The elusive white Porsche GT3 RS4.0 finally captured, and more…

Well, it finally happened Saturday morning. I finally came face to face with the elusive white Porsche GT3 RS4.0 that I have been chasing since December.  But first, the events that led up to my Saturday morning encounter…

The first part of my morning was spent making my way up and down Porsche row and visiting with friends (“the Porsche faithful”, aka members of the RGruppe). Project cars were on display, with discussions of ongoing restorations and techniques used, and with hoods, doors and deck lids opened to showcase the recent work. A prime example of this process was represented by the beautiful silver,1973 Porsche 911S seen below…

Silver European spec 1973 Porsche 911S & Polo Red 1966 911_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

This particular car is a European model, having been delivered by the French dealership Sonauto. This association was commemorated by the small metal badge affixed to the lower edge of the rear deck lid.

Silver European spec 1973 Porsche 911S_Sonauto rear deck badge_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

And tucked in beneath the rear deck lid was a beautifully restored, 2.7 liter Carrera RS motor. This was the motors first showing, since the completion of its cosmetic restoration as undertaken by the owner, with a re-sealing of the motor performed by ex IMSA racer Wayne Baker out of San Diego, California.  This motor was spotless, and looked like it had just rolled off of the assembly bench in Stuttgart, circa 1973.

Silver european spec 1973 Porsche 911S_2.7 motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Silver european spec 1973 Porsche 911S_2.7 motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Up front the same attention to detail was carried through to the assembly of the european spec (French) amber headlights and fog lights. The headlights had been restored using a combination of period and backdated parts; rings, buckets and clips, and highlighted by the rare Cibie Biode headlights, but in this case the proper amber-colored (French) units.

Silver european spec 1973 Porsche 911S_amber headlights & fog lights_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

The front trunk lid was then opened to reveal its contents; a new, plastic molded fuel tank, visually perfect and Porsche correct, but re-manufactured using present day technologies, which included a date stamped of 2011, and serves as a direct,  bolt- in replacement for the original 39-year-old fuel tank. And as the photo illustrates, the finish and detail found within the trunk, was equal to the attention paid the rest of the car.

Silver european spec 1973 Porsche 911S_front trunk_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Silver european spec 1973 Porsche 911S_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

And parked one spot over to drivers left, was this equally impressive Polo red 1966 911, showcasing a beautifully restored 2.0 liter motor…

Polo red 1966 Porsche 911_engine detail_Cars&Coffee.Irvine-1/14/12

And parked to the left of the 1966 911, was this beautifully restored Tangerine colored Porsche 914-6; yet another car that appeared to have just rolled off the assembly line in Germany…

"Tangerine" 1970 Porsche 914-6_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

After completing my journey down Porsche row, it was time to check out the remaining cars on site. My next stop would be the parking area immediately to the right of the main entrance. And on this Saturday morning, said lot had a very decidedly British flavor. Tucked back into opposing corners of the lot was a collection of Triumph sports cars, and aligned right next to the Triumphs, was an equally impressive collection of Austin Healey roadsters.

Triumph sports cars_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Triumph TR3 with Austin Healeys in the background_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

And believe it or not, classics wrapped in domestic sheet metal also attend the show each week. Below is an example of an all american made classic; a 1946 Ford woody wagon…

And over in another section of the parking lot was this classic, two – toned Buick  “Caballero” station wagon…

And tucked in by the entry to this portion of parking lot, was this very cool, red 289 F.I. A. spec’d Shelby Cobra…

Red Shelby Cobra_289 F.I.A. spec model_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Red Shelby Cobra_289 F.I.A. spec model_motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Red Shelby Cobra_289 F.I.A. spec model_Interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Red Shelby Cobra_289 F.I.A. spec model_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

After completing a thorough review of the Cobra, I headed out toward the center of the lot to see what other surprise awaited, and I was not disappointed.  Parked next to a lime green Lamborghini Gallardo, was this Carbon black on red McLaren MP4-12C, once again brought out to the show by Newport Beach McLaren. This is the first Carbon black MP4-12C that I have seen, and this color really compliments the contours and body lines. Black McLaren MP4-12C_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Another subtle detail was the inclusion of the “Stealth ” finished wheels, which were in turn set off by the visual “pop” of the bright red calipers…

Black McLaren MP4-12C_w/Stealth finished wheels and red caliper_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

…which in turn was carried over into the black interior and integrated as red leather sport seats with black inserts, and the red dash and door accent trim.

