Staff at a Derbyshire vehicle adaptation manufacturer enjoyed a rare opportunity to get a closer look at a top-of-the-range sports car when one of their most loyal customers brought his brand new Porsche in for a fitting.
Autochair, based in Wood Street North, Alfreton, makes and fits vehicle adaptations for people with limited mobility and was asked to install one of its Milford Person Lifts into the passenger side of the brand new, limited edition 2016 Porsche Boxster Spyder.
The car, which boasts a 375bhp engine and has a top speed of 180mph, belongs to Autochair customer Peter Boggiano, whose wife, Paula, has the condition muscular scoliosis, which has left her confined to a wheelchair.
Even though sports cars can be difficult to get in and out of the couple, from Widnes, Cheshire, have tried to make sure Paula’s mobility does not stand in the way of them indulging their love of sports cars.
Over the past 10 years they have brought a succession of sports cars, including an Audi RS4, a Porsche 911 GT3 and a BMW M235i, to Autochair to have a person lift fitted.
The device, which transfers Paula from her wheelchair into the front seat – and can then be stored in one of the Porsche’s two boots for the journey – has enabled them to enjoy motoring holidays in Scotland and the Isle of Man as well as day trips exploring the open roads of the Peak District and North Wales.
John and Paula have also put their cars through their paces on track days, taking them for a spin around the motor racing circuits including Oulton Park, Castle Combe and the legendary Nurburgring in Germany.
Jules Allen, sales and marketing director at Autochair, said: “We have fitted our products into a number of luxury cars such as Range Rovers and Mercedes before, but this was the first Porsche Boxster Spyder we have worked on and it certainly caused a stir when it came in.
“Not only is it a wonderful car to look at, it’s a wonderful example of how the design of our products ensures that our customers can continue to drive their favourite car, or, in this case, a genuine dream car.
“Peter and Paula have been a pleasure to work for down the years and we hope that they continue to enjoy many more happy years of motoring.”
Peter is a long-time Porsche fanatic who used to write for the Total 911 magazine, which is dedicated to discussing and celebrating the legendary Porsche 911.
He said: “Many people seem to automatically assume that having a disability means that you have to undergo a change of lifestyle, but Paula and I have never thought that way and instead have always looked for a solution to the problem.
“That solution turned out to be Autochair’s Milford Person Lift, which over the past 10 years has made it possible to carry on enjoying the kind of sports cars we are lucky enough to be able to drive.
“As it happens, the Porsche is a perfect car for Paula. It is very difficult for most people to get in and out of, but the Milford makes that process easy and the bonus is that the seats have carbon fibre back rests, which she finds wonderfully supportive.
“The only concession we have to make is that because the car is low and the head space is limited we do have to take the roof off every time Paula gets in and out, but that is a very small price to pay.”
Autochair manufactures a range of vehicle adaptations, including its 40kg-80kg Mini-Hoists and Olympian hoists, which are designed to lift wheelchairs and mobility scooters into the boots of cars.
It employs around 70 people at its Alfreton factory and, as well as selling its products all over the UK, it has a growing export market in the USA.