The fulfillment of a lifelong dream; attending the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, and my pre and post race journey…

For anyone familiar with the Porsche brand, the name Le Mans has always been closely linked to their impressive racing history. After developing a passion for Porsches as I entered my teenage years, I began studying and researching these significant Porsche race cars and those victories achieved at this mysterious French race track. At that moment, the hook was set and attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans  race became a lifelong aspiration.

I did come close to fulfilling this very dream of attending Le Mans twice; once in 2001 and the second time in 2002, while living and working in France. However, each year due to schedule conflicts, I was unable to attend. So imagine my surprise when Porsche announced their return to Le Mans for 2014, after a 16 year hiatus with the following statement – “Mission 2014. Our Return”. And return they would, with a pair of brand new race cars; the Porsche 919 hybrid. Not to mention Porsche bringing a pair of new 911 RSR’s, competing in the GTE / Pro class. So after a discussion with my wife about planning our vacation for 2014, she quickly agreed on a trip to France, which we would schedule around my attendance at this years Le Mans 24. My wife’s sole travel request consisted of being able to travel through France’s Loire Valley, and occasionally stay at a Chateau. Ironically, Le Mans is roughly located towards the center of the Loire. So working with this years race date of June 14-15, 2014, my wife went to work on searching out and booking us at several Chateaus and hotels scattered throughout the Loire Valley. We quickly learned however, that trying to book a hotel in or near Le Mans for 2014 was downright impossible. As a back-up plan, we found several chateaus in the village of Amboise, located about 1 -1/2 hours south of Le Mans, each with available rooms. Since I would be attending the race by myself (my wife is not a race fan), she would be staying behind at Chateau #2 (which worked out perfectly), since it was located within walking distance to the town, and good for sightseeing, shopping and dining.

So with the rest of our travel plans now finalized, it was time for me to begin researching how to attend ones first 24 Hours of Le Mans race. After a google search, I found the official 24 Hours of Le Mans / ACO website.  As a spectator, I learned I would need a basic admission ticket and a parking pass to gain admission into the track. Since my plan was to walk around the track and photograph the race from multiple locations, general admission would be perfect. There was also the option to book a grandstand seat at a variety of locations situated around the track, at an additional cost; the more desirable locations carrying the highest prices. Because of my desire to be mobile, I passed on the grandstand seating. Parking options also varied, and recommendations as presented were based upon ones direction of travel. After a quick review of my trusty Michelin road map, I selected one of the several available in-field parking areas (green / Vert), figuring that having easy access to my car in the event of bad weather or fatigue would be a good idea. With my decisions made, it became a simple process to order my tickets online, and for a minor fee, have them delivered via UPS to my home in the States. About three weeks after placing my order, my packet was delivered, and I now held my general admission ticket and parking pass for the green ( Vert) lot, section M-1…

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans ticket and parking pass_June 2014

So on June 6, my wife and I boarded our Lufthansa flight to Munich Germany, with a short connecting flight that would deliver us to our final destination, the Charles De Gaulle airport in France.

Below, sunset over the polar route, on our way to Munich, Germany.

Lufthansa flight_sunset shot ,polar route_June 6, 2014

We arrived in Munich on schedule, and after a brief lay over, were on our way to the Charles De Gaulle airport, located about 45 minutes to the east of Paris. After collecting our luggage, we picked up our rental car from the company Sixt. ( should anyone be planning a trip to France, I would highly recommend this rental car company). Even though we came prepared with our Michelin maps for navigating France, our car came equipped with navigation, which proved to be invaluable during our trip. After programming in our first destination, and adjusting the language section to english, we were off to the Marne La Valle area, where we would be staying at a friend’s home.

For our first couple of days we traveled into Paris, revisiting some of our favorite districts and landmarks. We had lunch at one of the many sidewalk bistros in the 5th district; the photo below was shot through the bistro’s open window.

Rue Saint Severin street sign_Paris_ June 9, 2014

After lunch, we walked back across the Seine, and made our way over to the second most recognizable landmark within Paris: Notre Dame.

Notre Dame_Front view_Paris_June 9, 2014

Notre Dame_Side view_Paris_June 9, 2014

Notre Dame_Rear view_Paris_June 9, 2014Within 10 minutes of taking the photos above (the less seen side and back views of Notre Dame), the gray clouds intensified, and rain began falling. This quickly sent everyone running for cover or for those prepared, reaching for their umbrellas. Nothing new for Paris in early June…

By the time Thursday rolled around, it was time for us to load up the car and head out towards Paris, then detour south towards the village of Amboise. Imagine our surprise at encountering the vehicles seen below, also heading south. Any thoughts as to their destination?

VW Vanagon outside Paris with Porsche 2014 graphics_Side view_June 12, 2014

VW Vanagon outside Paris with Porsche 2014 graphics_Rear view_June 12, 2014

After giving them a thumbs-up as we passed, we continued south towards our final destination. Our next stop however would require a slight detour, to another of France’s architecturally significant Cathedrals; Chartres. Since my wife had never visited Chartres, we decided to stop for a quick tour (this would mark my third visit).

Chartres cathedral, France_front view_June 12, 2014

Chartres cathedral, France_partially restored interior_altar view_June 12, 2014

Chartres cathedral, France_Restored leaded glass window_June 12, 2014

Our brief stop was well worth the time spent; Chartres immediately became one of my wife’s new favorite Cathedrals in France. And as the photos illustrate, the interior of the cathedral was undergoing a full restoration, with a high percentage of the walls, ceilings and stained glass windows having recently been restored, with the remaining areas still awaiting their turn. (Definitely a brighter appearing interior, and beautiful, vibrant leaded glass windows, noticeably improved over my last visit 12 years ago).

Once back on the road we continued south, and several hours later finally arrived at our destination in Amboise, despite one major road closure that sent us on a one hour detour. Amboise would become our new home base through the weekend, and for the next two days, residence at the 750 year old Chateau de Pray (below).

Chateau de Pray, Amboise France_Rear view_ June 12, 2014

On Friday morning, we ventured out to visit the nearby 16th century Renaissance palace, Chateau de Chenonceau (as seen below).

Chateau de Chenonceau_ tree lined entry_Amboise France_June 13, 2014

Chateau de Chenonceau_ view from the garden_Amboise France_June 13, 2014

Chateau de Chenonceau is reported to be the most visited Chateau in all of France, and given its sheer size, spectacular location, architectural and interior details as well as its history, it was easy to understand the attraction.

