Saturday, 6 November 2010


Result….Our hotel is right next door to a KFC restaurant! You know you've been away for a while when a KFC is exciting. That’s breakfast sorted, although we appear to be the only ones eating a whole bucket of fried chicken at this time in the morning…

Back in the UK I did a little research into the location of official Porsche dealerships in China. I fired off an email to Porsche Chengdu to ask if we could stop by and use their inspection ramp (If we made it that far) The center manager replied and said we should drive over to see them if we make it, so we did.

Serena calls the Porsche center over breakfast and arranges us an appointment for 3pm that afternoon. We spend the afternoon shopping in downtown Chengdu, and keen to tick another weird food from our list, we both try “Neck of duck” for lunch. I know what you’re thinking, but actually its pretty tasty!

We arrive at the Porsche showroom for 3pm where we receive a warm welcome from the management staff. They congratulate us on our effort and arrange for the car to get a much needed wash - Its absolutely filthy, the once shiny silver wheels are now almost pure black with brake dust and grime…

We make our way into the showroom to check out some of the latest models, the salesman explains that over 90% of new Porsches sold in China are the Cayenne 4x4 model, bearing in mind the state of some of the roads I can see why. The prices are sky high, there’s a luxury goods tax on Porsche models which literally doubles the price - A base specification Boxster weighs in at around £80,000. A high specification 911 Turbo is quite way North of £220,000..

Three coffees later and Jerry re-appears spotless, so marked is the difference that Serena doesn’t recognise it as being the same car. We drive into the workshop to meet the mechanics, the manager kindly arranges for me to stay with the car for the duration of works. We discuss the price for the scheduled work, I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that the labour rate is a fraction of that in the U.K, less than £50 per hour. Brilliant.

As you might expect, a 44 year old Porsche is entirely different from a modern vehicle in every respect. Because of this, I find myself giving the Porsche mechanics a crash course in 912 servicing - Starting with how to carry out an oil change. They’re keen to use Mobil 1 oil for the change, but I explain its not ideal for a vehicle of this age and we opt instead for the Valvoline oil that I carry on board.

We’re in luck today, the Porsche centre has a senior mechanic visiting from Porsche Dubai. He speaks fluent English and having recently restored a 356 model for a client, he’s fully up to speed with the classic vehicles. We finish up by raising the front suspension just a little, then its back into the office to pay the bill of……Nothing! The centre manager has decided to waive the cost of all the labour. He wishes us good luck and we motor back to the hotel.

Dinner is spent at a great restaurant downtown where we manage to tick off frog, foot of chicken and pigs ear from the weird foods list. We dine with Tracy, one of the managers at NAVO the excellent tour company that has arranged our transit of China. She explains that the press are interested in featuring our trip in the local paper and TV station. Are we interested in arranging a photo shoot? YES! A couple of calls later and we’re booked up for an interview back at the Porsche centre the following afternoon.
place to need medical assistance, the gu

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