Lee Sibley By Lee Sibley 3 weeks ago

My Porsche Story: Horrible Histories

DNHC member Russell Quirk (@911_Addict) shares a cautionary tale on the importance of safeguarding your Porsche's historical paperwork…

This week I’ve been knees-deep in history - but not in a good way. I don’t mean that I’ve strained my memory banks to help my teenage daughter write an essay on the Russian Revolution. Nor have I been metal detecting or traipsing around London’s museums.

No, this week I have been filled with dread over history that’s rather closer to home - the maintenance, mileage and ownership records for my cars.

I recently bought a lovely, honest 1979 911 SC, a car exactly as described from when I first enquired about it, including the fact the service history had been lost by the previous owner.

Undeterred, I thought I’d don my deerstalker and go all Sherlock Holmes on the matter to see if I could trace some of it, given that the car had spent all its life in Norfolk, supplied by what was Lancaster Norwich. Anyhow, it turns out it’s pretty hit and miss trying to find evidence of a car’s early workshop exploits from back in a day where filing cabinets, rubber stamps and printers were the means of recording provenance rather than ‘in the cloud’. 

Without much to show for my detective work despite some friendly calls back from Norfolk’s finest Porsche specialists, this episode got me thinking… if you own a classic car from the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s and the paperwork is stolen or goes up in smoke, what  do you do? I mean, buying a 2.7 RS with no history or a Ferraro Dino which is, to all extents, anonymous, will surely affect value. Quite considerably.

Ah, decent classic car insurance will no doubt cover this problem if it were to occur, right? The insurer would surely pay out for the difference between the car’s worth, with versus without records?

Wrong.

My insurer, otherwise excellent, was somewhat regretful in confirming to me that ‘No, I’m sorry but lost or destroyed documentation would not be covered’.

Shit. Chopping, say, 20% off the value of a car with lost books conjures quite a loss and not one that Mrs Q would allow me to wear given that, until now, I have managed to convince her that a chunk of our savings are better off in Stuttgart’s finest rather than in a boring FTSE tracker fund.

Determined to find a solution, my next port of call was to check my home insurance cover. And again, it transpires that ‘valuable documents’ are not generally covered.

And so as I continue to explore specialist insurers, safety deposit boxes and to bribe my kids to spend the weekend scanning all of my car paperwork into Google Drive, I write this as a cautionary tale. Forewarned is forearmed.

At school my favourite teacher Mr Lane kept telling me how important history was. He wasn’t bloody kidding.

You can follow Russell on Instagram: @911_Addict. Our 'My Porsche Story' series are written by members of the Driven Not Hidden Collective. Join here.

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