• 1st Annual Gary Bell Rally 2019

    In honor of a long time BRR-PCA member and rally enthusiast we held our first Annual Gary Bell Rally. The rally was planned by Bill Hume and Gary Templeton with input from others. The event began with the requisite waiver signing, safety briefing, and rally overview. The 14 cars plus the lead and chase cars were staged at the release site, the Sportscar Clinic in Roanoke, Va. and set off on the course in approximately 2 minute intervals. The route traveled through Roanoke with the navigators guiding the driver, finding stopping point to capture images, and noting answers to rally questions. A fun route through Roanoke and Franklin County took the group to its first stop – the Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA. After the brief stop, where most participants were seen enjoying the homemade ice cream, the navigators guided their drivers through the back roads of Franklin and Pittsylvania counties before meeting at our final destination, the Smith Mountain Dam Visitors Center. Following a tour of the center the rally results were announced and awards were given out.

    Scenes From The Rally

  • Our First Porsche

    By Maury Hamill

    Photos by Maury Hamill and family

    The fiftieth anniversary of the 914 and Norm’s recent suggestion for Suncoast members to write articles about our first Porsche seemed to beg a report on the first one we had and kept for so long. On 10/23/1972 we bought a Phoenix Red 1972 914 at Mahan Porsche-Audi in Salem, VA. Dave Mahan, the owner, told me later that this was one of the first four 914 2.0 sold on the east coast that he, as a new dealer, was able to acquire only by being in the right place at the right time. No serious effort was ever made to verify this, though VIN and engine number are early, no records were found to distinguish the 2.0 displacement from the 1.8 versions or where sold.

    The 2-liter 914 four, which replaced the 914-6 for Porsche, came with chrome bumpers, F&R anti-sway bars, forged Fuchs wheels and black vinyl covered sail panels. The U.S. distributor wanted them designated as 914Ss, however, Porsche AG vetoed that according to lore. The 2.0 914 four made 91 horsepower. Now our base 2018 Cayman 2-liter four turbo makes 300hp.

    From the original invoice, the POE price was $5,199.00 with $128.30 for “Transp. & Prep.” and with tinted glass for $84.00 being the only option, totaling $5,546.30. How times and Porsche prices have changed since. Little did we know then what adventures were in store for us with this 914. Initially, the 914 was a daily driver in southwest Virginia, snow and all, for several early years. Had we known then that we would keep the car for so long, and enter these odd PCA events called Concours de Elegance, the 914 would have been pampered more…maybe.

    While aware of something called the Porsche Club of America, probably from reading Road & Track, there was no local presence and no dealer information. A letter to First Settlers Region in the early years was unanswered. After the Blue Ridge Region was formed in 1980, we joined and were soon involved with PCA on many levels—many socials and meetings with regional offices including president for both Sue and me. She was one of the two founding mothers of Autumnfest, a favorite multiregional event for many years and I topped out as Zone 2 representative from 1990 to 1994. The 914 led us both into virtually all PCA activities from the aforementioned Concours to Drivers’ Ed and many autocrosses as well as club racing for me. Too many stories about all this to include here, but the 914 placed third in the full Concours, the only kind back then, at the Ozarks ’83 and Down East ’86 Parades and won some regionally Not much to say about rallying other than not conducive to marital harmony. The 914 won many autocrosses over the years with both drivers including a couple of FTDs on rainy days when the open- wheel formula cars stayed home.

    Crossing filed to Concours
    Maury at DE

    We both began DEs in the 914 and later progressed to a 914-6 built by a Werk 1, Zuffenhausen foreman that had a 2.4 S MFI engine, leather-covered roll cage, etc. and semi- fondly known as “The Beast” (916 clone?) about which there are too many stories to include here. One day Alan Friedman, founder of PCA club racing and then Potomac region chief Instructor, jumped in the 6 to see why it was so fast and, after the session, asked if I would like to instruct, leading to many years of track instructing. Sue retired from DE and autocross after our son joked with her about beating some guys who were a lot more serious about it than she was. Though she now says she just “grew up,” I think she was looking for an excuse to quit.

    The 914 was well used and well maintained over the years, serviced by the dealers when we had one in the Roanoke area, as they tended to phase out after a few years. One story Sue has been known to tell is when there was a recall for leaking injectors that could lead to fires, I sent her off, with a fire extinguisher and instructions for use, to Mahan Porsche-Audi about 35 miles east of our home in Radford while I had to work.

