Between Two Worlds

Russell Shand has learned to go without his family – and his sports cars – on a gas platform out on the rough sea. But longing makes him happy.

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Philosopher Immanuel Kant once referred to longing as the “unfulfilled wish to destroy the period of time between desiring and obtaining the object of desire.” Russell Shand isn’t interested in destroying anything, but he’s familiar with desire. He’s better acquainted than many with the feeling of striving for and working toward something, a feeling that dominates your thoughts and wishes.

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That’s not just because he long dreamed of having his own Porsche before he could afford to buy one. Shand, who is married and has two sons, was born and raised in northeastern Scotland, where he still lives to this day. At least, for half of the year. He spends the other half working on a gas platform as an offshore installation manager. The 50-year-old is responsible for more than 120 people on three interconnected metal structures and ensures safety and yield in the middle of the North Sea, 240 kilometers off the eastern coast of Scotland. He spends three weeks with his family and then three weeks on the gas platform, a rhythm that creates structure and longing. “It is a challenge,” he says. “But it helps to be able to look forward to something.” Shand has worked on different oil and gas platforms for more than 30 years and has been in his current position for eleven years. Routine can be of help, in part because he and his wife don’t know anything else. But it’s never easy, despite the video calls. So he created something to desire that combines his passions: family and Porsche. He and his wife and children often drive through Europe in the 911 Sport Classic (997). “Packing is tricky, but everything else is pure fun,” he says. He even finds the act of planning itself satisfying. When he does research on the gas platform in the evening – potential routes to take, mountain passes they haven’t explored yet, and the right time to go – Shand is miles away from Kant’s “unfulfilled wish.” “I have something to look forward to. Longing is a good feeling.”

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During his time at home in January, he not only enjoyed a road trip, but also acquired a new 911 Sport Classic (992). He views the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur limited series of 1,250 vehicles as the optimal continuation of a sports car legend. “The Sport Classic models pay tribute to the extraordinary legacy of the 911 in a truly impressive way. The attention to detail is enormous, from the ducktail spoiler to the double-dome roof and the high-quality interior,” he says, describing a work of art. “And I always do that from an engineering point of view.”

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At the age of ten, he fell in love with the Zuffenhausen sports cars while in the front passenger seat of a Porsche 928. “I was too small to be able to see out the window, but from that point onwards, I was only interested in this brand.” In high school, he won the Young Engineer for Britain competition, which marked the beginning of his career. He left school and began his training to become a mechanic and operations technician at the age of 16 and left the mainland at 19. What remained was his love of Porsche. “These cars have fascinated me ever since I heard and felt the V8 engine of the 928.” He acquired his first very own Porsche, a Boxster S 3.2, at the age of 30 and, a short time later, a 911 E from 1972, which he restored and which served as the Shand’s wedding car. It was a special car that he wouldn’t have given up – if he hadn’t been able to exchange it for his first 911 Sport Classic (997), which was limited to 250 vehicles. “My dream car to this day.” A dream and a yearning he had harbored for quite some time. He views the special license plates he installs on his exclusive vehicles as an expression of his affection. “Unique cars should have unique number plates.”

Between Two Worlds

Shand has driven many Porsche sports cars and currently also owns a 911 GT3 with Touring Package (992). But he has special affection for his Sport Classic. He and his family have been to Berlin, Prague, the Balkans, and Venice in the 997 and driven the Stelvio, Grossglockner, and St. Gotthard Alpine passes. A different route every time, but always the same first destination: Stuttgart. “The most popular stop for my sons as well.”

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He’ll be returning to the gas platform in just a few days. His family and sports cars will remain at home. But he will take them with him in his mind. He needs them there, 240 kilometers east of his home near Aberdeen, where the waves roll and the North Sea is 88 meters deep. They’re essential for the longing that makes him happy.

Report by Frieder Pfeiffer for Porsche (first published on
Photos by Patrick Gosling


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