Porsche de-ja vu… part deux

For me, there was just no escaping the feeling of de- ja vu as I continued to fan through my November issue of Excellence magazine. The first time it hit, I had only made it half way through the magazine before discovering the article by Randy Wells  (about John Manning’s gray, 1970 Porsche 911 Hot Rod / i.e RSR). And now the very next article I came across got me again, causing  another of those “de-ja vu” moments. Here once again was a car (a Light Ivory, 1967 Porsche 911, a “barn find” with some rather “distinctive makings”), that I had encountered in July while attending this years Porsche 356 club Concours d’ Elegance, held at Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point, California. I remember thinking at the time ” this poor car needs to be restored”…

1967 Porsche 911, barn find, dana point concours_july 2011So I sat down to read the article (another wonderful account by Randy Wells), about the car that had been parked just one row in front of me while at the Dana Point Concours. I have a particular fondness for early 911’s, since my very first Porsche was a 1966 911, that I bought back in 1972, and eneded up owning for 14 years.  After reading the article, all of the missing pieces of the puzzle came together;  the conversations I overheard while viewing the Porsche;  talk about it “needing to be restored”, or “how could someone let their car get into this condition”, etc.  I now understood why the owner was not as concerned about the storms that kept blowing through that morning, each successive storm dropping more rain than the previous. I also think he enjoyed watching the rest of us scrambling with the passing of each storm front, grabbing our microfiber towels to dry our cars off before any water spots could set. The article  also explained why the motor sounded as healthy as it did when it pulled up to park. Once the engine lid was opened,  one could see that the motor had been rebuilt, in stark contrast to the surface rust  scattered randomly across the body,  a result of having been in storage for 34 years.

1967 Porsche 911 motor, dana point concour_july 2011

Talbot racing mirror, 1967 Porsche 911, dana point concours_july 20111967 Porsche 911, dana point concours_july 2011If you haven’t had the opportunity to read the article about this car in the November 2011 issue of Excellence magazine, or are interested in learning more about Porsches, then this is the magazine you want  to be reading. And who knows, there are still ‘barn -finds” to be found, and there could be an early Porsche 911 in your future.

(All photos by the author)


Porsche de- ja vu…

I received the latest issue of Excellence magazine in the mail late last week, and after taking it out of its plastic wrapper, I began skimming through it as I usually do from the back to the front (to preview the contents). As I got towards the middle, I noticed several photos of a car that looked familiar. So I stopped and opened up the magazine to get a better look at the article. That’s when it hit me, I had seen this same Porsche at Cars & Coffee in Irvine, California.

Cars & Coffee, 1970 Porsche 911 gray RSR

I remember the buzz it created the first time it showed up back in April. One of my friends had chased me down, and said I had to go check out the really cool, gray Porsche 911 RSR parked out on the back row. That was enough to get my attention, so I headed off towards the crowd gathered around what I assumed to be the mysterious gray 911 RSR. And I was correct; there in the middle of this sea of people was this amazing Porsche. I stood back and waited for the crowd to thin, and when it did, I moved in for a closer look. I walked around the car a couple of times, taking in the details and shooting pictures as I went. I then circled several more times, quietly studying the RSR flares, the 17″ alloy wheels, the ducktail spoiler, and admiring its beautiful gray paint job. I then focused in closer on other subtle details; the lack of a hood emblem, the shaved cowl (no windshield wipers or washer nozzles), the LARGE red brembo brakes, and the dual, highly customized exhaust system.

Car&Coffee, Porsche 911, 1970 gray RSR exhaust systemThat was when the owner walked over and lifted up the duck tail spoiler, revealing a motor that would be right at home in any purpose-built Porsche 911 race car.  Rumor was that the motor was a 3.8 liter, built up from a 997 RSR core, for street and track use. The amber-colored, fiberglass fan shroud and light golden fan, red anodized intake trumpets, combined with the black anodized, slide valve fuel injection, and braided stainless fuel lines, all combined to create the visually stunning impact delivered by this motor.