When the sun rose the following morning, it was now Saturday June 14, and time for me to make my long-awaited trek to Le Mans. After getting my wife checked into our next Chateau for the weekend, it was time to head off to the race that had been a lifelong dream. After programming the Le Mans race track into the cars navigation, I was literally off to the race. After driving for roughly 1-1/2 hours through the Loire Valley countryside, I was finally near my destination as seen below…

Highway to Le Mans_Le Mans race track roundabout_June 14, 2014

After navigating several more roundabouts, I spotted the roadway signage indicating the entrances to the different race track parking areas. Fortunately, my green (Vert) parking area was one of the first signs I encountered, and after following the signs, I found myself in one very long line…

Highway to Le Mans_Le Mans race track parking, Vert_June 14, 2014

One hour later, I was now parked in section M-1, and began collecting my camera gear in anticipation of the fulfillment of a lifelong dream; experiencing and creating a photographic record of my around the clock adventure at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans.

So with all of my gear stowed in my backpack, it was time for “Step One”; Finding the entrance into the race track. Fortunately, the entry structure was visible from the parking lot, and just a short hike from my car. As I approached, It quickly became obvious as to its function; the entry side was to the left, and the exit was to the right.

Entry portal into the Le Mans race track_from the Vert parking lot_June 14, 2014

The entry procedure turned out to be very streamlined and efficient; multiple staff members were stationed at each portal with a hand-held scanner, giving them the ability to keep the flow of fans moving quickly. Throughout the 24 hours, whether entering, exiting or re-entering, your admission pass was scanned, to insure validity, and eliminated the need to rubber stamp people’s hands. I personally tested this process out several times over the 24 hours, and can attest to its efficiency.

So now that I was inside the track, and after climbing several sets of steep stairs, I was face to face with a landmark I had first seen on the “Wide World of Sports” television show back in the late 1960′s; the iconic Dunlop bridge that spans the Le Mans race track, so this became my very first exploration…

Dunlop Bridge from grandstand side_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

It also became apparent that the European race fans take their motor racing very seriously, as witnessed by the crowds already present, and the ever-increasing number of fans that continued to fill the track, as well as the grandstands adjacent to the bridge.

Dunlop Bridge grandstands _Le Mans24_June 14, 2014
Dunlop grandstand_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Having completed my hike around the outside areas of the track near the Dunlop bridge, it was time to return to the infield area and begin exploring the infield area known as the “Village”.

La Chapelle location_infield directiory sign_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Walking past the silver paneled Audi boutique, I could see through the gathering crowd, what appeared to be one of Audi’s new R-18 e-tron race cars on display. Time to stop and get a close up look at their latest creation…

Audi Boutique at La Chapelle_2014 Audi R-18 e-tron on display_3/4 side view_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Audi Boutique at La Chapelle_2014 Audi R-18 e-tron on display_front view_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

After leaving the Audi boutique, it was time to explore more of the venues present within the Village. Walking along the pathway, I came across the Top Gear simulator, which every few minutes would swallow up a new batch of guests in their motion base simulator. The audio volume within the simulator had been cranked up so high, that standing outside, you could still hear the internal audio track.

Top Gear motion base simulator_infield village_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Next up were several more automotive manufacturer boutiques; first up was Aston Martin Racing…

Aston Martin Racing boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014and right next door was Lotus.

Lotus boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Continuing further into the village, I began hearing what sounded like live music, and rounding a corner, was almost run over by this roving brass band as seen below…

Brass band_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

After escaping from the band, I made my way over to the Michelin display, which described the development of race tire technology (as used on Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid), and the transfer of these technologies and applications to their street tires.And to demonstrate their street car applications, they just happened to have on display one very silver, 2014 Porsches GT3 shod with Michelin tires.

Michelin tire display_ Porsche 919 hybrid_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Michelin tire display_ silver 2014 Porsche GT3_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located a short distance from the Michelin display was the Spark boutique, dedicated to the fans who like their cars on a smaller scale.

Spark scale model boutique_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another of the very crowded boutiques, but with a predominately male shopper. As the photo below illustrates, Spark produces some of the nicest scale, display models of any company. The large-scale, Audi R-18 e-tron on display was amazing, as was the asking price; 3000 euro, which in dollars worked out to roughly $4080.00 !!

Spark sclae model boutique_ audi R-18 model for sale, 3000euros _village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located right next to the Spark boutique, was GM’s display and boutique, which displayed a single, 2014 charcoal gray Chevrolet Corvette C7.

Corvette display & boutique_charcoal gray 2014 C7 corvette_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another of the impressive sights found within the Village, and close to the Paddock; the massive, polished metal Audi monolith, positioned in the middle of the plaza.

Audi Monolith_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

The reflective surfaces also made for a great photo opportunity, as witnessed below…

Audi Monolith_spectator photo op, reflectiions_village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Located directly opposite of this monolith, was the automotive boutique that I had hoped to find. Positioned out front were two examples of Porsches latest race cars; a GT3 Cup Car, and an example of their brand new LMP1 class, 919 Hybrid.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_GT3 Cup Car_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 front view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_front wheel & tire detail__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche boutique_fan stop_LMP1, 919 Hybrid_3/4 rear view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Serving as the backdrop for these two race cars, was a semi tractor-trailer designed as a rolling Porsche boutique, complete with pop-outs to deliver an expandable showroom.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_3/4 side view__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

As much as I wanted to enter the boutique to check out the contents, the line to enter continued to grow in size and the number of people entering was being regulated, so I figured I would return later.

Porsche boutique_fan stop_roof top banners__village infield_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Ironically, located immediately behind the Porsche Fan Spot boutique was the Paddock area and the entrance to the garages, pit area and pit lane grandstands. And as the following photos illustrate, Porsche took full advantage of this particular area to advertise their 2014 return to Le Mans…

Porsche supergraphics_nos fans_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014
Porsche supergraphics_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_nos fans#2_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_La meilleure energie motice qui soit_pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Porsche supergraphics_the most powerful..._pit row grandstands_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Below, the multi-storied Race Control building, whose occupants would be responsible for managing the race for the full 24 hours, and located at the entrance to pit lane.

Race control building_pit row _Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Circling the garage / paddock area, I was fortunate to spot the latest race car transporters for the Porsche factory team; commissioned with delivering their new LMP1 919 hybrids to race tracks throughout Europe.

