Rennsport Reunion III
BJ and I made it to Daytona International Speedway for Rennsport Reunion III in early November. We had also attended Rennsport Reunion I at Lime rock Park, Connecticut and Rennsport Reunion II at Daytona. These event are held every three years and feature all Porsche race cars. Close to 500 Porsches from the early 356 to the latest Porsche Spyder.
Our interest is of course the 356 and there were twenty three entered in the first of five race groups. The oldest 356 was Brett Johnson’s 1951 Coupe and Brett runs a 1300 cc engine!
The rest of the first race group comprised under 2.5 liter 911s and 914. There were 93 Porsches entered in this group and at least eighty took to the track. Daytona is a 3.56 mile track using some of the high banking and an infield road course. Only a long race course could allow so many Porsches to race at once; it was quite a sight!
The other four race groups featured the over two liter 911s and front engine Porsches in Group 2; GT3 Porsches in Group 3; 906,907, 908, 910 and 917 in Group 4 and the big boys 956/962 and 934 in Group 5.
Not all of the Porsches were on the race track. The factory sent over some museum cars and our favorite was the 917-027 which is a 16 cylinder. This beautiful white stretched 917 never raced as it was superseded by the tubo charged 12 cylinder 917s. If the 917-027 had been turbocharged, they estimate its horsepower at 2,000 HP. But it never happened and 917-027 has been in the Porsche museum under wraps until they brought it to Rennsport III. One question never answered was could anybody drive a 2,000 HP 917.
Of the 917s that did race, one was the 917-30 that Mark Donohue drove to a closed course record of 221 MPH. The 917s were from the 1970s and in the 1980s we had the 962! There were twenty of them racing in Group 5. Never had anyone seen so many 962s on the track.
And of course there were the drivers that drove these Porsches in their heyday. Drivers such as Heywood, Bell, Elford, Redman, Follmer, Luyendyk, Hobbs, Posey and Adamowicz were there as were others. (BJ and I talked to Brian Redman at the Daytona Beach K-Mart where he was buying soft drinks for his crew.)
BJ and I got to the event a day early so we could see and take pictures of the Porsches before the crowds came. BJ volunteered and worked pit out on Friday. He said it was something to see a 962 coming straight at you as you directed him to turn. I say “him” but there was one lady driver at Rennsport. Our own Marcia Hubble from RMVR. She did really well in her 911 and said the event was fantastic. We had three other RMVR 911 drivers at Rennsport; Alan Benjamin, Jerry Shouten and Hank Godfreson. They all did quite well.
We hung out at the 356 pit areas. Vic Skirmants had three 356s and drivers, Ron Emory transported five 356s all the way fro Oregon and we got to meet Brett Johnson’s five year old twins.
We kept hearing rumors that the next Rennsport in 2010 will be on the West Coast. The problem will be rearranging the race groups. Could you imagine eighty Porsches on the track at Laguna Seca? Man, I would want to be at the corkscrew turn.
Well we got a new tool in the shop. A washing machine! Barb bought it for us after her blouse was ruined in the upstairs washing machine after we did a load of shop towels. At least we don’t use the dishwasher to clean parts.
The Shop ’59 Outlaw is all reassembled and ready for a test drive. (I referred to it as a ’54 last month; in fact quite often I confuse the year of a 356.) We installed a Super engine that Bill Frey checked out on his engine test stand. It sure is a pretty 356 outlaw, everybody likes what we did with the Recaro seats. Maybe we will keep it and perhaps sell the ’63 Sunroof Coupe. Did you know that Recaro stands for the Reutter Car Company. After Porsche bought Reutter in 1963 to make their own bodies, Reutter became Recaro and made seats as well as other parts. That is why you don’t see a coach builder badge on some ’64 and all ’65 356s as Porsche became their own coachbuilder.
BJ continues work on the Shop ’59 Cabriolet. Since this is a Shop car that was missing a lot of parts and does not have matching numbers we can paint whatever color we want. Call us and vote for your favorite color (Togo Brown will not be considered.)
We have had a concern recently that we would loose some 356 parts vendors. We had heard that NLA was selling out and that Stoddard had been bought out by another dealership. Remember when PB Tweeks was bought by Mid America? 356 parts availability declined and prices went up. Well it turns out NLA and Stoddard is good news. Financing has been obtained and a new company called NLA Stoddard LLC will continue to provide us with parts. The financing will allow new reproduction parts to be developed and the key players are long time 356 knowledgeable folks. More details as we get them.
When our Porsche friends, Rosie and Roland, called us about a cute little gray long-hair, green eyed kitten that was part of their barn cat’s family about to be relocated all discussion centered around whether we should get it. Needless to say once we saw her she was ours. Her name was finally chosen from Porsche (Jim’s pick), Primer or Bondo (BJ’s ideas), Fluffy (Alex’s choice) or Kit Kat (Barb’s winner).