Cars&Coffee,1970 Porsche 911 gray RSR

But the payoff came when the owner climbed into the car and fired it up to leave.  The motor settled into a quick idle, with an occasional blip of the throttle used to get the car rolling. The sound was incredible; if you closed your eyes it sounded like being in the pits at Laguna Seca, listening to the exhaust note from the latest 911GT3 RSR.

The car returned again several weeks later, with a few subtle changes. It now sported a rather telling custom license plate, and with its windows lowered, offered up a view of its stunning interior, with red leather clad RSR racing bucket seats, 380 mm RSR steering wheel, and a pair of dual, vintage dash mounted chronographs. Centered between the seats and topping off the gear shift lever, was a Porsche 917 inspired, balsa shift knob. The front trunk was also opened to reveal the purpose-built front strut brace, RSR carpet, and two remote, front shock reservoirs.

Cars&Coffee, Porsche 911RSR ,license plate _engine shot

Porsche 911 RSR _interior photo_cars&coffeePorsche 911 RSR, cars&coffee_front trunk detailCars&Coffee,Porsche 911 RSR interior Porsche 911 RSR, 17" wheels at cars & coffee

Upon its next Saturday morning return, the Porsche wore racer taped- over headlights, apparently from a recent track day event. I once again had to wait for the crowds to thin, so I could gain clear access to photograph the car. The weather that morning also cooperated, producing some very interesting lighting and reflections, which magnified and accentuated the contours and lines of the car.

Cars & Coffee, gray Porsche 911 RSR, racer taped headlights

3/4 rear shot, cars & coffee, gray Porsche 911 RSR

reflections, gray Porsche 911RSR, cars & coffeeThe Porsche RSR’s most recent appearance showcased further visual modifications that had been made; yellow european (French) glass headlight lenses had been added, and the red leather RSR seats had made way for a set of carbon fiber racing seats. I guess this speaks to the serious nature of the owner and his focus on performance at the track.

This is an absolutely amazing car, and one that should be seen and heard in person, to fully appreciate its impact on the early  Porsche 911 community.

gray Porsche 911RSR,  cars&coffee, yellow glass headlights

Porsche 911RSR, headlight shot, Cars & CoffeePorsche 911 RSR, carbon fiber seats, cars&coffeePorsche 911 RSR front shot, cars & coffee, yellow headlightsI received the latest issue of Excellence magazine in the mail late last week… whoa, de-ja vu…

(All photos by the author)

Blue, yellow, pink umbrellas, save it for a rainy day…

Imagine spending countless hours cleaning your car from top to bottom, inside and out in preparation for an upcoming concours event. Then comes the day of the event, and you wake up early, only to be greeted by very gray skies. Gray can be OK, as long as it is not accompanied by the wet stuff. So imagine my surprise  as I drove down the 5 freeway to attend this years Porsche 356 club / Dana Point Concours d’ Elegance (held in July), to encounter a storm front with heavy rain well north of my destination.  I immediately thought of the Porsche 356 concours entrants already at Dana Point; beginning the staging with their cars out on the lawn at Lantern Bay Park and suddenly being faced with the prospect of their cars being rained upon for perhaps the very first time ever. Not to mention the possibility of having their months of preparation and countless hours of detailing work  become instantly compromised by a very wet storm front. And imagine the sheer panic that the owners of the cabriolets and speedsters would experience, struggling to raise their tops as quickly as possible to prevent their pristine leather interiors from being ruined.

As I continued south down the 5  freeway, the rain squall stopped and I found the road ahead of my quite dry. I hoped that the rest of my trip south and the mornings event would also stay as dry.  However, 30 minutes further down the freeway,  I encountered another squall  just as wet as the previous, and was now even closer to my destination. I pressed on, and within 15 minutes arrived at Dana Point.  The rain had stopped, but the air was still cool and damp, and the sky very gray and ominous.