Black McLaren MP4-12C_w/ black & red Interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Parked several rows beyond the McLaren, was another black beauty; in this case a beautiful black on red, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, wearing its optional hardtop…

Black over red_Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster w/ hardtop_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

And two spaces down from the 300SL, was this equally impressive black on tan Mercedes-Benz 190 SL roadster…

Black on tan_Mercedes Benz 190 SL roadster_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Black on tan_Mercedes Benz 190 SL roadster_Interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Black on tan_Mercedes Benz 190 SL roadster_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

As I made my way through the several remaining rows yet unexplored, and just as I rounded the end of the previous row, I spotted a white Porsche 997 parked half way up on the left side, sandwiched between two cars. As I approached, the car to the left pulled out, revealing GT3 RS4.0 graphics on the side of the white Porsche. Could this be the RS 4.0 that I had seen back in December? It  had the optional silver wheels which I remembered seeing, but the proof would be its license plate. Sure enough, the California license plate on the back confirmed to me that I had finally caught up with my elusive GT3 RS4.0.

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

As I waited to speak with the owner, I stepped back to admire the RS 4.0, and add some more photographs to my GT3 RS 4.0 collection…

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_w/optional silver wheel_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_rear wing_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

Once the owner had finished his conversation, I approached and introduced myself, and shared with him my interest in the Porsche GT3 RS4.0 model. I told him of seeing my first RS 4.0 on display at the Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, and about my success in having spotted four other GT3 RS 4.0’s since Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV held back in October. Seeing his car today would now bring my grand total up to five cars. I also shared how amazing it has been for me to have personally seen this many, given their very limited production (only 600 worldwide). Obviously, my next question was to ask if he could share with me the series number of his car. The owner was gracious enough to reveal that his car is # 270.

White 2011 Porsche GT3 RS4.0_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/14/12

After our conversation, two gentlemen standing nearby approached, obviously friends of the owner, to discuss some work planned for his RS4.0. The two men turned out to be the owners of the performance tuning company “GMG” / Global Motorsports Group (James Sofronas and Fabryce Kutyba), based in nearby Santa Ana, California. My interests in the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 were once again shared with them, and as a result I learned that there may be several additional RS 4.0 models residing right here in Orange County.

Now all I have to do is hope they find their way to Cars&Coffee…

(All photos by the author)

A unique automotive offspring, a Goggomobile, car badging, Porsches and more…

What would you call the offspring of a Ford Mustang fastback and a Lamborghini Gallardo?  A Forghini, or maybe Lambostang?  The answer is neither one, as the badging on said offspring at Cars&Coffee on Saturday morning read “Tractorri”.

Tractorri_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Visually, the car appeared to be a lowered, customized Ford Mustang fastback, however upon closer inspection, it became apparent that the low profile wheels, tires and running gear had been sourced from a Lamborghini Gallardo. And looking beneath the opened rear hatch revealed another surprise; the heart and soul of a Lamborghini Gallardo – a  mid – chassis mounted, Lamborghini V-10 power plant.  And keeping in character, positioned along the rear flanks, and located just behind each door, were truly functional air intakes.

Tractorri_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

And located out back, a set of Lamborghini Gallardo tail lights and a vertical, rear mesh grill had both been seamlessly integrated into the Lamborghini contoured rear fenders and bumper.

Tractorri_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Inside, the cockpit was a lift right out of a Gallardo, correct right down to its black leather dash, door panels and seats, all with the contrasting stitching.

Tractorri__Interior_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

With the front hood opened, yet another surprise was revealed…a relatively empty front “engine” compartment, with the exception of the strut bar, cockpit ventilation / blower assembly, anti-lock brake system and a painted and striped sheet metal shroud (all located where the Mustang power plant and radiator would normally reside).

Tractorri__w/ front hood opened_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

For the rest of the morning, this car was surrounded by a crowd that was at least 3-4 people deep, which made getting additional photos of the car difficult. (These photos of the Tractorri were taken at 6:30 AM while still under the cover of darkness, and before the arrival of the crowds).

Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And what about that name…

Was this perhaps an obscure reference made by the builder of this car, as a tribute to Ferruccio Lamborghini’s business interests prior to the building his automotive empire?

(For those of you unfamiliar with Lamborghini history, Ferruccio Lamborghini was the premier manufacturer of tractors in all of Italy, prior to his start as a manufacturer of exotic sports cars).

Tractorri_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

The Porsche community was once again represented by a diverse cross-section of models, color and vintage…

Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black Porsche 930 turbo_w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black Porsche 930 turbo_w/reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1972 Grand prix White Porsche 911 GT_Rgruppe award winner_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Porsche 911GT & 911's_Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Porsche 911GT_ driving light w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Blue Porsche 911_Rgruppe_Porsche row_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Speed yellow Porsche 996 GT3_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Speed yellow Porsche 996 GT3_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

My next stop was to check out the British imports assembled. I started by checking out  this nice black on black Triumph TR3, identical to the one my dad owned when I was 5 years old.

Black on black Triumph TR3_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

I then came across a trio of Austin Healey roadsters, each one a different model representing the 3000 series. From left to right, a red, 3000 Mark II series, in the middle, a green 3000 Mark III series, and on the right, a red 3000 from the original series.

