Report by D. Chaisson
This is a “Report” on the Yosemite Region’s “Epic Tour” to the Petersen Auto Museum and PEC LA (or Porsche Experience Center – Los Angles). The report is a lot to do about how much fun a few members had, but for all that didn’t go, perhaps you can get a bit of pleasure reading about and seeing photos of the “Tour”.
So, who went on the Tour? Chuck and Jennifer Pierce, Larry and Kris Kirkbride, Jim Mazza and Diane and (me) Don Chaisson. For sure, the “tour” was more of the Auto Museum and PEC LA than the drive down because only the Pierce’s and Krikbride’s drove down together. Diane and I drove down in our RDX (we were staying on in LA to visit our son) and Jim had to finish teaching a class the night before the tour (getting to the hotel in Encino really late/or really early in the morning depending on how you look at it!).
On to the TOUR! After a nice breakfast at the Coral Tree Cafe, we headed into the teeth of LA traffic, challenging the famed “101-405” interchange (still claims to be the busiest interchange in the country !) and creep our way into downtown LA to the Petersen Auto Museum to take in the “Porsche Effect” display. We posed for the “group” photo in the museum lobby behind a road legal 911 GT1 — which has to be the most awesome 911 ever made (and featured a front from a 993 and rear derived from a 962 including its water-cooled, twin-turbocharged and intercooled four valve per cylinder flat-six engine which was arranged in a mid-mounted position). Jalopnik noted that you can buy one for $7MM or so!
Jim Mazza seemed to be interested in the 911 Targa on display. Seems that he had Targa on his mind since his selected car at the PEC was a (new) Targa also! Hmm..
Don was busy trying to get some nice “artsy” photos, but really just overwhelmed…
In case you’re interested, you can pick up a Club Blau for @ $200,000 (one in Pano was $180K), a RS Spyder can be bought from Canepa ( $$ ?), the 917 from the movie LeMans went for $14MM and as far as the ’44 356-2 — it came from the Porsche Museum and its not and will not ever be for sale! It was interesting to see some of the other exhibits at Petersen: a nice collection of “Japanese” cars were on display, including the Toyota GT2000, a Nissan Skyline and other not so impressive very early models. But a car is a car to a car-guy!
OK… on to PEC LA!
This is the drill. You go to the PEC LA, ogle over the cars that they have in the lobby (the display constantly changes) or peek into the Porsche NA race shop (all sorts of cars are in work — like the 550 and <I think> 962 sitting side by side in the shop), have a bit of a snack at the deli (the Restaurant 917 upstairs is “fine dining” — so we didn’t go there!) and about 15 minutes before your “session” is to begin, a bunch of very polite, well dressed “coaches” decent on to the lobby and find “their” students. An interesting dance follows of them looking for our “badges” and “us” wondering who will have to put up with us for an hour and a half. Here is a photo of Diane and I, with badges, waiting for our coaches. After brief introductions, we “pair” off and walk out to the cars cued up for our sessions. Larry had signed up for a Carrera
S (I think it was an “S”), Jim signed up for a Carrera Targa (if memory serves)and the Chaisson’s were in Cayman’s (Don is a Cayman nut as the region knows!). I can’t relate the exact conversations with the other coach-drivers, but for me, Mark was very professional, polite and clearly had been well trained to deal with all sort of personalities. For me, Mark was very “calming” after determining my level of experience and determined what I wanted to get out of the session. For me, it was a matter of getting more feelings for vehicle dynamics, both on slick surfaces and at speed since my driving style is not as smooth as it should be.
I did volunteer some comments to Diane’s coach, asking him to help her get more comfortable with the capabilities of a Cayman, e.g. learn how to NOT be “ALARMED” with traffic a couple hundred yards ahead. That sort of thing.
So, Ricky started off, as each coach does, by driving around the facility to orient each participant. Then pulls into the “pits” and invites the student to take the wheel, politely holding the door (because they know we are all wound up!!). Then off they went. Diane did a few trips down the “ice hill” getting the sensation of the car loosing grip and spinning, then trying to save it with the help of Porsche “nannies”.
Then, Ricky took Diane to an exercise area (think big autocross tarmac) for full acceleration-launch control runs. Diane (as reported to me) asked, ” .. why would I want to do this????” Ricky reported that he said, ” … BECAUSE IT IS FUN “.
Apparently Diane did enjoy the exercise since she asked, “… can we do that again!!”. Gee, I hope I can get Diane out of the driver’s seat in “my” Cayman!
I mean, you tell me, from the photo, do you think she had fun??
One by one, Jim, Larry and I finished with our sessions and I think I’d say that we, too, had FUN.
Check out the Photo Gallery for more photos of the cars in action. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a telephoto lens so things do look a bit far away.
So, another epic event in the books. If anyone’s travels takes you to Los Angles and you can fit in a few hours at the PEC LA, you just have to do it!!