If you’re reading this website, chances are, you’ve daydreamed of a garage full of cars that could satisfy your every whim and fancy. “What’s in your dream garage?” is even a question on our Member Rides survey. So, when member Jack Beckman answered “I’m pretty close to it now, just needs a Ferrari,” I knew I had to reach out and know more.
It didn’t hurt that he listed a 1974 Porsche 914 with a larger 2.4-liter Type 4 engine among a list of other enviable Porsches, either. I, a Type 4 enthusiast, am jealous. Beckman, a retired computer programmer who lives near Detroit, is really making the most out of his post-work years here.
(Welcome to Member Rides. This is the weekly feature where we look at people who became members of the site by signing up here and parting with a little of their hard-earned dough to keep The Autopian going. Our plan is to do these every week! Today it’s Jack’s turn!)
A Heady Mix Of Machines
Regardless of what you’re into, it’s always fun to peek into the garage of someone living their best car life. In addition to the 914, Beckman has a 2001 Porsche Boxster track car, a 1987 Porsche 928 S4, a 2023 Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS 50th Anniversary Porsche Design Edition, a 2020 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive (read: the swanky one with more legroom in the back), a 2023 Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain and a 2019 Buick Enclave. He also has a 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLS 580 on order. That’s quite the list!
Also, the garage finally got its Ferrari after Jack initially responded to our member survey: a 2006 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.
“None of these cars take the winter off,” Beckman told us. “If it’s slushy or rotten out, the wagon or the SUV go, but once the roads are clear and dry, the rest of them come out to play.”
Autopian: So, you finally got the missing Ferrari! You originally said you were considering a Roma. Was the 612 the last missing piece?
Well, I may get a Roma in a few years. I think they’re gorgeous, but I’m not sure I want to go down to a V8. One of the reasons I got the 612 was because of the V12.
I actually was set with seven cars, but happened to be looking at Cars and Bids (always a bad idea <g>) and the 612 came up with no reserve. I guess I got it cheap as the first comment from the indy dealer selling it was, “Might have to start putting reserves I think.” At the beginning of the auction, it was dirt cheap—so cheap that Doug DeMuro even bid on it. So I bid, and had high bid (at a pretty low price) until it got near the end. I got into a bidding war with a couple of other guys, then one dropped out. I finally put in my max bid and decided “that’s it, no more. Apparently, the other guy decided that on his previous bid.
It needed some work when I got it (things like motor mounts and front ball joints) as well as some minor paint work, but now it looks pretty good and runs great. I’ve put about 700 miles on it this year, including some hard driving. For a giant, heavy car, it really does handle quite well at speed. Pretty decent trunk (for a Ferrari) and it has not one but TWO “secret” compartments under the trunk floor.
I’ve always wanted a Ferrari. I love their racing history.
Autopian: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into cars?
I started playing with Hot Wheels at age six or so. Watched all the racing on TV that I could as a kid. Started doing car maintenance on my first car (a 1970 Maverick) out of cost necessity. Learned to drive stick the hard way—I bought one and had to get to work! Raced in local Formula Vee for a short time (wasn’t very good!). Drove a 1987 Corvette for 20 years (almost into the ground). Had a manual Chevy SS before the 911.
Autopian: That’s a solid list, too! Formula Vee always looks like a blast, and I’m a sucker for well-loved Corvettes. Do you know where any of your past cool rides are now?
I only know where one of my less cool rides is now. I sold my Cadillac XT5 to a friend who really wanted it and replaced it with the E 450. He is using it as his daily out in Arizona, where the heated seats don’t get much use, but the ventilators do!
The Porsche Greatest Hits Collection
Autopian: Your current stable reads like a Porsche’s Greatest Hits collection (complete with a 928, YES!), so I’m curious—what led you to multiple-Porsche ownership? Do you have a favorite?
Oddly enough, the Porsche fixation started with my wife. She had wanted a Panamera for many years, and once we could finally afford one, we went to the closest dealer and ordered her one. Nine months later, the car finally showed up. In the same shipment was a 911 Cabriolet 4S [Beckman’s first 911—Ed.]. The dealership had just ordered it without a customer order, which was still possible back in 2019. I took a test drive and fell in love. I was driving a manual 2015 Chevy SS at the time and thought that was pretty quick until I drove the 911. I was hooked. Since this one had 90% of what I would have ordered anyway, I just took that rather than wait. Turned out to be a good move since this was in early March 2020. I’d probably just be getting the car now!
