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I Bought a Spare Key for My Porsche 911 -- and It Took 9 Hours

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author photo by Bill Leedy October 2017

Yes, you read that title right. This is the story of buying a spare key for my Porsche 911, and why it took me nearly nine hours to do it.

Let me start by saying that I took the car to New Country Porsche of Clifton Park, which has to be about the longest name of any dealership I have ever visited. I'd also like to point out that they treated me very well, I was pleased with their service -- and while it was more expensive than getting a new key for my Mazda3, it could've been worse! With the key fob, programming, purchase and installation of new floor mat holders, the total came to a touch over $500.

Indeed, I bought a 911 spare key, had it programmed, paid and left. That's it -- story over, right? Well, not exactly. What about the part where it took all day to get it done? Well, here's the thing about that. You see, I live in central Vermont. Clifton Park does not live in central Vermont. In fact, Clifton Park is 150 miles away and not even in the same state. Did you know Vermont doesn't have a single Porsche dealer? In Vermont, you also can't buy a new Jaguar, Land Rover, Infiniti, or Lexus!

So when you have to take the day off and drive several hours to and from your dealer, you make the most of it! I spent the drive to (nearly) Albany, New York, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather on the secondary roads that make their way across the landscape between our home and the destination. No highways were allowed.

I arrived at the dealer a full hour ahead of schedule, and they graciously fit me in immediately -- and they were done in about as much time as it took us to take a look around at their inventory. On top of the new Porsche models, they also had a Lotus Evora, a Shelby GT500 and a 1987 911 Turbo with only 21k miles (my 1-year-old Mazda3 has more miles than that!).

Porsche 911 in dealership

It was the trip home, though, that was the most fun. With no more scheduled appointments, I took my sweet time. Poor timing meant I was headed into Glens Falls, New York, at the same time everyone was leaving work. It's also August, which means I found myself heading toward popular Lake George at peak tourist season. As beautiful as this area is, however, these are not the reasons we're going this way. What I came for was the driving roads.

Along Lake George, route 9N pulls away from the huge homes on the waterfront and winds its way around, up, and over a mountain coupled with a 55 mile per hour speed limit. Once you cross the border into Vermont, you pick up Rt. 17, a few miles of which happens to be about the twistiest section of the road in the state. It was time to finally stretch this Porsche's legs and give it a real workout instead of all this puttering slowly up a mountainside toll road malarkey.

Porsche 911 on road

Perhaps of surprise to no one, this car handles quite well when the road is smooth. There's some chassis wobble when the surface is less than stellar, but it never felt like it wasn't composed. The steering is quite twitchy on the highway but comes into its own when you're aiming for the apex. It changes direction well, and the massive tires mean there's plenty of grip. I've spent the last two months gradually working toward pushing the car beyond normal driving because my rudimentary understanding of physics filled my head with visions of coming out of the corner in a fit of rampant oversteer and making friends with the ditch. Perhaps it was all for nothing. Everything went perfectly.

No, the car doesn't have a ton of low-end torque, so you're able to start getting into the throttle early and let the flat-six sing its way to the next corner. Then you nicely rev-match downshifts, turn in, and start the process again! I can see why people get into trouble with these cars. The sound at full throttle is intoxicating and the handling inspires confidence. As capable as the car is, without some caution and self-restraint, you'll push harder and harder until you abruptly and simultaneously run out of grip and talent. I'm thankful I managed to avoid that.

Anyway, that's how you get a story out of something as mundane as getting a new key programmed. Find an interesting route and turn the drive into an adventure.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
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Used 1997 Porsche 911 Targa
Used 1997 Porsche 911
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Bought a Spare Key for My Porsche 911 -- and It Took 9 Hours - Autotrader