Guest Post by Todd Heslin of RideHacks.com.au.
It was Chinese New Year and no cars were available. We were stuck at Melbourne Airport with an important client meeting in 90 minutes.
Hi there, can we take the red Porsche?
The Hertz customer service attendant clearly had never heard this question before, or he never practiced his response in the mirror. After the blank stare, lasting longer than was comfortable, followed by a subtle smile and ‘can-do’ head scratch, he replied:
Well, I guess…let me check with my boss.
The next 24 hours were unimaginable.
This isn’t just a story about the crazy things I’ve learnt from hacking driving experiences for a living. By the end of this post, you’ll learn a few practical tips on how you can get your hands on a Porsche this weekend. That is, if you’re worthy to appreciate such an experience.
Let’s talk about that first.
Whilst ‘Drive a Porsche this weekend’ may seem like a simple mission, creating a lifetime memory will be your challenge. After all, driving experiences are not about getting from A to B. That’s called transit, and it’s quickly becoming autotomised.
Transit-driving sucks, I’ll avoid it at any cost.
Driving experiences will always exist as a way for the wealthy and a handful of enthusiasts to show that they still care. This is similar to how a small number of people own and ride horses for enjoyment — not to transit from A to B, but for appreciation of the art and craftsmanship.
With this preface, I don’t want you to simply make a booking and hope for the best. Instead, let’s look at the entire experience as a movie, featuring the star of the show: you.
An outstanding car with a shitty driving experience is like taking a supermodel to your Great Aunt’s funeral on your first date.
Every awesome driving experience should pass the Hollywood test:
- Where should we set this epic adventure? What are the specific scenes?
- You’re the star, but who is accompanying you in each scene? What are their roles?
- What is the genre of your experience? Comedy, Action, Drama?
Swiss Alps, Tokyo Drift, English Countryside?
When designing your driving experience, you can start with your self-imposed constraints — the ones that everyone else tells you are reasonable. Or like a true Ride Hacker, you start with your ideal movie, and figure out practicalities around that.
Would you consider the plot of James Bond or The Fast and The Furious reasonable?
Start with ridiculous and work your way back to reality.
Where you want to set this epic adventure?
Perhaps it’s the Swiss Alps, meandering the Furka Pass in the tracks of James Bond’s DB5. Maybe metropolis midnight driving is your thing, Tokyo Drift style. If adrenaline isn’t your cup of tea, but a cup of tea is, add a set of golf clubs and head to the English Countryside for the weekend.
Choosing where you want to set your adventure first will make it easier to ‘say no’ and cut the bad scenes from your proverbial movie.
After setting your location, you’ll need to figure out the key scenes where the action takes place.
These scenes aren’t necessarily designed to script the entire experience — sometimes the untaken road is the least crowded and most spectacular. Rather, scripting the key scenes will give you queues to stop, breathe, and realise how awesome it is to be in your own movie.
Make It Epic — Choose Your Cast and Genre
Driving experiences, like other epic travel moments, can be significantly improved or ruined depending on the people you take along. Whilst the movie could simply feature you, it’s unlikely to be a blockbuster if there is no one else to share the moment with.
It’s not just about you and the car. That’s lonely. Include someone who will remind you about this weekend for years to come. They could be in the car with you, or in another car for the journey.
The people with you will make your driving experience 10x better or 10x suckier.
Choose wisely. Whilst you might have a long list of friends who suggest ‘take me for a drive around the block’, and ‘let’s go really fast down my street’, this is highly unlikely to create a remarkable driving experience. Probably much worse.
If the genre of your movie is a romantic comedy, take your partner, go somewhere new without planning, and chill the hell out when things don’t go as planned. It’s a comedy, laugh at yourself.
On the other hand, if you’re aiming for action, bring along friends who will make it better. Don’t invite anyone who will likely put you in jail or leave you with a $100k hole in your pocket. Especially don’t invite that one friend who’ll predictably deliver you both.
You have the location, scenes, cast, and the genre. Let’s move onto the practicalities of making it happen.
The Porsche Driving Experience
Remember when I told you to be unreasonable? Now is where you can dial it back a notch. Perhaps Switzerland is not possible this weekend — but maybe New Zealand is? The English countryside could be too far away, but where are the exclusive country clubs within 100km from any domestic airport?
Where possible, don’t make concessions. Plan the trip to Switzerland, Singapore, Miami, wherever it may be. It’s much more fun to design ‘perfect’ and dream about it for weeks or months before you do it. That’s part of the enjoyment.
On the other hand, RideHacks is about getting it done now. Let’s talk about renting a Porsche from a handful of capital cities in Australia. I’ll give you two alternatives.
The most transparent way to hire a Porsche Cayman is through Hertz. Why Hertz? Why not a sports car company? First thing’s first, I never recommend any driving experiences I haven’t done myself. I’ve easily done over 20 rentals with Hertz in the last year, two of which were a Porsche Cayman, and I’ve never had any problems.
Another option is through DriveMyCar who have a handful of Sydney owners with Porsche Cayennes and one Boxster. These cars are much cheaper than Hertz and the DriveMyCar service is fantastic.
The Hertz model is a Cayman or Boxster, not a GT3. Don’t expect a super fast car in Australia. Expect an entertaining driving experience. You can read about my two experiences renting out the Hertz Porsche Cayman in Sydney, and Melbourne. On the other hand, you could head over to Europe and hire a Porsche 911 for the weekend.
Before hiring out any car, I suggest you read through and bookmark my Ultimate Guide to Rental Insurance. If for no other reason, 15 minutes reading this will return you $1000/h on your invested time during your next few rentals. Guaranteed.
In terms of cost, you’re looking at $400-$500 per day with Hertz, inclusive of all charges. At DriveMyCar you have a minimum 7-day rental, but you will find a Boxster for $978/wk, an older (2006) Cayenne for $357/wk and a newer (2012) Cayenne for $806 per week. Sometimes this is a better option even if you only need a weekend.
We’re not talking about budget rentals, but you knew that from the title of the article. This is about an experience you will remember five, ten, twenty-five years from now.
When planning your experience, you’ll quickly realise that it’s often more compelling to fly to the UK or Europe and hire out much better cars than you can get in Australia.
Hacking driving experiences isn’t about finding a bargain. Far from it. It’s also not about looking like a privileged toolbag or overpaid bogan driving around, measuring your worth with the number of head turns.
Ride Hacking is about lifestyle design from a driving perspective. Be the star of the movie — make it worth watching.
Go get ’em squire.