I have been an afflicted car guy all my life! By a series of coincidences, all somewhat beyond my control, I ended up in the Porsche and German car business. I passed my driver’s test exactly when I was 16, even though I had been at the wheel since I was 13. My family started with upscale Ford’s and quickly descended to the Falcon, which, in South Florida, came equipped with only a radio. My family had taken steps away from the responsibility of my affliction. The other significant happening during this time period was that one of my classmates’ parents had a Volvo 444 - this was the car for me.
College started the second week in September, 1960 in Wilmington, Ohio. The trip from the Florida Keys to Wilmington was orchestrated via a prep school in Eastern Pennsylvania and our family being Quaker. I ended up in a house instead of the dormitory and met Ed Mayo on the first day. We joined the same fraternity and roomed together for 3 years. Ed majored in Industrial Arts Education, while I started out in mathematics but quickly switched to psychology.
At the end of my freshman year my parents bought me a used Volvo 544. Since there was only one shop in Wilmington that serviced sports cars, including mine, I hung around until they hired me. While we serviced European cars (Japanese cars were not here then) their emphasis was on Porsche and VW. So I became indoctrinated. At the end of my Wilmington Career I had managed to acquire a Porsche Speedster, The Volvo, a Porsche powered VW, a Plymouth, a BMW R50S and a Formulae V. I was finally 21 and could race SCCA. I continued racing through 1965, when my last race involved wearing a parka and coveralls.
After Wilmington, I attended Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. I received a Masters Degree in Personnel Management, and, as a last minute thought, a wife. The writing was on the wall and I began selling my toys. By June everything but the DeSoto and the Volvo were gone.
Returning to my wife’s family home on Long Island after a European Honeymoon in July, I spent time looking for an employment opportunity in a college setting. No luck! The second week of August my father’s secretary called and told me that my application to North Texas State University (AKA University of North Texas) was accepted. I flew down the following week, completed my application and rented an apartment. I had a $300 a month Trust Fund, which was more than enough to live on so Christine packed up everything we owned in the DeSoto and we headed west. A stop in Wilmington got the Volvo on a tow bar and the rest of my belongings, then it was – “Denton here we come!”
I completed my course work and was accepted as a doctoral candidate. We purchased a home in Hurst in June, drove to the Florida Keys and picked up a load of furniture from my parents. On July 1 I was gainfully employed as an Associate Professor at T.C.J.C.. My house payment was $181.00 per month, my take home salary was $608 per month, I was in tall cotton as the highest paid hire with no previous experience in 1968.
In 1970 Ed came down for a vacation. He talked me out of a speedster for $750.00, “send me a check when you get home”. The next year he moved here permanently. He began working for the Porsche dealer here, first in Dallas then, in Ft. Worth. We also began working on a car in a large garage in my backyard. In 1972 I parted company with T.C.J.C.. At this time the city began pressuring Ed & I to move to a business location and that’s when we began doing serious work. Our first shop POR-SHA (soon to come under of scrutiny of Porsche) was on Raider Drive at South Pipeline Road. After court proceedings and a threat of the judge to put me in federal prison (serious stuff) we changed our name. In 1978 my father loaned me the money to purchase the land that Zim’s Autotechnik currently occupies. In September 1979 we moved in. As an aside -- both the shops that I previously worked in became bars.
356 vehicles are still the love of my live. Currently I own 1957 and 1961 coupe’s, along with ‘85, ‘86, and ‘88 911’s, and two BMW motorcycles. All of which are air cooled.