As I crested the hill to Lantern Bay Park, I was greeted by the site of Porsche 356’s being arranged in multiple rows on the lawn, as well as a bevy of wet Porsche 911’s queuing up off to the left, awaiting admission onto the site. I was waved over to the left, to wait in line along with the other 911’s.  While we were all waiting in our cars, there was suddenly a loud clap of thunder, announcing the return of the rain.  Those who had been standing outside their cars dove for cover, while those with umbrellas ( in July?)  simply opened them up and laughed at the rest of us without. A few minutes later, after the last of the 356’s had been staged,  it was time to begin the staging of the 911’s within the “display parking area”, positioned just to the west of the 356 display.  Once the procession of 911’s reached the display area, we too were lined up in multiple rows, and the initial topic of discussion was all about the weather, instead of the cars. This was the first time that anyone could remember where rain had occurred at this event.

911's at 356 club concours_dana point 2011

The next order of business for everyone present was to begin drying off their cars to prevent the dreaded water spotting. Microfiber towels of all different sizes, brands and colors began appearing, and the drying process began. Once completed, the microfiber towels were put away, and it was time to catch up with old friends. After visiting with several friends, and having just taken my camera out to begin photographing the event, the unthinkable happened again, and it began to drizzle. Not heavy, but just enough of a mist to get the cars sufficiently wet again. This front quickly passed, and the microfiber towels appeared for an encore.  It once again became a collective detailing session by all parties at the park.  Upon completion, and with the towels put away, the event got back on schedule. However, Mother Nature had one last surprise up her sleeve.  Her farewell display to the Concours event happened about a half hour later, while I was talking with my friend Chuck. In an instant, we were both getting slammed  by some very large rain drops, and within seconds, another storm front descended onto Lantern Bay Park.  Everyone again scrambled for cover, either beneath the trees within the park, or to the shelter of their cars.  Both Chuck and I chose the latter, and as I closed the door to my car, the skies literally opened up, as I watch the downpour from inside my car.

911's  at 356 Club Dana point concours 2011 with rain

With the passing of the storm, this was the last time that the microfibers would be put into service. After finishing my drying-off efforts, I grabbed my camera and begin photographing the after effects still visible on the 911’s parked around me, and rarely ever seen on concours caliber 356 Porsches.

rain soaked 911S at Dana Point concours_2011

wet 1966 911 @ dana point concours_2011

wet 997 speedster @dana point concours_2011

993 red speedster dana point concours_2011

wet porsche 356 dana point concours_2011

wet 356 cabriolet dana point concours_2011

raindrops  on 911 whale tail, dana point concours_2011

Within the hour, the sun began to peek through the clouds, the wind came up, and the sky began to clear. By now all of the cars (356’s and 911’s) had been dried off, and the Concours judging got underway. There had even been an announcement made over the event’s  PA system, noting that the effects of the rain would be taken in account when judging each car. As I passed through row after row of the beautifully prepared Porsche 356’s, it was hard to believe that all of these cars had been exposed to the multiple rain showers that passed through Lantern Bay Park that morning.

While walking from the 911 display  parking area towards the 356 concours area, I came across a unique grouping of Porsche  speedsters. The earliest model represented was a silver 356 speedster, the original speedster model. The next car was a 1989 911 speedster in grand prix white, and to its right was a red, 964 speedster. Situated to its left was a red,  one-off, custom 993 speedster. The final speedster was an example of the latest iteration; a 2010 blue 997 speedster. As my photo below illustrates, they were staged in chronological order, and I was told by the owner of the red 993 speedster, how rare it was to have this many speedsters gathered together in one place at one time, and representing the evolution from 1955 to 2011.

Porsche 911 speedsters,dana point concours_2011

As the weather continued to clear, the judges began making their rounds from car to car. In anticipation, the owners had readied their cars by opening the hood, doors and engine lid  for the judges unlimited access to every nook and cranny found within each car. I imagine the judge responsible for reviewing the undercarriage of each car was not too happy by the end of the event, since this normally requires laying on the ground to look underneath.   And as I recall, the grass in the park was pretty damp that day. I tried to stay ahead of the judges, so I could take advantage of the cars already being opened up, allowing access for photographing the motors, trunks, and interiors of these beautiful cars. As the judges would catch up to where I was shooting the 356’s, I would wander back over to the Porsche display area, and shoot more images of the many 911’s lined up in their respective rows.

