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Classic Velocity Blog

An Early 911 Gathering

Classic Velocity

John Kolesa put together a gathering of early 911 guys at Tillson Motor Car Service in Philadephia. Being mid November, it was perhaps one of the last opportunities for a gathering of the rust-phobic set. I made sure the Targa battery was charged and hoped for better weather than was predicted by the meteorologists.

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Saturday dawned, and the meteorologists were correct. Somehow, their batting average in predicting bad weather is phenomenal compared to their ability to predict the opposite.  Consequently, the garage door opened up to rain, and I had a dilemma. The Targa top had only ever seen light rain, so it was not certified for the kind of downpour I was looking at. The weather in Philly was supposedly light rain and clearing. The Targa is no concours candidate, but I try to avoid water and salt. I looked at the car and I could hear oxidation doing some light stretching and warming up. I decided to leave the Targa home.

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The shop is on a typically narrow lot in Philly, and I drove past it the first time by. The weather undoubtedly impacted turnout of the cars, but the people showed up.       John’s own beautiful 911S Targa was complimented by a couple of 1972 cars. As happens so often in the car world however, the exterior of the building, and even the working bay provide no indication of what is in the interior. First a note of interest. I am continually surprised these days by how many people have an interest in both 4 wheels and 2. I thought I was one of the few, but either the group is growing, or it was always there. Mixed in amongst the cars, the shop had an incredible 1910 Harley Davidson being repaired, and a Honda CBX. More specifically, I struck up a conversation with an attendee while looking at the HD. Turns out he had a few BMW motorcycles back at home. I have concluded that air/oil-cooled horizontally opposed motors are contagious, regardless of the chassis they inhabit, and the number of wheels. But I digest…..

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Inside on the second floor is an eclectic collection of exotic customer cars. Ferraris, Lancias, BMWs, Jaguars, a Packard, and of course Porsches. There are a couple of standouts. The first is an immaculate black BMW 507. It is amazing how beautiful this design is 50 years later. Unfortunately, it was sold for $900K+ and was on its way to a new owner, so I was too late with my offer ;-) Another gem was a 1935 Aston Martin. Beautiful in a whole different way,  and similarly beyond my budget by orders of magnitude. Lastly, a Ferrari 250 GranTurismo. Even in this company, the car seems exquisite.  I was heartened to see though, that there were 2 cars that I had previously owned: A Porsche 356B, and a BMW 3.0CS. They both looked positively ordinary in a room like this.  

Suitably wowed, we returned downstairs to consider the greatness of the early 911. The group concluded that there are more expensive cars present, and faster cars, and perhaps sexier designs, but most in the group would probably have added something from the shop rather than make a trade…….