Taking A Porsche 912E On A Trial Road Trip Run To Long Beach And Back
We now know a 40-year-old Porsche can handle a 1700 mile road trip, but how about 5700?
I have recently returned from a long period away from home, in which I attended a car show, helped a friend get his speedster running again, attended two new-car launches, a podcast anniversary, the Long Beach Grand Prix, and put 1700 miles on my decades old Volkswagen Bus in a yellow dress. It was a hellaciously long week and a half, but it sure was a bunch of fun, and I'm glad I did it. Now I know the car can handle big trips like that, so I'm immediately planning another one for next week.
Saturday, April 1-
I started my morning in Reno, NV with a 3:30AM wakeup call. Head 'em up, and move 'em out. I was dragging a little more than I normally would be at that time, because I'd just come back from the launch of the new Acura MDX Sport Hybrid a few hours before. The things we do for our hobby, amirite?
I had a bit of a 4AM adrenalin-inducing scare as I was heading west on I80 out of Reno. Sitting in the right lane with the throttle down, cruising at about 75, when all of a sudden a trio of hip-height young deer dance out in front of me on the interstate. Luckily the road behind me was clear and I was able to come to a complete stop on the highway without getting plowed into the back of by a steaming semi truck. I pulled out at the next exit to take a breather, grab a cup of coffee, and re-consider my choice to be out in the dark with horribly dim sealed-beam headlamps. Note to self: just buy the LED headlights.
This photo is not from the same trip, as it was too dark to stop at the summit for a photo op, but the snow was stacked at least 10 feet high on either side of the highway. I've gotten used to being in what feels like a tunnel of snow, but it is still pretty amazing.
The Type 4 engine in my 912 burns a bit of oil. Coming down the western side of the Donner Pass, my low oil light started to flicker when I was off-throttle. It tends to do that when the car is about a quart low. I pulled off in Loomis to throw a quart into the sump. Unfortunately, the car only holds 3.6 quarts, so even one quart low is moderately dangerous. This high zinc VR1 oil is what I swear by for the old Porsche.
My first stop of the day is European Auto Salvage Yard in Emeryville, CA. Their Porsche car show every month is well worth the four-hour trip. This month, though, I didn't plan on heading back to Reno, I had much much more in mind. To see a lot more of that show, check out this link. This was the biggest I've ever seen the show in the handful of years I've been attending.
After the car show was over, I headed to a friend's house to help him get his old Intermeccanica Speedster kit back in working order. It's running, but not quite roadworthy yet. Hopefully, it'll be on the road soon, and I can get a taste of that vintage driving joy. There were a bunch of friends hanging out at this Speedster party, which of course you can read more about here.
Late that night, after the wrench party was over, I headed to a friend's place in San Francisco proper, and we went out to grab a late bite at a local diner. Another early morning planned for the next day, time to head down to Los Angeles.
Sunday, April 2nd -
Heading south on the PCH, I stopped to grab some fuel in Santa Cruz. With the car's 21-gallon fuel tank and a cruising MPG of around 33, it's pretty easy to go several hundred miles between fill-ups. A friend was in San Francisco for the weekend and joined me on the drive down to where the 1 and the 101 split. He was in a hurry, but I had a whole day to waste and wanted to check out the shoreline. Even with the bridge out, it's worth taking that run 50 or so miles out of the way.
Here's a Facebook 360-degree style panoramic photo from the top of Big Sur. There's supposed to be an ocean out there somewhere. Fog everywhere. After I made it down to where the bridge is out, I turned around and headed back up to the 101 to get on with my run to LA.
I spotted this 986 Boxster with 997 Turbo wheels painted in gold. It is a concept that I would not have imagined would work, but I really did like it. Other than that, it was a really uneventful drive down.
Boy, I really love Pismo Beach. Beautiful.
Monday, April 3rd -
I stayed with a friend in El Segundo for the week, and street parked. I don't mind, as the car is already pretty scratched. It's a good 10-footer. Up close, the paint is pretty roached.
While it was street parked, however, I got this. I always feel strangely proud when I get notes asking to buy my car, but this one rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it was the "As Is"?
In the afternoon I headed down to Four Sons Brewing Company for the recording of the 200th episode of the Hooniverse Podcast. I was one of four guests rotating in and out for the hour, so if you're a listener, you'll hear me on this week's episode.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, April 4th, 5th, and 6th -
I flew out of LAX to go to Texas for a Volkswagen Atlas launch. If you want to know more about that car, check out Lawrence's review here.
Once I'd returned to LA for the remainder of the week, there was a CTek Chargers new product launch at Pirelli PZero World, both partners of Pirelli World Challenge racing at Long Beach that weekend. There was an F40 and an F50 there to look at, and CTek invited Edd China, David Lee (owner of the Ferraris among many other cars), and pro-drifter Fredric Aasbo to give talks about the product.
Friday, April 7th -
Friday was a relatively uneventful and relaxed day. I went to visit automotive artist Nicolas Hunziker to peek at an upcoming project, and we went to lunch. I spotted this FD RX7 in Redondo. I drove down to Long Beach to retrieve my press passes. On my way back to El Segundo from Long Beach, I stopped in at the Porsche Experience Center to see what heritage exhibits they had on display, then went to dinner with some local friends.
Saturday, April 8th -
Long Beach Grand Prix weekend kicks off. I arrived at 6AM to attend the photographer safety meeting. Of course, the media parking structure is inside the track, and I was then trapped at the track from 6AM until 8PM. I checked out the Pirelli World Challenge session, had a short chat with Pat Long about his second-placed starting position, took photos of the IMSA race, and by that point I was already exhausted. I decided that I didn't want to stick around for the drifting and stadium trucks in the evening, but my car was still stuck in the parking garage, so I decided to go see a movie. I went to Ghost In The Shell by myself, ordered the largest soda they had, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. By the time the movie was over, the track was open again and I could get my car out. Perfect end to a great day.
Sunday, April 9th -
More Long Beach. This time I parked on the beach so I wouldn't have to stick around all day waiting to get out. I spent most of my time during the Pirelli World Challenge shooting photos down near turn 1, then went up in the stands to watch the Indycar race. I didn't stick around for the whole thing because there weren't any Porsches in that race. You know how it goes.
Monday, April 10th -
Monday was another early morning wake up call to get on the road and get home.
The run from LA to Sacramento on I5 is pretty boring, and around Coalinga it smells a lot like cow for a lot of miles.
And finally back home in Nevada. What a trip.
So now that the 912E has proven it is possible to drive all day in reasonable comfort, I'm upping the ante. My little sister is graduating from college in Atlanta, GA on the 8th of May. There's an IMSA race at COTA on the 6th. Along the way I'm going to visit as many automotive enthusiast type destinations as possible. Museums, collections, coffee shops, etc. After Atlanta, I'm heading north to Michigan, then swinging out through Denver to get back to Reno. If you have any suggestions of cool things to see on that route, drop them in the comments below.
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