porsche 356 cabriolet, dana point concours_2011DSC_0445

porsche 356 interior, dana point concours_2011porsche 356 cabriolet motor,dana point concours_2011Porsche 356 speedster, hubcap reflection, dana point concours_20111966 Porsche 911, dana point comcours_20111966 Porsche 911, 2.0 liter motor, dana point concours_20111973 Porsche 911S, dana point concours_2011It was now mid afternoon and the judging was over. Display tables were being set up and the very cool, laser etched crystal awards were being arranged by class. Upon closer inspection, I could see that the image captured within the crystal was a see-through view of a Porsche 356 coupe, which appeared to float within the center of the rectangular crystal block. Each trophy had the copy etched into its face, identifying the event and the category for which it was being awarded.

crystal trophy, Porsche 356 dana point concours_2011Within a few minutes, the announcements began, and the winners began being announced.   One by one, the owners and their cars made their way up to the front of the concours display area, where they were presented with their trophies, and directed over to a strip of lawn, where they lined up one last time for a final viewing of the class winners.

Glocker Porsche,dana point concours winner_2011

Porsche 356 outlaw winner, dana point concours_2011Porsche 356  Continental, winner  dana point concours_2011Porsche 356 continental reflection,dana point concours_2011All in all, an amazing day, regardless of the weather, and a stellar collection of Porsche 356’s ( as well as some awsome examples of Porsche 911’s). And you can bet in the future, I will heed the old boy scout motto of “be prepared”, and will remember to carry an umbrella.

(All photos by the author)

“La Bella Machina” – Lamborghini’s 1964 debutant, the 350 GT

While watching Wednesday nights episode of  “The Car Show ” on the Speed Channel, as host Adam Carolla set the backstory for this weeks show ( a road trip to Laguna Seca to race his vintage BRE Datsun, but dependent upon its restoration  being completed prior to race day), he offered viewers a behind the scenes glimpse into his own garage, and some of the cars that make up his collection.

A considerable portion of his collection has been devoted to early Datsuns (prior to the makes  re- branding to Nissan), in the form of 510’s, and 610’s as well as a few select 240Z’s (in IMSA trim) and several more recent iterations. His builders of choice for vintage Datsuns are two of the best; Pete Brock of  BRE Datsun fame, and Bob Sharp of Bob Sharp Racing ( the builder and race car provider to  Paul Newman ,and the cars he drove to many a victory and sports car championships.  Back in the day, these two were the benchmark their competition measured themselves against.

It was during his garage tour that Adam Carolla’s focus shifted over to a make of car that I never knew he had any interest in. So imagine my surprise when he began to talk about Lamborghini’s. The camera panned across  what appeared to be a mid 1965-66’s Muira, but the car that he stopped at and appeared most passionate about was his 1964 Lamborghini 350GT.  He told the story of how the 350 GT was the very first production model for Lamborghini ( only 120 , 350 GT’s were built from 1964 to 1967), and this all came about became of an argument that Mr. Lamborghini had with Enzo Ferrari regarding Ferrari’s cars.  As legend has it, Mr. Lamborghini  was so enraged by Ferrari’s comments, that he vowed to beat Ferrari at his own game. Lamborghini was a manufacturer of tractors at the time, and so decided to shift his focus to the production of an rival  Italian automobile. Thus the inspiration behind his very first production model, the 1964 350 GT.

Adam Carolla went on to describe his attraction to this particular model, and pointed out the many unique design and styling cues found on the car, as well as many of the finish details that looking back were quite rare and unique for 1964. His car was a beautiful example of this particular model, and even more amazing given it’s rarity. But for me what was even more incredible about that moment was that back in June of this year, I had the pleasure of encountering my very first Lamborghini 350 Gt in person, one early Saturday morning at Cars & Coffee, in Irvine, California.

Tucked away on the very last row of the main parking lot, and settled in amongst corvettes, Porsches, and Austin Healeys sat this hidden jewel. As I approached, all I knew was that it appeared to be european and was incredibly cool. Close up, I quickly realized that it was in fact Italian, and after a quick review of several of the badges, I became clear that this was in fact a Lamborghini, complete with Superleggeria badging.

