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PCA logo A Tour from Palmyra to our private "Le Mans" movie screening
by Greg Glassner        Posted 2019, June 2

An intrepid band of adventurers from the Porsche Club of America's Shenandoah Region visited Palmyra, Columbia, the Alamo and Le Mans on a recent Saturday morning in spring.

No, it wasn't the Ancient City of Palmyra on the Silk Road trade route in what is now Syria, the Republic of Columbia, the Alamo in Texas or Le Mans in France.

Targa en route

Their trek took them over twisting country roads from the Historic Fluvanna County Courthouse in Palmyra, Virginia, to Columbia Virginia, and finally to the Alamo Drafthouse and Cinema in Charlottesville for a special early matinee showing of Steve McQueen's epic racing movie, "Le Mans."

Caravan en route

The route was organized Gary Hunter. Gary Hunter led the drive in his Porsche 996 C4S. Dan asked yours truly to drive the sweep vehicle and the main group was already headed out as I pulled up, unfashionably tardy, to the stately brick courthouse, which was built in 1831.

911 en route

After I signed the waiver, Dan hopped in and we headed off in pursuit over Stage Junction Road, passed the entrance to Schloss Graff and headed into the historic village of Columbia, which, until it was officially dissolved in 2016, had the distinction of being the smallest incorporated town in Virginia.

Although short of residents, Columbia is long on history. It began as a Monacan Indian settlement and was known during Colonial times as "Point of Fork," as it sat at the confluence of the James and Rivanna rivers.

During the Revolutionary War a detachment of the Queen's Rangers commanded by Col. John G. Simcoe were sent by British General Cornwallis to capture and confiscate the arsenal at Point of Fork commanded by Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. The crafty Prussian ordered his troops to transport the arsenal's stores across the James and sink its heavy artillery in the river to be recovered later. Simcoe captured the arsenal but found it nearly empty.

After the war, the community changed its name to "Columbia" and, as a major shipping point on the James River was narrowly edged out in voting to make it Virginia's Capital.

718 En route

From there, the Porsche convoy motored on toward Scottsville, another historic tobacco port on the James River. Scottsville was the largest port town along what was planned as the James River and Kanawha Canal, which would have linked the Atlantic with the Ohio River, had it been completed. Unfortunately, the Civil War and the rapid growth of railroads intervened.

From there, the Porsche caravan motored into Charlottesville and was met at the Alamo Drafthouse and Cinema by other PCA members for lunch, beer and wine, and a special private viewing of "Le Mans" on the big screen. Many enthusiasts maintain this is the best movie ever made about auto racing, one that stars actor/racer McQueen and an assortment of Porsche 917s, and 908s, Ferrari 512s, and Lola T-70s. To attain authenticity, McQueen's own Porsche 908 was equipped with the large movie cameras of the day and entered, unofficially, in the 1970 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As soon as the race ended, filming began at the track and for a scheduled six-week shoot that stretched into five months.

Legendary sports car and F-1 drivers Derek Bell, Jo Siffert, Masten Gregory, Mike Parks, David Piper, Jonathan Williams, Herbert Linge, Gerard Larrousse, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and others finished the 24 Hours and stayed around the track to drive in the film's racing scenes. Way over budget and with a variety of delays, "Le Mans was a failure at the box office and was panned by film critics as being too full of racing scenes and too short on plot and dialogue. For these reasons, however, the film achieved a cult status that remains almost 50 years after it was released.

The PCA members and guests who watched it again on the big screen would probably agree with McQueen, who said, "Le Mans was the toughest picture I ever made, but it was worth it."

At the movie at the Alamo Theater

crash photo

Tech Session at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
by John Odden    Posted 2019 May 21

On the last day of April, Shenandoah Region members were provided an opportunity that is not available to the public. We were able to schedule a visit to IIHS for a crash test. After five months of trying to gain entrance through conventional avenues which included the front door, the back door, or any unlocked entrance door, we finally found an avenue to gain entry. Fellow member Ron Perry provided a list of sponsoring insurance agencies. Erie Insurance was on the list. Mike Little of Virginia Insurance Services, an Erie Insurance Agent, was contacted and agreed to request a crash test visit through Erie Insurance.

We had 19 members, four guests, and Mike Little join us for an experience none of us will forget. Upon arrival, we surveyed the crashed vehicles on display in the lobby of IIHS. The most amazing crash test was a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu. The purpose of this test was to determine if the older, larger, and heavier car of the 1950's would provide better occupant protection. The impact was a frontal collision at 37 mph. The results were astonishing! The occupant compartment of the Malibu did not deform. The Bel Air occupants would likely not have survived. To see the photo gallery from this event, click here.

