Target number one for me after leaving AFN to work with Bill Bates was to get my own Porsche and shortly after joining him I achieved this, but only with Bill’s invaluable support.
Chris Maltin had told me that his father Mike Maltin was thinking of buying a new Porsche 924 so I called Mike up and I asked him if his Porsche 356B was for sale? He confirmed that it was, but he pointed out, that, “I’m not going to sell it to just anyone.”
Mike had purchased this car second-hand from AFN and he collected it on 16 August 1968 with 38,752 miles on the speedometer. Mike was the sort of man that had to know his car was going to a good home. I remember seeing him clean it down late one evening after he parked it up in his garage with the doors, bonnet and engine hood always open to air it out after washing, despite the late hour.
I mentioned the car was for sale to Bill and I guess I never gave him much peace after that, as I was going on about Mike’s Porsche 356 several times a day. Bill had obviously spoken to Mike without my knowledge as one day Bill started talking of Chris Maltin’s wedding to Elizabeth “Bunch” Pollard and how Christine, Mike’s wife, did not have any decent photographs of that happy event. Mrs Pollard, Bunch’s mother, had apparently retained Tom Hustler to undertake the photography. However, on the day itself Tom Hustler did not come himself and sent some junior, so Mrs Pollard was very upset and consequently did not buy any photographs from him as she was most put out! However all was not lost as Chris had invited Bill along as a guest and Bill took lots of photographs and subsequently gave a complete set to Chris as a wedding present. Bill’s photographs were passed on to Chris’s mother-in-law but Chris had neglected to arrange a second set for his own mother. So Bill mentioned that I should look out the negatives and print off a complete set of photographs for Christine and we should go down and see Mike and Christine and we could discuss the Porsche 356 at the same time. Shortly after I duly set to work in my own time and produced a box full of photographs for Christine a few days later.
We drove down to spend the weekend with Mike and Christine at their home in North Woodchester near Stroud, Gloucestershire. Bill had known Mike through the Porsche Club as Founding members for many years and they were old friends. We had a lovely weekend and I left Christine with a box of photographs and she was elated to say the least!
Mike said, “I will think about selling my Porsche 356B to you” and we left to drive back to Isleworth with me on edge for days after. Mike called me a few days later and he said, “I’ve a decision and I will sell my car to you”, so we agreed a price and I thanked him and I set about raising the money. Bill helped me, but despite my own funds, I fell somewhat short of the asking price and declared my position to Mike in a return phone call some days later. He being the absolute gentleman reminded me that, “We had agreed on the lower price I had in my mind,” which was all I could muster, “So what was the problem?” I was delighted and he agreed to sell me his beloved Porsche 356B for £700/- cash instead of £850/- what I understood we had originally agreed upon.
As I could not afford to tax and insure the Porsche 356B at that stage as I had no spare money, I asked Ginger who was home for a few days, to drive me down to Mike and Christine’s in his transporter to collect the Porsche 356 B type. As he had just dropped off their McLaren M8 Can Am car at the factory, the logistics fitted in perfectly.
At that time Ginger was working for Helmut Kelleners and running McLaren so he was in England regularly.
It was 15 May 1974 when I took delivery of my first Porsche. Mike had all the accessories and papers neatly packed in a cardboard box sitting on the back seat parcel shelf. I think he was a bit emotional about selling the car to anyone, and I promised Christine privately that I would look after it. The Porsche 356B had exactly 77,991 miles recorded on the speedometer.
Ginger and I transported my very first Porsche this 356B to Harpers Yard and I proceeded to clean and ogle it for hours on end.
The following day, I nipped up the road with Bill to fill it up with fuel that cost £5.00 for 10 gallons! A little while later, Bill advanced me the money for tax and insurance and I was suddenly a Porsche motorist. In the space of a few months I was now a Porsche owner and not on the servicing end.
Having known Mike Maltin whilst I was working with his son Christopher, I knew Mike was a perfectionist in everything he did. His Porsche 356 B had a logbook detailing the mileage of every tank of petrol he every put in the car with the mileage logged and I continued on with this custom.
The previous owner Jack Newton had the Weslake Company tune the Super 90 engine when he owned the car. He also had a twin grill fitted to the engine cover like a Supper 90. So it performed very well indeed, easily exceeding the 356 B type theoretical top speed when worked out against rpm and gear ratios. Throughout its life with Mike and latterly me, 636 HYT averaged 29mpg (miles per gallon).