Few of us get a clear vision of the future when we’re 9 years old, but that happened to Ray Shaffer when he spotted a Porsche 356 in a garage. Porsche has been part of Shaffer’s life for a long time, and now, at age 49, he’s living the dream as Porsche Classic’s market development manager. Shaffer now dreams of owning the Straßenversion of the Porsche 911 GT1. He’s also this month’s SCM Interview: Everyone knows you as one of the big Porsche guys. How did you get involved with Porsche? I’ve always been a fan, drawn in by sports car racing in the 1980s. In that time period, I was fortunate to meet with Porsche racer Bob Akin, who became a friend and mentor to me. Some years later, he asked, “Why aren’t you selling Porsche cars?” I was in a Cadillac store at the time. He offered to introduce me to a friend in Florida who turned out to be Bob Snodgrass of Brumos Porsche in Jacksonville — the famous racing dealership. Through 16 wonderful years at Brumos, I would work and learn my way up to becoming the general manager in 2010. We were active in everything from the Amelia Island Concours to racing with a 911 program that brought home the Grand-Am GT Championship in 2011. We also created special editions like the five 911 Carrera GTS B59 models to commemorate Hurley Haywood’s amazing career and record number of wins at Daytona. Porsche has been at the top of the sports-car world for decades —and many models are now very collectible. What makes Porsche special to you? The authenticity of what the company — its people and products — represents is a major draw for me. I admire the fact that Porsche has remained true to itself for more than 70 years. After working on the retail side of the business, I made the transition to join Porsche Cars North America in 2015. Throughout the company, there is a clear culture to do the right thing for the customer and the brand. I connect with that and think our loyal owners and enthusiasts do as well. What, exactly, does Porsche Classic Division do? Porsche Classic keeps our brand heritage on the road. We serve all owners of cars within the Classic lineup, which today ranges from the 356 models all the way through the Carrera GT super sports car. In short, Porsche Classic focuses on three areas: availability of Genuine Classic parts, expert service at our dealerships and 11 U.S. Porsche Classic Partners and, finally, Porsche Classic Factory Restoration. So whether you’re wrenching at home and looking for a part or planning to do an entire professional restoration, we can help. So, is Porsche now in the car restoration business? Absolutely, and the U.S. is quite unique because our Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta is, in fact, home to the only Classic Factory Restoration workshop outside Germany. It’s the pinnacle of our team’s capabilities, realized with access to factory records and tools. The workshop is actually located right next to my office, and I recently had my 911 Turbo engine restored there. Our master technicians are used to a high level of interest from the owner, but I don’t think they’ve ever experienced a customer checking in on a daily basis before. When should an owner restore a Porsche, and when should the car be preserved in its present state? To me, it’s all about the platform that you have to begin with. For the vehicle to operate and perform as the Porsche engineers originally intended, a solid foundation is a must. If you have this, then keeping the wearable parts maintained and replaced as needed is part of a healthy ownership experience — and responsibility. However, if the structure is not solid or sound in its original state, then it’s time to start over. Communication is really key, and, ultimately, this is a partnership with the customer. Do you have a favorite Porsche? I feel a strong attachment to the Carrera GT. The original concept was presented shortly after I joined Porsche. I went to the new factory in Leipzig to see the production start, and Timo Bernhard gave us demonstration laps on the track — what a car! Three years later it was on the showroom floor at Brumos. Now that it’s a Classic, the Carrera GT has taken on a whole new dimension for me in the form of a unique recommission project. A customer dreamt of what it would be like to have taken delivery of a new one, and that became the starting point of something truly special. He found a car, which Porsche Classic then completely restored and tailored to his styling preference, including Oak Green Metallic paint, houndstooth interior and golden accents. We unveiled the car here at the Porsche Experience Center, and I got to pull the cover off of it myself. What’s your daily driver? I currently enjoy a Porsche Macan as my daily driver. It’s perfect for living in the heart of the city here in Atlanta. For very special drives, I deploy my Brumos-sourced 1992 911 Turbo 3.3 coupe. I love the swoosh of the turbo and the challenge in timing the boost application to the exit of a corner. Is Porsche now making parts for vintage Porsches? Yes indeed. Porsche Classic currently has over 50,000 parts available, and every year, we add between 200–300 more to our catalog. The U.S. is home to a greater number of Classic Porsche cars than any other market, and we like to see them driven. Genuine parts are key to that mission. These are, of course, used at our Porsche Classic Partners and in authorized Porsche dealerships, but they are also available to customers and independent workshops. Are you comfortable driving a vintage Porsche, say a 356, around town or on the highway? Or should these cars be used on quieter, two-lane highways? Allow me to tell a short story about that. Back in 2006, I was invited to enjoy my friend’s 356C during an annual driving event that he managed. We left his house in Southern California early on a Wednesday morning, traveling north. For about two hours, I inched along in rush-hour traffic in that 40-year-old classic machine, and it never missed a beat, never overheated. Once traffic did get moving, we had no issue keeping up. You’ve got 10 days. What is your route, your car and your co-pilot? I actually had such a trip on the calendar, but it didn’t go as planned. After Rennsport Reunion VI in California, some enthusiast colleagues and I were going to drive back to Atlanta. During the preparations of my 911 Turbo, however, we discovered a broken head stud in the engine, which then led to the full restoration. Unfortunately, I had to take a rain check on the road trip, but I did get a cool new head-stud keychain. What, in your opinion, is the future of the vintage-Porsche market? Porsche Classic exists to keep cars on the road, and from that perspective, things are looking very positive. I see so much passion at all the events I attend, and the community appears to be growing. As a driving enthusiast myself, it’s a case of the more, the merrier. ♦

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