After several decades juggling the polarized professions of farming and motoring journalism, Harry Metcalfe has found some harmony. Now a globally recognized automotive authority, the 63-year-old Briton divides his time between running a 122-hectare farm in the English countryside and presenting a YouTube channel dedicated to his car collection. And the most recent addition to what over half a million subscribers know as “Harry’s Garage” is a highly unusual 911 Turbo.
While farming is in his blood, Metcalfe admits that it wasn’t always part of the plan. “When I was at school, I thought I’d be an automotive engineer,” he explains, “but I was rubbish at mathematics and didn’t pass the right exams. I’d been working on farms for summer jobs, however, and my grandfather was a farmer, so I ended up at agricultural college and came out of there as a grain buyer.” Metcalfe began arable farming in the early 1990s and by midway through the decade was working almost 800 hectares. Any profits not returned to the business were diverted into his second love, cars.
An interesting assortment of high-performance road and race cars soon attracted the interest of the British motoring press, and after forging close friendships within the industry, Metcalfe would find himself cofounding Evomagazine in 1998, a niche performance-car title that quickly established a devoted international readership.
It was at this stage that Metcalfe bought his first Porsche, a black 911 Turbo (Type 993), which he used as a daily driver. Its blend of performance and usability grounded an enduring interest in the flagship 911, the origins of which he can trace back to the original Type 930 Turbo in 1975. “My parents had just employed an architect who was a Porsche fanatic,” Metcalfe recalls, “and all he wanted to talk about was this new ‘Turbo’ that was going to revolutionize motoring. He’d show me all these pictures and I remember how special it looked.”
911 Turbo – the very car of his boyhood dreams
Metcalfe made a conscious decision to own different marques while running Evo, but later rekindled that long-held Porsche passion, buying an early 930, the very car of his boyhood dreams, and another 993 Turbo that had been converted to GT2 specification. It was during this period that he started “Harry’s Garage”, posting weekly video reviews of new cars alongside regular reports on his own collection. The 911 models would sit happily alongside a diverse mix of period and modern machinery, and British and Italian super sports cars. But Metcalfe continued to search for a Porsche that offered the power and drama to rival his most exotic supercars.
The solution came courtesy of a 1989 911 Turbo that had passed through the Sonderwunsch personalization program. The Guardsred 930 Turbo S featured a Group-4-inspired front spoiler with uprated oil cooler, quad exhausts, and the seats and steering wheel from a 959. The car also left the factory with 17-inch RUF alloys and a 3.4-liter Motorsport engine making in excess of 400 hp, some 30 percent more than a standard Turbo. Metcalfe acquired the car in late 2021 and has since begun exploring its unique history and equally unusual character. “If you’re lucky enough to have driven everything, it’s the slightly mad ones that give you the most back,” he explains. “You can chase perfect handling or refinement, but sometimes the car you actually want to own is the one with the quirky nature.”
Discovering great roads and getting to know cars
The 911 Turbo S now takes pride of place in “Harry’s Garage” and has just completed a 2,000-kilometer road trip through southern Europe. It’s the sort of escape that Metcalfe lives for, discovering great roads and getting to know his cars in the real world. “I always say that cars have to be really good at going slowly because, unfortunately, we spend a lot of time today doing just that. And this car can potter all day long, but then it has this wild side where you’re suddenly flying, with old-style 911 suspension and brakes. I’m wrestling the thing, still learning it – and I’m in heaven!”
More than 500,000 people follow Harry Metcalfe on his YouTube channel “Harry’s Garage”, which features, among other things, the road trip with the 930 Turbo S in Spain.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine Christophorus, No. 403.
Author: Matt Master
Photographer: Matt Howell