Porsche race car haulers_ 919 hybrid_paddock/garage area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Spotted parked four rigs over from the end, was this tractor/trailer combo for Porsche Motorsports. I suspect that the large boxes on the rear lift gate contained body parts for either the latest 911 RSR’s or the new 919 hybrid.

Porsche motorsports parts trailer_paddock/garage area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Another Porsche venue (Spirit of Le Mans) discovered on my walk back up through the infield village…

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Being the ever inquisitive Porsche fan, I walked up to the tent flap to see what was inside.

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_908/02 #48_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Looking inside, I found a crew still in the process of working to complete the display. I was able to grab a few quick shots as they made their way toward where I was standing.

My first shot (above), was of what appeared to be the Porsche 908/02 that Steve McQueen and Peter Revson drove to a second place finish at Sebring back in 1970.

My second shot (below), captured what looked to be Porsches last overall Le Mans 24 race winner from back in 1998; the awesome 1998 GT1LM…

Porsche spirit of Le Mans display_1998 GT1LM rear view_infield village area_Le Mans24_June 14, 2014

Would having this car on site bring luck to the multiple Porsche teams competing at this years race, and would Porsche repeat their overall race victory this year with their new 919 hybrid?

Please stay tuned for part two of my blog, which will cover the entire 24 hours of the race, as well as my post race travels through the Loire Valley and return to Paris.

(Here’s a sneak peek of two race shots)…

Porsche 911RSR #91_LeMans24_2014

Porsche 919 hybrid#20_LeMans24_2014

(All photos by the author)

Porsches return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 16 years in the making, and the fulfillment of a life long dream…

Dear readers,

You may have been wondering about my lack of blog postings lately. Rest assured I have not given up on the challenge of writing a blog, but have instead been preparing to fulfill a lifelong dream of attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans. So as I write this very post, I am currently in the village of Coupvray, France, (about 23 mile east of Paris), staying with friends, prior to my wife and I driving south (mid-week) down to Le Mans for this coming weekends race.

So in anticipation of Porsche returning to Le Mans with a factory team after a 16 year absence, and as a tribute to their last victory, I have posted as the header to my blog an image of their 1998 Le Mans winning car, the GT1LM.

So please stay tuned for my upcoming series of blog posts, which will be based upon my first hand experiences and impressions of attending my very first 24 Hours of Le Mans, and on this very special year for Porsche. And with a little luck, I hope to be present and able to share firsthand, coverage of Porsche on their way to class victories with this years new GT3RSR, but to also witness Porsche score an overall win with their brand new 919.

And as Porsche has advertised leading up to this years Le Mans; “Mission 2014. Our Return”.

Celebrating the classics, Cars&Coffee style…

Celebrating the classics was an underlying theme recently at Cars&Coffee / Irvine. This fact became quite obvious as I pulled into Porsche row just behind the Type 964 / C4 Pikes Peak rally car seen below. Driving and navigation duties were carried out by two young women, who just happened to be the daughters of the owner. With a deft hand, the 964 was backed into its space, parked beside their father’s 1953 Porsche 356A coupe.

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

“If two lights are good, then four should be even better”.

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_driving light cluster detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_3/4 side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Rear whale tail, covered in Valvoline themed confetti and Andial graphics; a winning combination (below).

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_rear wing graphics detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Family portrait time…

Pikes peak/Valvoline Porsche 964 rally car_3/4 rear view,2 car portrait_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Continuing with the classics theme, was a 1960s vintage race car, making its presence known by the quickly gathering crowd as witnessed in the “featured parking lot”.

An unmistakable classic, making only its second Saturday morning appearance at cars&coffee…

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

For anyone growing up during the 1960′s and who followed auto racing, it was obvious as to the identity of this low slung, white race car with black striping. Hard to mistake this race car for anything but the iconic, American built factory backed race car that it is; a 1967 Ford GT MK IV.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_3/4 side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_door meatball #9_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

A peek inside the closed cockpit…

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

and out back, a close up view of another classic component; the premier Ford race motor of the 1960′s, the mighty 427. And as seen on this car, a motor with its dual carburetors housed within a clear polycarbonate chamber, allowing the motor to be force-fed fresh air by dual NACA air ducts, each located on the rear deck, atop the rear fenders.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_engine detail shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_rear view with open decklid_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Visible through its rear window (below); the single, treaded “spare tire” and immediately to its right, the fabricated aluminum “luggage box”. A requirement mandated for all competitors in the Prototype Endurance class, per F.I.A. competition regulations that remained in effect into the 1970′s.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_view of motor thru rear window_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_drivers side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Sharing space; the 1967 Ford GT Mk IV and its neighbor, the red Porsche 356A Speedster.

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV_3/4front view with red speedster in foreground_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

White 1967 Ford GT MK IV and red Porsche 356A speedster_group shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Red Porsche 356A speedster_rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Further down the row, awaiting discovery by fans of english sports cars, was this beautifully restored Austin Healey 100, adorned by an assortment of rally badging, and flanked by a pair of driving lights complete with stone guards.

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_front grill shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

The Healey’s highly detailed interior. Equal in quality and attention to detail, on par with its exterior.

Cream colored Austin Healey 100_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another European classic encountered, parked amid a cluster of BMW’s. A spectacular, highly modified example of a mid 1970s vintage BMW 2002.

Fjord Blue, custom built BMW 2002_ side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

And as the fender graphics proclaim, a twin turbo, updated to the owners specifications, with a hint to its true potential revealed by the rear badging; “3002 ttii / twin turbo”.

Fjord Blue, custom built BMW 2002 "3002ttii"_ rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another classic Ford present on this morning, and making what I believe to be its debut at cars&coffee. As seen below, a 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint, built by the firm VinRacer, as their interpretation of a period correct “Trans Am Racer”.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Vin Racer describes themselves as creators of “vintage speed”, dedicated to the building of high performance, pre-1969 vehicles specific to a client’s desires. For anyone interested, please use the link above to check out their website for a full description of their services.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_front hood with louvers and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_rear view with reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 rear fender view and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 front view with reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_closed front hood with meatball and reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Even the engine compartment was as impressive as the exterior. Hidden beneath the louvered hood and braced within its spartan engine compartment, was home to the impressive, HI-PO 289 cubic inch motor, good for a reported 300 horsepower.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_289 c.i. motor detail_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_oblique rear view with reflections and shadow_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

The competition inspired interior, complete with dual racing bucket seats, Hurst 4 speed shifter, Simpson harnesses and roll cage.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_interior shot_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

One of the last cars to leave the event that morning, yet still fielding questions from visitors interested in the Falcon.

