweet.
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