3:37pm Wednesday 5th February 2014
A PEMBROKESHIRE car-lover who sold his beloved Porsche for cash to set up a company 25 years ago has been given it back - as a surprise retirement present.
Businessman Dave Amos, 65, used the £8,500 from the sale of his treasured sportscar to launch his business now worth millions.
And when Dave announced his retirement, his business partner Bill Duke knew just what was the ideal gift as a thank you.
Bill, 63, secretly flew from his home in Texas where he began tracking down the silver Porsche 911SC.
Within a week, his detective work found the car in Kent - and Bill made the current owner an offer he couldn't refuse.
Dave was at home in Broad Haven, celebrating his 65th birthday with his family when Bill turned up.
During the party Bill took him outside where the gleaming Porsche was sitting in the drive.
Dave said: "It was just one of those amazing moments - I could see a Porsche and thought one of my family had arrived in it.
"Then I thought: 'It looks a bit like my old one' - but even then I didn't realise what was going on.
"But I saw the registration number and realised it was my old car.
"I couldn't believe it when Bill handed me the keys - the last time I saw it was over 25 years ago.
"Bill had bought the car in Kent and my nephew Richard drove it down to Wales for my 65th birthday. I was completely bowled over."
Engineer Dave met Bill when they worked together in Bahrain using poorly designed scanning equipment to test for cracks in gas storage tanks.
In Bill's native Texas the two friends designed a better machine to carry out the work but didn't have the cash to put it into production.
Father-of-one Dave said: "Bill had four young children so it was a struggle for him and I didn't have any capital.
"But I did have the Porsche back home in Wales so I reluctantly decided to sell it.
"We used the cash from the car to build our first scanning machine and we never looked back from there."
The three-litre Porsche 911SC , first made in 1978, is a design classic and Dave's was
in the colours of the Martini racing team.
Dave said: "It was my pride and joy, I'd always wanted one but I had to do the sensible thing and sell it.
"It got our business off the ground and we were very successful.
"I often wondered what happened to it - it was a bit special."
Dave sold his half of MFE Enterprises Incorporated last year to Bill whose four children now work in the family firm based in Austin, Texas.
When Dave hit 65 Bill flew over, and with a little help from Dave's wife Sandra, managed to track the car down.
Dave said: "Apparently the owner didn't want to sell - he'd spent a lot of money on the car bringing it up to tip-top condition.
"But Bill made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
"I think he felt he owed me for the sacrifice I had made 30 years ago and the Porsche was payback.
"But I never saw it that way - he's like a brother to me. He owed me nothing."
Speaking from Texas yesterday Bill said: "It took a while but with the help of Dave's wife Sandra and his nephew Richard we found the Porsche after all those years.
"The problem was that the owner was in love with it, he had spent a lot of money on the car and didn't want to sell.
"But I sent him an email explaining the history of the car and what it meant to Dave.
"I must have touched a nerve because he emailed me back saying he was really moved by the story and he didn't feel as if the car was his any more. So we did a deal.
"Giving it back to Dave was one of the best feelings in my life - and he was gobsmacked as you say over there.
"In fact he actually sobbed and he's not an emotional guy.
"But it was my way of saying thank you for everything he did for me and my family - he is the nicest guy I've ever met."
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