Story: D Chaisson, Photos: D Chaisson, Bob Tyler, Brian Sturkie
After a year’s absence due to COVID, WERKS returned to Monterey in August 2021 at the Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside (the old Fort Ord property).  The WERKS’ story usually is 100% centered around the beautify cars that are on the “judging field” and the “corral”, with emphasis on the cars being “judged” — yes, it is NOT a Concours, but the cars are prepared to Parade Concours level.

This year, the story began differently, and, for me, ended up with a more interesting focus.    This year, WERKS was a three act play, starting with the event almost NOT HAPPENING!    And that is where I begin my story of the 2021 WERKS Reunion!

The venue change:

The 2021 WERKS was planned to return to Corral Del Tierra Country Club, down the road from Laguna Seca. All the announcements reflected this “return” venue, all the planning was complete, the WERKS committee team was ready to go! UNTIL about early July when Corral Del Tierra Country Club informed PCA that they could not host such a large event at “this time”. Rumors abounded for the reason, ranging from members didn’t want to give up the course to hesitancy with surging Delta COVID. Somebody knows for sure, but the true reason was not shared with rank and file PCA members.

The WERKS committee went into overdrive to re-site the event.   It turned out that the “Concorso Italiano” was being stagged at Bayonet Black House Golf Course Saturday, Aug 14th.  A few phone calls, a lot of negotiations and WERKS Reunion “piggy backed” on the Consorso at its traditional Friday slot in “Car Week”.   The WERKS committee did some heavy lifting to transfer all the plans to Bayonet, routing traffic, getting the vendors set up, lining up food trucks (no easy task on the fly!!), the details kept comming.   But, it happened.

The “Pre-WERKS” meeting

Monterey Porsche put together a “gathering” on the Monday before WERKS. It is a rather informal affair, but drew quite a few PCA-ers out to start CAR WEEK off right!

There were cars all around the property, in the service bays, overflow parking areas.  The number of cars there was pretty impressive.
A few “featured” vehicles that made it into the (sales) show room floor. One of these very special cars was Yosemite Region member, Greg Pyatts’ slant nose 930. This is a factory original, not a aftermarket “tribute” car and is “one of very few”.  There were a number of Yosemite Region members that made the trip down to Monterey for the event, including Past President Chuck Pierce, current President Brian Sturkie, members Bob Tyler, Tim Fischer and maybe a couple others that were roaming around the crowd, taking everything in!   

The trip is a bit of an effort, but clearly was well worth while.

 

The YOS drive to Monterey

Many months ago, the board reserved a small block of hotel rooms in San Juan Bautista at a quaint hotel, Hacienda De Leal for members that didn’t want to get up at “0-dark-thirty” for the drive to Monterey.    Six of “us” made the drive down Thursday afternoon using a mostly freeway route since we didn’t have “time” to do any (fun) detours.   There was a bit of “fun”, though, when we crested Pacheco Pass on Hwy 152 and started the downhill part.  Don Chaisson felt the line picking up speed, so, he tapped his brakes to bleed off about 10MPH — at the very instant we came upon a CHP hiding in defilade behind a curve.  He pulled out at the end of our Porsche “line” and “escorted” us all the way into San Juan Bautista!   For sure, (Saint) Ferdinand was watching over us!

After checking into our rooms, we enjoyed dinner at Dona Ester Mexican restaurant — recommended.  Then we enjoyed some wine (courtesy of Gallo and Brian) in the hotel court yeard for some relaxation.

2021 WERKS Reunion — the main event

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Even though the 2021 WERKS had a very large attendance (over 700 cars in the Judged and Corral areas) the drive into Bayonet was surprisingly “un-congested” — a far cry from experiences at the “old” venue. WERKS is an overload of Porsche “eye candy” of cars, colors and people.   The day is very relaxed for the Corral and General Admission folks, less so for the people getting their cars “judged”.    Those participants were serious!   But more on that later.

For me, I like to approach the event was a photography opportunity. Last time, I focused on “Porsche curves”, looking at our Porsches, not as a whole, but examining the curvy parts of the bodywork. This year, I thought I’d examine the various “dash boards/cockpits”. So I took some photos of classic/period dashes and some of the most modern (Taycan for example) . Not sure which ones were the most impressive, but I wasn’t getting any “inspiration”. Maybe that’s because I’m not really a good photographer, or was I missing something?