    At the 992-mile service for the 914, Sue asked after we left it off, if I thought the mechanic Keith looked old enough to work on our car as his hair made him appear younger than his actual late teens. He was and has been a close friend ever since who has done most of the work on all our subsequent Porsches when we lived in Virginia.

    In fact, after practice for the 1986 Sebring Firehawk 6-hour support race the day before the 12-Hour, Keith pulled out the page and a half squawk list I had given him for the 914s first service so many years before. Apparently, he
    had never had a customer who noticed so many details and he filed it away. Keith told me earlier that I had been autocrossing long enough and it was time to do some real racing. Since a 944 won the first Firehawk series in ’85, he proposed doing all the prep and maintenance for a share of the driving, if I got a 944. Seemed like a good idea, so we went ahead with that plan. He, our son Ty and I all drove about 2 hours each. We finished 6th of 96, 3rd 944 at Sebring in 1986.

    That first Porsche led to many others fortunately. After it, the next was an ’82 911 SC that Sue ordered as a surprise 50th-birthday present for me that was delivered timely in December of 1981. Chiffon white with full-leather in tan and brown, it was a great travel car that we took to the Chicago ’84 Parade. Our pre-departure Concours prep was wiped out by thunderstorms on the way to the Appleton, Wisconsin, site making a good excuse for mediocre results, no recall on our rally finish. The driving event at Road America was delayed until last for our group due to noise restrictions. One of the loud modified cars in the group ahead of us rolled in the last corner—end over end and sideways within our view, prompting Sue to decide not to drive that year.

    One of the advantages of owning a car so long is that whatever can go wrong with it has usually happened before. On the way to the Ozarks in ’83, the 914 refused to start at the first gas stop in a small town in Kentucky on a weekend. The attendant told us to call a VW place for suggestions. They said to reach under the left side and tap on the starter to release the solenoid while someone turned the key, and it worked. This happened another time before replacing the starter, at the check-in parking in front of the Ritz Carlton Buckhead (Atlanta). An embarrassing site to crawl under the car, but it worked again. We were there for Peachstate Region’s Rennfest, it may have been the year the 914 won the Out- of-Region Best-Overall trophy with firsts in Concours, rally and autocross, thanks to son Ty’s navigation for the rally success.

    What happened to the 914 you may ask? After many years and over 200 autocross events, most with SCCA, the 914 was still competitive winning A/S in ’85, ’86, BS in ’98, ’01 and C/S in ’87, ’88, ’89, ’91, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’02 and ’03. By then, Miatas and their drivers were getting better and the 914…and I…were getting older and slower. We also had a ’98 Boxster that was giving the 914 some intrafamily competition until we moved it to Florida full time to AX at MacDill with Suncoast.

    914 and Awards

    For the 50th Parade (Hershey 2005), entry was limited. At 337 on the wait list, we thought we would pass—until they came up with a display of Porsches that had been owned for over 25 years by the original owners. This inspired me, I detailed the 914 as well as I could and, having just sold mine, borrowed a trailer and tow vehicle from a good PCA friend and away we went to Hershey.

    Since we wanted to move to Florida full time, like the Boxster, there was limited garage space for the 914, it was too clean to AX and would be too far away for Keith to maintain, we came to the sad conclusion that it was time to sell if it would bring a price we could not refuse. In August 2006, John W a former 914 owner, who had lost his to a fuel-leak fire many years before offered $16K, so we let it go. No seller’s remorse and I have been able to follow the car now with the fourth owner. I had asked John W to let me know if he ever wanted to sell it back. Another PCA and AX friend saw an ad that he thought sounded like our 914, so I asked John why he didn’t call me. His excuse was that he didn’t think I would be willing to pay what he was asking. Understanding he got in the mid-twenties for it, he was probably correct.

    Sadly, that buyer got rear ended by a cell phone user’s SUV while stopped for a red light only a few miles from where they bought it. That was the 914s third time being hit while parked. The first time the right front was hit on the Mahan lot, the second time the left door was dented at a professional building’s lot at night while I was at a study club meeting. No note was left. Neither of the repaints matched the original exactly so around ’95, the entire front and left door were done again with a good match. When I sold the 914, the right door and all aft were still original paint. It was never damaged while being driven. The third buyer had the 914 in his collection for a few years, then sold it to the current owner Tom B. who drives it and with whom I occasionally communicate. There is some hope that he may bring the 914 to Werks Reunion in March at Amelia Island, where we are looking forward to seeing our old friend again.

  • Replacing the 986 Boxster front engine mount

    By Eddie Fort

    aka Shade Tree Mechanic

    Are you intimidated by the thought of working on your own Porsche? Well, you need not be. Doing basic maintenance on your Porsche as well as some more extensive repairs are just not that hard and once you get the courage to “jump into the deep end”. You’ll be surprised at just what you can accomplish with just a few basic tools and a little time.