Lamborghini 350 GT badging

And out back , located near the right taillight was the 350 GT emblem.  I knew this was a classic, possibly late 50’s, early 60’s but still had no idea as to the actual year. As I began shooting pictures of this stunning car, I overheard several people asking questions of an older gentleman standing by the drivers side of the car. The older gentleman turned out to be the owner, who proceeded to share the story of how he came to own this particular car.

Apparently, the present owner had rescued it from a French body shop, where it had been hidden away,  in hibernation for the past 20+ years. Once the 350 GT was stateside, a sympathetic, yet thorough restoration began. Parts were disassembled, cleaned and reassembled. In regards to the motor, the owner said they did a compression check, and proved to be well within specifications.  Because the motor was original, and of low mileage, his experts felt a rebuild would be unnecessary So instead, they simply cleaned and detailed the motor and decided to replace any of the gaskets or parts necessary to get the car up and running.  The remainder of the car was just as stunning as the motor had been; the body and paint were just as flawless as was its beautiful  leather interior. The intoxicating combination of its medium gray metallic exterior, combined with the terracotta leather put all of the other cars parked in proximity to shame. And then there was the chrome; from window trim to  bumpers  to the Borrani wheels, it was all magic.

And the last part of his story was just as compelling as was the start. He revealed that his participation in that weeks Cars & Coffee event was in fact the 350 GT’s debut. This had been its first shake down run, and the owner laughed that with less than 100 miles run so far, all systems were functioning and that nothing had fallen off yet, so all was good. With that closing comment, the owner got behind the wheel, fired up the melodious 12 cylinder motor, and drove off to enjoy the rest of his Saturday.

For me, I left that morning with a new found appreciation for  the 1964 Lamborghini 350GT, “La Bella Machina”, and have now added it to my wish list of cars.

The following are a few of the photos taken of the 350 GT from its debut at  Cars & Coffee back in June.

1964 Lamborghini 350 GT

1964 lamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GTLamborghini 350 GT(All photos by the author)

The one that got away…

While out driving this past weekend, I happened to come across a beautifully restored example of a1961 VW, 23 window bus, out for a drive in its glowing sealing wax red / beige gray paint scheme. I recognized this bus from a recent car show and when I returned home, searched through my digital files and found a shot of the same bus that I had just seen earlier that afternoon.

1961 type 2 VW bus

This brief encounter got me to thinking about a time back in the early 1990’s, when I had the opportunity to pick up a 1965 VW type 2 panel van from a friend I worked with for  $500. He had already begun the restoration; the body work had been completed, and the  entire van was now covered in gray primer. The suspension had been rebuilt  and the  bus had been lowered, and sat on stock wheels. There was no motor, however I did not see that as a problem.  Since the van still had its original transmission, I would just need to source a new motor. It was literally a blank canvas awaiting a new owner to complete, and make it his or her own. And with this being my first introduction to the world of  type 2 transporters, I began imagining the possibilities, and for $500  how could I go wrong?

Unfortunately, I had not considered my wife’s reaction to the prospect of a new project, when I shared my ideas with her that evening over dinner. To my surprise her single objection was one of concern for my safety, since I had a long commute each day to work, and she knew that if I bought and restored the bus, that I intended to drive it. She was worried that with so little sheet metal separating the driver from the front of the bus, that in the event of an accident I could be seriously injured. She also threw in the comment of not wanting to become a young widow with two young boys should something happen to me because of my new found project.  So you can imagine the outcome…

Well the years have passed, and with my sons both graduated from college, I have once again begun looking at VW type 2 transporters, and trying to educating myself regarding the differences and features specific by model year. During this process I have learned about the single cabs, dual cabs and  the safari windowed models, in addition to the variations found within the delivery / panel vans family. Part of my education process has included attendance at some of the local car shows, specifically the Bug-in / Treffen events held in Anaheim, California, and the O.C.T.O. Fest events held in Huntington Beach, California. Both events cater to the volkswagen community, while the O.C.T.O club is dedicated to the celebration of the early 1949-1967 transporters.

