Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…

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Rennsport Reunion 5: A look at one of The Revs Institute’s charges; the 1969 Porsche 908LH

There’s something about the pre 1970s Porsche race cars that over the years have drawn me to them from a photographic and design standpoint, and the Porsche seen below is no exception.

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The car in question is a 1969 908LH, Porsches winningest chassis (#908 025); one very low and sleek, built for speed streamliner, powered by a 2997cc air-cooled flat 8 motor, developing 350 horsepower. Sufficient to propel this car into the realm of 200 mph, and on this weekend, onto the memory card within my DSLR.

I first encountered this very car back in 1992 at the Monterey Historics, displayed by the Collier Collection, based out of Naples Florida. In 2009, The Rev’s Institute was founded, as an evolution of the Collier Collection, by its founder Miles Collier, with the goal of creating a venue for the further promotion of “automotive research and historical studies”.

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(Below) The pilot for the weekend was none other than Gunnar Jeannette (dressed in black), intently focused on securing a GoPro onto the roof of the 908LH.

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GoPro track coverage set, fore and aft…

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Prepped and rolling out for its track session.

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Staged on pit lane (below), as a participant in Saturday afternoon’s pit lane concours.

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One striking detail that I noticed was changed from the last time I saw this car, were its colored body accents. This was a very graphic way for Porsche to differentiate their individual team cars when part of a multi car team. Back in 1992, I remembered the green accents being much darker, similar to Porsche’s Irish Green. However, when I spoke with a team member from The Revs Institute about the color, he said the current color is a more accurate representation of what was applied back in 1969. This current application in addition to being matte fluorescent green, also exhibited brush strokes. So my second question was regarding the actual paint make-up, and the response confirmed my suspicions. All of the green accents were painted using water based tempera paint, similar to what’s routinely used in grade school art classes.

This paint medium approach to nose graphics appeared to have been embraced by a variety of the other Porsche race cars (from the same time period), also wearing similar matte finish graphics in a variety of period colors. Unfortunately, the one question that I failed to ask was regarding the effect of weather on this paint. If it rained, would the fluorescent green paint wash off, or would it become a visual tracer, ideal for studying the aerodynamic airflow over the car? Or would the painted accents be intact, protected by a matte clear coat finish?

So if anyone from The Revs Institute happens to read this blog post, I would appreciate some closure to my question: matte fluorescent green accents; clear coat protected or ?

All photos by the author

Rennsport Reunion 5; selected images suitable for sharing

After an extensive time away from my blog, it’s finally time to get back to the task at hand. And that dear readers means digitaldtour is back, and will once again be sharing Porsche centric, photographic content from near and afar.

To kick things off, I’m going to start with one of my favorite images captured from this past September’s Porsche Rennsport Reunion 5. For those unable to attend, the car below is a 1949 Porsche Gmund SL Coupe, which holds historical significance as one of Porsches earliest class winners at the Le Mans 24 hour race, dating back to 1951.

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This car was lovingly ressurected just prior to Rennsport Reunion 5 by Southern California’s own Porsche guru Rod Emory, who’s metal fabrication skills made it possible for Porsche to showcase this car alongside two of their other Legendary Le Mans 24 overall winners seen below; the red & white scalloped Porsche Salzburg 917 from 1970, and this years outright Le Mans 24 hour winner, the 2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

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So this concludes my first post in a very long time. I hope you will return to see what lies ahead…

All photos by the author

“It’s not a car… it’s a Bus” – a morning spent discovering VW type 2 transporters and a couple surprises at the O.C.T.O 2015 Winter Meet

“It’s not a car… it’s a BUS – definitely a 1960s marketing slogan from Volkswagen, and given my surroundings Saturday morning February 14th, there was no mistaking that I was entering into a sea of Volkswagen transporters (buses).

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Held each year at the Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, California, it’s always a morning of discovery, and an opportunity to hear the back stories behind the vehicles on display. The irony of this years O.C.T.O. Winter Meet was that given the clear blue skies and summer like temperatures being experienced in February, this could have easily passed as a summer meet.

