Literally the first day I had the car, I managed to lose the cover off the left headlight washer jet. This appears to be the result of a known design flaw in the 996 series. If you have the headlights on and trigger the headlight washer jets while driving, the chrome covers fly right off. And, of course, because it's a Porsche, you can't just replace the cover, you have to replace the entire washer jet assembly, which runs about $65 (part numbers Part # 996-628-144-00 and Part # 996-628-143-00, different for right and left).
Fortunately, the process for fixing these is well documented on YouTube (1, 2) and takes a couple of minutes. I'll get around to it right after I polish the headlight.
After fixing the radio in the Corvette, it was time to tackle the clock. We tried mightily to revive the patient, but in the end, a heart transplant was necessary.
The clocks in the "midyear" Corvettes (1963-67) are electro-mechanical units made by Borg Instruments. They were used in a bunch of other GM cars of the period, in addition to the Corvette. This article gives a nice description of the clock and what commonly goes wrong with it.
These are analog, spring-wound clocks with an electric winder that is supposed to reset the spring mechanism every 3 minutes or so. To see how it's supposed to work, check out this video (currently at 460 views, many of which are from me!). The design doesn't exactly inspire confidence, as it depends on a set of 12 volt contact points reliably closing every 3 minutes or so, pretty much forever. Those contact points build up corrosion over time, which will kill the rewinding mechanism.
The Porsche has been sold and sent off to the East Coast by transport. Time to tally up the total cost of ownership for this, my first "one year, interesting car, fully depreciated" experiment.
So, before we get to the raw numbers, some context. As with any Porsche, maintenance is a big expense on these cars. Even routine things cost more than they would for a typical car (e.g., oil change = $250).
And there were two big, unanticipated expenses. First, the failure of a coolant pipe necessitated an expensive "engine out" repair, which also led to a bunch of "while you're in there" maintenance and upgrades. For the 996tt, the coolant pipes are a known weakness, and thus a risk you take, until it happens and someone fixes it. Chances of it happening are slim in any particular year, and once it's fixed, it's fixed forever. So it's unfortunate that it happened on my watch, but them's the breaks. The next owner doesn't have to worry abo…
Why not turn the trip to Coachella into a first-rate road trip? OK, done. 1230 miles later, I can attest that California's backroads are spectacularly beautiful in springtime. Words fail me in describing these breathtaking landscapes.
Fortunately, however, I can find the words to describe the best roads I found. Day One: SF to Santa Maria
I started the trip by taking Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay, then climbing up to Skyline Drive for the classic drive past Alice's Restaurant and Windy Hill, then dropping down on 9 to Santa Cruz. This is a familiar route to any Bay Area driving enthusiast. The weather was perfect and the midweek traffic was light. As usual 9 is a blast, with lots of dappled shade and tight corners descending from the mountains. Highlight: Highway 9 from Skyline to Felton. Always great. This is a mountain road through the forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, so lots of dappled light, narrow two-lane road, and tight switchbacks. What the Miata was made for.