Adrian Streather -the man behind the books!
If you’ve ever done any maintenance on your 911 or 964 the chances are that you will be very familiar with Adrian Streather. His Porsche 911 Enthusiast's Companion is essential reading for anyone who owns a 964. So how is it he ended up becoming an expert on 964s?
Adrian is a native Aussie in 1978 and remembers being overtaken on the south eastern freeway by two 911SCs. This ignited his passion for 911s; "All I remember was seeing their wide rear ends disappearing into the distance and me saying I have got to get me one of those.” After a succession of front engine Porsches in 1998 purchased his first 911, a 964 series Carrera 4 and it hooked him for life. By this time he was living in Switzerland and the C4 was ideally suited to the job. He still classes it as the best all weather car outside of a “proper” 4x4 or SUV, limited only by its low ride height. On ice he says the C4 is unbeatable.
Unfortunately soon after purchase the PDAS light came on and following several fruitless trips to Porsche and independent dealers he realised that knowledge of these cars was severely limited and set himself to the task of finding out everything he could about the inner workings of the car. In the end the problem was diagnosed as a faulty slave cylinder for the centre diff lock and this experience led him to write his first book on the 964.
Adrian’s first 964 and the car that started it all!
After many years in Switzerland Adrian is now back in his native Australia where he is still involved in the Porsche scene. He is currently writing a book on 997s and also runs Porsche workshops to familiarise owners with their cars. Whilst he has enjoyed writing the books they have certainly not made him rich. He has now also published books on the SC and 996 but the biggest seller so far is the 964 Enthusiast’s Companion and that has only just broken through the 10,000 copies barrier. Brilliant by Porsche standards but hardly enough to keep him in a life of luxury.
Adrian at one of his 996 owner's workshops in Australia
Adrian was also a well known contributor and founder member on Rennlist so I was curious as to why he was no longer involved. His answer touched on some issues that can sometimes affect forums, however I’d never heard of things getting this extreme: “I started to receive threats and I was being stalked. Certain people starting writing letters to others I was involved with and these people really interfered with my life and my business. People were also arguing with me about the advice or answers I gave. I helped people for free, I gave my advice without obligation, but I did not expect people if they didn't like my answers to argue aggressively with me, and in some cases take it further. Finally, it was really eating into my time. I was fielding upwards of 30,000 emails a year and that was tough.” Lots of us would love to see Adrian contributing on the forums again but I can understand why he is reluctant to go back. His contact with 964 owners has not stopped however and he still regularly helps out people who contact him directly.
While I had him on the phone I was keen to quiz Adrian on the best way of improving my C4 for track work and we discussed a few options but ultimately his take is that the C4 was never designed with the track in mind and as such a C2 will always be the better option. To back this up he made the point that the only C4 competition car made by Porsche, the Leichtbau, actually used the transmission from the 959 Dakar cars not one developed from the standard C4 drive train. Adrian also made me aware that the traction control on the C4 only works up to 62 mph as the transmission would not tolerate the strain of the centre diff locking at higher speeds. So in essence at anything above that speed the car is operating as a full time four wheel drive car with an open rear diff. For ultimate track performance a C2 (or C2 conversion) with a mechanical LSD is always the best option.
We closed our chat with a discussion on values. Prices for 964s have been going crazy in the last few years and I felt it was worth getting Adrian’s take on it. In typical no nonsense Aussie fashion he told me he thought it was all a load of nonsense and that 964s (and many other Porsches) were simply not worth the amounts that are now been asked. Of course he realises that value is relative but as an engineer he finds it hard to justify current prices.
Many thanks to Adrian for his time and advice. His published books so far include: 1 x Enthusiast Companion (964), 3 x Essential Companions (911SC, 993 and 996 and writing the 997) and 8x Porsche Essential Buyer’s Guides for Veloce (964, 993, 911SC, 996, Carrera 3.2, 986 Boxster, 987 Boxster and Cayman and 930 and 911 (930) Turbo). Many of his books have been translated into German and he has also written and had published 4 non Porsche books.