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Another of my favorite subjects to photograph…”automotive opthomology”

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A return visit by a husband and wife pair of 21 window buses; the wife’s bus below…

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and her husband’s blue 21 window parked to the drivers right (below). It has been interesting to watch the progress made from year to year on this dual restoration effort.

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At the opposite end of the restoration spectrum was this early 1960s type 2 bus. Unfortunately, this bus was a painful reminder of the effects of time and exposure to the elements, as seen below.

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Given the extent of the rust, it was amazing that the roof and its body parts were still connected. However, upon closer inspection, it became obvious that the roof had assistance in the form of strategically placed sheet metal screws.

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In stark contrast and one row away, was another example of a beautifully restored type 2, in brilliant turquoise and white…

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and wearing a rather interesting license plate.

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Representing one of the model variations found within the type 2 transporter category, was this 1967 two-tone, dual-cab seen below.

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If one looks closely, there are frequently clues to be found which aid in revealing a vehicles true identity.

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(Below), one of several single-cabs present, but the sole participant carrying special cargo.

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Another of the beautifully restored, 21 window safari type 2s in attendance; brilliant blue on white…

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and several rows over, a second 21 window safari, dressed in orange over white.

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One never knows what extremes an owner will go to, in order to personalize his/her bus as witnessed below.

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(Below), one of my favorite type 2s in this years show. While photographing this bus, I was   approached by the owner and we struck up a conversation.  During our discussion, I learned that this 1961 bus had originally been owned by his grandfather, who purchased it back in 1963, and then used it as his daily driver. Many years later, and with the passing of his grandfather, he inherited the bus, and then proceeded to store it away in his garage. It ended up sitting there untouched, awaiting restoration for 18 years. With his kids graduated from college, he decided to finally tackle the restoration of the bus, with the majority of the restoration work having been completed by the owner himself.

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The owner continued his story, sharing the memories that he and his brother had, of vacationing with their grandfather, and how hot they were sitting in the back of the bus during the summer. Because of the heat factor, the owner decided to added a set of  safari front windows. He also shared stories of his grandfather driving the bus into mexico to his ranch, traversing dirt roads and creeks along the way, with evidence of these adventures uncovered during the buses restoration. Looking at the bus on that Saturday morning, it was hard to believe that it had not lived a pampered life.

Below, the bullet shaped front turn signal, identifying this type 2 bus as a 1961 model.

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Far from the stock motor that the bus was delivered with back in 1961.

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Once the restoration was complete, the owner unveiled the bus at their yearly family reunion, to the surprise of many relatives. The bus became the inspiration for a project his wife began; collecting and recording in written from, the stories from their many relatives with memories of grandpa’s bus.

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Parked on the perimeter of the display area were several unique Volkswagen cars… not Buses, as seen below.

First up was one cool Karmann Ghia…

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and parked on the opposite side of the parking lot; a beautifully restored VW Notchback.

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Saturday morning reflections…

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With this kind of weather and impressive turnout for the O.C.T.O. Winter Meet, one can only imagine what the O.C.T.O. Summer show will deliver.

(All photos by the author)

Porsche GTs in abundance at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto show…

Porsche GTs in abundance at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, or so the rumors went. In a break with tradition, my son and I attended the 2014 Los Angeles Auto show on the next to last day of its week-long run. Normally, we have always attended opening day, but our collective schedules did not allow that for 2014.

As my son and I ascended the escalator into the convention center, he asked “first stop at Petree hall”?  Our yearly tradition has been to start every show with a first stop at Petree Hall, to take in the surprises waiting at the Porsche display.  And for 2014, our tradition was upheld.

And what better thematic setting for making an impression upon present or future Porsche owners than the first scene of their display within Petree Hall, with the view seen below.

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Framed as a scene taken straight from a race track, and positioned center stage, was one of Porsche’s latest race cars; the 911 GT America. As we approached, it became obvious this race car possessed Southern California roots, campaigned by none other than Dempsey Racing; piloted by Southern California resident  / actor Patrick Dempsey, and co-driven by teammate Joe Foster.