The group was bused to a covered test area where we were able to take the wheel of several different crossover vehicles and test the automatic braking systems. The cars were driven at speeds up to 25 mph into a foam display depicting the rear end of a vehicle. The car's distance and collision avoidance systems would automatically apply the brakes and stop inches from the foam display. The systems all functioned properly.

We again boarded the bus to be transported to what we all came to see, the crash test. We entered the building and the IIHS technicians were making final checks on the sensors and cameras in preparation for the test on a beautiful new Toyota Camry. It seemed a shame to destroy a brand new vehicle. We were positioned on an elevated landing which provided an outstanding view of the Camry. The countdown began as the hydraulic drive system for the crash sled completed pressurizing. The sled is a four wheeled weighted assembly that replicates an SUV. The crash sled could be heard traveling down the long 3/8 mile corridor toward the impact zone. The crash sled passed directly under the elevated landing on which we were positioned.

We were all focused on the Camry awaiting impact. The crash sled made contact into the driver side front and rear doors. The side window glass shattered and flew 30 feet. The Camry was pushed 35 feet from its original position. We were all amazed at what damage 37 mph can do. The result of this test showed that the crash dummy occupants all survived this crash with no injuries other than being severely shaken. To download Jim Condon's movie of the crash, click here (91 Megabytes).

IIHS purchases the vehicles they test from retail dealers to insure they receive a standard production vehicle with no special modifications that may improve a car's crash test results.

At the completion of the photo session beside the totaled Camry, we received an extremely informative tour of IIHS's testing methods and procedures. We viewed displays of vehicles in a wide variety of different impact points. IIHS has done a tremendous service for the motoring public by driving manufacturers to improve the safety of their vehicles. Most popular vehicles have been crash tested by IIHS. All tested vehicles are rated and the ratings can be viewed on their website.

A very special thank you goes out to Mike Little for providing the Shenandoah Region access to this outstanding facility, an experience we will not forget.

Mike Little's contact info:

Mike Little
Virginia Insurance Services
Erie Insurance

Shenandoah PCA small logo Shenandoah Membership Milestones, May 2019
by John Odden, Membership Chair

   10 Years: Henry Haefele

   5 Years: Tim Foster

PCA logo Shenandoah Region PCA   April 2019 Membership Report
by John Odden, Membership Chair        Posted 2019, May 2

Primary Members–262
Affiliate Members–152
Total Membership–414

New members:

No new members for April.

Transfer out:

Gregory Burns - Transferred to Palmetto Region, Myrtle Beach, SC

Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.

Bavarian Chef Drive Gordonsville to Bavarian Chef Driving Tour
by Greg Glassner        Posted 2019, April 23

Eighteen intrepid PCA members ranging in age from their teens to their 70s gathered with passengers in Gordonsville, Virginia on April 12 to explore the twisty and challenging back roads of Orange and Madison Counties in wildly changing weather conditions.

In addition to an assortment of Porsches ranging from 944s to Boxsters, Caymans and 911 air and water-cooled variants, a Saab Viggen, John Cooper Works Mini, a vintage MGB-GT, Mazda Miata and Hyundai Genesis answered the call and lined up in groups headed by Ausflugmeisters Dan Graff and Bates McLain. (Interesting fact: "Viggen" means Thunderbolt in Swedish and Saab used the name for cars and jet fighters.) Among the participants were Bill Blodgett, Lynne Taylor, Gregory Griffith, Hal and Cyndi Fredrickson, Gary Hunter, Englebert and Claudia Muelhaupt, Michael Murphy, John and Michelle Oden, Steve Upman, David and Mickie Ogburn, Julie McLain, Colin McLain, Jonathan Fields, and Meredith Richardson.

After instructions the two groups lined up and were escorted through the problematic Route 15 and 33 traffic circle by an obliging town patrolman. We then headed north on one of my favorite roads, Route 231, from Gordonsville to Somerset, across the Rapidian River into Madison County and through Uno and beyond.

Bavarian Chef Route

(Interesting fact: back in the 1940s, a Richmond editorial writer proposed locating the United Nations Organization (UNO) in Uno, Virginia. The diplomats thought otherwise.)
(Other interesting fact: older residents insist Uno got its name because a local bootlegger sold his wares out of a springhouse and when wives asked their husbands where they were headed after dinner they shrugged and replied, "Uno.")

Between Somerset and Jacks Shop, Bates and Dan led their flocks along Tatum's School Road, Locust Grove Church Road, Good Hope Church Road, and Carpenter's Mill Road and Lillards Ford Road. The 20, 15 and 10 miles per hour road signs we encountered give you some idea of the radius of the curves along this route. Then it was off over Spring Branch Road and Leon Road past the remnants of James City and Leon, before pulling onto busy Route 29. (Interesting fact: James City was founded by the family of outlaws Jesse and Frank James.)
The tour's rest break was at Prince Michel Vineyard, offering the opportunity to taste a vintage or two, purchase wine, and hit the restrooms.
(Interesting fact: The Prince Michel winery was founded by a decorated hero of the World War II French Resistance.)

