The Seattle Times Company

Jobs | Autos | Real Estate | Rentals | Classifieds |

December 6, 2009

News & Features

Passion play: Locals drive their sports cars for the thrill, not for the attention

Special to NWautos

Robert Durff and Porsche

Robert Durff's love of Porsche's started in childhood and took him to Germany. (Michelle Ma)

It's not a stretch to say the course of Robert Durff's life has largely been directed by his love of Porsches.

The Seattle resident, who works for Microsoft's Windows International, fell in love with his father's 1975 Porsche as a child, leading to a fascination with German culture. He majored in German and lived in the country for several years, visiting every German car manufacturer while there. He's never owned a car that wasn't German-made.

This type of passion is common among high-end car owners. Their cars are more than mere showpieces; they become extensions of themselves.

Porsches have personality, Durff says, and he feels a deep connection with the car while driving. He has two -- a 2006 911 Carrera and his father's 1975 911S Targa, which he bought about seven years ago.

"I decided I had to have this every day," Durff, 33, says of the feeling he got from his father's Porsche. "I always associated him with that car. It takes me back to my childhood."

Shortly after he purchased the car, Durff got involved with the Pacific Northwest Region of the Porsche Club of America. He now serves as the club's secretary and organizer of introductory driving courses.

Durff says Porsche owners usually acknowledge each other on the road with a wave or flash of the lights. Both of his cars tend to attract stares and comments from passersby; the older car, which Durff affectionately calls "Mr. P," usually is recognized by people familiar with classic Porsches. Durff welcomes the attention and enjoys talking about his cars with people of all ages.

Similar to Durff's devotion to Porsches, Woodinville resident Dennis Montgomery has admired Chevrolet Corvettes since high school and has owned 21 since the mid-1960s.

Dennis Montgomery Corvette

Dennis Montgomery and his 2006 Z51 Corvette. (Michelle Ma)

"I was really drawn to the Corvette, only because it was the sports car of my generation," says Montgomery, 64. He now has a 2006 Z51 Corvette convertible and is president of the Corvette Marque Club of Seattle.

His wife, Lorrie, drives the red convertible as her commuter car and is affectionately known as "the Corvette lady" among her colleagues. The couple take part in the traditional "Corvette wave" when they see other Corvettes on the road, and they often gets stares, thumbs-up and waves from passersby.

Although Corvettes are known for their speed and power, most of his fellow club members aren't "go fast" people, Dennis Montgomery says. They simply appreciate "a good car with a good bang for their buck."

Porsche owner Durff says that no matter the sports-car trends in the future, he will always look for models that buck the norm and offer something special for drivers.

"I don't think I'd be me without an interesting car to drive," he says.


Partner video