Black 1963 Ford Falcon Sprint /Trans AM racer_3/4 rear view, reflections and lit taillights_cars&coffee/irvine_May 10, 2014

Another example of why attending this show on a weekly basis is so rewarding. Surprises abound, and regardless of your favorite make or model, you’re assured of finding a vehicle to capture your interests.

(All photos by the author)

2014′s California Festival of Speed; Porsche GT3 Cup cars as far as the eye could see and a few surprises…

2014′s California Festival of Speed at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California has come and gone, and what an amazing weekend it was. For me, the anticipation had begun building on Friday, as I checked Instagram postings throughout the day, uploaded by friends already out at the track. The kicker was the video post of Patrick Long ( the sole American Porsche Factory team driver), behind the wheel of a certain Guards Red, 2014 Porsche Turbo S, with the owner recording Mr. Long’s skills behind the wheel.

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 front view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 front view ,drivers side pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Upon arriving at the event on Saturday morning, I ran into the owner of the Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S seen above, and she shared with me her previous days excitement at having Patrick Long behind the wheel of her car, and witnessing firsthand his skill and finesse for piloting a Porsche at speed, all on a cleared track for half a dozen laps. She then opened up the front trunk, revealing Patrick Long’s autograph, applied to the underside of the hood, to commemorate this rare opportunity (see below).

2014 Guards Red Porsche 991 Turbo S_underhood autograph_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

If one 991 Turbo S is good, then a pair is even better. Below, a second 991Turbo S on display, painted in the spectacular Sapphire Blue metallic.

2014 Sapphire Blue metallic Porsche 991 Turbo S_3/4 rear view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2014 Sapphire Blue metallic Porsche 991 Turbo S _nose view on pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Parked directly across from this pair, was another unique Porsche 991 that I have had the pleasure of shooting on multiple occasions. What sets this particular car apart from its 991 brethren, in addition to its aerokit cup package, is its unique color. As I shared in a previous  postng, when the owners picked up their special order model at the Factory this past summer, they were informed that their car was the only Porsche 991 at that time to be painted Riviera Blue.

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_side view pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_rear deck reflections_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

2013 Riviera Blue Porsche 991 w/ aerokit_3/4 rear view with fence shadows on pit row_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

An amazing car from any view… and since I was literally at the entrance to Vendor row, it was time to check out what surprises. My first stop was at Dutchman Motorbikes, where Mark had his latest creations on display.

Dutchman Motorbikes_group shot of display_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Dutchman Motorbikes_detail shot of #73 on display_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Dutchman Motorbikes_Jagermesiter logo on top tube shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Next up was the Porsche Cars North America display, which on this weekend showcased their upcoming Experience Center, currently under construction in Carson, California. First up was the site map…

Porsche Experience Center_overview of test track facility_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

supported by the adjoining narrative graphic (seen below), highlighting the featured areas that will make up the test track portion of the Experience Center. According to the Porsche representatives on hand, the Experience Center is scheduled to open in 2015.

Porsche Experience Center_overview of test track features_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

My next stop was just several displays down the row, and hosted by bbi Autosport. The featured vehicle on display was the GT3 Cup Car that they had prepared for 2013′s Pikes Peak race, piloted by Pikes Peak multiple class winning driver, Jeff Zwart.

bbi Autosport display_GT3 Cup car, Jeff Zwart's Pike peak car_3/4 front view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi Autosport display_GT3 Cup car, Jeff Zwart's Pike peak car_3/4 front view/passenger side_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

After checking out all of the bbi Autosport goodies, it was time to go in search of my prime objective for the weekend; Porsche GT3 Cup Cars. So off I went to check out the three paddock garages, which would be home to the majority of the Cup Cars throughout the weekend.

As I rounded the corner of the first garage, imagine my surprise at encountering the Porsche seen below.

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 front view at garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Unexpected, and a treat for all, provided by the folks at TruSpeed. One of Porsches most successful race cars of the late 1970′s and early 1980′s; the iconic Porsche 935 twin turbo. And in this case, the recently restored icon, as originally campaigned by the Interscope Racing team out of Newport Beach, California back in 1978.

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 rear view with top of fender reflections _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_dashboard shot thru window _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

TruSpeeds restored,1978 Interscope racing Porsche 935 twin turbo_3/4 rear view with fender reflections _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

But wait, there’s more. TruSpeed had another treasure tucked away in the garage, which Terry Brewer from their sales group was kind enough to show me, and shared that if I was interested, this GT3 Cup was for sale.

TruSpeeds white Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car for sale_3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Parked on the opposite side of the garage was another collection of GT3 Cup cars, all in various stages of preparation, and being readied for an afternoons worth of track time.

Silver & Black #85, Porsche type 997 GT3 Cup car_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

An example of a Type 996 derived Porsche GT3 Cup car, rendered in classic stone gray with contrasting orange accents; a returning competitor from last years event.

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Stone gray type 996 GT3 Cup car_ rear wing strut /  in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Multiple examples of the newer 997 based GT3 Cup cars, as seen below, competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup series.

Blue discountechnology type 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pair of white Air powered racing  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Black #99 with red mirrors Trefethen winery type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Black and gold mylar wrap # 06, Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

white w/red and blue stripe, all star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ front view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Taking its turn on the corner balancing fixture (below).

Werks II # 25 Porsche type 997 GT3 Cup car_ 3/4 front view_on corner balance fixture in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup cars, staged throughout all three of the garages.

white w/red and blue stripe, All Star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ side view in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

A glimpse at a GT3 Cup motor, and its visually dominant horizontal air box…

white w/red and blue stripe, all star # 28  Porsche  type 997 GT3 Cup car_ view of motor _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Spare wheels and Pirelli racing tires at the ready…

Porsche GT 3 Cup car wheels and Pirelli race rubber_tire rack in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Porsche GT 3 Cup car wheels_Wheel details_tire rack in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Driver and team equipment taking a break.

Drivers helmet, clipboard and stop watches on bench_ in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

One of several GMG prepared Porsches; undergoing preparation for its next on track session.

Blue GMG #155, type 997 Porsche GT 3 Cup_rear view  in garage _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

And one of the few, non Motorsports purposed Porsches found in the paddock area; a classic Porsche Junior tractor with trailer…

Porsche Junior tractor and trailer_paddock area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

complete with info plaque.

