Four Speeds and Drum Brakes: Back to Live Action

 A very mild winter had us all looking forward to driving events in New England before St Patricks Day. Too warm a winter kept the cars off the ice up north unless  northern VT looked like a nice ride. Cars and Coffee didn’t seem necessary because cars were out of the garage driving before April Fools Day. On April 2nd the draw was still there when 60 P cars arrived  at a C&C set up by the Slocum’s in RI.

  The All Porsche Swap Meet in Carlisle PA the end of April was threatened, as always, with rain but that didn’t stop the hard core and sales were brisk.  Maybe the fact that I’ve gotten more realistic about the value of old car parts helped move the merchandise. Looking around the garage I have come to the conclusion that my treasures are going to wind up at the dump unless I get them back into the market where someone, anyone, can use them. If you make things cheap enough people will buy parts they don’t even need. That’s how so much stuff followed me home.  

The first Track Day for your author was the beginning of April at Watkins Glen. That was where the loyal reader will remember I rolled a BMW into a ball last year. This year was much better. The 210 car (BMW E46 – 330) was the ride for the weekend and the AZ Tates flew in to play. It was Marie’s birthday and Rob had promised to take her someplace nice for her birthday so I guess WGI qualified. That certainly wouldn’t fly at my house.

Matt Connelly Motorsports provided a great car that we drove for 8 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday at the American Endurance Racing event. I did have a tire go down due to a cracked alloy rim on the left rear during my stint. As it was losing air it caused a vibration that felt like the tire had just picked up some rubber on the track. At lower speeds the shudder went away so I stayed out. When I got back to the uphill esses  the tire had lost a lot of air and the rear of the car decided that it wanted to go first. I caught it before it got ugly but the time it took to get the car in, check it and replace the tire dropped us back into the middle of the class. Still great fun but no plastic trophy for us this time.

The weather was the best I have ever experienced at The Glen in spring time, cool at night and warm and sunny during the day. At the very end of the race on Sunday some clouds appeared and a bit of rain fell but nothing that would ruin a great weekend.  Well, it might have been a little more than a bit as we couldn’t see across the front straight but that is the kind of weather The Glen is known for. Besides, Rob was driving and he had it under control.

Next up was the first autocross for the Northeast Region at Ft Devens. The 1972 Martini 911 came out to play with 68 other drivers, a great turnout. I’m not as fast as I once was (hear a song here?) but it is still great fun to throw the car around and make a lot of noise. Many attending have never seen a Porsche this old doing what it was made to do.  I had novice drivers join me for nearly every run.

We had a dozen novices that included some seldom seen rides. Think Tesla and a mid eighties Olds 442. The latter was really well set up using a 760 hp V8 and tires wider than a new 911 Turbo S. These heavy American cars seldom do well but this Olds was an exception. Reasonably well set up and very well driven it was faster than most Porsches. The Tesla was silent but deadly and also ran with the big dogs as far as their elapsed time went. They were both fun to watch and taught everyone not to make snap judgements.

Next up is a 356 Drive in Lancaster PA set up by the gang that did the Catskill Tour last year. No car show, no autocross, just a bunch of old guys with old cars driving around Amish country trying to avoid the horse and buggy traffic. At least we’ll be faster than someone on the roads. The Puddle Jumper gets the nod on this ride as the Speedster engine isn’t back together yet. It stopped running last Fall on the way to NY for another 356 gathering with a suspected broken crankshaft.  The case has been opened and the two separate parts of the crankshaft have been removed showing no other damage so it may be alive soon.

I had another crank but turnaround time for a rebalanced crank was 5 months so that has delayed progress. Plus I had other toys to play with so Blackie got pushed to the back of the garage. An oil change and clutch adjustment was all the preparation that the sunroof coupe needed so it will be on the road again this week. Action report to follow…

Author: Tom Tate