THE EARLY 911, FILM AND VINYL – PART 3

So why do those who cling to artifacts from the past continue their quest for experiential freedom? Well, for one there is a considerable amount of “feel” connected to these arguably archaic hobbies of vintage sports cars, film and vinyl. The pursuit of these involvements is more art than science. It’s not pure instrumentation and technology that will get you all the way there. Intuition and a willingness to be open to a non-black and white world are often necessary to achieve that elusive bliss these fans strive for. The pay off is a feeling of satisfaction when the visceral pleasure of playing a great LP, using a mechanical rangefinder, or driving an early Porsche 911 well is truly experienced. Even ordinary tasks become part of the appeal of caretaking something so old, unique and inherently valuable. Continue reading “”

THE EARLY 911, FILM AND VINYL – PART 2

My history with cameras is remarkably similar to that for early 911s. I learned to photograph and develop my own black and white film in 1979 with a German made Leica M3. That first rangefinder camera led to the use of numerous film-based Leica cameras and lenses, which have a smoothness and mechanical precision missing from many other models. I still love using the Leicas for their purity, quiet shutter and silky film advance lever. However I’ve made Canon digital SLRs my choice for most subjects since photography has become my profession (and Leica discontinued its SLR line.). Continue reading “”

THE EARLY 911, FILM AND VINYL – PART 1

You’ve probably read enough analogies of sports cars, fine cameras and luxury audio equipment in high-end lifestyle magazines to get the idea that journalists are passionate about these in a big way. I’m not immune and vinyl records, Leica rangefinders and Porsche 911s have been a primary fascination of mine since 1964. That’s when I bought my first LP, was gifted a camera, and was introduced to the early 911. I immediately fell in love with the feel and sound of the long playing record, the shutter advance of the film camera, and the Porsche 911’s hooligan nature with its air-cooled flat six barking a nasty exhaust note. School and financial obligations kept me from fulfilling my dreams of ownership for a long time, but I promised myself that someday I would have a top notch analog stereo system, a Leica M series rangefinder, and a pre-‘74 911. Continue reading “”

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BACK ON THE ROAD

I’m back on the road again – this time to Monterey in my modified 1972 911T/ST. I’m headed for the annual R Gruppe track day and weekend gathering (Treffen). I’ve been to every one of these over the past ten years, so there’s no reason to stop now! I’ll also be photographing along the way – shooting HD video is my latest passion. So inland Oregon, the Redwoods and coastal California will be my subjects over the next two weeks. Continue reading “”

TARGA CALIFORNIA

The 2nd Annual Targa California Rally took place this past week south of Monterey. Over fifty pre-1975 cars (twenty of which were Porsches) drove 1,000 miles over varied terrain during the peak of this spring’s wildflower season. The participants experienced a unique blend of long country roads, sports car museums and automotive companionship over three days traveling at their own pace. Continue reading “”

PORSCHE 911 GT3 R HYBRID

The Porsche GT3 R Hybrid race car debuted at the Geneva Motor Show today. This unveiling occurs 110 years after Ferdinand Porsche developed the world’s first hybrid automobile, the Lohner-Porsche. Porsche engineers decided to expand on previous designs by creating a very modern high-tech hybrid. Instead of batteries, braking energy is stored in a flywheel generator that can spin up to 40,000 rpm. Power from the generator is available for six to eight seconds following each charge, much like last year’s Formula One race cars. Continue reading “”

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DRIVING AND 911 DYNAMICS

If you are a Porsche 911 fan and own one of these cars, you may be itching to make some mods or have already done so. The usual intent is to make the car go or look faster. If it’s go faster you are after, money may be better spent on learning from a professional in a safe environment. As a nationally certified Porsche Club of America driving instructor, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best drivers in the business, and I continue to do so.

One of the key basic lessons taught is that traction is dependent on weight of the car, where that weight is located, center of gravity, grip (tire size, type and stagger) and the smooth application of steering, throttle and brakes. Being smooth is key and takes seat time to perfect. Continue reading “”

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DAVE ECK’S GT BADGED PORSCHE

The current news stand issue of Excellence, the magazine about Porsche, contains one of my articles on the classic 1972 911 sports car. This particular white coupe was transformed from an ‘80’s Miami Vice bling machine into a sleeper of an award winning hot rod by Californian Dave Eck and his host of friends.

The great part about this car is that you could conceivably walk right past it without a second look. It doesn’t have any racing stripes or body decals. Heck, it doesn’t even have big fog lamps mounted on the hood. Instead it features vintage looking later model wheels and a plain old gas tank. Continue reading “”

RACING : NOT POSING

Here’s a short Porsche Ad that’s encouraging to see. I hope this is an indication of more factory involvement in racing. It would be wonderful to see a Porsche in the top tier LeMans class again. Maybe with Volkswagen’s Ferdinand Piech running the ship, we will see a return to the glory days of the 1970 season and others like it. Continue reading “”

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CHAD MCQUEEN, HIS DAD, AND A CAR CLUB NAMED “R GRUPPE”

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Chad McQueen, son of the late movie actor Steve McQueen. Chad is a very gracious man and was willing to talk with me at length about his famous father. For Porsche enthusiasts, Steve McQueen is best known for the 911S and 917K he’s seen driving in the epic racing movie Le Mans.

Unlike many actors today, he not only talked the talk, he walked it, and he did it with a strong sense of who he was. Steve (with a broken foot) and Peter Revson (heir to Revson cosmetics) led the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring in a Solar Productions Porsche 908 until the last hour. They officially finished second overall, although some feel they actually completed the winning number of laps first. At a minimum they won their class. Continue reading “”

HELLO AND WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I’m starting the New Year in 2010 with this commentary site, which reflects my personal areas of interest and how I view the temporal quality of life. My goal is to post something at least once a week on one of my four major passions: Photography/Video, Classic Porsches, Travel, and Music.

Hopefully I’ll provide a useful perspective on how each of these pursuits can be experienced with more than one unique sensory experience. I plan to review on average one photo tip, one sports car article/video, one journey, and one music album every month.

-Randy Wells

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