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The 'crazy, not stupid' adventures of this 991.2 Carrera 4

Written by Marqued Staff

Sep 8, 2023

Jeff Rhoades knows what you’re going to ask: Why?

Why take a modern Porsche 911 – or any Porsche 911, for that matter – up a gravel road? Why get it stuck on a beach in Washington State? Why put a rooftop tent on it? Why not just get a Toyota 4-Runner or a Jeep Wrangler?

Rhoades knows you’ll want answers to these questions because he’s been asked them countless times since buying his 2017 Porsche 991.2 Carrera 4. He’s heard it from friends, he's heard it from strangers, and he’s heard the question – just…why? – at countless hiking trailheads across the western United States as he’s parked next to Tacomas and Raptors after bouncing up a rocky, rutted road to get there. When he first bought the lightly-used Porsche in 2018, Rhoades’ goal was to wring the most out of the 911 ownership experience, and to use the car “as intended.” But is this what the team back in Stuttgart had in mind when they rolled this car off the assembly line?

Photos courtesy of @jeff.c.rhoades

“Well, there’s the conventional intention,” says Rhoades, by way of explanation, “stuff like road trips, taking the car to the track, autocross, daily driving, and carving canyons. But I also love to hike and explore.”

With his previous cars, getting to the adventure, to that trailhead, was something of an afterthought for Rhoades. Sure, he could take a Range Rover up those last few miles of dirt road to the trailhead, but what about the 600 miles from home to the end of the pavement? With previous cars, those miles simply weren’t part of the memories. And so, when Rhoades began looking for his next car back in 2017, the guiding question wasn’t 'What kind of car should I buy?' but rather 'What spec of 911 best suits my appetite for adventure?'

I abide by the ‘crazy, not stupid’ ethos. We're certainly not rock-crawling here. I know the limits of the car. I know where the clearance points are.

“You can do everything I do with a 4-Runner, but I don’t want to take a 4-Runner to the track,” he says. “And a GT3 would be great on track days, but I don’t want to log a thousand miles a day in a GT3. This C4 is the perfect balance.”

Crazy, Not Stupid, in a 991.2 Carrera 4Crazy, Not Stupid, in a 991.2 Carrera 4

Photos courtesy of @jeff.c.rhoades

Rhoades eventually found his Carrera 4 – which sends its 370 horsepower to all four wheels thanks to its electro-hydraulically-controlled Porsche Traction Management all-wheel drive – in Illinois and had it shipped to its new home in the Portland, Oregon, area. Rhoades now has three sets of wheels and tires for the car: a set of Michelin Alpin PA4 snow tires; a set of Michelin PS4S tires on another stock set of wheels; and a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on a set of HRE RC100 wheels. Whatever the adventure, Rhoades and his Porsche are ready.

“Now, when I'm going to interesting places, beautiful places, when I'm going to visit family and friends, when I'm going skiing, the drive itself is part of the adventure,” says Rhoades.

Let’s be fair to Rhoades for a moment: With the recent overlanding craze, one need only take a drive down any urban freeway in the United States to spot a dozen Toyota Tacomas or 4-Runners kitted out every item – snorkels and MaxxTraxx and jerry cans and Trasharoos – from The Official Overlanders’ Gear Catalog. Most of these rigs and their owners will probably never find themselves more than a couple miles from a paved road, and most of the dirt roads on which they do find themselves could be just as easily traversed by Jeff Rhoades in his Porsche.

The most rewarding part of doing all this in a 911 has been proving to myself that I can do all of this in a 911.

Those same overlanders, however (the ones who actually get out and explore, that is), have also been a help to Rhoades in his own travels. “We’re always talking with other overlanders,” he says, “asking, ‘Hey, where's a great place to camp?’ and then, "Okay, do you think this would be passable in a regular Subaru…or perhaps a 911?’”

The 'crazy, not stupid' adventures of this 991.2 Carrera 4

This spirit of exploration has carried Rhoades and his 911 through more than 105,000 miles together, all across the western United States. Whatever you might be thinking, though, Rhoades does not abuse his Porsche.

“I abide by the ‘crazy, not stupid’ ethos,” he says. “ We're certainly not rock crawling here. I know the limits of the car. I know where the clearance points are. I know when I can get through a spot by taking a different line or a different approach angle, and when to just admit that I can’t get through without crashing my front bumper.”

Upon buying the Porsche, one of the first things Rhoades did was install a paint protection film on the entire car. This self-healing layer relieves him of the worry of rock chips when he dives onto that gravel road or heads out on a snowy day. Again: crazy, not stupid.

None of this, however, has quieted the chorus of voices (and Rhoades has heard them in the online forums and in person on his trips) who insist that Rhoades is ruining this Porsche. Rhoades brushes away that criticism.

Photos courtesy of @jeff.c.rhoades

“Look,” says Rhoades, “I put far more wear and tear in my car out on the track than I do going up and down any gravel road.” Still, wouldn’t a truck or an SUV be a more logical choice of vehicle simply for space alone? After all, camping necessitates camping gear.

“I've become a Tetris star when it comes to packing a car for a road trip,” says Rhoades, with a laugh. “The frunk in that car is incredible. It's much bigger than you think. You can fit two full-size roller bags in there. You've got a parcel shelf behind the back seats, where I can pack two full-size Coleman camp chairs and a full-size table. And then there’s the roof-top tent: anything that’s pressed or ironed, stuff like bedding and blankets, you can just fold it up and fold it into the tent.”

All of which is great…unless you want to buy a souvenir. “I bought a cowboy hat in Colorado,” says Rhoades, “so then the question became, ‘What am I supposed to do with this cowboy hat?’" Let the new game of Tetris begin.

Crazy, Not Stupid, in a 991.2 Carrera 4Crazy, Not Stupid, in a 991.2 Carrera 4

Photos courtesy of @jeff.c.rhoades

All of it is just part of the adventure for Rhoades, allowing him to be more intentional about every inch of his travels, from packing the car to the choice of route and destination and to the inch-by-inch navigation when that route throws obstacles in his way. For all of it, Rhoades has found his perfect platform.

“The most rewarding part of doing all this in a 911,” says Rhoades, “has been proving to myself that I can do all of this in a 911.”

More about Jeff

You can keep up with Jeff's adventures on his Instagram (@jeff.c.rhoades).


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