Chet Brisco was delighted when his wife Robin surprised him on his 85th birthday with a brand new Porsche Panamera. She had arranged it all perfectly: the unexpected day trip, the blindfold, the big reveal. Chet, a lifelong auto enthusiast, loved his new car. But it didn’t take long for him to start worrying about its effect on the environment. The thing drank a lot of gas.
Those concerns ultimately led Chet to selling the Panamera. He got a Model S, which has zero emissions, instead. He had bought it on the spot after a test drive in Newport Beach, CA.
“He didn’t say anything like, ‘Maybe I’ll buy one today’,” recalls Robin. “He just knew that, the way the situation was, he could come back with the Model S.”
Robin liked the car as much as Chet did. She was charmed by the smooth, quiet ride, and the feeling of power when it started up. She became obsessed with the idea of getting one for herself. Three months later, she ordered her own 85 kWh Model S in the same sleek silver color as her husband’s.
Robin, by the way, is 89 years old. She is perhaps the oldest woman to have bought a Model S. It’s likely that Robin and Chet, who is now 87, are the only octogenarian couple in the world to each have a Model S. They also have matching license plates. Robin was rather chuffed to secure them. They read: “HIS TSLA” and “HER TSLA”.
Cars have been an important part of the Briscos’ lives during their 64 years of marriage. Insignias to have graced their garage include Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, BMW, Lexus, and Porsche. A photo from 1959 shows the Briscos, with five-year-old son Barry and three-year-old daughter Lisa, posing with their Porsche 356A, which they had bought the previous year for $2,800. It was a long way from there to the Model S, but even further from the first vehicle Robin drove as a teenager on her family farm: an old Ford pickup.
The Briscos with their 1959 Porsche 356A.
“I’ve never seen her more excited about a car,” Barry says of his mom. “To her, cars were more transportation and less excitement. But I think that’s flipped now.”
And as for Chet? Well, Model S has made quite the impression, says Barry. “He’s owned Porsches, he’s owned BMWs, and this is clearly his favorite car.”
Barry has caught the Tesla bug, too. Before the winter holidays last year, he and his wife Rosemary sold their 1959 Porsche 356A – just a few productions numbers away from the family’s original model – so they could get a Model S. To Chet and Robin’s surprise, the car was parked in Barry’s driveway when they pulled in for a Christmas visit. Barry and Rosemary had taken delivery of the vehicle just the day before.
To welcome the new Model S to the family, Robin bought them a new license plate, too. It says: “R TSLA.”
Some things are worth keeping in the family.
Main photo by Chester Maharaj.