The Virtue of Patience
My first car was a compromise. I wanted a Mustang – a very specific Mustang – but I was too impatient to wait the six to eight weeks it would have taken to special order it. So I bought my second choice, and within six months I’d wrecked it and parted ways with no regrets.
Thirty-six years later I found myself with the opportunity again to get the car I really wanted. This time though I did not hesitate, I made the decision on a Saturday afternoon, and the salesman said that, being Sunday in Germany, the factory was not taking orders. I promised to be back Monday.
I’m certain that it was my unwillingness to compromise that cleared the way for the phone call on Sunday that told me the precise car I wanted had just arrived at a dealer in Phoenix. I booked a flight and drove it home the next Saturday.
I refused to compromise on my first BMW purchase, and the Universe answered with the exact car I’d been looking for – in Phoenix, Arizona.
It may have been Ran Klarin, a longtime friend and colleague who inspired me.
Ran’s spiritual practice lends a serenity that betrays no extremes of emotion. While capable of deep empathy, compassion, and appreciation of beauty and excellence in the arts, the kind of excitement that the prospect of a new car would inspire in a car nut like me seems foreign to his nature. I like to think he’s had to work on that.
Thirteen years ago Ran came to me looking for a co-conspirator to help in his search for a sport coupe. We drove a few and he settled on an Audi TT. He never hesitated to order the car just the way he wanted it, and was perfectly content to wait months for it.
Ran Klarin with the first car we worked together on, an Audi TT for which he patiently waited months to get it exactly as he wanted it.
Two cars later, toward the end of 2011, Ran was ready for another change. We once again considered several candidates, actively searching for used examples of a couple, with the Porsche Cayman rising to the top of the list. But used ones were little less dear than new ones, if you could restrain yourself from ordering the kitchen sink.
Porsches are famous for that – the length and potential for budget-busting of their options list (e.g., carbon fiber brake discs – $1,850 per corner). So the cars that are available on the used car market are often loaded up with that stuff. That drives their prices up.
Those for whom such financial decisions rank with you deciding whether to order the chocolate sprinkles on your Coldstone vanilla cone don’t bat an eye, but what do you really gain with such frills? Not much.
A base Cayman is arguably the best handling car you can buy, other than the same car deliberately optioned for track day use. It has a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission, leather on the seats, all the power accessories you need, iPhone and Bluetooth connectivity, and steering that connects the wheels directly to the involuntary muscle control centers in the brain.
On top of that it’s among the sexiest-looking cars on the planet.
With my finger on the pulse of the model cycle, I knew that the recent introduction of a redesigned Boxster meant a new Cayman was close behind. My prediction that the replacement would debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show proved spot-on, and as we viewed the car on the stand, Ran’s proven patience was rewarded with stunning design refinement, lighter weight, and better fuel efficiency.
Once they began accepting inquiries, I pestered 14 dealers in three states, finding three who, contrary to normal practice with highly anticipated new models, offered discounts. Allocations arrived in the second week in January, and we were quickly at Downtown LA Porsche, who offered a $2,000 discount, placing the order. Fifteen and a half weeks later all that patience (and my hard work and expertise – ahem!) paid off.
Nineteen month’s or so after we started the process, Ran Klarin’s patience is rewarded with one of the first of the stunning 2014 Porsche Caymans.