What’s it like to drive a 1995 PORSCHE 993? Ask Director Adam Shell…

OK, let me ask you a simple question: What is Happiness? 

Well, if you ponder this for a thousand years, you may come up with an answer, but the truth is that it’s different for all of us and ultimately leads to peace of mind. 

That pursuit has been Adam Shell’s goal for the last several years, resulting in his film “Pursuing Happiness.” And although I’d like to say that all that work landed him back home and behind the wheel of his 1995 Porsche 993, we’d be missing the point.

Being a filmmaker, Shell’s had the chance to experience a lot of things. When we met with the intention of driving his Porsche up Pacific Coast Highway for this photoshoot, it was clear to me that he had already found happiness. 

But the key isn’t to find it, it’s to maintain it. And that’s what this car does really well.

“She has a spring kit and an exhaust system,” Shell said. “Though I really couldn’t tell you what they are since they are not labeled and I bought the car with them on it. To be honest, I think this a car that I would generally keep stock, only because it has low miles and I baby it. So I don’t really want to mess with it too much.” 

Sure, and what dork would mess with something that makes them happy?

Shell bought the ride in 2007 from a dealership in Atlanta, Georgia, and this is how he got into it. 

“[I] flew to Atlanta, the salesman picked me up from the airport, went to the dealership and did the paperwork,” Shell said. “I drove it around for about 2 hours and then gave it back to the dealer to ship to me and flew home. I think I was there for all of about 4 hours.” 

And that came from a man who gets things done.

Shell’s film, made over the course of two years with crowdfunding and social media as the source for both the production budget and the film’s content, follows him across the country where he talks to remarkable people who radiate genuine happiness. 

Every story shows a different struggle and a different triumph as artists, public servants, parents and dreamers show the world what makes them happy, and how that happiness has a remarkable impact on the people and communities that surround them.

But again, since we all find happiness within ourselves and express it in different ways, Shell’s 993 does it for him. 

“My dad always had a Porsche when I was growing up,” Shell said. “I have so many fond memories of riding in the back of those cars as a kid and this is the last model of the air-cooled Porsche, which to me are the real Porsches. The sound of the engine, the handling, the smell of the leather mixed with burning oil from the engine. Makes my wife sick, but I love it.”  

Strictly a weekend driver, when he bought the car, the car had 16,000 miles on her and just turned 29,000. 

“I really want to keep the miles low,” Shell said.  

As we drove up Solstice Canyon to the to, Shell told me his best story. 

“I told my dad that I was looking to buy an older Porsche,” Shell said. “He had not had one since the 80s. As I was looking around showing him the cars I was interested in, I think he got kind of jealous because he said, ‘How about if I go in on it with you and save you some cash?’ Of course I said yes since it was a second car for me the idea of sharing it with my bad brought the whole thing full circle. But the funny thing is that he never drives it. I think it’s just the idea of owning it that makes him happy.” 

And there it is again. Happiness from a different perspective. 

Of all my Rides of the Week, ones like this remind me of what makes me happy: listening to the stories and going on the driving adventure. I’m blessed to be able to do that. 

Shell’s film and his driving experience should remind us all that happiness exists in the moment, within ourselves. It’s our choice to be happy despite what we see with our eyes. Choose coolness, and coolness comes, even if it’s in the guise of a Porsche.

Be sure to check out Adam’s film, “Pursuing Happiness,” at pursuinghappiness.com. 


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