Are You A Flasher?

I’m a guy who likes comraderee (WordPress is trying to tell me that’s not even a word!). One of the mystiques of the Porsche brand, for me, was the kinship that you share with other Porsche owners. The one or two finger wave. Flashing your lights. Giving a little honk on the horn. It was like you were part of rolling club.

I’ll admit I’ve tried to replicate this practice in other rides. I drove a Dodge Charger for a while and tried the two finger/peace sign type wave at other Charger drivers when I passed them. No go. Got a few “you’re an idiot” stares back along with a whole lotta nothing else.

I also tried to get a little something going in Portland in my Dodge Magnum. I’ve tried both the light flash and the two finger hand on the steering wheel wave. This time I had the pleasure of mockery from my wife as a benefit for my efforts. I’ve since given up on Dodge owners.

Now that I drive a Porsche, and not just any Porsche, but a 911, I figured I had some greeting time to make up. I must say, I’m a bit disappointed. On a couple of occasions I’ve missed the opportunity to flash a fellow Porsche driver. But the rest of the time I’ve been greeted with the same thing as my previous attempts: a big fat nothing.

Is it that all of the same Dodge owners I tried to get comradship (take THAT WordPress!) started with decided to buy Porsches? What happened to all of the owners with a passion for the cars and a love of recognizing others in “the club”?

As it turns out, I’m not alone. Fellow Porsche owner, PorscheGirl (aka Valerie), wrote a two part post over at about the Porsche “Salute”. Here’s a little bit of what she had to say:

The campaign to highlight Porsches greeting one another got us thinking about the kinship that exists between owners. is it a myth, or not? Has it changed in the last decade because of the incredible growth the company has experienced (from single-digit cars sixty years ago to over 100,000 automobiles per year in ’07)?

Many seem to think so. In the October ’08 issue of Excellence magazine, a reader wrote a letter to the editor asking, “Is the Porsche Salute no longer in vogue? It’s definitely not in use in my area any longer…” The editor responded that he “suspect[ed] the sheer number of Porsches on the road today has something to do with it,” adding, “a couple of times a year… I am flashed by another Porsche driver. I’m usually so surprised I end up staring back blankly!” My Dad agrees. “Once upon a time, if you drove a Porsche and saw another, you offered a greeting. And if someone in a Porsche waved at you in yours, you acknowledged the wave gracefully.” He added, “if a driver took the time to wave at you, he or she was essentially saying, “I like the car, I believe in it!” [Via]

Valerie goes on to take an in depth look at what’s happened, what types of salutes are appropriate and makes a case for doing something about this lost art. Definitely worth a read.

I’m going to do something about it as well…Say my peace right here. I bought a Porsche, not because I think I’m better than anyone else, but because I love the cars and the brand. I still love seeing other Porsches on the road. Also, everyone loves their particular model for their own reasons, so there shouldn’t be any segregation in our ranks. A Porsche is a Porsche, whether it’s a Porsche Tractor or a Porsche GT3.

I say we Bring Back the Flash!!!


  1. I like the idea of a friendly wave. When I had my Corvette it was actually very common to get a wave from other Vette drivers around Portland. Didn’t matter too much what year you were driving, most would give a little wave when driving by.

  2. maybe you meant “Camaraderie” or maybe you’re being sarcastic?

    Its been a long day.

  3. I have to admit I miss the old days of being a kid seeing if you can get the big rigs to honk at you. I promise as soon as I get a Porsche I will flash everyone

  4. Ryan,

    I currently have a 2009 997 in the garage for the next week (test driving and reviewing) and when I went out on the road today I received only one response to my extroverted attempts at saying hello to my fellow Pcar drivers.

    I tried the flash, I tried a wave, I even tried a beep with a wave. Over 150 miles I tried communicating with a number of Boxsters, 996s, Caymans and even a few Cayennes. We were obviously speaking two different languages. The only response I received was from a cop behind a Boxster that thought I was flashing him (not the type of attention I was trying to attract).

    I will say that when I’m driving my 993 or my ’73 911 most other 993s or pre-impact bumper Porsches return the salute.

  5. i come from a bicycling back ground and the same exact thing has happened with cyclists. i “used” to wave at every cyclist i’d pass but 99% of those sob’s act like their **** doesn’t stink. 3 years ago everybody would wave and say hello. i don’t know what’s gotten into people but i don’t like it. it just seems like the porsche people, they are just “too good” to say “hello”

  6. tradition? older cars have older owners who value the porsche brand. A lot of the new buyers use the car as a status symbol…it loses its special place

    Just my opinion though.

  7. Camaraderie – I ran across that in a crossword puzzle the other day. Really weird spelling. According to you can also use comradery (which is apparently an alteration influenced by comrade).

    You learn something every day.

  8. I still don’t see too many Porsches on the road around here (which is a good thing), so i usually give the hand wave when i see one. Bring it back people.

  9. The only time I’ve had this experience was when I used to drive a school bus. Corolla driver don’t usually have this kind of love for one another. I need a Porsche!

  10. Ha, I do see school bus drivers waving at each other. That is cool. Another thing I just realized is ‘these days’ with the ecomony so bad I think some people are really freaked out about their own situation and they don’t take the time to enjoy life and give a wave to others.

  11. its kind of like when you drive way out in the country or in a really small town, everybody waves hello to you. the only time i’ve seen that in a bigger town is when there is a huge snow storm and people have a hard time getting around

  12. Phil Schneider says

    I wave at other motorcyclists when I ride my MV Agusta F4 1000

  13. I agree completely.

  14. There is the “Other Problem” defined as cars that from a distance look sleek enough to possibly be a Porsche, but at the “Hi Sign” moment we restrain our greeting an such an imposter.

    Simple attention diverted by Sirrius or CD or passenger conversation can also interfere with returning one specific greeting.

    I do try to acknowledge to joy of driving a Porsche by greeting others, but not so much SUV versions. I guess I am biased toward traditional sports car shaped Porsche vehicles and their drivers.

    My 993 needs an automatic real Porsche detection system to alert me to get ready to wave.

  15. Dad taught me about the Porsche salute (headlight flash) when I was on my learner’s permit in the early 70’s.
    Got a nice thumbs up from a guy driving an exact copy of my 944.
    Now in my 911 Targa, I get lots of “Cool Car” shouts as I pass the nearby high school during lunch.