What is the “story”?

“Its not just the cars, its the people”

This old PCA slogan was there, just waiting to be focused on.   As I rummaged around looking at dash boards, I had to ask owners for permision to stick my head into their car “space”.   That turned out to be a great way to “meet” the people!  And for 2021, PEOPLE were the story… just waiting to be told.  So, here are some of their stories.

Philipp Thomas,  Rottach-Egern, Germany

1995 993.1, Midnight Blue with X51 3.8 l performance kit, one of @ 100 made!
Actually, I met Philipp the night before WERKS at our hotel, where he also was staying. He said that he was “showing” his car and should find him on the judging field.

Philipp had accepted a work assignment for 1 to 5 years in Houston in 2020.  The 993 has been “in the family” since 2010 and he had it shipped to the US to use with his work assignment.  As a Porshe enthusiastic family, Philipp wanted to “show” his car and drive around the US.  With Covid and all, he didn’t know if his assignment would be cut short, so he sprung into action and signed up for WERKS Monterey, using the trip out to California to check off a number of US tourist spots!   As you can tell from the photo, he was having a wonderul time… and it was a pleasure to meet him.

Melissa Drysdale, Loma Prieta Region

2013 Boxster S

Melissa is a serious Concours participant.   Her car was immaculate in every detail and the black color with red leather interior was stunning.  Surprisingly, her car did not win or even “place” in the WERKS judging this year (she did win in 2019 though!)   But maybe the judges were tired of Melissa winning everything, every year, but to be fair, the other cars in her “Boxster/Cayman” class were pretty clean and impressive.  WERKS judging is more of the story of the car and not just the preparation. But that is not the case in the serious Concours competitions, like PARADE.  Melissa competed in 2021 Parade at French Lick, spending 2 to 3 weeks in hard preparation, shipping the car to Indiana, doing final touch-ups as Parade began.    When the results were finailzed, Melissa was awarded First Place in the Gp II Class PP13T for Touring Boxster, Cayman 2013 and newer.

Alex Carriles, Houston Tx

2018 Carrera T, GT Silver with custom doorsills and original 911T badges


Alex kindly opened his car to my “dashboard” photo project, but something was unique about the car, a Texas license plate —  a plate personalized with “PCA 991T.2”. So, conversation ensued.  Then I noticed his “participant” shirt he wore was for Amelia Island!  What’s that all about.  Alex had indeed entered his lovely Carrera T in the 2021 Amelia Island WERKS, planning to drive to Florida from his home in Houston. At the last minute his granddaughter invited him to her graduation — on the same weekend as WERKS Amelia Island! Of course, he attended the graduation, but, still wanted to show his car at WERKS. Why not WERKS Monterey! So, he quickly registered for the west coast event (I’m sure Tom Provasi helped) and he drove Houston to Bayonet!   Seems that Alex was going to show his “T” come heck-or-high-water!  That’s dedication!

Jean Francois Bulycz, San Jose, CA

2021 911 Targa 4S Heritage Edition, # 791 of 992 production

I swore I’ve seen this car on the cover of Excellence! Sure enough, the 992 Targa 4S Heritage was featured on the June 2021 edition. The pictures in the magazine were courtesy of Porsche, but Jean’s car was an exact copy with the same Cherry Red Metallic paint (and exclusive color for this model!) and special decal accents.
Seems that Jean has been a Porsche guy for a long time, buying his “first” Porsche, a 1970 911S, 50 years ago. So, to celebrate “his 50 years” with Porsche, he bought the Heritage Targa, making sure it retained the “50” on the racing spot on the doors. But he also did some custom specifications courtesy of Porsche Exclusive: modern Fuchs Design wheels, manual transmission, Porsche crests and a rear deck lid badge from the 356 years.  That is focus for a long haul!

In the end….

While I did walk away with some photos of Porsche dashboards spaning years of Porsche, I will remember meeting Philipp, Melissa, Alex and Jean most of all.   Their stories were so embematic of Porsche enthusiasts that they inspired me to cherish my Porsche “ownership” — AND my Porsche friends.  

In the end, the slogan is on target:  “Its not just the cars, its the people”.