Life in the Motor Cities Gruppe

A Day at the Races, Mid Ohio 2014

June 29, 2014

The Gruppe tradition of a large flock of 356’s heading to Lexington, Ohio to watch the Vintage Grand Prix each year has long since died, but there is still a core group of hardy souls that still make the trip, albeit a day trip, to the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course to watch Vic Skirmants and Dave Burton run their 356’s at speed. This year that group consisted of Charlie Brown III, Dick Zarbo, Tom Walworth and Sebastian Gaeta.

The drive down is always terrific and is laid out on beautiful twisty back roads. The weather was warm and sunny, sometimes a bit too warm, but certainly much better than rain. Here are some shots of the track (with Vic in the #70 car). I used a “vintage” effect on my camera to take these photos in honor of the Vintage Races.

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Here’s a short video clip of Vic at turn 1

During this annual event, vintage cars are allowed to park together by marque in the infield. This year’s featured marque was Mini.

I liked this one in particular, it was very clean and sharp looking.

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A chopped Mini next to a Formula One Mini.

Photo Jun 28, 2 00 11 PM copy Mini Formula One “driver” getting instructions from the “team manager”.

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Nice examples of a Lotus and Allard.Photo Jun 28, 3 01 27 PM copy Photo Jun 28, 2 15 26 PM copy



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Even though the infield was filled with British cars, Porsches were also very well represented. I did not take any pictures of the Porsche corral, mostly because the only 356’s there belonged to members of our caravan. One early 911 was in the corral and the rest were later model air-cooled or modern water-cooled cars.

This is a VINTAGE event, so let’s get more VINTAGE cars to participate. It is a great one day trip so let’s see if we can cajole a few more people into coming down next year!


Looking Back: A road trip to Sanibel Island in 2013

June 21, 2014

Having spent a good part of my life visiting Sanibel and Captiva Islands where most of my family lives, I always wanted to tool around the area in a 356. My father had taken ill and I was able to take some time off to visit him, so what the heck, the cab would be perfect for this!  Vic checked over the car and gave it his blessing so off I went. I stopped in Tennessee the first night and as you can see by the frost on the top, spring had not entirely sprung yet.



Images by Sebastian Gaeta Taken with iPhone 5S, Images by Rene Miville taken with Nikon D90.

DSC_0008 The drive down I-75 was as uneventful and as boring as you might imagine, but I had a nice stop planned the second day to visit Steve Harrison in Georgia, a wonderful contributor to the Registry forum who is now finishing up the restoration of a ’55 Pearl Grey Continental coupe.

Steve and I lean up against my car for a photo op.

Steve and I lean up against my car for a photo op.

At the time of my visit, his car was still in primer and he was in the process of restoring the smaller pieces and assemblies. He is quite the craftsman as you can see by the wooden boat he restored. DSC_0021_2 By now Steve is quite close to finishing his car, which he has owned for over 26 years, and will be driving it to the 2014 East Coast Holiday. If anyone reading this is also going to the Holiday be sure to find him to say hello, he is a terrific guy and a great asset to our community.

I continued the drive south which seemed to go on forever, but once I got closer to the island things got more scenicIMG_2101Scooting around the island was every bit as great as I thought it would be and while there, my cousin Rene Miville took these shots of my car and the ’65 Beetle I restored for him and his wife a while back.

These car just look right at home in this setting, don’t they?

IMG_0429 IMG_0430 IMG_0445IMG_0428 I vowed that the drive back to Michigan would not be as boring as the trip down, so as soon as I could I veered off of I-75 and took back roads through northern Florida, Georgia, Tennesee and Kentucky. It added at least a day to the trip but was well worth it. Here are a few pics I managed to take on the way home





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I even got off the main back highways, turned off Google maps and just kept heading north via my compass. That is a great feeling, knowing you are heading in the right direction but not knowing what you will come upon. A great adventure for sure.






2014 Stoddard Swap Meet

June 9, 2014

The 2014 Stoddard Swap Meet in Cleveland, Ohio landed on a perfect day weather-wise, which possibly was too nice and kept some people away. The crowd was thinner than in years past, but it was a great day with great friends regardless. Bill Rohrer, Dan Mazur and Sebastian Gaeta traveled from Ann Arbor, Mi to meet up with old friend Tim Buko from Strasburg, PA.

We had three spots together to sell stuff and did pretty well despite the low attendance. Tim didn’t bring anything to sell but went home with plenty of new (used) parts.

Ted and Jim Dunham were there; Ted was looking for some early 911 trim pieces to help finish his backdating project of a 911 SC.

Also representing the Gruppe were John and Pam Chatley, helping to make Convertible D ownership that much better.

Row of Porsches. There were more people showing cars this year than buying or selling parts. Is this the trend in years to come?

No big deal, only one of 248 ever made. Looks magnificent next to  more pedestrian T5 Roadster!

T-6 Roadster. No big deal, only one of 248 ever made. Looks magnificent next to the more “pedestrian” T-5 Roadster! If the PORSCHE script on the nose of the T-5 is original, that makes it a very early 1960 model year as only a few hundred cars came with that.

Bill Rohrer and Dan Mazur had quite the table. Dan is supervising while Bill Block sneaks over for a look.

Bill Rohrer and Dan Mazur had quite the table. Dan is shown supervising while Bill Block sneaks over for a look.

Dan Mazur putting some amber headlight lenses to good use.

Dan Mazur putting some amber headlight lenses to good use.

It’s amazing what I find in my garage every year to bring to the swap meet, especially when I leave the year before thinking I have sold everything worth selling. Stuff just finds its way to your parts stash through the year and you are in business again!

Bill, on the other hand, is only scratching the surface of his 356 stuff that has been in hiding for the last two and a half decades. That alone should get you to Ohio next June.




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