Each year, one of the east coast’s premier Porsche Speedster kit refurbishers invites the faithful to his home where he and his wife serve a continental breakfast, followed by some hours of spirited driving through and over the nearby mountains, capped off with a trip to Dilly’s, a big sports bar in Chambersburg, PA, where the host–his name is Alan Merklin–seems to know all the staff by name and reputation.
TD people are tolerated at this shindig, particularly since many of us share mechanicals with the Speedster people.
In fact, there is also a late model Corvette and a Miata attending–the latter mostly to act as “sag wagons” in case of break down or wandering from the posted trail.
This year saw more than a dozen Speedsters on the course, along with a Spyder and two TDs–Bridget and the much shinier example built and driven by Dale Schumacher. His wife, Lois came too.
The day began for Karen and I at 7 a.m. in Joppa, where we lowered ourselves into a recently tuned-up (new wires, cap, rotor, coil), oil-changed (Valvoline VR-1 20-50) Bridget and headed ’round the beltway with the top up. We were both bundled up–me in two layers plus wool-lined leather jacket and my trusty RAF pilot’s helmet, she rather less judiciously with a scarf and blanket.
We were to meet Kelly Frazer at a parking lot in Westminster, MD, at 8.
Kelly was on time and, after talking him into taking the scenic route–97 and RT 30 through Gettysburg–we lowered Bridget’s top and set off for Merklin’s place.
Just past the traffic circle in Gettysburg we spotted another Speedster. I pulled over and asked Kelly who it was. “I don’t know,” says Kelly, who knows all the East Coast Speedster guys pretty well.
I shrugged and, waving to the young couple who had just come out of the coffee shop, hopped back in Bridget to sally forth. How strange that another Speedster would be found in downtown Gettysburg on the exact day of a major Speedster rally 60 miles away, I thought. I wonder what they’re up to.
Turns out they were with us. Todd, the driver/re-builder, bought the car in Baltimore last year and finished it up this spring. It was his first Pumpkin Run, and first time meeting a lot of the Speedster people. His girlfriend told me her name twice and I forgot it. I suck.
Breakfast was pretty tasty, Bagles and baked french toast, fruit, coffee & etc. People who see each other maybe twice or thrice a year but who’ve known each other for a decade or more were catching up. The cars looked pretty cool too.
Here’s a shot of Cory Drake & his “Projekt Hooptie,” a Type IV-powered Frankenstein’s Monster of a Speedster replica. He’s a nice guy and a good photographer too, and he ended up staying behind Karen and I for much of the action. The photos of us on the road are from him.
Anyway. Having heard complaints about a “too slow” pace last year, Merklin extended this year’s run to some 95 miles and pledged to make it somewhat more brisk.
The day was sunny and windy, with gusts up to about 35 mph. Lots of fallen branches in the road, popping off the fenders and other gizmos under the car as we drove. I was apparently the only one who hit an actual obstacle–a cobble-stone sized chunk of granite up on the mountain. No apparent damage though.
At one point near the end of the run, Bridget surged and then died. I pulled over, as did Cory and Kim Merklin in the Miata and who ever was driving the ‘Vette. Looked for a loose wire, didn’t find it, but she started right back up.
The next rest stop was a quarter mile down the road. I re-crimped the distributor wire there, and had no further issues.
There were two pumpkins in attendance as well. Kelly brought one.
Anyway. A very tiring day behind Bridget’s oversized tiller. Probably 120 miles each way and more than 90 on the run itself–for more than 320 total. Last gas stop, still 40 miles from home, had a nice conversation with the owner of a Morris Miner, who admired Bridget’s lines even when informed of her mongrel pedigree. Another guy came up and pronounced her “the real deal.” I always like that.
It was getting past dark when we got home, and the Lucas gremlins–or ghosts of same–were nowhere apparent.