As some of you may know my twin granddaughters have started helping me in the garage with my Targa Top business. As rising juniors in college majoring in business, they make a few bucks I get some needed help. If you were to think they are helping me with marketing, invoicing, sales side of the business, you would be wrong. I am teaching them the 'manly stuff' like how to build Targa tops fom the ground up. They are learning the basics, like how to measure, cut with a razor knife, use a bull grinder and drill guns. You get the picture. They are also learning how to safely pack a box so the contents don’t get broken, how to judge good parts from bad quality parts, how to properly use hand tools, how to be consistent in your work within a quarter of 1%. I believe my job is to teach them the things they will never learn in Business School. Welcome to the real world.
Also working alongside of them, I get to instill some sound business practices. A couple of examples: When an immediate task is completed and there is a pause while glue sets up, find something to do. It maybe cleaning and prepping other parts or do something as mundane as cutting cleaning rags. As they say at McDonald's , 'if you have time to lean, you have time to clean'. Learning the rule of measure twice and cut once. Another one is to correct a problem once it is discovered. There is no such thing as 'canceling errors'. Perfection comes being perfect at every step. And with striving for perfection comes pride in accomplishment a trait which will transcend this job. Not sure college is teaching any of this these days.
Another good practice that I have taught the girls is that when problem is found, it isn’t about laying blame. There probably is enough of that to go around starting with me. It's about fixing the situation, using the experience as a challenge and taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It has been nearly a year since they come on board, and so far so good with them learning the workings of a small business. But there is still so much to teach them.
As you may know, I've been in 'the Porsche business' building and sellin Vintage Porsches and parts before they were Vintage. In all my years, I've brought maybe 200 cars back to life from bad engines, worn out suspensions and more. Along with these I have built over 50 track cars so I could enjoy my passion and help others too. The idea was to put big engines and big brakes on old worthless chassis, long hood 911 and 912's. The building of track cars lead me to the vintage parts business as if I didn’t have enough to do.
I have a 71 911E on the lift in the process of restoration. It might just be time to teach the Targettes how to wrench. Part #2 of this post will be the Targattes venture into mechanical restoration of suspension and brakes This should be fun - not sure who's going to learn more - me or them.
Dan Petchel is a Porsche driver, enthusiast and longtime PCA member and he's been tinkering with these beloved German sports cars for close to 50 years. He writes about Porsches, Targa Tops, vintage parts and the people he meets along the way.