Matti Kylärmarkula was a long-time President of Porsche Club Finland.
I cannot say when I was first impressed by Porsche, but I strongly remember one event when a distant relative was visiting us at my parents’ place with a brand new 1965 red 912. I was about 6 years old at that point and the car really stuck in my mind as a nice and fast sports car. From this point on, the walls of my room were covered by car posters, mostly Porsches, hot rods and race cars. I was literally surrounded by nice car pictures every day.
I was able to get my hands on my first very own Porsche at the age of 20. After tinkering with VWs and Volvos like most guys in Finland, I was able to acquire a 1957 Chevy. In the late 1970s it was the holy grail of hot rods. The car was in very poor condition, and I just could not repair it by myself. However, a friend of mine wanted it really badly, and I was almost as reluctant to sell, until I found out that his father had an old Porsche 356, in about the same condition. Pretty soon we made a swap and later I found out that I actually own a 365 A Carrera 1500 GS from 1956 with quite an extensive racing history in Finland! Not such a bad trade for me.
My GT3 ready for 2022 Porsche Parade Finland, for going around the „Gulf“, 6 countries in 7 days! Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and back to Finland. A great trip with nice people and fast cars!
After I got the 356, I contacted Porsche Club Finland by mail and also got a nice letter back. However, I was leaving for the USA to study, so I did not join the Porsche Club. I then spent the next 5 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico, studying economics and life. The 356 project was left behind “forgotten” in a barn at my parents’ place.
The next episode in my Porsche experience was a 1977 911, which I bought in 1985 from Germany. I shipped the car from Germany to the States and used it as a daily driver around Albuquerque for about one year, and then shipped the car back to Finland in 1986. One of the most memorable drives in the States was to take the car from New Mexico to New Jersey to be shipped. I did the trip all alone and it only took me 36 hours to get there, including filling up, coffee and a couple hours of sleep in the car! Luckily, I had German plates, so no speeding tickets!
The yellow 911 usually gets the most miles in our family, in this case waiting for the PCF slalom event to begin near Helsinki.
After returning to Finland with my 911, I joined Porsche Club Finland and got membership number 77, which also fitted well for my car! Only a handful of active people were running the Club, so pretty soon I was asked to join the board.
The Porsche Club scene became a common hobby for me and my wife-to-be. I felt at home right away with the people. Also, the car talks with more experienced guys were important to me. It was actually all the nice people around the Porsche Club scene that attracted both me and my wife. She doesn't even have a driving licence, but she attended almost every event together with me, I really do appreciate her commitment to the Porsche Club! Our two sons have also been part of the Porsche scene from birth.
A rare occasion, my son washing the cars, ready for the Porsche Club Festival Finland.
Racing has always been close to my heart, and my weapon of choice for that has always been Porsche. I started FIA Historic Racing in 1991, and as that point I was already very much bitten by the Porsche bug, the only choice for me was a 1965 911. This time I went to California to find a nice car to be converted to a race car. Several of my friends worked on the car and it became quite successful in the Historic Race Finland events. I was a regular podium finisher with that car. Since then, we have had a successful team in the Finnish Endurance series with friends from Porsche Club, and of course I have been racing all the Porsche Racing Club Time Trial and Club Racing events on top of the other races. Lately with heavily modified 924 and 944 cars or with my 996 GT3. My family has been most supportive of my hobbies and the boys were often at the race track with my wife and me. We also did one PRCF race with my boys, everyone on the same grid, but that was already too much work for me and too much excitement for my wife. She still says I should have let the boys win, but for me it was probably the last chance to win, because at the karting tracks I am already getting beaten by both of them all the time.
My 1965 historic race car is resting in the garage, waiting for action with the GT3.
Porsche Club Finland was founded in 1971, so it is the oldest Porsche Club in the Nordic countries. In the early years, only a handful of people attended the events and only very few participated in Club management. We therefore started to recruit new members and also transaxle car owners, who earlier thought that the Porsche Club was only for the 911 cars. That was a very successful move, and we got a lot of interest from the younger Porsche owners as well. The activity levels have increased from having one or two track days and a little Christmas party to the current, 35 + events a year. The membership numbers have grown even faster, from a handful in the late 1980s to the current about 2,050 members!
I have held different positions in the Porsche Club Finland and also been the President of the club twice, from 1999 to 2004 and from 2016 to 2021. Meanwhile I also started the Porsche Racing Club Finland and Porsche Classic Club Finland, both of them working under the umbrella of PCF. Of course, not alone but with good friends from the Porsche Club!
You are not a true collector until you make barn finds from your own barn! This was the situation in 2019.
Most of our dear friends of the family are from Porsche Clubs around the world, and I have always enjoyed the international Porsche scene. While in the US, I was a member of PCA Lone Star region and felt very welcome from day one. Also all the President’s meetings, Classic Club Round Tables, races and events around the world have been a wonderful window to the life of other Porsche enthusiasts all over the globe. I can recommend membership in any of the Porsche Clubs around the world if you want to expand your horizons and get friends for life!
I am very pleased to see that my sons share the same passion with me, even though their approach to the Porsche brand is different from mine. They do not spend their leisure time in the garage but enjoy the social life around the brand. And I have to say I am learning from them at the moment. My dream would be to visit even more Porsche events around the world, and I am also willing to extend the invitation to all Porsche enthusiasts to come to Finland, for example to join our annual Porsche Club Festival Finland, where we get more than 400 Porsches to gather every year!
About 2,5 years later we are almost ready with the metal work!
Maybe you are asking yourself, what happened to the 356 project that was “forgotten” in a barn at my parents’ place. First, I wanted to make a historic race car out of it, but the work did not go right, and it was pushed back to the barn. Then I wanted to renovate it when the Club turned 30, but I decided to concentrate on renovating my 1977 911 for the occasion. Then I decided to do it for my 50th birthday, but I was in Texas and decided to buy a 996 GT3 instead.
A few years back my boys said I really have to do it now or it will never happen. So, I started the huge renovation project with Urban's Garage in Estonia about 3 years ago, when I turned 60. It is also a father and sons project called “A 356 Story" which we are doing. My older son is making a full documentary video / TV program about the restoration – he is a video freelancer. We also have a good friend helping who is a professional TV camera man.
My other son will be in charge of social media and related stuff. The 356 has a lot of stories to tell and a rich racing history. The public launch of the project was at the Porsche Club Festival Finland. The 356 was there in bare metal!