I remember the day that big car hauler pulled through those big electric gates at Casa Guillermo. It was 1976 and I was all of 16 and what do you know? I had a license!!
The driver of the truck got out and came around to the end of the trailer to release the back door and attach the tracks that would allow the machine to roll down. One of the two men hopped into the trailer and got into that sweet ride and started it up. I never heard such an awesome sound. It had a throaty roar, as he backed the car up and his partner guided him down the ramp.
My Dad put his arm around me, as he often did, and squeezed my bicep, "hey muskels." (Dad always had such a fun way with words,) "What do you think of this one! This was my cousin Bill Stroh's car, I bought it from his wife, when he passed away. You know he used to race cars, on the professional circuit. The motor in this car is no ordinary motor."
I said, "really, why is that?" and then he paused a moment as the car backed out, and the bright sunlight hit that burnt orange paint, with the cool racing stripe across the bottom, and the word PORSCHE in it and on the back hood, all in gold lettering and beneath it -Sportomatic, 911E.
Gleaming in the sunshine it looked like a beautiful jewel, and Dad said, "isn't she beautiful!!"
I said so what's up with the motor Pop? Wanting to know every detail.
"Bill had it specially built, by his Master Mechanics, all of the pistons and rings were forged by hand out of aluminum, as well as many other parts to be extra light weight, everything about this motor was designed for ultimate performance, this motor won him many races, when it was in his race car, so when Bill retired he had this motor put into his Wife's Porsche 911E, so you see this is no ordinary car"
"Well Dad how is that possible? I mean a race engine?, that doesn't seem legal."
"Well Press, it had to be tuned down a bit, to make it safe for the road, and as well the car has a specialized breaking system to support the high speeds, and they modified the suspension as well all to make it fast and safe, and best of all it looks original."
"I said oh, you mean it doesn’t' have all of the fancy spoilers and air dams to make it look fast!!"
"Yep that's it, this is a serious machine!!."
(You see my father liked style - not so much flash, he believed that a car should maintain the original look, the classic lines, as it was designed.) With that my palms were itching, and you bet I could not wait to show this to my friends.
So once the moving men left and the car was placed in the car port, next to all of the other beautiful cars, we looked it over, and were so impressed with how clean it was. It looked like new, Burnt Orange, with all black leather interior. I knew this was going to be mine some day,
Dad said, "what do you say we take her for a spin."
"Are you kidding? You don’t' have to ask me twice," I said, and we hopped in. Dad in the driver’s seat of course. He turned the ignition on, and revved that throaty little beast!!
The quick response was quite thrilling, the sportomatic transmission, was so unique, in that it had no clutch. You just let it idle, put it in 1st gear and go, and release the gas between gears, and I mean to tell you we went!! The response was amazing. Dad just cruised at first, through the neighborhood, but he could not help himself wiping through the winding roads. He said "she handles like a dream." But I wanted one thing - to go fast !!!
"Hey Dad, let’s take her on to the Tram Way road." This is a 10 mile road, with long stretches of straight ways, mixed with mountain terrain, it takes you to the base station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram Way. This was my favorite place to joy ride the cars and being the middle of summer in the desert, there would be no one around.
So we made our way there, about a ten minute drive from the Casa. Upon turning on to the tram road, off of Palm Canyon, Dad let it rip. 1st gear we hit 50 miles an hour, in what seemedlike 1.5 sec, it was like a rocket, I am telling you I have never felt G-Force ever, but that day I believe I understood the meaning, as I could barley, if at all, lean forward off of the seat, and then Dad hit second gear, and it pressed me back further into the seat and with in another second or two we were flying past 95, 3rd gear was over 120 in a second, and he shut her down, and we were blown away as this was a five speed transmission and the speedometer went from 0 to 160 and I am sure it would do all of that and more, but 120 was cool for now.
Dad did not let me drive that car for quite sometime, as he had already found out about some of my escapades, parties, and joy rides, and to think of that day, even amazes me that he was doing anything with me, because, during that period of my life, I seemed to be a loose cannon, but in any event that was a great day for us.
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