Those of you who are frequent visitors to the Porsche corporate website may have taken notice of the “Bloodlines” advertising campaign centered around the launch of the Cayenne GTS. The commercial, now playing on various cable channels (and posted below for the few that might not have seen it), features a Cayenne GTS owner out on a night drive. He pulls into an overlook and revs his engine. All around town, other Porsches (Carrera, Cayman, Boxster, etc.) rev their engines too. The man says, “wow!” The tagline reads, “The Bloodlines are Unmistakable.”
The campaign to highlight Porsches greeting one another got us thinking about the kinship that exists between owners. is it a myth, or not? Has it changed in the last decade because of the incredible growth the company has experienced (from single-digit cars sixty years ago to over 100,000 autbiles per year in ’07)?
Many seem to think so. In the October ’08 issue of Excellence magazine, a reader wrote a letter to the editor asking, “Is the Porsche Salute no longer in vogue? It’s definitely not in use in my area any longer…” The editor responded that he “suspect[ed] the sheer number of Porsches on the road today has something to do with it,” adding, “a couple of times a year… I am flashed by another Porsche driver. I’m usually so surprised I end up staring back blankly!” My Dad agrees. “Once upon a time, if you drove a Porsche and saw another, you offered a greeting. And if someone in a Porsche waved at you in yours, you acknowledged the wave gracefully.” He added, “if a driver took the time to wave at you, he or she was essentially saying, “I like the car, I believe in it!”
We at FlatSixes.com decided to investigate the demise of the Porsche salute ourselves. We began our research on the internet, home of many Porsche owners. While visiting Facebook (a more “grownup” MySpace, if you will), we found this post on the Cayman forum:
Hi…we just launched a new website introducing the new Porsche Cayenne GTS and wanted you to preview it: http://www.porscheusa.com/bloodlines. The site is built around the notion of the special bond that exists between Porsche drivers and how they acknowledge one another on the road. As we continue to develop the site over the coming weeks, we’re interested to learn whether you’ve experienced this Porsche engine revving phenomenon on the road. Any feedback is appreciated.
We found the post too late to reply to it--the market research experiment was over. Instead, we posted our own question on the Porsche Club of America Facebook group: “how do you greet other Porsche owners on the road?” Below, we offer the results of our research.
Is revving considered a friendly greeting in a Porsche?
The response here was nearly unanimous. No current responding Porsche owner considers revving the engine a form of greeting. While I love the “bloodlines” commercial (let’s face it: who doesn’t love the sound of a Porsche engine?), I, too, never considered revving the engine a greeting. To me, and most respondents, a revved engine is more like a challenge—a wordless way to say, “when that light changes to green, I’m outta here, and you’ll try to catch me.” I personally have never revved my engine at anyone other than my little brother’s 993, and then only in jest, because I knew if push came to shove, he would leave me smelling his air-cooled exhaust before I could figure out where the accelerator was.
My friends and family seemed to agree with my interpretation. Our FlatSixes.com colleague, Andrew, is a college student who (theoretically) should have far more exposure to revving. However, when questioned he mentioned he’s “never seen, heard of, or participated” in an engine rev greeting between Porsche owners. He added, “it just seems waaaay too Fast and Furious and such even for me, much less the average Porsche owner 20 some years older than me.”
Just as we were ready to accept Andrew’s take on the matter, a local PCA region colleague spotted me on the way to a DE and, to get my attention, he revved his engine. I nearly believed the rev was back until he lowered his window and said, “my track car doesn’t have a horn!”
Facebook friend Helen Goff, a respected Porschephile, shared the tale of bringing home an older 911 in the August ’08 issue of England’s Total 911 magazine. She was stuck in traffic and after the car warmed up, the revs were not settling. Blipping the throttle seemed to help, though it made her feel like an “impatient boy racer.” Added Helen, “I attracted a few middle finger salutes as I made my way through traffic.”
As if to prove our way of thinking, two weeks ago a pair of teenagers in a Mitsubishi revved their engine at my Cayman S, only to stall on the crucial change to green. Their “dare” had the absolute opposite effect it was supposed to – it dissolved me into laughter. I nearly stalled myself! I think we’ve established the rev is not really a viable car-to-car greeting today.
Next week, in part II of this post, we'll explore what are "acceptable" ways to greet other Porsche on the road.
Flashing the Good Finger
An Introduction to Driver's Education for Porsche Owners (Part I)
Part II of An Introduction to Driver's Education for Porsche Owners
Book Review: Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook, 2nd Edition, by Vic Elford. Minneapolis: Motorbooks press, 2008.
Porsche 356: My First Porsche (Part I of II)
Porsche 356: My First Porsche (Part II of II)