Dan Reese learned to love cars at an early age. When he was a kid, his family loved American cars; watching drag racing was one of the family's favorite pastimes. It was his brother who was the driving force in showing Dan how interesting cars actually are. While in high school, steered in the right direction by his brother, he started working at a shop where he helped repair American and Japanese vehicles. Dan learned a lot of mechanical and technical skills, but he wasn't sure where this would lead him in life.
At that point, Dan never thought about the Porsche brand. However, at the age of 20, he stumbled into a newly opened garage where he was introduced to the somewhat odd but charismatic German car manufacturer—a decisive moment it turns out. Impressed by the sound and style, he wanted to learn more about these peerless vehicles and, after helping out at the shop for a while, he was offered a job.
"I've learned to appreciate Porsches after studying the way they were built, and I was fascinated by the evolving technology of these cars. I was very interested to get to know more about Porsches."
Dan was obsessed with acquiring more and more knowledge about Porsches and eventually, after intensive study on the subject, he found himself building engines. Who would have thought that his passion would turn into a job, a job he still enjoys doing today—and even at the same garage where he was first introduced to the world of air-cooled cars from Germany.
In 1977, Dan and his wife, Mary, moved into a house bought with the proceeds from restoring and selling a 1969 911T, yet another positive impact the brand had on Dan's life. By this point, he couldn't even think about going a different direction with his career.
Two years later, he restored the 1970 914-6 they owned at that time, and while doing that, Mary was pregnant with his son, Chris.
For Dan, it was obvious that he wanted to share the passion for the Porsche brand with his son, the same way cars were a part of his family memories. The moment he was old enough, the toolbox in the workshop was "the place to be," watching Dad work on special cars. "Born into Porsches," Chris obviously supported the idea of his dad buying a 1970 911T in 2002. The previous owner was a cliche "little old lady" at the age of 86 and one of Dan's customers for many years. After getting into an accident with the car, she decided that it was time to let it go. It is often said that 911s don't change owners, they just move from one caretaker to the next. Her beloved Porsche couldn't have gone to a better choice than the man who had given it so much attention during her relationship with the car.
Caring for it over the years and knowing everything about it made the decision quite easy for Dan to buy the damaged Porsche from her and repair it together with Chris and his boss, Scott. For father and son, this project was quite unique, especially because they got to spend time together, sharing ideas and knowledge. During that time, Chris learned a lot about Porsches from his dad, and Dan couldn't have been more proud, seeing his son getting his hands dirty.
One day at home, Dan picked up one of Chris' model cars with the Martini livery—it just seemed right to use it on his own Porsche. The guys started brainstorming and eventually created a livery for the 911T that suits it perfectly. While mostly a repair and restoration, a few performance modifications were added. Dan started with stiffer antiroll bars, as well as SC front brakes, eventually leading to Bilstein struts with raised spindles, which allow for a lower ride height without compromising suspension geometry. Being an engine builder, he decided he wanted more power without going too crazy. The original 2.2L flat-six was increased in displacement to 2.5L and converted to a twin-plug ignition. The exhaust is now the old tried-and-true SSI kit using equal length runners for the manifold within the heat exchangers and a 2-in, 3-out rally-style muffler that allows Dan to chose between just a little loud and very loud, simply by removing a cap on the third tailpipe.
The interior was modified, inspired by the ideas of Dan, Chris, and Scott. Thankfully, it was improved in period-correct ways, bucking the current trend of weather stripping everything out or over-modernizing. The seat centers are covered in Houndstooth Pepita, filling any vintage enthusiast's heart with glee. A MOMO "Martini" steering wheel gives a nod to the exterior, and the vintage 1980s look is by far the most modern piece inside the car.
After completion of the 911T, Chris found himself thinking about purchasing his own Porsche. His first car, a Toyota pickup truck, served him well but seemed a bit prosaic. The restoration on Dan's Porsche and attending Porsche events all over California made him appreciate the marque even more—it was the same way his dad fell in love with the brand.
Despite dreams of driving around in his own Porsche, Chris wasn't in as big of a hurry to buy his first air-cooled vehicle as you might imagine; to him it was more about finding the perfect one. He knew that at some point, his ideal Porsche would come along, and in 2007 it finally happened. A 1978 911SC came up for sale, and it didn't seem like a coincidence that it was another car his dad had worked on over the years. It was a car that Chris knew from the early days sitting on the toolbox in the garage of Scott's Independent in Anaheim.
"I was studying more and more about these cars and eventually found my own taste. I had seen this 911SC in the shop since 1986, and the previous owner was very thorough and had an eye for the smallest details." Before even receiving an approval from Chris, Dan told the owner his son would buy the Porsche.
"I just knew this would be the car Chris wanted," Dan says with a laugh.
The previous owner of the 911SC put a lot of thought into the upgrades on the car. The tan leather interior was beautiful and had custom speaker enclosures. The 7- and 8-inch Fuchs wheels are every purist's dream, and even the slightly lowered, European-spec ride height was exactly what he was after. The car had all the right work done to it, and the majority of it had been done by Chris' own father.
At 110k miles, the engine was rebuilt to address a common head stud issue inherent in the 3.0L engines. Chris thought about redesigning the vehicle similar to his father's Porsche, but in his mind the 911SC already is a nearly perfect vehicle. "I looked at many cars over the years and this one seemed to be perfect. I just didn't want to change any of the design elements, especially because I bought it because of the way it is right now."
Back in 2002 when Dan purchased his 911, he and Chris became part of the R-Gruppe, a community of Porsche lovers. This was another great way for father and son to spend time together, doing what they love: driving Porsches with other enthusiasts. Since becoming an R-Gruppe member, Chris has never missed a "Treffen," except for his wedding in 2005, which we think is a totally acceptable reason.
"In 2008, I got to drive my Porsche on a racetrack for the first time, and this was probably the most memorable event I've attended. I learned to appreciate the car even more and got to know a lot about how to handle it at high speed," Chris remembers. "I think finding the 'attitude' of your car and exactly where the 'edge' is makes you that much better of a driver on the street."
Not only have father and son become Porsche addicts—Chris' daughter, Sophia, is already on the right path. She loves going on road trips, and you can see a big smile on her face while cruising down the highway. When she was little, Chris would put her in the Porsche to make her fall asleep—and that explains everything.
"She loves the sound of the Porsche and, of course, the speed. What she doesn't like at all is sitting in traffic, but who does?" Chris says.
Every time Chris brings his 911 to the shop in Anaheim for work, he grabs the tools and joins his dad.
"As much as I would enjoy doing another project with my dad, the increasingly high prices of air-cooled Porsches make it very difficult to find the right one at a right price. But doing the routine maintenance together with my father makes it feel like a new project. I hope once my daughter is old enough, she will join us in the shop," Chris says, remembering all the time he spent at the garage.
Stories like that make you realize that Ferdinand Porsche didn't only create cars—he created a community where people get together to enjoy a unique and evolving experience. Once you get to know these cars, you want to become part of it—listen to Porsche stories and share your own. A lot of brands have a community around them, but Porsche seems to have something unique about it.
Dan and Chris learned to appreciate Porsche for several reasons. To them, it led to exciting encounters, new and lasting friendships, and time that father and son got to spend together doing something they both love.
The Porsche brand made it possible for Dan to make a living from repairing and modifying these cars. It's hard to say where he'd be today if he hadn't stumbled into the garage in Anaheim years ago. More importantly, it has brought together three generations and given them something to enjoy.