Matthias was Viennese and a Porsche fanatic; had been one ever since as a school boy, on a school excursion, he had visited the Porsche auto museum in Pfeifhofer. There he fell in love with the 911 Carrera on display and swore to himself that he would
own one someday
He visualised himself at the Nürnburgring after the 24 hour race, on the victory podium with the trophy aloft, surrounded by decorative girls and the adoring crowd at his feet. As many Austrian boys of that time did, he saw himself
as the next Niki Lauda bringing honour and prestige to his country, not as in Niki’s case in a Ferrari but in a Porsche.
There were however two problems with this daydream and they were pretty insurmountable actually. He did not have a Porsche
and he was scared of driving fast.
Still the dream persisted.
When he finished school he found a job in one of Vienna’s more prestigious banks ‘Der Alte Kaiser Bank’ at a good
kick-off salary. He started putting part
of his earnings into a savings account and by scrimping and scraping, eating in cheap Viennese hamburger joints, and never taking girls to the pictures, after a couple of years he had squirreled enough away to put a deposit on a clapped out 1971 Karmann
Ghia convertible. Not quite a Porsche but all the same a very pleasant car to drive on a summer’s day with the top down; ‘Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald’ on the radio, and the snow topped Tyrolean Mountains in the background. The car was
not terribly fast which suited Matthias just fine, but surprisingly, it polished up with a quality shine and it was reliable.
Now that Matthias had the convertible he felt he really needed a trophy girl friend to match the upholstery and so his eye
fell on Mariandl who lived just 2 doors away and was an attractive , vivacious blond Viennese girl a year or so his junior. She was easily persuaded to come for a drive and a picnic in the Vienna Woods but not so easily prevailed upon, to allow Matthias to
get beyond holding hands when they went for a stroll after the picnic. After-all the Karmann Ghia was just a tarted up Volkswagen and Mariandl was only too well aware of that particular limitation to its prestige.
What was more she told him so.
‘Matthias,’ she said, ’you are a nice boy but this car is not quite what I had in mind for my future. If you have serious intentions you will have to do better than this, and if you have not, I would like you to know that I am respectable
girl. No hanky-panky without the ring.’
Matthias, who had seen Fellini’s ‘La dolce vita’ at least twice and had been hoping for the sort of response Anita Eckberg might have come up with, could not contain his disappointment.
Some sharp words were exchanged between the ’would be’ lovers and they did not go out together again.
Then there was a change for Matthias; he was promoted into the bank’s newly set up foreign exchange department where his computer
skills, acquired during night classes, were greatly appreciated, and with this appreciation came a substantial raise. It allowed him to pay off the car which lessened the drain on his finances. Matthias calculated though that despite the increase even a second-hand
Porsche would still be unattainable for many years.
It was then that he turned his mind to fraud.
He set up what was called in the trade a Salami fraud, where he rounded down all deposits that passed through his computer and transferred the tiny
slices that were left over into his own account. And as the bank’s new department grew so did Matthias’s account. Soon after he had enough in this little side line account to put a deposit on a Porsche Carrera, not just on a second hand Carrera,
but on a brand new cabriolet.
This was for Matthias the ultimate life experience: A beautiful car, open top motoring, a steady income from his fraud scheme, plenty of girls prepared to sit on the bonnet for a photo opportunity, and above all envy from
It never once crossed his mind that he was now a thief and a forger. However it did cross the minds of the auditors of the foreign exchange department when they saw him pull up in the employees’ car park in his brand new Porsche. They
instigated an investigation, which uncovered his fraud after a lengthy search. Matthias was arrested, and brought before a judge who showed him no mercy. He was jailed for 2 years and had to give back the Porsche.
When he came out: he had no job, no
income, and no prospects.
Matthias spent days, then weeks in finding someone who would give him a job till he finally landed a temporary position with a cleaning company which had the maintenance contract at the Nürnburgring. Here Matthias was
given the task of driving the street sweeper that was used to give the track a final sweep before the start of a race. With the cheering crowd in the stands, and at the wheel of the leisurely paced sweeping machine, he reflected upon his life and past mistakes,
2 years jail and a lost Porsche, and compared it with the life of his hero Niki Lauda: one terrible formula one crash, severe disfigurement, several heart stopping near misses, two failed Airline Companies, and one air disaster. Matthias knew then who had
had the better deal. He came to be at peace within himself and content with the way things had turned out. So in a strange way Matthias did attain his boyhood dream of driving at the Ring in front of a crowd. It has to be admitted though, that although
the sweeper was an impressive piece of machinery it had not been built by Herrdoctor Ferdinand Porsche.
But then what is life but an unfulfilled dream