Charles Lam attends many of our Tech Sessions and track events. He always greets people with a smile and is genuinely interested in how others are doing. Lam shared his Porsche story along with his current car, a 2014 Turbo S in GT Silver Metallic.
When did you join Hill Country Region? CL: I was an HCRPCA member for a year in the 80s and like many of us, new family additions became priority. When the timing was right, I joined back in 2016 – and it’s been terrific. Each time I come to an event, I meet new members and we all have such storied backgrounds. There’s great camaraderie – it’s more than just our passion for Porsche.
How long have you lived in the Austin area? What brought you here? CL: I grew up in Texas and moved to San Jose, California in the 90s at the advice of my sister and her husband, both in the tech field. They suggested I move out there and look for a job. A couple of years later, my manager said, “oh by the way, our team is relocating to Austin, Texas – you coming?” I said, “you bet” as I’d been trying to figure out how to get back ‘home’. That was in 1992 and I’ve been happily in Austin ever since.
How and when did you acquire this Porsche? CL: I had a Carrera S and wasn’t looking for a different one. Bob Freeman, a fellow HCRPCA member, was buying a new 911 Turbo S. He made me an offer on his 2014 Turbo S that I couldn’t refuse. He made my decision a pretty easy one. I was just thrilled, as I had admired his Turbo S for quite some time and thanked my lucky stars that I had the opportunity to acquire it.
What drew you to the Turbo S? CL: Most reviews I’ve read about the Turbo S are pretty much right on. Great balance, civil, and when you push it on a launch or tracking, it literally takes your breath away. I haven’t driven many street supercars, but the Turbo S is so technically balanced, it makes you seem like a better driver than you are. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. And it’s a pretty darn good- looking sheep.
What’s your favorite thing about your car? CL: In addition to being so technically balanced and the performance, I really like the color combination – GT Silver with Bordeaux leather interior. It’s traditional and reminds me of a classic in a modern-day Porsche.
What makes this car unique or special to you? CL: In a dream if money is no object, it’s natural to think about what other cars we’d like. One that thrills you on a great winding road or just a fun night out with my wife. For my driving experience level and running chores, I end up in the same place – for me, the Turbo S is just right.
Does your car have any special features or modifications? CL: It doesn’t. And that’s part of what I enjoy about it. I thought about tuning and exhaust, but in the end, I came back to just leave it alone – enjoy it just as Porsche engineered it.
How did you first become interested in Porsche? CL: I’ve had numerous VWs in high school through college, and always admired Porsches. Then one day I saw cars flying around cones in a parking lot and it was a Spokes SCCA club autocross. As I walked around, I ran into a friend who I didn’t know had a 914 and was in the event. The more we talked, the more my eyes lit up. I just knew I had to be a part of that.
What do you love most about Porsche cars? CL: For myself, it’s the brand and goes beyond the car. That Porsche, the company, is dedicated to international racing and excellence. Porsche constantly innovates and you can see the racing qualities in our cars. Years ago, I would never have thought Porsche would build a 4 door car, and now we have sedans along with SUVs & EVs. I sense Porsche won’t enter a market unless they can lead it, and now I think most anything is possible. How about a baja truck?
What was your first Porsche? CL: My first was a ’74 914, 1.8. I sold my VWs, worked extra hours to get it in part for autocrosses. I was blown away how balanced and flat it was on a spirited country drive. And it was easy working on them. For autocrossing, it was woefully underpowered, but I could make up time on corners. Once I had the 914, there was no turning back.
Which is your favorite of the ones you’ve owned? CL: My favorite is the one I have now. Porsches just get better and better. I’m very happy with the Turbo S, but I’m also looking forward to what Porsche has in store.
Do you regret having sold any of your cars? CL: No, not really because I was so excited about getting the next one – I blame Porsche.
What is your dream Porsche to own? CL: Well, the 2021 Turbo S technical specs are pretty insane along with the subtle design updates. Typical Porsche evolution. But … I’m very happy with mine, as I should be. I still find myself staring at it!
Tell us about a notable drive or road trip? CL: When I lived in California, I went camping with my sister, brother-in-law and one of their friends at Big Sur. He arrived with an older 911 and we took two cars to Big Sur. You can guess which one I was in – the drive along Highway 1 just takes your breath away. I couldn’t wait for the camp night to be over so we could drive back.
What is your favorite Porsche or PCA related memory? CL: In the mid-1980s, I participated in several HCR autocross events and joined for a year just to be able to race. They were held at Highland Mall in the Foley’s parking area, and at Burger Stadium. What a thrill! When I dig up the old pictures and 35mm negatives, I mostly see 914s, but also 928s, a Sepia Brown Carrera RS maybe, and other 911s. And a Ferrari Daytona who wished it was a Porsche.
But my favorite memories are the people. Members come and go, but the camaraderie hasn’t changed through today. Great people, common bond, help one another and for good causes.
Do you currently participate in driving events (i.e. tours, rallyes, autocross, HPDE track days, club racing)? CL: I haven’t since I joined back, but I’m sure planning to. The COTA parade laps just whet my appetite and I’m looking forward to my first track day event. And would be a blast if our region might have autocross events in the future.
What other PCA events do you enjoy? CL: I really enjoy the tech sessions and related social events. And I look forward to participating with charity events. It’s fun catching up with old friends and especially meeting new ones. All in a setting we’re so enthusiastic about.