Roadside Revelations: A cross-country drive and discovery of America in a Benton Performance Porsche 912Written by A:S Founder James Lamdin
Originally published on - MARQUED
Let’s just say I’m really good at traffic stops – I’ve had my fair share. And so, when I saw the flashing lights behind me, I pulled onto the shoulder of US Route 84, just outside of Justiceburg, Texas, and shut off my engine so as not to alert the police officer behind me to the abnormal power that my demure little Porsche 912 produces. I had been hustling through Texas all morning and, up to that point, this day had been amongst the best (if also one of the longest) days of my maiden voyage in this car. In fact, I had only spent a few days with the car at this point, and here we were, already getting into trouble together.
The trip had begun three days earlier when I set off from Benton Performance in Anaheim, California, taking the southern route back to the East Coast. Or, on second thought, maybe it began in 2017 when I pulled the car out of long term storage and sent it to Potzinger Reworks in Huntington Station, New York, to begin the extensive restoration and modification. Or did it all start back in 2010 when I first bought the car…or in 2007 I first laid eyes on it…or in 1991 when I first saw a 912 and when the seed of desire for one of these often overlooked Porsches first took root? Or did all of this start in 1967 when the car rolled off the assembly line in Stuttgart? All told, this journey was a 30-year dream, a 13-year plan, and a 6-year, bicoastal restoration project, all 56 years in the offing and all of which culminated in me sitting here on the side of Route 84, awaiting my fate...
JAMES' ROADTRIP KIT
Vintage has always informed my lifestyle, and my appreciation for classic cars has always coexisted with my fascination of vintage watches. To accompany me on this properly analog adventure across the country in my 912, I brought four complementary pieces from my collection:
Vintage Heuer chronographs have been one of my focuses in my collecting journey. The authentic connection between Heuer and the golden era of motorsports drew me to them years ago, and while I have at some point or another owned most of the iconic vintage references, the oddball Heuer Camaro captured my heart - just like the 912. There's a level of under-the-radar appeal that these watches have, and I knew that setting off on my trip, I would need to bring one with me. So naturally I chose two (two is always better than one in watch collecting!:
For some context, the Camaro was produced for four short years (again, like the original 912) from 1968-1972 and were only produced as manually-wound chronographs. Characterized by its 38mm 'sqound' cushion case design, to me piece captures the style of the era perfectly, which is part of the reason for my love affair with the model. Not to mention that the Camaro shares a name with an iconic muscle car of the era, once more connecting my passions.
The first example I chose is a Reference 7834S Dato - a 'Panda Dial' model finished in silver with contrasting black sub dials and a 6:00 date. The pop of the subsidiary dials is striking, and infinitely rarer than many other more popular 'Panda Dial' chronographs from the era. Powered by the Valjoux 7732, this is one of the most robust hand-cranking chronographs with a date function I've owned. The second one, a Reference 73643 NT has a black dial with orange chronograph hands and tachymeter scale. Often referred to as 'exotic' dials, mine has developed a rich chocolate patination throughout, and houses the outstanding Valjoux 7736 chronograph movement. Motor sports watches often have a fun splash of color, and this watch is no exception. Both watches are paired up with their correct Gay Freres double-grain 'Beads Of Rice' bracelets, which are exceedingly comfortable to wear. Vintage Heuer, and the Camaro in particular, capture so much of what I love about vintage watches and design as a whole, and having these motorsports-inspired watches produced in the same era as the Porsche made the trip that much more enjoyable.
Next up was a travel essential - my vintage Reference 1675 Rolex GMT-Master. This particular example dates to circa 1965, and features a gilt dial with a flawless mirror finish, an incredible case, and a vibrant 'Pepsi' bezel insert. Practically speaking, I was traveling across time zones which made this piece a natural choice to track both local and home times along the way. On top of this, however, the GMT-Master historically represents exploration and travel. Released just as commercial jet flight was beginning in 1954, the GMT-Master line seems fitting for any milestone trip. The heritage of the model is exactly what my trip was all about. Plus, it has a hell of a lot of vintage charm.
