Porsche 912: Of the Self and the Universe
Petrolicious Won’t Stop Making Amazing Porsche Videos
I’ve written about my love for the videos created and hosted by Petrolicious in a previous post. In that article, I mentioned that what I found “most compelling” in these features were the “personal stories of the owners” and, likewise, how the vehicles “function as emblems for individual drivers’ desires, identities, obsessions, and character.”
Recently, Petrolicious released a video that showcases mechanic, enthusiast, and Porsche owner John Benton discussing his Porsche 912. What struck me as noteworthy, though, were the comments that he made regarding identity and cars. At the onset of the clip, he states:
I’ve heard people say that my car is me. When they see it, when they drive it, they’re like: “Man, this car is you. It’s so obvious.” That wasn’t my intent, but it’s neat to hear from people.
According to Benton’s interpretation of these comments, there is absolutely no distinction between himself and his car. His persona, essence, and being are inextricable from his 912; they are, in effect, one and the same.
A few moments afterward, he expands upon his statement, adding that: “I am a composite of all my experiences. So that car isn’t just me. It’s all the people I’ve interacted with to get to this place.” His 912 is at once an embodiment of himself and a “composite” of all those with whom he’s previously interacted.
The Self: Both Locatable and Diffuse
This oscillation between car and self, as well as between singular individual and composite self (or perhaps better stated, metaphysical conjoining of selves) reminds me of the famous American bard Walt Whitman’s magna opus “Song of Myself.” At the onset of the poem, he writes:
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
For those familiar with Whitman’s poem, which is nothing less than an ecstatic celebration of America and Americans, you already know that the collapsing of the particular-universal binary is a major theme within the work. Indeed, Whitman posits in the above quote that such a collapse occurs even at the atomic/molecular level. And for those of you unfamiliar with the poem, now you are aware of one of its major conceits.
Benton doubles down, so to speak, on this argument later in his Petrolicious video:
As an individual, I’m a composite of the many people I’ve met during my journey up to this point. And early on, I always migrated toward those who had knowledge. I was respectful of that knowledge. To me, it’s very important to volunteer the information. I am here for a short while. I’m trying to make a world that makes senses to me that I enjoy living in. And I believe that sharing what I know, and sharing what other people know, makes for a better life experience. No matter what we’re talking about.
Once again, these sentiments echo Whitman’s ideas, when he wrote:
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me
And nothing, not God, is greater to one than one’s self is
Yes, just as Whitman believes himself (or his “self”) to be “greater” than God, Benton envisions himself as the creator of a “world that makes sense” to him; but, likewise, he “always migrated toward those who had knowledge,” just as Whitman praised the “perpetual flow” of “converging objects.” To wit, both men are self-fashioned Makers of their own worlds, while simultaneously migrating/flowing outwards toward the objects or people which surround them.
For Benton and Whitman, there appears to be a certain joy or, at least, contentment, found in the fact that their selves are both singular and expansive, both locatable and diffuse.
But enough of my hemming and hawing. Check out the entire video below:
A Few Tidbits Regarding the Porsche 912
Of course, my brief explication regarding the collapse of the particular-universal binary did not afford me the space or time to address the history of the Porsche 912. You can find out more about this limited-run vehicle at Porsche’s website. But, in a nutshell, this car was produced between 1965 and 1969 in order to “bridge the price gap between the 356, which was still being produced at this time, and the 911.” Regardless of the fact that the 912 was considered nothing more than a stop-gap, so to speak, it’s evident from the video it’s stood the proverbial “test of time.”
Prestige Imports: Denver’s Porsche Dealership of Tomorrow’s Classics
It’s always important to remember, though, that the classics of today were once the contemporaries of their time. To this end, the newly unveiled 2017 model year editions, no doubt, will one day be looked upon with the same reverence (and envy) as the 60s-era Porsche are now. So visit Prestige Imports and check out our full line of Porsche brand vehicles, which includes the 718 Boxster and Cayman, the 911, Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne. We’re located at 9201 West Colfax Avenue between Wadsworth and Kipling. You can also call us at (833) 825-5423 to schedule an appointment with one of our Porsche Brand Ambassadors. In the meantime, check out our full inventory online.
Banner image by nakhon100 / flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons
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