Armed with my camera and allot of questions, I attended my first event, the Bug-In / Treffen 2 back in 2009. There was an amazing cross section of volkswagens to see, and the number of buses present was mind blowing. I quickly located several early examples staged on the lawn (both 1957 Kombi’s), but it was the Dove Blue example that really caught my eye. After circling the bus several times and taking a couple photos, I struck up a conversation with the owners ( a husband and wife) and began asking them about their bus. I soon learned that the bus had previously been owned by a Ferrari mechanic, and was one of several from his collection. I was then told that fortunately the bus had been very straight and rust free from the beginning, so that during the new owners restoration efforts, there was a minimum of body work required to get it into its present state (which was amazing). The interior was complete, and had come with all of its original parts. I learned that the hardest decision the owners had to make regarding the interior was to select what color leather to use for redoing the interior, and then choose a contrasting color for the piping. They also went ahead and refinished the seat frames and all of the hardware to bring the interior back to like-new. All of their efforts paid off, as the interior was stunning and the perfect compliment to a beautiful exterior.

1957 kombi VW bus

Underneath , the suspension had been rebuilt and the entire bus had been lowered. For brakes, a set of red Porsche 944 calipers were selected for all four corners. These sat behind four chromed, Porsche 5 spoke fuch alloy wheels. Up front,  a set of the increasingly rare and even harder to find, original Porsche  4 1/2″ X15″ fuch 5 spoke alloy wheels were sourced. Out back, the bus rode on a set of factory 6″X15″ fuch 5 spoke alloys.

But the hidden jewel was revealed when the owner opened up the engine lid. Inside sat a highly modified, beautifully detailed, Porsche fan shrouded street motor producing as the owner described “gobs of horsepower and torque”, enough to transform the bus into what he called their “freeway flyer”. If I recall, their motor was somewhere in the realm of 2300 CC,  a far cry from the small displacement  motor that originally occupied the same space.

motor_1957 VW kombi

When I left the event later that afternoon, I was impressed by the friendliness and enthusiastic nature of the many owners who had patiently answered my questions and who had freely shared the back stories regarding their vehicles.

More recently, in February of this year, I  attended the O.C.T.O. Winterfest event, which was a singular celebration of type 2 transporters. Once again, I encountered an amazing collection of vehicles, and the same friendly environment  and willingness on the part of the owners to share their stories and answer my questions. I came away from this event with an even greater appreciation for the VW community, and have some great photographic resources to draw upon for future project inspiration.

The following photos represent a small sampling of the type 2 transporters that were on display at the Winterfest event back in February.

VW type 2 bus_O.C.T.O. Winterfest 2011

Type 2 panel van_O.C.T.O. Winterfest_2011VW dual cab_O.C.T.O. Winterfest_2011VW single cab_O.C.T.O winterfest_2011VW single cab_O.C.T.O winterfest_2011(All photos by the author)

The debut of digitaldtour…

Growing up in Southern California, it’s difficult for a young boy not to be influenced by the car culture present in everyday life. It didn’t hurt that my grandfather was passionate about Mercedes Benz automobiles, and throughout his life was fortunate enough to own a variety of models. Going for drives with my grandfather, and spending time with him in the garage while he worked on his car,  taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the garage environment was just the start. As were the times spent listening to his stories of traveling with my grandmother to europe to take delivery of a new Mercedes 280 SL, and his high speed runs down the autobahn (while my grandmother was asleep), also made for a lasting  impression. As a result, and over time it became obvious that I was developing an appreciation and passion for all things automotive. However,  it was my dad who stepped in and actually taught me how to wrench on cars, beginning with my basic training on our unsuspecting family cars.  Fortunately his philosophy of “the right tool for the job” translated into a garage full of really cool hand tools. His early training has served me well over the years, and still does to this day.

Then at the age of twelve, I  discovered the magic of the Porsche 911, one sunny summer afternoon while out riding my bike. It was red, with a black interior and chrome wheels, and belonged to a family that lived several blocks from my house. The profile of the car, combined with the curvature of the fenders and the fluid integration of the headlights, positioned to frame the front hood, had a huge collective impact.  However, what completed this 911 encounter was hearing the exhaust note for the very first time, produced by it’s flat six motor. That unique, distinctive sound became imprinted in my memory from that day forward, and even today when I hear that familiar exhaust note, it still brings a smile to my face. Throughout that summer, each new encounter with the red Porsche 911 further cemented my resolve to one day own a Porsche 911 of my own.

