Tom Emr is an active HCR member who attends a variety of PCA events and is always willing to help out. He wrote a recent story for Horizons, covering our Tech Session at Caliber Collision. Emr spoke with us about his first Porsche, a 2015 Cayman in white, which has a few Cayman S features.
|When did you join PCA?|
TE: I ordered my Cayman in February, 2015 and it was delivered at the end of May. Since we usually live in Maine during the summer (except for this year), I joined PCA at the beginning of October that year. I originally paid for a one year membership, since I wasn’t sure if the club would be a fit. However, after the first year I realized it was a great fit and I’ve joined in three year increments ever since.How long have you lived in the Austin area? What brought you here?
TE: My wife Pat and I moved to Austin in April of 2011 when we retired. We’re originally from New Jersey, but because my family moved to Houston, Texas in the early ‘70s, I knew that I would follow them at some point. Prior to moving, I visited every year and fell in love with the Texas weather. Coincidentally, my son met and fell in love with a Texas native who was working in NYC at the time. After grad school, Tim got an offer to work at Dell Computer, so he and Alicia moved to Austin. Even though Pat and I decided earlier that we would retire in Austin, my son got here first.
How and when did you acquire this Porsche?
TE: Just after Christmas in 2014, I was thinking about buying my “dream” car. I’ve always been a car guy, so I narrowed it down to two choices. Let me say that I still have my first high performance car, an original owner 1971 Camaro SS350, so, as a Chevy guy, I thought I should consider buying a new Corvette. Since I had worked at a foreign car dealer (Mercedes-Benz) while going to college, I thought about what other options I should consider. It became obvious to me that my other choice should be a Porsche, preferably a Cayman. After test driving both vehicles, the Cayman was the clear winner. I placed my order the next day.
What drew you to this car?
TE: Prior to buying the Cayman, I was the happy owner of a Solar Yellow 2002 MR2 Spyder. When I ordered it, there was a unique transmission option called SMT (Sequential Manual Shift) which was similar to the Porsche PDK. The SMT even had buttons on the steering wheel to control the shifting. I thought it was the best of both worlds, but nowhere near as fast shifting as the PDK, since it only had a single clutch.
What is your favorite thing about your car?
TE: Would it be ok to say I like everything about it? The one thing that stands out from just about all other Caymans that I’ve seen is the two-tone interior. It’s a combination of Agate Gray with Amber Orange seat centers. Kind of has a UT look, which I think is perfect for Austin.
Does your car have any special features or modifications?
TE: I’ve kept it mostly original, except I’ve replaced the side markers with the European version and I’ve added polished aluminum trim rings to the dashboard gauges to match the other factory trim. One other thing: since I didn’t want to drill holes in my front bumper, I found a way to fit my custom PCA license plate into the front grill area.
How did you become interested in Porsche?
TE: Thinking about it, I’ve always liked Porsche vehicles. My favorite racing Porsche is the 904 because of its sleek lines. And I’ve always loved the look of the early 911s. When I win the lottery, my first splurge will be on a Singer 911.
What makes this car unique or special to you?
TE: I’ve had a lot of nice cars during my driving career, but the Cayman is the best car I’ve ever owned. It just passed its 5th anniversary and I’m happily looking forward to the next five. Can you tell that I like to keep my special cars for a long time? Camaro – almost 50 years, MR2 Spyder – over 13 years and my Cayman – who knows.
What do you love most about Porsche cars?
TE: I like that they’re true to their history. Of course, the iconic shape of the 911 and Cayman are beautiful, timeless designs.
Have you owned other Porsche cars?
TE: No, this is my first full scale version. But, it won’t be my last. I’m a collector of 1/18 scale diecast model cars and I have over forty of them including Porsches from each generation, as well as one of the 981 Cayman.
What is your dream Porsche to own?
TE: Funny that you should ask that because I’m still loving my Cayman. However, of all of the choices available now, I’d have to say it would have to be a Singer restoration.
Tell us about a notable drive or road trip?
TE: My wife and I really enjoyed our drive to Palooza in 2018. The beautiful scenery, the fantastic cars and the friendly camaraderie with other Porsche owners was a trip I’ll always remember. I liked caravan-ing with a half-dozen other HCR members and stayIng overnight In two different state parks on our drive up and back. I’m sure there’ll be other Porsche trips in the future, but the first one is usually the best remembered.
What is your favorite PCA or Porsche related memory?
TE: My favorite Porsche memory is the trip that Pat and I took last year to Stuttgart, Germany and the day we spent at the Zuffenhausen complex. It was amazing to watch our favorite cars being built during the factory tour, as well as being immersed in Porsche history at the museum.
Do you participate in driving events (i.e. tours, rallyes, autocross, HPDE track days, club racing)?
TE: I think our region does an outstanding job putting together various PCA events. I love going on the drives that our Tourmaster Chris McChesney puts together – and while it wasn’t a PCA event, I drove my Cayman on the road course at Harris Hill Raceway a couple of years ago. I had a blast driving my car at the limit.
What other PCA events do you enjoy?
TE: The recent online Distinguished Speaker Series with Patrick Long was a great effort hosted by Gordie Robbins to keep us going during the pandemic. And, I always try to attend the monthly Lunch Bunches organized by Bob Hieronymus. In addition, I have attended most of the Tech Sessions and have learned a lot about our cars. I also enjoy the member picnics and the invitations we get to attend the parties at the Petrol Lounge and Moorespeed. I try to keep up with Porsche history and to learn about what’s coming down the road (no pun intended). Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to win more than my share of door prizes and, as Tuffy so nicely put it, one of these days I may not be invited back.
Interview and photographs by Jonathan Haggar