After getting the 911, I started getting more into the history of the brand. I knew a little, but started digging into other cars. I had always liked the looks of the 914 and 928. After taking the 911 to a track day, I wanted more track time, but not in my mostly bank-owned 911. So, I found the 2001 Boxster with 81,000 miles at a Buick dealer about a mile away and had that fixed up. I only do very minor work myself, like replacing interior pieces and hood struts. I’m the 11th owner! I had a third radiator put in, a bigger oil sump (as they are known to have starvation problems in big corners), and the IMS bearing changed out for one with an oil system to prevent any issues there. The seats got recovered as they were split. I also added a Porsche Classic radio to get navigation and Apple CarPlay. It runs great on the track—it’s a better car than I am a driver.
The 928 I found on Hemmings after searching around for about a year. It only had 41,000 miles when I got it. It needed a lot of mechanical work, but the interior was like new (Torch and David have seen it). It even still has the cover that attaches to the hatch, which is something that seems to go missing on 928s. In the pictures, it has the official winter wheels that I found online as new old stock. In the summer, it gets the original wheels with summer tires. Other than adding a Porsche Classic radio (to get Apple CarPlay, navigation and satellite radio) and a brighter light under the hood, it’s stock.
The 2023 911 GTS Targa 4 50th Anniversary Porsche Design I picked up a couple of months ago. Once again, it was because of my wife—yes, I love her dearly! We had brought her car into the dealership for a recall on the Panamera and saw this 911 for sale with all of 200 miles on it. Apparently, an older gentleman had bought it, drove it a bit, and decided it was too much car for him, so he sent it back to the dealer on consignment.
My wife noticed it and really liked it even though she couldn’t drive it, as it’s a manual. (Our previous Cabriolet was a PDK.) She also liked the color. With this numbered edition, your choice is Jet Black or Jet Black Metallic, and she never liked the blue 911 Cab. It’s nicely specced with the front lift (nice for me as I have to travel down a quarter-mile of gravel road to get to my street), rear-wheel steering and ventilated seats. It also has a much nicer interior than my Cab did, with a lot more leather. Plus, I like the look of the Targa better than the Cab, as the roofline on the Targa still looks like a coupe. It is also easier to see out of with the top up as the back is all glass, where in the Cab, you only have a small glass section. I also enjoy having a manual again. The Boxster and the 914 are manuals, but they are bit cramped inside compared to the 911.
The Panamera is my wife’s daily driver, so it’s a bit dirty in the pics. She drives it pretty much all the time, and I get to occasionally. We took it to Florida this year on a trip to see some Spring Training games, and it was a great long-distance driver.
A 914–With Heated Seats!
Autopian: I’d love to know what you’ve done to the 2.4-liter 914. Was it bought like that, or did you build out the bigger engine? Was there anything else done to the car alongside the larger engine?
I got the 914 earlier this year from a dealer in Kansas. The car came with the 2.4-liter 4-banger. It’s an engine from SCAT in California. It’s using dual carbs rather than the old fuel injection system. It also has a Porsche Classic radio, but I didn’t pop for satellite radio. It also has heated seats—the interior was rough, so I had it recovered and that seemed like the time to do it. The paint on it is definitely a 10-to-15-foot repaint job, but it’s sound with no rust. I also had the pop-up headlights changed to LEDs. The originals popped up but didn’t work, so I figured it was a good time to upgrade. I also had the spare-tire-powered washers replaced with a motorized washer system. [Jason will be crushed, I’m sure.—Ed.]
Autopian: Let’s hear about your other cars, too—what are your favorite things about the E 450 wagon and Enclave?
The E 450 finally showed up in March, and it’s been great. They will only sell the wagon as an All-Terrain model here, so you get extra cladding, a couple of off-road modes, and an inclinometer in the digital display! I’m not an off-roader, but it’s great for highway use and general stuff around town. I wanted a wagon to replace my Cadillac XT5 because I am not a huge fan of SUVs (although they can be very useful). I would have kept the XT5 but I have a bad left knee, and the wheel hump in the XT5 got intolerable as I got older. Otherwise, I liked it.
But the E 450 wagon has a feature that’s almost gone (and is gone on the 2024 model)—rear-facing back seats! They’re perfect for our dogs, Ceres (the white one) and Vesta (the brown one).
The Buick is the AC/DC of the family: dirty deeds done dirt cheap. It hauls the bags of dirt, the plants, the sets of tires, furniture, etc., does so without complaint, and is the only vehicle that uses regular fuel! We ordered it new, and I would keep it except it has an even worse wheel hump than the XT5. So, I drive it sparingly now as it’s just too painful for me, and that’s why the GLS580 is on order (and has been for a year now—it went from a 2023 to a 2024 so far). It’s too bad, because it’s a real workhorse.
Autopian: Lastly, what’s your favorite race track?
I haven’t driven many tracks—only the local Waterford Hills and M1, as well as Barber Motorsports Park with the Porsche drive program. Of the three, I like Barber the best. It’s a very fun track.
Thanks! If you’re a member and want to be highlighted, please check your email for a link to a survey you can fill out. If you don’t want to be featured, that’s also fine. Go here and join today!