There’s a natural, powerful connection between John Oates and Porsche. The musician was born in April 1948, the same year the brand’s first sports car, the 356 “No. 1” Roadster, was released. Porsche is celebrating 75 years of sports cars, and John Oates is turning 75. Two peas in a pod. The US American achieved global fame in the 1970s as part of the pop duo Hall & Oates. He has helped shape the world of music and still performs on stage to this day. It’s his passion, his artistic expression, and the dream that inspires him. Now a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he has reinvented himself time and time again – just like Porsche.
Oates remembers seeing a Porsche 356 for the first time when he was just five years old, which marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship. It wasn’t until he achieved a certain level of success in his career that he was able to indulge in his passion. “I had just made money for the first time in the music business and was driving past Beverly Hills Porsche when I saw a 911 Turbo in the window,” he recalls. “It was red and had gold BBS wheels. I ended up driving it across the country twice.”
Doors continued to open. Hall & Oates, the group he formed with Daryl Hall, would go on to become one of the most successful musical duos of all time, creating global hits like Maneater and Out of Touch and selling some 40 million albums over a period of five decades. Oates’ obsession with Porsche reached new heights when he met race car driver Richard Lloyd on tour in Germany in the early 1980s. “He was a music fan, and I was a race fan,” says Oates. Lloyd arranged a Porsche factory tour in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, where Oates met with a representative of the special request department. He took advantage of the opportunity to treat a brand-new 911 Carrera 3.2 as his blank canvas, ordering the vehicle with a special Pearl White finish, black Fuchs rims, and leather equipment in Dove Grey.
The lost Carrera
Oates enjoyed driving the 911 and even picked up his future wife, Aimee, in the car on their first date. Memories were forged around the 911. But when downsizing his collection several years later, he decided to part with the Carrera, a decision he would come to regret a short time later. But there was no trace of it when he went looking for it. Many years later, Oates continued to make music as a solo artist, with the lost Carrera always in the back of his mind.
He and his wife Aimee now drive other Porsche models. Oates’ collection includes a 911 S built in 1967 and a 911 Turbo (964). Aimee recently acquired a Macan GTS in Python Green. “I’m the flower girl,” she says of her choice. “I want this color.” She also uses her Macan to transport plants for what her husband describes as the “zodiac enchanted garden” surrounding their house outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
For the couple’s 25th anniversary, they decided that giving back would be the ultimate present to each other, so they donated a Tiga SC84 Sports 2000, a 1980s race car, to the Amelia Island Concours. “When you give things away, sometimes you get things back,” says John Oates.
Shortly thereafter, the couple spotted a Porsche on an auction site listing a 1984 911 Carrera “believed to be a special ordered by John Oates.” The 911 was, without a doubt, his special-order car. Oates joined the auction and bid anonymously, which proved to be a nerve-racking experience. But it was meant to be, and they got the 911 back that held so many memories. “The cool part is that the other owners hardly put any miles on it, and they kept it exactly as it was. It’s like it’s out of a time machine,” says Oates. Choosing to preserve the car’s aesthetics, he opted for a light mechanical refurbishment by Porsche Classic. Their name for the reacquired 911, Karma Carrera, says it all. “This is a car that represents our history together,” he says. “A car we can hand down to our son. It’s an heirloom.”
Until that day comes, John Oates will continue to make appearances at Porsche community events with Karma Carrera. “I feel a special sense of camaraderie and just love engaging with all that.” When he wants to get away from it all, he goes for a drive through the vast landscapes of Tennessee. “Driving is therapy for me. I’ll go out early in the morning and clear my head. No radio, nothing but the sound of the car.” That, too, is music to his ears.
Text first published in the Porsche magazine Christophorus 408.
Author: Basem Wasef
Photos: Michael Alan Ross
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