    In this installment I’m going to discuss the why and how to replace the Boxster’s front engine mount. If your Boxster is 5 or more years old and/or has 30,000 miles on it there’s a good chance that you may be noticing an engine vibration at between 2800 and 3000 RPM’s. I started noticing the vibration about 6 months ago and was worried it was something serious… I posted my symptoms on and within an hour 3 people came back with the same response “It’s your front engine mount”. In doing a little research I found that this is a common problem with mid engine Porsche’s that have a few miles on them. It seems that the heat generated by the mid engine design coupled with a soft rubber engine mount contributes to their relatively short lifespan.

    Now that I felt relatively confident about what needed to be done the question arose did I want to replace it with an OEM component or an aftermarket one? Several years ago at one of the annual Boxster Summits held each year in Blowing Rock, NC I had the pleasure of meeting Pedro Bonnila. Pedro is an engineer by training and a “tinkerer” by nature. In the Boxster world he is know as the “King of the Hacks” for coming up with relatively inexpensive ways to improve various parts of the Boxster. He has turned his passion into a full time job and started his own company I gave him a call on the advice of a friend and sure enough he had two different versions, the Enthusiast and the Race versions. The main difference is that the race version is much harder due to the lack of holes in the rubber grommet and transmits more vibration into the cockpit than the enthusiast’s version which is still firmer than the OEM version. So, on his advice, I bought the enthusiast version since this is our street car. The total cost with shipping was only $174.00 and I will get an additional $50 back when the original core is returned for a net cost of only $124.00.

    Before we get started I have to say I am not a mechanic and the procedures I talk about should only be considered as a guideline. You are solely responsible for your own actions.

    First off we have to raise the car as we will be accessing the engine from below. This can be accomplished in one of three ways; you can raise your car on four jack stands, you can back your car up on a set of Rhino ramps or you can use a lift as we did. What ever you do make sure the car is secure and you are comfortable getting underneath it.

    The first step is to remove the mid and rear lower body panels. This is accomplished with a 10mm socket (See Fig. 1).

    The front engine mount is located just where you’d expect it to be .on the front of the engine (See Figure 2).

    Start by removing the two plastic clamps that hold the coolant hoses to the engine support wishbone by moving them forward. (See Figure 3) This will allow you to wiggle the coolant hoses later on and drop the engine mount.

    You will then want to place a jack under the front of the engine to support it before you remove the mount. We did this with a floor jack and a 2×6 piece of wood.

    It is easier to remove the engine mount with its support wishbone. To do this start by loosening the two 15mm bolts on the top that hold the engine mount to the engine. There is no need to completely remove the driver’s side just loosen it. You will then remove the bolt on the passenger’s side. This will take a little patience using a wrench or small socket as the space is very confined. Finally, you can remove the two lower bolts that hold the mount to the engine (See Figures 4 & 5).

    Don’t worry if the bolt comes out with the nut as both will eventually have to come out.

    Now the whole assemble is free from the car. Remove it by moving the coolant hoses apart and wrestling it out of its confines. You may find it easier to carefully lower the engine an inch or two to gain more space.

    Once on your bench, you’ll see the mount is attached to the yoke by two long 15mm bolts. Remove them (See Figure 6).

    You’ll notice there is a rubber washer on each side of the engine mount. Note their orientation for reinstallation later. In Figure 7 you can see the original mount on your left compared to the new one on your right.

    There was a significant amount of rubber that had been worn out on the top of the original one which led to my vibration.

    Place the new mount into its yoke and reverse the process to reinstall it into the car. Be sure to tighten all the bolts to 34 ft-lb (46Nm) (See figure 8).

    Take your car out for a drive and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! It took my son, Evan, and me less than two hours from start to finish and that included taking the pictures and making notes.

  • The BRR Logo Story

    Written by Dan DeHart

    The image now used as Blue Ridge Region’s logo on our window decals, name tags, hats and sew-on patches are from a photo taken by Dave Hogan at the Harveys Knob Overlook (milepost 95.5) on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    The original logo was the creation of Claudia Snow, Dave Snow’s wife, who passed some years ago.

    Dave and Claudia Snow

    Several years ago, the Club received a cease-and-desist letter from attorneys for the Blue Ridge Parkway claiming our old logo infringed on their registered images.  There were similarities to both circular images with a roadway curving to the right and a single pine tree on the right side.  

