Winter Beaters: Season 2 Vol. 1

What’s your name and where do you reside?

Maddox Kay, I live in Cambridge, Mass.

What’s your first Porsche experience ?

Growing up in LA, Porsches were everywhere – in movies, on TV, and on the road. In 2006, when Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson (a known Porsche hater) aired a gushing  review of the 997 Turbo, it stuck in my mind. A few  years later, my uncle bought a used 997 Turbo, and when I graduated high school, before heading off to college, he let me drive it through the SoCal canyons. Besides getting pulled over (see my article on that in the May Nor’Easter, page 24) that car pretty much ruined me for all other sports cars. I knew I had to have a Porsche. 

What’s your history with PCA and New England?

After four years of college in Boston, I settled in the area and bought a $3000 1985.5 944 to fix up and play around with. I had a daily driver, so it wasn’t my only car, and it smoked like Don Draper. I learned how to fix a lot of things myself, and joined PCA for technical support as well as to become part of the community. Nine months later, the pandemic hit and I wasn’t very active in PCA for a while.

As COVID dragged on and I fixed my 944 up, Luis (VP – Communications) asked me if I’d want to be more involved with the club by helping out with social media. I said yes, and that’s when I really began to get to know the membership

A few months after that, we were at a bitterly cold season-opener Cars and Coffee at South Shore Autowerks, and spotted a ‘99 911 Carrera 4 that needed some love but looked promising and had all the right maintenance items done. (See May Nor’Easter story linked above for details.) Of course, I bought it (what fun would this story be if I hadn’t?!) and began my dream journey of owning a Porsche 911. 

I immediately replaced tires and brakes (the previous owner ran Michelins, which was a good sign, but they were nearly toast – and the brakes felt like the Red Line screeching to a halt.) An exhaust leak and an oil change later, we were on the road!

Winter driving:

I drive the C4 in the winter – after all, it’s a C4! I do have a daily (ten year old Audi A4 6-speed), so for commuting and extreme conditions I take that, but bringing the Porsche out on freshly coated backroads is so fun. You get to experience the car’s handling dynamics at much lower, safer speeds, and as Joe Cracco said, life is too damn short not to. 

I don’t drive the 944 much in the winter because it’s 36 years old and I’m not sure how the factory galvanization and rustproofing are holding up. It has one small rust spot by the driver’s rear wheel arch and I don’t want to make it any worse. However with the newer car and frequent washes, that isn’t as much of a concern.

Did you ever have a moment that wasn’t so fun?

You have to be careful driving in the winter. My main concerns are hitting black ice, or a texting driver on bald tires sliding into me. It hasn’t happened yet in the Porsche, but I have been rear ended during the winter in my daily, so I try to drive the fun cars outside of main commuting times. Get winter tires!

On a lighter note, my first car was a ‘97 Miata that I parked outside at college and would routinely get plowed in. One time, it took me, a friend, and a bag of kitty litter an hour to rock it out of a parking space! Looking back, that hour was quite fun and time well spent, but there were some other sketchy moments on the road in that car which taught me a lot about car control.

Most fun driving moments (winter/non-winter)?

Most fun – last year at DE Preview day doing parade laps of Palmer (a GT3’s 5/10 parade lap is my 9/10) in the 944. My New Year’s resolution is to get on the track with the 911 this year!

Most fun Winter – Probably Snow AutoX at Lime Rock with the Audi. Highly recommend. Their AutoX course is an actual mini-track with elevation changes and curbing. And then it gets covered in snow and is even better.

How are you keeping busy beyond cars this winter?

Learning how to ski! I never learned as a kid so finally ripped off the band-aid.

Other than that, spending time with friends and family and taking weekend trips around the region (ok I guess that involves cars 🙂 .)

Favorite and least favorite parts of winter?

I grew up in LA so this is still foreign to me. There’s something magical about the way snow transforms the landscape and makes everything quiet. So – favorites: walking around the city in a fresh snow, parking lot shenanigans, ski culture, walking on an empty beach on a warm-enough day in January. Least favorite: Shoveling, slipping on ice, shorter days (I’m an outdoors guy.)

This winter, I’m also working on several projects with the 996 to get it ready for the spring. New bucket seats to get out on track next season, fixing some electrical gremlins, maybe a couple performance upgrades…

What are the best and worst cars you’ve driven in the snow?

Worst: Miata (shudders.)

Best: My A4 has never gotten stuck *knock on wood.* Quattro (mechanical Torsen, 40:60 front:rear) paired with decent snow tires is the real deal! Remember, AWD helps you go, tires help you stop and turn. Even with that, nothing stops or turns on ice. But I’ve been so impressed with the A4 even in deep snow. You can get the tail out but it’s really controllable. I’m excited to play with the C4 some more, though.

Are you enjoying your winter? Write to us at [email protected] and let us know what you’ve been up to, and what you’re looking forward to most during the freeze, and as we thaw out.