Fast forward to my junior year of high school, and the start of my search for my first car. After looking at a variety of cars with my dad (non-porsche), and  even after test driving a brand new Porsche 914 at my dad’s suggestion, I was still determined to find my 911. So I kept looking. And looking. Then one afternoon while out running an errand, there it was. Parked near the edge of a parking lot, with a for sale sign in the windshield, a Porsche 911. I turned my mom’s car around and went back to check it out.  It was a 1966 911, silver with a black interior and riding on fuch 5 spoke alloy wheels. I wrote down the contact information and raced home to tell my dad about my discovery. Long story short, a call was made and a test drive was scheduled with the owner. After a brief drive behind the wheel by both myself and my dad, a decision was made.  Later that afternoon, after emptying out my savings account,  I was the new owner of a 1966 Porsche 911. And that became the start of the Porsche magic with my 1966 911, that lasted for 14 years.

It was during this time that my interests in photography and design really took off, and my dad and I began attending the sports car races held at Riverside raceway. With camera in hand, I began stalking my prey ( primarily Porsche’s), both at rest and at speed. As my skills developed further, along with my interest in photography,  my dad suggested we set up a darkroom at home, so we could printing our own black and white and color prints. I also joined the Porsche Club of America, which gave me the opportunity to connect on a personal level with the Porsche community, and allowed further photographic access to a broader cross section of Porsche’s ( introductions to the Porsche 356 model range, as well as a variety of  Porsche 911’s). My dad also became a Porsche convert, and after a brief search in 1973 purchased his first 911:  a fully “S optioned”, silver 1973.5 911T.

Over time, our attendance at Riverside raceway, combined with the friends and contacts made within the Porsche community, began to generate some amazing photographic opportunities for my dad and I.  We began by providing photos of Porsche race cars for several of the local race shops that built the race motors, as well as custom fabricators that designed and built custom bodywork for the Porsche 911’s competing in the GTU class, to the premier class of the series, the Porsche 935’s. We then began getting requests from some of the top race teams of the day (who happened to see our photos of their cars on display in the race shops that they worked with). This resulted in our being asked to shoot for them at upcoming races. This was an amazing experience in that we were given full access to the paddock area, as well as the pits, which afforded a unique perspective to the racing action (up close and personal), that one normally never has the chance to experience. We also had the opportunity to meet many of the top Porsche race drivers of the day competing in the IMSA series. One driver in particular (Jim Busby of Laguna Beach) became a friend, and as a result invited us out to Riverside Raceway to photo document a shake down / test session of his brand new Porsche 935. Words cannot do justice in describing the experience of being out at the track , talking with Jim and his mechanics, and watching the car be put through it’s paces. It was an absolutely amazing day, and one I will never forget.  As the IMSA series evolved and the Porsche 935’s gave way to the GTP cars ( Lola T-70’s,  March, Jaguar, Mazda and the mighty Porsche 962’s), we stayed in touch with  Jim , and many of our photos ended up being given to his team sponsors as gifts.

Which brings me to today. I am still as passionate about Porsches as I was at twelve years old (my wife calls it my obsession). I am still connected to the Porsche community, and frequent a local car show on a weekly basis (Cars & Coffee / Irvine on Saturdays), with my 1986 Porsche Carrera coupe.  My two sons have both inherited an interest in photography, and have each come into their own as skilled photographers, and also share my passion for Porsches.  Since today is September 17 ( 9/17/11), I saw this as a sign of the perfect day to launch my blog.  The Porsche 917 is revered as one of the all time classic, milestone Porsche race cars, and Porsche is  once again bringing to market a newly redesigned 911, having  undergone a considerable number of changes, yet still retaining it’s family profile. I just hope that the current Panamera influences creeping into this new 911 design quickly fade away, and Porsche discontinues the dilution of the original attributes that have made and kept it uniquely a 911…

(All photography by the author)