Porsche Junior tractor_data plaque_paddock area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

My last stop before lunch was out to the trailer parking area in search of a particular Type 996 GT3 cup car; one that I had watched over Instagram posts in the days leading up to the event. The first post documented the car getting its new graphics treatment, while the second was a brief video shot on its return to its trailer, having completed its initial shakedown laps, piloted by its new owner.

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_front view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 front view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 rear view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_rear view /in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_3/4 rear view /roof, fender & wing_in trailer area _California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Classic Porsche Motorsports issue: BBS modular, centerlock racing wheels.

White #997, Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car, with red & black stripes_BBS center lock wheel detail_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

After lunch, it was time to shift my focus towards track related activities. On tap was an afternoon of Porsche Club of America club racing sessions, bbi sponsored time trials and the Pirelli GT3 Cup race.

First up was one of several Porsche Club of America, club racing sessions. From my vantage point, camped out above the viewing area atop pit row, I could watch the different classes stage on the grid, and then be released out onto the track.

Staged and awaiting release onto the track…

PCA club racing series _grid shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

heading out onto the track, prior to the line up for a rolling start.

PCA club racing series _GMG's #155 GT3R entering track_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ Red GT3Cup entering track_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

In formation, and accelerating across the start / finish line; here come the Cup cars…

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _start of first lap_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _start of first lap,  group shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _#496 air powered racing GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Below, a wolf in sheep’s clothing; if you look closely, you’ll see that this Porsche GT3 is not a GT3 Cup car, but instead the next model up on the Porsche competition vehicle list; the GT3 Cup cars big brother, the GT3R. After watching this car turning laps on the track, it became obvious as to the R’s performance advantage over the base model GT3 Cup.

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _GMG's #155 GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

More of the PCA club racing based, GT3 Cup cars.

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _True Course #29 GT3 Cup at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Red, white & black #220 GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _White #336 GT3 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Stone Grayw/orange accents #95_ GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Black #59 GT3R at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

PCA club racing series_ GT3 Cup cars _Gray to white fade #271 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As the checkered flag fell on this PCA Club race, the next event scheduled was the bbi sponsored time trial, and could be seen starting to queue up in the grid area. From my vantage point, perched in the viewing stands above pit row, I could watch the cars and the drivers last-minute preparations, prior to their release onto the track.

bbi autosport sponsored time trial_Porsches queued up on the grid_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

So with the assembled time trial groups release, it was time to focus on shooting some Porsche race cars at speed…

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver Porsche #1 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Black Porsche #91 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Gulf blue and orange #61 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver Porsche GT3 #62 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

In regards to the Type 996 Porsche GT3 Cup car captured below, at the conclusion of the event on Sunday, while checking my Instagram feed, I learned that this Cup car had posted the top time of the day (TTD) in the time trial class. Not bad for this owners first competiton outing with his newly purchased GT3 Cup car. Congratulations Tom…

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _white Porsche GT3 cup car #997 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

bbi autosport sponsored time trial _Silver with blue graphics Porsche 944 turbo #409 at speed_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Once this time trial session had concluded, next up was what would be my last observed race for Saturday afternoon. And what a race to wrap up the afternoon with; the Pirelli GT3 Cup race. Being a huge fan of Porsche’s  GT3 models, and even more so of the GT3 Cup car variants, this race turned out to be one of my favorites of the day.

Below, final staging underway for the last of the Pirelli GT3 Cup races for the afternoon, and Porsche GT3 Cup cars as far as the eye could see.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, overall shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, close up view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars queued on the grid, end of two rows view_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Then with a blast from the grid marshal’s whistle, the Cup cars roared to life and began their single file trek towards the track entrance portal. With a collective roar, the group was off on their formation lap, and by the time all had arrived at turn 20, they were aligned in rows two by two, with the pole sitting Porsche GT3 Cup car (#17) setting the pace. After crossing the start / finish line, #17 immediately began opening up a lead over the second placed GT3.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /start of the race_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

The following images represent a small sampling of the different GT3 Cup cars competing in the Pirelli GT3 Cup car, race #2 on Saturday…

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /white #10 pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track /blue & white #81 pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars on track / black #99 Trefethen Porsche pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white, red & blue , #28 All Star fire equipment Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / blue & gold #65  Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white & blue , #94 justice brothers Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white #03 911 Design Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white & green , #53  J&M Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / silver, black & red , #02  Discount Tire Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / black & blue , #84  Discountechnology.com Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white #23  Porsche GT3 Cup car, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars /black & gold vinyl wrap , #06 CM racing  Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / white, blue& red , #25  Werks II motorsport Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As seen below, the winning Porsche from the PirellI GT3 Cup race #2.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ GT3 cup cars / black with chartrues  green mirrors , #17 Trefethen Porsche, pan shot_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

As I made my way through the garage parking area, headed out towards the Porsche parking corral, a flash of light caught my eye. After stopping to take a closer look, I realized the flash had been created by a reflection, and an interesting one at that. Parked immediately behind the car hauler, was the vehicle generating the reflection and source of the flash; a pristine white Porsche type 997 GT3RS, and a fitting subject for my last photos of the day.

 Car hauler  / trailer rear door reflection_paddock area_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

 Car hauler  / trailer rear door reflection close up_paddock area_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Low key and discreet, with the only hint to the cars true potential being the subtle green graphics, applied onto the lower leading edge of each door.

Pirelli GT3 Cup races_ white GT3RS with green door graphic_California Festival of Speed_4/5/14

Here sat another example of Porsches continued pursuit of excellence; a street car that can deliver race car levels of performance, due to technologies developed from competition, similar to what I had witnessed throughout the afternoon.

I wonder how many Porsche owners as they left the track that weekend, departed with aspirations of racing a GT3 Cup car, or experienced the desire to get involved and go PCA club racing or to compete in time trials. For me, the event evoked memories of my time behind the wheel of a friends Viper Green 2007 GT3RS, and further cemented my resolve to one day own a Type 997 GT3. In the meantime, these experiences have helped me develop a set of benchmarks to use in my quest to enhance the performance of my own Carrera.

(All photos by the author)

“Thunderstorms hit Southern California”, yet fail to dampen the spirits of those attending the 2014 LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show, and the Phoenix Club’s Porsche show and swap meet…

“Thunderstorms hit Southern California”, yet fail to dampen the spirits of those attending the 2014 LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show, and the Phoenix Club’s Porsche show and swap meet.