    We decided it wasn’t a fight we were going to win so a new image was sought for our club.  

    The following is from past Blau Rain issues:

    Nov. 1983 – Two logo drawings were submitted to the board.

    Feb. 1984 – Logo completed and approved by the board.

    Mar. 1984 – Logo approved by national.

    May 2008 – Board notified of letter from National Park Service about trademark infringement, old logo dropped.

    Aug. 2008 – Two logo designs submitted to the board and the current logo was approved.

    Dave selected a view looking east towards the Peaks of Otter.  In the foreground you see the roadway make a sweeping right turn downward towards the Pine Tree pullout, the knob frames the left side of the view and moving to the right are Flat Top Mountain, Sharp Top Mountain and with a tree framing the right side. 

    After seeing the larger image of our logo used as a background during a Zoom call, I was pretty sure I recognized the location.  I forwarded the image to someone familiar with this location and he readily confirmed the location was Harveys Knob.  Volunteers conduct a count of migrating raptors at this location from late August until December.  In 2020 volunteers witnessed a total of 8,093 migrating raptors representing 14 different species, (includes 5,970 Broad-winged Hawks and a record 239 Bald Eagles for this location).  The site was manned for 583 hours in 2020, (my friend estimated he was there for ~ 160 hours, and I did about 120 hours).   Some of the observers also perform unofficial counts of monarch butterflies other migrating species.

    Harveys Knob “traffic” is not limited to just the roadway and the sky; hikers on the Appalachian Trail cross the roadway at this location.  In 2019 a total 788 of 3,628 thru hikers were able complete the trail, (AT data says about 1 in 4 hikers complete the trail in a 12-month period).  Harveys Knob is 734.7 miles from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia and 1,443.6 miles from the northern end point at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  Accessibility makes this a popular spot for local hikers. If you hike up to the top of Sharp Top Mountain there is an observation area with metal markers pointing to other landmarks; there is one for Harveys Knob 7 miles away.

    The posted elevation at the overlook is 2,524 feet and the location is typically called milepost 95.5 (milepost are only at full mile locations).  It is approximately 10 miles from Parkway’s intersection with Route 460.  GPS location is 37.45 north, 79.72 west.   Who is Harvey and why did they name a knob after him?  Robert Harvey (b 1756 – d 1831) fought in the Indian Wars and served as colonel during the Revolutionary War and started an iron furnace (later Cloverdale Furnace) on Back Creek in Botetourt County.  Built a home (mansion) Hawthorne Hall north of Fincastle and started other iron furnaces and ironworks.  Died and buried at Martha’s Furnace in 1831.  There is no apostrophe in Harveys Knob.

  • The Car That Would Not Lose

    By Dave Hogan

    In recent Blue Ridge Region history, no event is more popular than the monthly Cars ‘n Coffee. These events produce the largest crowds and the most Porsche vehicles. One feature of these events is when Mick enlists the aid of a nearby child to select their favorite Porsche of those in the parking lot. And so our story begins.

    Among the past events one Blue Ridge Region member, who likes the color white, seemed to have the most popular car. These white cars are affectionally known as the Snowmobile. When the Snowmobile is present everyone knows there is a very high likelihood of it being selected as favorite. No matter how many different styles or colors the other Porsches have, the Snowmobile tops them all. When the Snowmobile is not present others have hope their car will be selected and they can take home the trophy.

    A recent event was held at The Resort at Glade Springs in West Virginia. Among the attendees was the Snowmobile. Since there was a “car you would like to drive home” car show scheduled, everyone wondered if the Snowmobile would take home another trophy. On the way to West Virginia, karma seemed to strike the Snowmobile. First one tire, then two, developed a slow leak. Fortunately, after stops to refill the tires, the Snowmobile limped into the resort parking lot. Far from home, and with few options, a truck was called to retrieve the stricken Snowmobile and return it home.

    The morning of the car show, and just before the show began, a truck arrived and the Snowmobile started home. Blue Ridge Region members began to have hope their car would now be selected as one of the three most popular. After all, the Snowmobile was not in the show.

    Good luck for the other Blue Ridge Region members you say? Well, karma went the other way at the awards ceremony that night. While no Blue Ridge Region members’ car won the most popular, there
    was one other award to be given, the Chairman’s Award. With the theme “car you would like to drive home” the chairman decided the one carried home was the one most wanted to be driven home.

    So, it seems the Snowmobile can win awards even when it is not there. There is little hope other Blue Ridge Region members will win the prized trophy as long as the Snowmobile is present, and now, even when it is not present. Dave, have you driven that car to buy a lottery ticket?