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Strategically placed near the car, was a display case containing the helmet worn by Patrick Dempsey during the 2014 Tudor United Sports Car Championship racing season. Wrapped in what has become a signature motif, the helmet graphics were designed and executed by Troy Lee Designs.

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Rounding the corner into “scene 2”, we encountered Porsche’s Hybrid display, showcasing the Cayenne and Panamera hybrid variants,  all displayed in a white. However, the focal point of scene 2 was one centrally located, pearlescent white 918 Spyder as seen below.

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In sharp contrast to the hybrid display, was the showcase / world premier display area for Porsches latest GTS model lines. As seen below, and as described by the wall graphic, was Porsches new 911 Carrera GTS; one in cabriolet form…

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and to its left on a second turntable, a GTS coupe.

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Even Porsche’s Cayenne model was a recipiant of the GTS treatment, wrapped in the same red paint finish, as witnessed by the image below.

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The Cayenne GTS rear tail lights were also the souce of a visual reminder (to those who looked closley), as to the manufacturer behind these latest wonders on display.

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I suspect that next years Porsche display at Petree Hall may have a decidedly RS focused theme, given the pending introduction of their brand new for 2015 GT3RS.

(All photos by the author)

A quest renewed; a new Porsche GT3 RS4.0 sighting, with a lesson in numeration thrown in for good measure…

I recently had the opportunity to renew my long-standing quest of recording as many series/ build numbers possible from my personal encounters with Porsches 911GT3 RS4.0 model. The example shown below has now become the latest addition to my ongoing sightings list.

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As I approached this white RS4.0 for a closer look, my initial thought was could this be one of my previous white bodied, white wheeled RS4.0 sightings?  However, as soon as I saw its license plate, I knew this would be a brand new sighting. Now there was just one remaining clue to search out, which would reveal the final clue as to this RS4.0s true identity.

So onto the interior… as seen, standard issue on the 911 GT3 RS4.0.

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A quick look at the glove box mounted, serial number build plaque revealed that this GT3 RS4.0 was chassis #040 of 600 total worldwide! This car immediately jumped to the top of my spotters list (and marked my 12th sighting), by virtue of this car being the absolute lowest series number I’ve encountered to date.

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As I’ve noted in previous posts, my very first in – person GT3 RS4.0 sighting occurred back in October 2011, at Porsches Rennsport Reunion IV held in Monterey, California (as recorded below).

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Back at cars&coffee, time to continue the photo documentation of my latest sighting.

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As I made my way to the rear of the car to continue my explorations, the owner (who had been standing back watching me shooting his car), came over and introduced himself. I told him about my long-standing interest and passion for Porsches and my quest to record as many GT3 RS4.0 sighting as possible. He responded by sharing with me his passion for collecting Porsche 911 RS models, and in particular Porsches top-tier  911GT3 RS. It turns out that this owner has a rather deep collection of 911RS and GT3RS models in addition to his GT3 RS4.0. However, there is still one key player absent from his collection, and that has alluded him, and ironically the one that started it all; Porsches 1973 911 Carrera RS.

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Our next topic of conversation addressed the incredibly low series build number assigned to his RS4.0. It turns out that the owner has an interest in numeration. Webster’s dictionary defines numeration as “an act or instance of designating by a number”. The owner was also a strong believer in lucky numbers.

I then learned that when Porsche introduced the GT3 RS4.0 in 2011, the owner contacted Porsche and  expressed his interest in purchasing one of the new models, in particular chassis # 040, to commemorate his 40th birthday.  Obviously the car parked before me was proof of his negotiation skills.  This same interest and focus applied to his quest for the license plate seen below.

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According to a friend standing nearby, the owner spent a small fortune to secure the license plate with the 777 designation, which apparently is his lucky number, and is now proudly displayed at both ends of the Porsche.

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When the owner returned to his car, our conversation continued, and he shared his anxiety over waiting to take delivery of his latest Porsche acquisition ; one special ordered 918 Spyder. Any guess at what the chassis / series build number will be (out of the 918 total Porsche is targeted to produce)?

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For now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if a certain, low series build number Porsche 918 Spyder gets imported into the states, and reveals itself some early Saturday morning at a certain car show.

(All photos by the author)