So Carlisle happened, again. This year was the 10th anniversary of the Speedsters meet Spyders gathering of Porsche-shaped replicas. As is tradition, our brothers-under-the-skin invited us TD schlubs to join their group. Once again they (we) were the biggest replica group on the field. (The Cobra guys used to give chase, but this year there were only a few of those loud bastards).
I worked hard to get Bridget ready for the 100-mile highway run, doing my best to plug up several exhaust leaks that’d been causing a persistent backfire on the downshift, re-setting the valves and changing the cracked fan belt and the oil and screen just before takeoff.
Had to reuse my screen gaskets because the new ones were wrong.
Not a great thing to find out after the old stuff is out. Luckily they were intact, and I just coated them with Permatex copper to make them work, hopefully, like new. The oil leaks were no worse than ever.
Got my Carlisle sticker on and hit the road Thursday afternoon around 4:00, hoping to make the hotel by 5:30.
Friday dawned with new backfiring, so I pulled off Bridget’s muffler to install all new gaskets, the kit of which had come in the mail only a day before.These, fortunately, seemed to be the right stuff and, with some help from Richard Wobby (who seems somehow to enjoy this kind of thing), I got the muffler back on within a couple hours of my arrival. About halfway through the operation Wobby made an observation: “I know what your problem is,” he said. “But I’m gonna wait until you’re all done before I tell ya.”
And so he did. Turns out in addition to the two or three leaks in the exhaust proper, there was a hole also in my left hand carb heat tube, hidden behind the air hose that runs to the fan housing. I taped it up with exhaust tape and Wobby added some special rubberized tape to that, and like magic all the popping was gone.
Schu had a little issue on his car. Something rubbing. Fixed in five minutes.Later that evening, Rich’s wife, Lauren, feted the MG group with a picnic of Vermont baked ham, Vermont baked beans and mac & cheese. Can you count the number of MG Replicas at the Wobby motorhome diner? Yep: eight, including this dude Bob who drove all the way from Nova Scotia in his TG–a Miata-based replica of a TF. And we’d have two more by Saturday afternoon: 10 TDs plus the surprise TF. Even heard we had another club member and his wife show on Sunday after everyone but Bill Ascheman and Roy Hendrix left because rain threatened.
The roster: Paul Mossberg (PA), Bill Asheman and his son David (he with the crazy GTI), me and Karen (who came up a day late), Roy and Julie Hendrix from North Carolina, Don Loveless, from Michigan, Rollie and Louise Smullen from North Carolina, Dale Schumacher and his son Caleb, from NoVA and Donna, a new club member from Maryland who was there and gone (with her husband?) before I got a chance to talk to them. Which is sad because hers is a red one that looks a lot like mine, with black wheels.
I think our best showing before was six. Three years ago we were three.
This year on Saturday morning four TD owners squared off at the auto-cross track. Mossberg, Rollie, Don (who is still sorting his newly-built car) and Wobby all chickened out (“nothing good ever comes from racing,” Wobby, who helps operate a racing team, said sagely). But we were joined by Danny Piperato in his Jake Raby-prepped Porsche 550 Spyder and by David Ascheman, who wiped the field in his Golf GTI VR6, which he has emptied of everything but the driver’s seat (no interior panels, carpets, A/C, muffler, etc) and painted with about 150 Sharpie (TM) ink pens (it’s that non-TD in the picnic photo, above).
Before the race, I decided to remove Bridget’s bumpers, spare tire, windshield and top to save weight. Wobby said he’d help and offer a safe place to store the items, which I estimate totaled over 75 pounds:
Rollie drove his car into the staging area and so there were five TDs and the Spyder. If you squinted (or took camera phone vids, as Karen helpfully did–the link is to a five-minute Vimeo vid) the scene looked like 1953.
The dangerousness of this course was brought home to us in the minutes before our group was set to take the track, when a young man in a Miata lost control and ended up nearly vertical on the hill overlooking the course.A group of guys pulled him off the hill by hand and the young man (he was supposedly being trained) carried his air dam off the field in a slow walk of shame before resuming. I talked to his teacher later. The man said the student did not do as instructed.
Our group got underway and raced without drama. Danny’s Spyder was fastest by about a second (though he tended to just blast through the cones in the first chicane), followed by Bill’s Ford-powered TD, with which he won a regional autoX championship a decade or so back. Shockingly, I was only a second or so behind him. Then Schu and Hendrix, both of whom sport bigger engines, more carburation and wider tires.
(Bill Ascheman is number 121–they mangled his name. The page is more legible as a downloaded pdf here: 2013 Carlisle AutoX Results (01))
The results indicate that I won the class designated F-Street Prepared! I’ll chalk this one up to recklessness. Bridget’s engine did seem to shake a bit more than usual after the first run. Hope I did not damage her. (Despite what the sheet says there was, unfortunately, no trophy. Yeah, I checked).
Once again, Cory Drake took the lead in arranging the cars artfully. And once again Wobby took the lead in our group, and Cory did his best to advise Wobby.And as ever, photos were taken.Later the awards banquet, which this year went off very smoothly as a buffet. Syl Mathis, a Speedster owner from NoVA, made a gift for “East Coast” Bruce Stumpp, who has done much of the heavy lifting on this gathering for the past decade. It’s a mirror for his giant garage, and I was honored to sign it.
That’s Alan “Dr. Clock” Merklin at the podium, presenting the thing. To his right is Bruce and Syl.
The TD guys will remember it as a breakout year. Hope to see even more there in 2014.