Mark Basili’s first Porsche nearly bankrupted him

“When I was in grade five,” Mark Basili says, “my classmates wanted to be policemen and firefighters. I wanted to work with Porsche.”

His obsession with the brand starts when he was a young child. Mark’s father sold high-end cars for a living, and Porsche was his father’s brand of choice. And a Porsche Turbo was always the ultimate Porsche in his mind.

“My first car was a 1982 924 Turbo. My dad picked it up at the auction for $3,500, thinking it was a steal, that it had to be worth more than that. It was slate grey, it had 75,000 km, and it was a Porsche Turbo. I bought the car from him, and I basically spent every cent I had keeping it going. There were four variants of the 924 in four years, and the parts kept changing; I had to replace a turbo, and a crankshaft position sensor, and back then, tracking down parts was really difficult.”

But when it was running, Mark’s 924 Turbo was magic. “I just loved it. I was driving a Porsche Turbo! It handled so well; it was a great car with which to learn driving dynamics. I used to do laps around a series of on- and off-ramps, just learning the car and how it behaved. From the moment you turned that car on, you knew there was something special about it. I had a really hard time parting with it, but I was young; if I had more money back then, I probably would have kept it.”

Just out of school, Mark applied for a job at Pfaff Porsche in 2003, but didn’t start working there until a year and a half later, as a lot attendant. The management noticed he had a passion for the brand and a knowledge about the cars, so he gradually worked his way into being a sales assistant on Saturdays, speaking with customers and even taking them on test drives when the sales floor was busy. “I did just about everything but the deal,” he says.

Having studied marketing and economics at Ryserson University, Mark wrote a business proposal for Pfaff’s first internet department, and became the company’s internet marketing manager in 2008. In 2010, he moved to Pfaff tuning as a tuning consultant and a sales associate at McLaren Toronto, building a loyal customer base. Walking the walk – he had modified his 924 with a custom exhaust and other tweaks – helped.

 

Given his age, it’s hard to believe he’s been working within the Pfaff group for 10 years. “I’ve never worked anywhere where everyone felt such a sense of purpose; where everyone was striving every day to make things better; I think we do a great job, but we always come in wondering what we can do to improve.”

In March 2015, he joined Pfaff Porsche as a sales consultant, achieving his goal of connecting other Porsche fanatics with their dream.

“You’re not really selling cars here,” he says. “You’re helping make people’s dreams a reality. While all of our competitors have stepped up their game, the level of research and development that Porsche puts into its vehicles, the number of industry-leading innovations they have their hand in, is still remarkable. Porsche has always must done it more for me than any other car brand.”