After the break, Bates and Dan led the revived and refreshed sojourners over the Hebron Valley Road to Haywood, Banco and Syria climbing into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on Thunder Road with its challenging elevation changes and switchbacks. A heavy downpour and mist added to the challenges we faced in that stretch. Heading south into the town of Madison, we then veered southwesterly along Ruth Road and Thrift Road, back into the Blue Ridge foothills and more rain and challenging curves. With the rain and dark skies, these mountain roads take on the mood of a Wagnerian opera. I fully expected to round a bend and see Siegfried or Brunnhilde pop out from behind a rock.

Bavarian Chef Route

(Interesting fact: Madison County was settled by German ironworkers who arrived on these shores as indentured servants. Freed from their contractual obligations, they headed west and stopped when they found the place that reminded them most of their homeland.)
By this time I knew I was ready to turn off Shelby Road onto U.S, 29 and into the welcoming parking lot of the Bavarian Chef, which has been operated by the Thalwitz family since 1974. Upstairs, we retold tales of the road, talked cars, sipped German beer and wine, and dove into platters of wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, Jaeger schnitzel, sausages and constantly replenished bowls of spatzle, dumplings, potato salad, glazed carrots, red cabbage, zucchini and creamed corn. A hearty few even added rich desserts.

Bavarian Chef Dessert

Click to View Photos by Meredith Richardson

Exhaust photo

Adding a bit of SOUL to my 991.1 S Cab
by Michael Early    Posted 2019 April 3

One of the first things I did when I bought my 2013 Cab S in 2015 was to go from the stock Porsche exhaust to the Porsche Performance Exhaust. I really like the difference it made and considered it a very worthwhile investment. However, I longed for a deeper, richer sound — especially under hard acceleration. After spending countless hours researching options via personal discussions, the Porsche forums, and the internet I decided that the system build by Soul Performance Products sounded very intriguing.

I got in contact with Soul PP and spoke to John Gaydos. (I guess I should add that over my 60 years of driving I have replaced quite a few exhaust components — but never the entire system before — and never at anywhere near the cost of what this was going to be. In terms of Porsche cars, I did a cat-back on my 2006 Cayman S and my 2013 Boxster S — both of which were nice but both had a bit of an irritable resonance problem.)

John was a quite knowledgeable and answered all of my questions. Since the general opinion from a lot of folks was that Soul made a very good product, I signed up for the new Long tube headers with the hi-flow 200 cell cats and the new valved exhaust. I really liked the fact that their valved exhaust used the most efficient flow when the valves were open instead of when they were closed. I was also hopeful that their Helmholtz tubes would improve the sound and help reduce the tendency to "drone."

My primary purpose in the whole endeavor was to pick up an improved exhaust note — deeper, louder of course, a bit of a rumble, and just more in line with the performance aspect of the flat six engine. Of course, I was also hoping for some performance gains but that was not the main focus of my quest.

Before I get to the actual install I'll jump to the "end" and just say that I absolutely LOVE the result of the change. The sound is everything I hoped it would be and then some. With the valves closed it is just a bit deeper sounding than the PSE and NO "drone" — just like the PSE. With the valves open it sounds like a beast! It was freaking awesome when I opened the valves and dropped to 4th gear at 60 in the Baltimore Tunnel! I THINK it is a bit more responsive, but as most of you know the 3.8 S is pretty darn responsive "out of the box," so I would be hard-pressed to prove any significant difference on the 300-mile drive home on I-95.

Exhaust photo

I got to Soul PP at a little before 7 AM on Tuesday, March 26 and the place was hopping. Lots of grinding, welding, measuring and polishing going on. Everyone looked like they were enjoying what they were doing and I knew that I had come to the right place.

All of my new parts were carefully lined up waiting for me to get there. Exhaust photo

Soul PP was in the process of creating a new chromed dual wall, dual tip for this application and the timing worked out that they were installed (temporarily) on my car to make sure they would work and for some photo work. I really liked the look but John said they had not even figured out what their cost was, so he had no idea on selling price. I really liked the way they looked but totally torn between the chrome or a possible matte black.

I have to say that everyone I met at Soul PP was fantastic. John and the rest of the team are definitely "performance car people" that have an enthusiasm for what they are doing and are totally professional in every aspect of their work. The attention to detail in the product, the thought process that went into it, the care and efficiency of the installation were all fantastic to see and experience. Obviously, I am a fan of Soul PP at this point.