A trio of Austin Healeys_MarkII, Mark III, original_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Austin Healey 3000_chromed wire wheel_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Red Austin Healey 3000_grill badges and lights_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

British racing green Austin Healey 3000 MK III_front end w /grill badges_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

A few row over from the Healeys, was this stately Jaguar sedan…

Black 3 1/2 liter Jaguar sedan_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black 3 1/2 liter Jaguar sedan_radiator cap emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black 3 1/2 liter Jaguar sedan_grill badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

And another couple of rows over was this amazing Rolls Royce…

Black Rolls Royce_radiator cap emblem w/ Healey reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black Rolls Royce_radiator cap emblem w/ reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black Rolls Royce_w/Audi TT reflection_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Another interesting aspect of this show for me is the ability to focus in on just details, whether it be unique wheels, hood ornaments, badging or reflections…Deutsch-Bonnet_split rim and cast hub_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Volvo 1800 C pillar badge_CArs&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black 1957 Corvette roadster_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1956 Mercedes Benz 300S coupe_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Buick Special coupe_hood emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Buick Special coupe_fender emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

"McLaren Silver" McLaren MP4-12C _rear deck emblem_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Out towards the back rows of the parking lot, I came across this pair of McLaren MP4-12C’s. The “McLaren Silver” MP4-12C model below is the first example I have seen with the “Stealth” finished wheels…

"McLaren Silver" McLaren MP4-12C_w/"Stealth" finish wheels_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

"McLaren Silver" McLaren MP4-12C_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

This Volcano Orange MP4-12C is apparently a demo model from the local McLaren dealership located in Newport Beach, and has become a frequent visitor to the show.

Volcano Orange McLaren MP4-12C_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

As the parking lot began to thin out, a tiny red and white car was revealed. The badging identified it as a 1958 TS 400 Goggomobile; a rear engined, rear wheel drive “Micro car” complete with suicide doors…

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_front hood badge_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_w/open suicide door_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

The rumor was that the car was powered by hamsters, as evidenced by the little guy caught resting and still in his wheel, tucked in behind the driver’s seat…

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_w/ hamster_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_trunk badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

1958 Red & white Goggomobile_trunk badging_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Red & white Goggomobile_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

However, in reality the car is powered by a 400 cc, 2 cylinder motor, good for a whopping 20 horsepower.

Another facet of this event is the opportunity to observe and attempt to decipher a multitude of personalized license plates attached to a broad range of vehicles. Some can be very challenging, whereas others are pretty basic. They also appear to reflect the passion found throughout the Southern California car culture. The following are just a few recent observations…

Green Isuzu Vehi-Cross_w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Green Isuzu Vehi-Cross_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Green Isuzu Vehi-Cross__w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Speed yellow Porsche 996 GT3_w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Orange Porsche GT3RS_w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffe/Irvine_1/7/12

Silver 2000 Audi TT quattro_w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

Black Audi R8_w/personalized plate_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_1/7/12

(All photos by the author)

Reflections of the day – Mercedes Benz 300SL

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011With the cancellation of this weeks Cars &Coffee / Irvine event (due to facility maintenance being performed on one of the site buildings), I had the opportunity to sit back and reflect on the many different makes and models of cars that frequent the event, and that I have had the pleasure of shooting. Next to photographing Porsches, another favorite subject of mine over my past three years of attendance has been the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

I first became aware of the Mercedes 300SL back in the early 1960’s. A friend of my fathers owned a 300SL roadster, and I remember seeing him out driving it around town always with the top down. But it was the 300SL gullwing coupe that made an even greater impression. Here was a beautifully styled coupe, abounding  in detail, and with the most magical doors I had ever seen.  Several other details had also made a lasting impression; a steering wheel that hinged down to allow easier access into the driver’s seat, the wide side sills that required sliding over in order to sit in the bucket seats, and an interior design that was stark by today’s standards, yet purpose-built for performance.  I realized that the attention to detail found throughout the 300SL was genetic, and could also be seen in the earlier models, such as my grandfather’s Mercedes  220 A cabriolet. Thus the 300SL gullwing quickly became one of my favorite Mercedes-Benz models, and still is to this day.

So imagine my surprise when I encountered my first 300SL at Cars & Coffee, knowing the rarity of this particular model. Due in part to this events location, and combined with good sunny Southern California weather, there is a strong possibility of seeing at least one 300SL, be it a Gullwing or a Roadster, almost on a weekly basis.

The following photos were taken from my ongoing “reflection study” series,  and highlights  the Mercedes 300SL gullwing and roadster models.

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011

Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee,Irvine_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars &coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, reflection series, cars & coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee_2011Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing, reflection series, cars & coffee_2011(All photos by the author)