Below is an example of the crowd present for this years  LA Airport Hilton Hotel Literature and Memorabilia show. I was told by friends who had arrived early to be part of the paid “early entry” at 7AM, that they had never seen so many people show up for the early entry, and that the crowds at 9 AM were equally impressive.

One of two grand ballrooms_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

One of several display tables with an assortment of driving lights, fog and tail lights.

Driving, fog and tail light display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

Vintage Hella tail lights, application unknown. However, the Hella 128 fog lights (as noted by the price tag seen below) were optional on Porsche 911s dating back to 1966. It pains me to see the current asking price for a set of 128s, especially since I sold a pristine pair to a friend back in 1973 for $45.

Hella Tail light detail shot_ display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

Several rows over was another table full of favorites; car grill / badge bar commemorative plaques…

Grill /badge bar plaques_ display table_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

all very cool and expensive, with each possessing unique detail and color.

Grill / badge bar plaques_ detail shot_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

One of the nicest Porsche parts displays present (seen below), showcasing an unrivaled variety of Porsche 356 parts for sale, presented by the firm Stoddard NLA-LLC.

Stoddard parts display_ detail shot_ LA Hilton Hotel & LA Airport Porsche & VW literature and Memorabilia Show_March 2, 2014

The following day (Sunday) traditionally hosts a larger, outdoor swap meet and car show down in Orange County, at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. In all of my years of attendance, this was the first time rain would impact the event. The Porsche community however is a hearty lot, so a little rain was not about to affect their show…

Front hood emblem on dark blue Porsche 911 Carrera_rain drops & emblem_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Dark blue Porsche 911 Carrera_headlight, fender and hood shot with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

An early 911 headlight (below), equipped with a European spec, amber French lens.

Silver long hood Porsche 911_headlight with French amber lens_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One highly visible, glow in the rain Porsche 930 turbo.

Day glow yellow Porsche 930 turbo_side view & reflections_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One rain drenched Porsche super car; the rare Type 959. Even at rest, the rain sheets right off…

Black Porsche 959_front view with rain tracks_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the Porsche 356 representatives present, showing no apprehension regarding the morning rain.

Turquoise green Porsche 356_3/4 front detail view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Proof that water does bead up on highly waxed surfaces.

Turquoise green Porsche 356_ front hood handle / badge detail and hood with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Representing the early long hood community, was this beautifully prepared Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911.

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ 3/4 side view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Rear decklid and side stripes with a rally sport inspired graphic treatment; could these graphics be the handiwork of werkcrew founder Bob Tilton?

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ rear deckled detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

The equally impressive, rally / race inspired motor.

Beige Gray 1968 Porsche 911_ Motor detail shot_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

More proof that Southern California Porsche owners drive their cars in the rain…

Bright blue Porsche 911 Carrera_ hood badge and raindrop detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

and the rest of the car covered by the morning rain.

Bright blue Porsche 911 Carrera_ 3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Several of the early morning arrivals, parked up close to the building and protected from the majority of the rain showers.

Early Porsche 911s_ orange 1970s 911T, 1973  Blue 911S_3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

A pair of Porsche GTs staged out in the rain; a 1972 911 GT and the rally prepared,1970 914-6…

Porsche GTs_white 1972 911 GT, yellow 1970 914-6 GT_3/4 front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

The real deal; a close up view of true 914-6 GT factory fender flares.

Yellow 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT_fender flare detail_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Proof of this vehicles pedigree; a record of its previous participant and survivor status in the Panama / Alaska Rally.

Yellow 1970 Porsche 914-6 GT_rear deckled rally plaque, raindrops & reflections_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the early 911S models on display at this years show…

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_3/4 front view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

complete with a recent acquisition by the owner, proudly displayed on the dash.

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_356 model displayed on dashtop_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

This burgundy 911S was also one of the few Porsches at the show equipped with a roof mounted, Leitz brand luggage rack.

Burgundy long hood Porsche 911S_rear view with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the local RGruppe members, displaying a variety of magnetic vinyl club event plaques on his front hood.

White 911T_RGRuppe with Martini stripes_front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One rain-soaked rear decklid, wrapped in Martini racing graphics.

White 911T_RGRuppe with Martini stripes_rear deckled with raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Below, further evidence of the morning drizzle…

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_front hood, badge and raindrops_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

on what initially appeared to be an early 1970s vintage Porsche 911. However, upon closer inspection it became obvious that this car was actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Concealed beneath its skin lurked a 1986 3.2 liter, Porsche 911 Carrera having undergone a conversion known as “backdating”. That effort combined with the visually correct, optional front and rear bumper overriders, created a convincing 1970s appearing Porsche 911.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_front view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Suspicions confirmed… and itemized.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_backdating shopping list_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

A convincing re-spray, in period correct Irish green.

Irish green backdated 1986 Porsche 3.2 911 Carrera_3/4 rear view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

One of the apparent casualties of the morning rain; a shrunken Porsche 550 Spyder, reduced in size and now able to fit into the bed of a single cab VW type 2, being displayed by the folks from fibersteel.

Silver Porsche 550 Spyder pedal car_fibersteel_side view_Phoenix Club Car show & Swap_March 3, 2014

Even with rain impacting this years event, there was still a huge turnout, illustrating the impact that this event holds for the Southern California Porsche community. And based upon the variety of different foreign accents overheard during the weekend, it’s easy to see the wide reaching pull that this event has on Porsche fans from around the globe.

The next event coming up for the Southern California Porsche community will be the California Festival of Speed, at the Auto Club Speedway, in Fontana, California from April 4-6. Let’s all hope for a warm sunny weekend…

(All photos by the author)

“Sky Blue and Black”; An unexpected visit by #00, Interscope Racings 1978 Porsche 935

“Sky Blue and Black”; An unexpected visit by #00,  Interscope Racings 1978 Porsche 935. And what a surprise it was.

As the sun began to rise, word spread quickly that someone brought a Porsche 935 to the event, and now it was parked near the entrance to the overflow lot. It became obvious as to the car’s location, judging by the gathered crowd.

Being a big fan of  Porsche 935s, I was eager to check out the mystery Porsche.  As I approached, I immediately recognized this particular 935, having chased it through the viewfinder of my camera at IMSA races throughout the late 1970s and into the 80s.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_front view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing… Southern California’s own and Newport Beach, California-based race team, which successfully fielded a pair of Porsche 935s from 1977 to 1982. The two car team consisted of car #0, piloted by team owner Ted Field, with the second car (#00) driven by teammate Danny Ongais. Danny “On the gas” Ongais was no stranger to motorsports, having started out in the NHRA, driving top fuel dragsters in the mid 1960s. From there he graduated to racing Indy cars, and then in 1977 began racing Porsches with and for Ted Field.

