The 2018 912 Rendezvous
Twice a year, a large-ish group of Porsche 912s meet up in a prearranged location to spend the weekend together, enjoying their cars and each other’s company. This “Rendezvous” has been taking place since 2002 and recently expanded to the East Coast.
This year, the West Coast edition of the 912 Rendezvous was held in Solvang, a quaint little Dutch town a few miles off the 101 heading north.
So what does the Rendezvous actually entail?
A three-day event hosted by the 912 Registry, everything is pre-planned so that attendees have a good idea of the schedule. Hotels are booked in advance, leave is taken from work, wives are persuaded to join and cars are tuned up and polished (in some cases).
With most participants having arrived by late Thursday, Friday was spent getting reacquainted with old friends, while making new ones. A drive was on the cards, and the cars were driven rather spiritedly through the beautiful twisty backroads that Solvang is blessed with. To give you an idea of exactly how spirited things were, John and Mein12 came up a sharp crest unexpectedly and caught a little bit of air. The rather hard return to Planet Earth cost Mein12 a Cibie rally lamp, which was expertly mended with blue painter’s tape, ready for the Concours the next day.
Saturday dawned with the Concours in the parking lot in the centre of the town. As the morning mist cleared, the main street echoed to the clatter of high-compression flat-four motors pulling in, as their owners maneuvered their steeds into the correct categories. The cars were divided by year, and the remainder were spread out between the “Outlaw” category and the 912E section, of which there were five!
It was a real pleasure walking through the wide gamut of cars. Bahama Yellow, Irish Green, Leaf Green, Silver, Black, Ossi Blue, Aga Blue and Sahara Beige were just some of the colors on display, as their respective owners wiped away any bugs and dirt that may have been foolish enough to land on the car during the night. Fueled by coffee and buoyed by the camaraderie, the 912 owners swapped notes, admired each other’s cars and caught up with friends. Conversations were often punctuated by a hearty guffaw mid-sentence, as the lighter side of life made itself apparent.
Judging and voting took place in quick succession, as people chose their favorite 912s. After that, it was time to enjoy the food and beverages of Solvang. Bratwurst and beer are always a good combination, and large quantities of both got put away very quickly, to the astonishment of our very nice hosts.
Around noon, John leapt from the table after a quick look at his watch. It was time for the tech-session!
Across town (4 minutes away), a bunch of people had gathered in a hotel courtyard. As Professor Benton took up his place on a table at the head of the group, the questions began to pour in thick and fast. What had started as a casual conversation turned into a serious lecture about a number of subjects, including suspension setup, motor work, brakes, oil, carbs and short shifters. Then again, it wasn’t just theory…
As we walked away from the courtyard, a few people followed for a rare treat, a lab session! A Registry member’s 912 had leaked a copious amount of oil all over the asphalt lot. Fortunately John diagnosed it as a deformed oil filter and after replacing it and the oil, the car was back on the road in no time!
After all the talking and working, John decided a little relaxation was in order, which was taken care of by Mark Gudaitis, some very fine wine (thank you Sir!), and the whole Benton crew kicking back for a bit.
The evening’s activities included a gala dinner in the honor of the late Jeff Trask, a founding member of the 912 Registry and a friend to all.
As the attendees gathered at the ballroom, it became clear that everyone had followed the dress code: a Hawaiian shirt to remember Jeff. Appetizers transitioned into the main course and just as dessert appeared, the awards ceremony began. A lot of heckling, cheering and jeering and a generally convivial atmosphere set the Registry members apart. These people really did not take themselves seriously, which made it a pleasure to be around them.
Concours winners were announced in short order, and to our surprise, all three winners of the Outlaw class were seated at our table! John and Ian won for Mein12 and the La Carrera Panamericana-winning 912 (full story soon) respectively, with Troy taking gold for his lovely Irish Green example.
Shortly after that, winners of the raffle draw were announced and it quickly turned into a laughter fest as Ian got more and more exasperated as every ticket but his was called. Eventually he did win a seatbelt, to a loud cheer from everyone in the room.
The laughter subsided for a while as Registry President Harry Hoffman began the decidedly difficult task of changing the room’s jovial mood toward honoring their departed friend and fellow 912 enthusiast. By the time he had finished his speech, there were very few sets of eyes that were still dry, his included. There was little doubt that Jeff’s legacy is alive and well and the people who sat at those tables would do their utmost to carry it forward. Wherever you are Sir, we raise a glass to you.
To echo Harry’s words, it’s not about the cars, it’s about the people. It didn’t matter what year, color or condition your car was in. It was about the friendly atmosphere that this bunch of misfits traveled all over the country for, just to enjoy each other’s company for a few short days.
Whether it was Kevin Lynch’s Wolfpack 901 campaign that aims to give back to the community, Ian’s numerous successful attempts at keeping the room in fits of laughter, Bradley Brownell drilling speedholes in the back of his 912E, John Eiskamp’s platter of fresh berries from his farm, John’s specially-painted toe-nails (yes that is the Porsche crest) or Harry’s fantastic emceeing of the gala dinner and its rowdy attendees, the 912 Rendezvous was a great success!
Till next year!