One sturdy vehicle

Mildred and Bob Kibby purchased their Porsche for $4,000 some 57 years ago with the help of a loan from his parents. The car has proven to be one of their wiser investments. (Photos: Richard Greene)

Just out of the University of Oklahoma with an MS degree in engineering, an ROTC commission and his bride Mildred, Bob Kibby wanted one more thing really bad: A sports car. Of course. So, the Kibbys looked at Corvettes, Thunderbirds, Jaguars, MGs and Triumphs. All of them presented a problem to someone who stood 6 feet, 6 inches tall.

Bob couldn’t fit in any of them. “Either my head hit the roof or I could not get the seat back far enough to put my left foot on the clutch,” he laments.

Then they found what solved the problem at a Porsche dealer in Cincinnati, Ohio. The only thing that then stood in the way of acquiring the car of their dreams was the $4,000 price tag.

On a second lieutenant’s salary of $320 per month, it wasn’t going to happen.

Then Bob’s parents stepped in with an interest-free loan for the young couple, and they took delivery of their 1960 Ruby Red 356B Super Coupe in March – exactly 57 years ago.

They were able to even add a passenger-side headrest for an extra $25 but had to pass on the radio option since it was $200 more than they had.

Now the nimble-handling, 1.3-liter engine, rear wheel drive, two-door hardtop coupe was theirs and would remain so throughout their life together.

Following Bob’s discharge from the Air Force in 1962 and with Mildred six months pregnant, they headed to Arlington where they would make their home.

Her Air Force doctor, who had mentioned having heard an echo inside her ever-expanding middle, told her to stop every two or three hours on the way to Texas. “We did that, and Mildred was very adept at getting in and out of the Porsche although she was really large,” Bob recalls.

Then it turned out that that “echo,” as explained by her new obstetrician, was caused by two heartbeats – the Kibbys were going to have twins.

So, when it was time to take the babies home, it was a good thing that their little sports car had a back seat. Well, sort of a back seat.

If you are looking at these pictures and wondering how a really tall guy, his wife and two infants would all fit in this car, you are not alone. Bob explains: “Mildred sat in the right jump seat holding Merrill in her lap. We put Robert in the infant seat and put it on top of the folded down jump seat behind me. We were a little anxious, but we made it from Baylor Hospital in Dallas to Arlington without any problems.”

By 1976 the Porsche was retired to the family garage in need of lots of work. “My intent,” he says, “was to get it back to a respectable driving condition – this turned out to be a zillion-year project.”

While it didn’t actually take a “zillion” years, it was not until 2004 that the car was finally returned to service.

Now, the couple who have other current model cars for their daily use, do manage to drive their Porsche about 3,000 miles every year.

Mildred is one of Arlington’s role models of community service, having developed a distinguished record of leadership as a member of the planning and zoning commission, the Junior League, a board member of the chamber of commerce, a United Way trustee, one of the founders of the Fielder House Museum, and others.

With his service in the Air Force and long career in the aerospace industry, Bob developed a passion for sailplanes and airplanes.

“Life is good,” he says, “when you have a great spouse, two children and their spouses who have grown into outstanding adults, seven fantastic grandchildren, a Ruby Red Porsche, a Discus Sailplane, a light sport aircraft, K2 skis, an Aspen library card and a season ski pass.”

And, as the original owners of that Porsche with all its serial numbers matching – the engine, transaxle, doors, hood, etc. – they can enjoy the fact that their original investment – and cost for the refreshment to the pristine condition it is in today – is but a fraction of its current value.

No matter about that, however. It has been theirs for more than five and a half decades and is going nowhere other than the places they will take it.