The Porsche 935 seen below was raced by Danny Ongais in 1978 in the IMSA series as part of the Interscope team. It is currently owned by one of the partners at TruSpeed, a local Costa Mesa, CA based Motorsports company, and here it was, making its debut at cars&coffee, showcasing its recent restoration.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_3/4 front view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Standard issue on the Porsche 935; Gold, three piece modular center lock BBS race wheels, in this case shod with present day Michelin race rubber (Goodyear tires having been the dominate brand raced back in 1978).

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_Gold BBS racing wheel & reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

In talking with the staff from TruSpeed, I learned that the car had spent time the previous week being put through its paces at the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway, in Desert Center, California. Present for this shakedown, and handling tuning duties, was none other than Dieter Inzenhofer, one of the three founding partners of Andial, which became the premier race shop for building winning 935 motors for the IMSA series through the 1970s and 1980s. All of this work was  in preparation for a trip to Sebring, Florida, to compete in an upcoming historic / vintage car race scheduled to take place in early March.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_3/4 rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_Gold BBS rear race wheel & fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Flawless, concours quality paint finish, perfect for reflecting one’s surroundings.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Bi- level, Porsche 935 specific rear wing and fender, complete with trademark Interscope tri-colored graphic striping.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear wing detail & fender reflections_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

(Below) A view familiar to its many competitors back in the day; the full width, rear wing complete with Interscope graphics, massive Porsche 935 rear fenders, and centrally located, dual exhaust and peripheral waste-gates.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_rear view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

A bugs-eye view of the twin turbo set-up, with centrally located, converging dual exhaust and the laterally positioned, dual boost wastegates.

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_bugs eye view of twin turbo motor & dual wastegates_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

Interscope Racing 1978 Porsche 935_side view_cars&coffee/irvine_February 15, 2014

The classic silhouette of the Porsche 935, and the iconic tri -colored striping of Interscope #00, restored and ready to once again compete with its rivals within the ranks of the Historic racing community. Best of luck to the entire TruSpeed team on your upcoming competitions.

(All photos by the author)

“Winter rain shrinks Type 2 Transporter”, or how I spent my Saturday morning at the 2014 OCTO Winter Meet

“Winter rain shrinks Type 2 Transporter, or how I spent my Saturday morning at the 2014 OCTO Winter Meet”. Thankfully the rains that had arrived late in the week in Southern California had left as Saturday, February 8th approached. The reason for my concern was that on Saturday, the “2014 OCTO Winter Meet” would once again be held at the Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium, and I had missed their last event. Fortunately for all involved, Saturday morning dawned crisp and clear, albeit a bit cooler than we Southern Californians are used to.

It’s hard to imagine a better view for anyone interested in VW Type 2 transporters, than the scene presented below, upon entry into this years Winter meet.

Entry view of this years show_ rows of type 2s_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Anchoring the end of the first row was this beautiful green and white early 1960s Type 2 bus.

Pale green and off white colored type 2_ 3/4 front view with reflections__OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Having just completed the restoration on a set of Bosch European H4 headlights off of my Porsche 911, I have a new-found appreciation and interest in German headlights; trim rings, reflectors and flawless, crystal clear glass lenses from Bosch and Hella. The headlights on this bus (seen above and below), absolutely blew me away. (This image has become one of my favorite detail shots from this show).

Pale green and cream colored type 2_ pristine headlight & reflections _OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The next bus I came across turned out to be a long-term (but nearing completion), father and son project. One very cool safari – windowed, 1963 Type 2 (as seen below), worked on together in the evenings. The teenage son told me that within a year, the bus will become his new ride, as soon as he gets his license. His dad then told me that upon the completion of this project, he will again be on a hunt for his next challenge, perhaps the restoration of a Porsche 356 or maybe even an early 911.

Red & white 1963 type 2 father & son project bus _ 3/4 front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The brilliant, mirror finished paint, revealing its neighbor lurking behind.

Red & white 1963 type 2 father & son project bus _ 3/4 rear view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

A low-level, early morning perspective, captured using an often overlooked medium for reflections…

Hubcap reflection_green & white bus and sealing wax red bus_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Blue bus fender and gray bus reflection in hubcap_OCTO Winter meet Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Hubcap reflection_straight on view , blue & white bus reflected_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

and a variation on a theme. A beautifully restored two-tone Microbus, equipped with a full complement of pop out windows, and rolling on a set of chromed, Porsche 5 spoke alloy wheels.

Two tone type 2, blue & white_3/ 4 rear view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

A close up of its front wheel; a 4- 1/2 X 15 inch, Porsche 5 spoke alloy as seen below.

Two tone type 2, blue & white_chromed Porsche alloy wheel detail_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Parked along one the many perpendicular rows, was the Dove blue, late 1950s vintage Panel / Delivery van, with an interesting painted graphic on its flanks (seen below). Definitely worthy of nostalgia points, and visually period correct to the opening date of Disneyland. Could this panel van have been part of the vehicle pool at the Park back in the late 1950s? My curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to ask the owner about the origins of the bus and its graphics. I learned that the owner is an advertising and marketing consultant to Disney, and apparently received permission to apply the Disneyland logo type onto his vintage van. Unfortunately, he revealed that this Type 2 van was never part of the Disneyland fleet.

Dove Blue late 1950s Type 2 panel van_side view w/ Disneyland logo_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Parked immediately behind the Disneyland panel van was another vintage Dove Blue bus (below), however in this case, it was an early 1960s SO model, specifically an SO2 ( High Roof Mobile Shop) version according to my research.

Early 1960s Dove Blue SO2 Type 2_Eddy& Dave's Garage_side view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The vintage duo …

Group shot_Disneyland logo van & Eddy & Dave's SO2 _3/4 side view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

As the license plate below clearly states, yes, it’s a 1967 Deluxe Bus complete with a full set of pop-outs, safari windows up top, and a sliding roof panel, all opened to let in the early morning light and fresh air.

OG Titian Red and beige gray 1967 Deluxe Bus_3/4 front view_ OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Parked further down the row was another early 1960s Deluxe Bus, this one showing its age with its heavily aged turquoise paint, and similarly equipped with pop outs and safari windows up top, all resting on a set of Porsche 5 spoke alloy wheels.