Exhaust photo

Some random thoughts about the system on the drive home:

  • It was really hard not to stomp on the gas so I could hear the great sound
  • It was slightly louder / deeper than PSE with the valves closed at normal (meaning socialyl accepted) driving speeds / acceleration but not "bad" and, as I said earlier,no drone
  • At freeway speed, with the valves open and not on cruise control it seemed fine — more gas, more noise — just what I would expect
  • With valves open, at 2,000 rpm (75 mph) and on cruise control the resonance does start to get a bit noticeable — it seemed that the cruise control managing the acceleration made it worse. It was easy to fix — just close the valves and everything was the same as it was before the conversion
  • Bottom line — basically the same as PSE with valves closed and way, way, way better than PSE with the valves open

In terms of the new long tube high flow headers over the stock headers:

  • I know that the headers helped the sound quality a lot
  • On the drive home on the freeway driving at socially acceptable speeds / acceleration, I can't unequivocally say that I noticed a big difference in performance — the car always seemed quite quick to me "out of the box" — especially with the Softronic tune — and while I accept the fact that the headers may have increased the hp, I just could not tell that there was a big improvement
  • Driving on some back roads around town where I could ignore social norms and let the car "stretch it legs," it sure seems like it has a lot more acceleration in the mid and upper rpm range. I guess there is a slight chance that is just due to the awesome sound and that is influencing my sense of speed. For whatever reason it sure seems a lot more responsive running it at max shift points.

Exhaust photo Whether or not I gained any hp out of this is certainly open — especially since my efforts to document a before and after on the dyno was a cluster you know what. However, I can definitely say that the "sounds" are exactly what I was looking for (actually a bit better than I had hoped), so that makes the whole endeavor totally worthwhile from my point of view.

I have always loved the responsiveness of this flat 6 3.8 and now I have the same feelings about the aural symphony that goes with the performance.

Shenandoah PCA small logo Shenandoah Membership Milestones, April 2019
by John Odden, Membership Chair

   45 Years: Dave Lasch

   20 Years: Stephen Schmitz, Susan Audibert

   10 Years: David Few

     5 Years:
          Greg Gilmann
          Steve Escobar
          Bartek Drewnowski

PCA logo Shenandoah Region PCA   April 2019 Membership Report
by John Odden, Membership Chair        Posted 2019, April 2

Primary Members–267
Affiliate Members–152
Total Membership–419

New members:

  • Chris Bergeron of Waynesboro, VA – 2017 911 4S
  • Erich Moeller of Radiant, VA – 1975 914 2.0
  • Chris Grimm of Charlottesville, VA – 1987 924 S

Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.

Shenandoah PCA small logo Shenandoah Membership Milestones, March 2019
by John Odden, Membership Chair

   15 Years: Scott Leopold

   10 Years: Stephen Garstang

     5 Years:
          John Carpenter
          Keith Frazee

PCA logo Shenandoah Region PCA   February 2019 Membership Report
by John Odden, Membership Chair        Posted 2019, March 3

Primary Members–269
Affiliate Members–152
Total Membership–421

New members:

  • Terence Banks of Ruckersville, VA – 2013 Boxster S
  • Zach Strait of Staunton, VA – 1984 911 Carrera

Transfer from Northern New Jersey Region:

  • Jonathan Perelman of Keswick

Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.

Shenandoah PCA small logo Shenandoah Membership Milestones, February 2019
by John Odden, Membership Chair

   20 Years: Don Thompson

   15 Years: Mark Cooke

   10 Years: Michael Allebaugh

PCA logo Shenandoah Region PCA   January 2019 Membership Report
by John Odden, Membership Chair        Posted 2019, February 3

Primary Members–265
Affiliate Members–149
Total Membership–414

New members:

  • Ted Wavell of Madison Heights, VA – 1999 Boxster
  • James Fisher of Richmond, VA – 1987 911 Carrera
  • Levi Magyar of Jeffersonston, VA – 2006 Cayman S

Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.

Shenandoah PCA small logo Shenandoah Membership Milestones, January 2019
by John Odden, Membership Chair

   20 Years: Terry Vassalos, Ron Perry, Jay Jessup

     5 Years:
          Brad Grant
          Bill Speidell
          Kevin Sheets

PCA logo Shenandoah Region PCA   December 2018 Membership Report
by John Odden, Membership Chair        Posted 2019, January 4

Primary Members–266
Affiliate Members–151
Total Membership–417

New member:

  • James Williamson of Crozet, VA – 2012 911S Carrera

Transfer from Blue Ridge Region:

  • Cameron Grable of Palmyra, VA – 1984 911 Carrera

Please verify and update your postal and email addresses so that we can stay in touch with you. Here are instructions on how to change your PCA member records or renew your PCA membership.

NEWS ARCHIVE: Click on the years for earlier NEWS articles from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. Back issues of our printed news magazine, the "Heat Exchanger," from January 2003 through October 2011 and most web NEWS articles since 2006 are archived here.