Last, since you never know when you may get wet, I brought my contemporary Everose Gold Yacht-Master 40, a Reference 116655. This modern piece is also a bit of an oddball, what with its rose case, matte black dial with red text, 'maxi' style luminous indices, black ceramic bezel insert, and Oysterflex bracelet. This watch is just a whole lot of fun and extremely comfortable to wear - not to mention it is always important to keep a modern waterproof watch around when traveling, and while I wouldn't quite categorize the Yachtmaster as a 'beater' - it does the trick!
PREPARE FOR YOUR OWN ADVENTURE WITH ANALOG:SHIFT
As Founder of Analog:Shift, my passion for vintage watches and cars has informed the collection of watches and accessories we offer since we began, way back in 2012. Here are some of my personal favorites for the motoring lifestyle you may want to check out for yourself:
Heuer Autavia 'Viceroy'
Since I love vintage Heuer, it was only fitting to start here. Their 60s and 70s chronos are the best place to start, and we have a large selection of Autavias, which are amongst my favorites. Known to collectors as the 'Viceroy', these chronographs take their name from the 'Viceroy' Cigarette company, who offered a special deal in the 1970s for this custom configuration - you could pay only $88 with proof of purchase of a carton of smokes and the watch would be yours. This second generation Autavia line has a distinctive cushion case that captures the spirit of the 60s and 70s.
Heuer Autavia GMT
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, consider this Autavia, a Reference 2446C GMT which also comes equipped with a secondary time zone function. For a cross-country trip, this piece is a natural choice. A classic three-register reverse-panda dial chronograph with 'Pepsi' colored rotating 24 hour bezel and GMT hand in a waterproof case? This one literally does all the things!
Heuer Master-Time Dash Clock
You shouldn't think about taking a trip in a sexy vintage car without fitting an equally sexy vintage dash clock. This 'Master-Time' model has an 8-day hand cranking movement. Also hailing from the 1960s, this model was designed to be mounted to the dash of your ride so you never lose track of time. Even if you have a killer lineup of watches, you're going to want one of these - it adds so much charm to any classic car. (Hint: It also goes great when paired with THIS)
Movado Datron 'Blue Panda' El Primero Chronograph
This piece is another sleeper. The Movado Datron HS360, which dates to the early 70s, comes in a cushion case and is fitted with an El Primero Calibre 3019, the very first hi-beat automatic chronograph movement on the market. This piece has a beautiful blue reverse panda dial with Tritium lume. A very similar example was handed down to me by my grandfather, and is a big part of what prompted me to start collecting vintage, and subsequently launch Analog:Shift!
Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675
As I mentioned earlier, the GMT-Master is a personal favorite, and an icon without question. This beautiful 1970s Reference 1675 features the classic 'Pepsi' bezel that became the signature look of the GMT line. To further underscore its vintage vibes, this model has a Tritium dial which has patinated beautifully. Arguably no vintage Rolex collection has as much personality as the GMT-Master line, and that's why it's one of our favorites here at Analog:Shift.
Vintage Porsche Prints
One way to enjoy the charm of Vintage Porsche without needing to have one in your driveway is through original ads produced by the brand through the decades. We have collected a number of these cool pieces in collaboration with our pals at Ad Patina, and have a few offered on the site, including a 2 page spread featuring 20 of the brand's legendary cars through the years. We also have a 1970 ad with a motion-blurred shot of a Porsche 911 overtaking a Ferrari 512.
Autosport Collection 10 Piece Watch Storage Box
Our love for cars has inspired the creation of an entire collection of watch boxes and accessories. This 10-piece storage box is the crown jewel in the collection, based on checker-pattern racing watch boxes from the 1960s and 70s. We extended the same theme to a watch strap-changing tray to store your straps, strap-changing implements, and pocket clutter in style.
Ralstra® Rallye Straps
If you want to bring a motorsports appeal to your strap game, consider our Rallye-style straps produced by Ralstra. These straps are inspired by the designs of the 60s, but now, you don't need to hunt down worn-out vintage straps, you can achieve the look with a new one! Each strap is handmade from supple lambskin in Italy.