Early 1960s deluxe bus_turquoise & cream_3/4 front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Another early 1960s vintage Microbus below, wearing multi-colored body panels, but with a highly reflective door.

Early 1960s Microbus / blue body panels & white roof _ door reflection_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

One never knows what might be lurking within the parked vehicles. So imagine my surprise at seeing this cat poke its head up as I passed behind the bus, and engaged me in a stare-down. Even as I raised my camera to take this shot, the cat just stared back…

Sealing Wax red & Chestnut brown bus w/OG paint_rear view w/ cat in back window_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Further examples of contrasting styles present at the 2014 OCTO Winter meet; scattered groupings of Type 2s with OG patina, VS. some highly restored examples on display.

Below, one of the more highly restored models present; an early 1960s Microbus, in two-tone pale green and white, and another example running chromed Porsche 5 spoke alloy wheels.

Early 1960s Microbus, pale green & white with Porsche alloys_3/4 front view & reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Another front end detail shot, illustrating a different style of headlight lens, close in configuration and profile to the European Bosch H4 headlights found on many Porsche 911s, but for this Type 2 application the lens is oriented horizontally.

Early 1960s Microbus, pale green & white with Porsche alloys_front nose shot,headlight & turn indicator_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The finishing touch for many of the type 2′s in attendance; the classic, dash mounted touch of Hawaii, a.k.a. the “hula girl”.

Dash mounted hula girl_ white Type 2_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Dash mounted hula girl_ two tone Type 2 with beads_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Dash mounted hula girl_ R&M detailing single cab_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Parked along the row closest to the stadium, was one of the events elder statesman; this beautifully prepared, post 1955 Transporter, dressed in the classic Sealing Wax Red and Chestnut Brown paint combination.

Post 1955 Microbus_Sealing wax red and chestnut brown_front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Post 1955 Microbus_Sealing wax red and chestnut brown_side reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Post 1955 Microbus_Sealing wax red and chestnut brown_rear view & reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Scattered throughout the event were also a variety of vehicles offered up for sale. Below are several examples of the Type 2s on display, and looking for new homes.

First up was the 1963 VW Double cab as seen below…

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_3/4 front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Close up view of another 1963 vintage headlight lens and turn signal combination (below).

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_3/4 front view_headlight & indicator w/ reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Taped to the inside of the window was a thorough description outlining the extent of the recent restoration, followed up by a second sheet noting the price, and contact information.

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_window sticker/for sale description_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_window sticker/ contact info_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_3/4 rear view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Even the engine compartment and motor received attention, including what appears to be a translucent, candy colored fan shroud treatment, providing the intense flash of color.

1963 2 tone lime green type 2 double cab_ motor detail_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The second Type 2 being offered for sale was this Ivory colored, late 1950s vintage single cab, complete with a set of new rear bed hoops and wooden cross braces.

late 1950s Ivory white Single Cab_ front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The subtle approach to “previously -owned” vehicle pricing…

late 1950s Ivory white Single Cab_ for sale card under wiper_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Taking a slightly more subdued approach to restoration, staying true to its stock roots, right down to its motor.

late 1950s Ivory white Single Cab_ 3/4 RT front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Bone stock motor ( below), complete with its left oriented, oil bath air filter, and utilized by VW from 1955 through 1963.

late 1950s Ivory white Single Cab_ motor detail_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

A charter member of the highly restored, late 1950s Microbus camp, dressed in what appeared to be a Dove blue and White paint scheme.

Late 1950s Type 2 in Dove Blue & Linen white_ 3/4 rear view w/reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Spectacular from any view…

Late 1950s Type 2 in Dove Blue & Linen white_rear view w/reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

This bus had to possess one of the nicest paint jobs found in the show, as witnessed by the distortion free reflections viewed in its side body panels. No doubt the end result of endless hours of block sanding all body panels prior to the application of its finish paint.

Late 1950s Type 2 in Dove Blue & Linen white_side view w/reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Tucked away towards the middle of the parking lot, was a beautifully restored, 1958 Type 2 Single Cab, in a glowing red and white paint scheme, complete with roof rack and rear bed hoops with wood cross bracing.

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_3/4 side view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The reason this Type 2 looks so amazing is clearly noted on each door; this bus is the owners daily driver / work vehicle as he goes about his business as an automotive detailer. And what better way of showcasing ones business and skills, than with a pristine 1958 Single Cab as a rolling business card.

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_door graphic detail_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

One aspect of these shows that I thoroughly enjoy, is the opportunity to talk with the owners about their vehicles, while capturing images of their rides. In this case, I struck up a conversation with the owner (Ryan), and learned that his Single Cab had been a Christmas present from his wife nine years ago (how cool is his wife!). It’s apparent that all of his work over the years have been a true labor of love for the owner.  And given the number of people stopping by to talk with him about his Single Cab, his hard work has not gone unnoticed.

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The period correct, 1958 shallow profiled glass headlight lens and its companion bullet indicator. I also found it interesting to note the different ribbing details, visible on the glass headlight lens below.

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_headlight and bullet indicator with reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_3/4 front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The spotless interior, complete with a subtle detail; the inclusion of a Porsche crest as the steering wheel horn button.

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_steering wheel & interior shot_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Ryan’s license plate stating the obvious; given the highly reflective nature of this paint finish, it’s clear to see the owner knows how to detail a vehicle.  I wonder how many time this Single Cab has been waxed ?

1958 VW Type 2 single cab_rear view & reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach, CA_February 8, 2014

Last up is the third of my selected standout Type 2s from the show, as seen below.

Early 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ 3/4 front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach, CA_February 8, 2014

Even the interior was as clean and detailed as the outside of this early 1960s vintage bus.

Early 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ interior details_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach, CA_February 8, 2014

Located out back was one very unexpected sight. Tucked into the engine bay, was a very impressive turbocharged motor, which according to the owner, really make this bus into a freeway flyer, and a lot of fun to drive.

Early 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ turbocharged motor_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

The smiling, happy face of a type 2 bus; enhanced by its safari pop – out front windows, chromed front bumper, and lowered suspension.

Early 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ front view_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

Early 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ front bumper reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

xEarly 1960s VW Type 2 bus, black & light tan_ nose mounted VW logo & reflections_OCTO Winter meet_Long Beach , CA_February 8, 2014

This image pretty much summarizes what the 2014 OCTO Winter meet was all about; a celebration of the Volkswagen Type 2; and what a celebration it was…

(All photos by the author)