When I saw this gloss black Porsche Panamera GT-S rolled up into the handicap spot at ModBargains, I did a doubletake. Why would a Panamera park in the handicap spot? No way a Porsche driver could be disabled, right? Then the door popped open and I was greeted by the owner – and his wheelchair. I stood corrected. Having spent some time in a wheelchair myself, the Panamera made perfect sense. As I helped him into the Waiting Room, where I had the chance to talk with the owner briefly. The owner had brought his Panamera GT-S in to be fitted with a set of Semi-Concave Forgestar F14s in Piano black but with brilliant red accents. They fit the car beautifully, and it reminded me of just how enduring the car hobby is when you have a passion for it.
Back in the 90’s, the owner was riding his motorcycle on the freeway and an accident with a sedan robbed him of the use of his legs. Having been seriously injured (and temporarily unable to walk) for a few months following a very similar motorcycle accident myself, I very much related to his situation. Motorcyclists are enthusiasts by nature, and though may he may not be able to ride again, he doesn’t have to give up the car hobby and can still have a great car he enjoys.
The Panamera GT-S is a challenging car to modify because it’s hard to find things that blend nicely into the styling of the car. The Forgestar F14s for Porsche on the car really give it a great accent and create a more solid red-and-black theme with the car.
Being disabled doesn’t mean you’re automatically limited to an access-van – and I hesitate to even use the word disabled, as this man wasn’t exactly letting life hold him back – and when I was similarly unable to walk, I was determined not to let the chair get in the way of my life. As we talked, I was surprised to learn that many disabled auto enthusiasts have nicer vehicles like this Porsche Panamera sent to a specialist that retrofits the cars with hand-controls, so that persons with special needs or unable to use their legs can operate the motor vehicle of their choice. I’ve heard the BMW 3-series is an especially popular conversion. Considering many of today’s performance vehicles don’t even have a clutch pedal anymore, this means fitting alternate controls is possible on a wider range of vehicles than ever.
This is why you check for a placard or DP plate before chastising the luxury car parking in the handicap spot – if they’ve got a handicapped placard, they’ve got a reason to park there. By the same token, if you’re not disabled, don’t be a jerk and park in the handicapped spot. Many times when I was wheelchair-bound, I’d have to wait in my car with my blinker on while some able-bodied jerk who couldn’t be bothered to walk a hundred feet from a real parking spot “Just ran in for a second”… nevermind that I had my placard displayed. So, we’d like to politely remind you to be courteous and don’t be that guy parked in the handicapped spot illegally. Leave it for those who DO need it.
So why a Panamera? The Panamera’s sedan, sedan layout and front engine configuration makes it easy to accommodate a wheelchair inside – something that’s getting hard to do with modern cars. What’s more, the powerful engine and competent chassis make it a great car to drive, too.