RSR Rendez-vous December 1999
Boxster S delayed:
Well the rumor turned out to be true. No Boxster S for summer 1999. Earliest
deliveries will be late ’99 – early spring 2000. I’m bummed because I ordered
one. The Boxster is one of the sweetest handling cars on the planet. It lacks
only a little more horsepower but then, what car wouldn’t be better with 50 HP
996 Turbo – Order now and be patient:
Pierre Matte at Autostrasse confirms that dealers are now accepting orders on
the 996 Twin Turbo. Delivery is the same as the Boxster S so the first cars
will arrive in November-December 1999 with most deliveries in spring 2000.
Quantities will be very limited. Price has yet to be announced but it should
be around $160, 000.
At VW-Porsche-Audi I’ve noticed that a lot of the really neat cars have been
pushed back to late 99 or early 2000. Is there something magical about owning
a 2000 model? The Boxster S, 996 TT, Audi S6, Beetle Turbo and the new Golf
have all been delayed. So far it sounds like 1999 will be a lame-duck sort of
year in the show rooms, with manufacturers holding their best until the
millennium. How about the Audi TT? That might eat into Boxster sales don’t you
Your Car on January 1 2000:
Speaking of which, ignore that noise on the Internet about the year 2000 bug as
it applies to cars. It’s possible that your digital toaster might malfunction
but your car will start and run just fine. The Bosch engine management system
does keep track of time but it does so in a way which is date independent.
Your car neither knows nor cares what day it is.
A Porsche 959!
I’m sure there are pictures somewhere in this issue. Marcia used her mongo big
camera, mit tripod, to get photos of a very rare street legal 959. As a
special treat on Instructor Day, Pierre Savoy arranged for Lawrence Strohl (of
Tommy Hilfiger fame) to drop by and give us a close look at his car.
Beautiful! I was amazed at how civilized it was. For a limited production
(200 were made) machine designed to dominate pro-rallying, the interior is
finished, well, like a 911. There were a few extra dials and buttons but it
was classic 911 swathed in soft leather all the way. It looked like a standard
production car. That’s if production cars had a suspension permitting ride
height changes from pavement scraping to Hummer!
Not only did we get to poke and prod, we got to watch it lapping at speed.
With twin turbos and 444 horsepower, the car is fast! The exhaust is throaty
(more so than a 993 TT ) and three foot gouts of flame out the pipes underlined
the fact that this car has a racing heritage! Looking at the 959 and a 993 TT
parked side by side, it’s pretty obvious that the 959 was the pacesetter for
the 993. The family resemblance is readily apparent.
In addition to the 959, Peter Korsos brought in five top pros to hone our
driving and teaching skills. I’m always pleased when I get to ride with one of
these guys. I always learn something new. Steve Wester politely corrected a
couple of bad habits I had developed without even knowing them. Pierre Savoy
taught me a very different way of handling downhill turns and the advantages
of letting the car settle before braking. Neat stuff.
The morning was dedicated to tuning up our driving and the afternoon to role
playing, us teaching them. I missed out on that part since I was on flagging
duty. From what I saw, the pros were giving us a very hard time. Every
possible gaff was being made and our guys were sweating! Still, the idea was
to teach us to anticipate and take corrective action before matters get out of
hand and at the end of the day everyone had a smile. It’s days like this that
help make Rennsport Driver’s Education one of the top programs in the country.
Cold Tires and the Porsche Zamboni:
It was minus four the morning of Instructor day. Peter Korsos (who is after
all, a tire professional) reminded us about the operating temperature range
of our tires. Porsche factory spec tires have a temperature range of 10 to 40
Celcius. Below 10 degrees C, the tires have a lot less traction. The rubber
gets very hard and can even freeze! Going out for some warm up laps proved
Warming up my C4S:
Bob: “Sheesh, the traction is terrible. My car feels like a Zamboni.”
Louise: “Oh, that’s why. The way you did the esses reminded of the Forum”.
Remind yourself of that before you set off on those last few coffee runs of
the season. By the way, Four Season tires, have an operating range of -10 to
+40 in case you wondered.
Most of us store our cars over the winter. Here’s a few tips to make your life
easier next spring:
Inflate the tires to maximum allowed pressure – see your manual for specifics.
Tilt up the wipers to keep them off the glass or, put a wad of paper under the
arms to lift the rubber off the window.
Close the doors only to the first detent to preserve the door seals.
Fill the gas tank to the top. Add gasoline stabilizer (Canadian Tire or any
Boat dealer). Drive the car for at least 15 minutes to ensure that the
stabilizer has circulated throughout the fuel system. This trick works well
on anything gas powered, like weed whackers, lawn mowers etc. It ensures easy
starts in the spring and no gum in the fuels system.
Use a battery maintainer to keep a charge in the battery. Modern cars have all
sorts of electronics that stay alive when the engine is off. If you don’t
maintain a small charge flowing the battery will go dead and you’ll
probably need a new one in the spring.
Prolong Engine Treatment:
Have you seen the ad? A bunch of guys driving around with the no oil? They
claim that the additive coats engine parts with a very thin molecular film
preventing wear even when run without oil. Various people make claims during
this program including a woman who says she drove over 400 miles without oil.
Bobby Unser drives a new Viper around a race track after draining the oil and
leaving the drain plug out. Pretty compelling stuff. Louise and I watched
this thing and she wondered if the claims were valid.
A few days later, our copy of Consumer Reports arrives in the mail. They
decided to test Prolong Engine Treatment. Using two identical cars with new
engines, they broke them in, changed the oil and filters and added Prolong to
one of them. They drained the oil from both engines and set off side by side on
a test track. Both engines seized at exactly the same time, a little less
than 14 minutes after starting. So much for additional protection. Consumer’s
Union is filing their results with the Federal Trade Commission. For those of
you who bought Prolong, keep checking your oil!
Some of these weird things are true:
Just when I get my skepticism all tuned up, I find a miracle gadget that does
work. Do you remember those adds in the back pages of Popular Mechanics?
“Magnetic Resonance Supercharges Your Fuel – Adds 25-50 HP! Install the
Superduper Magnapower in your fuel line and increase performance and fuel
economy — yadda yadda-yadda.”
You can imagine my reaction when I came across a product called Algae-X. A
gizmo with no moving parts which uses magnets to prevent build up of algae in
diesel fuel. Now algae may not bother your Porsche, but anyone with a diesel
powered boat, tractor or car knows about algae. This micro-organism loves
diesel and if left unchecked will breed in fuel and clog filters and
injectors. Traditionally we’ve used additives to poison the little buggers. If
you add the poison too late, you’ll kill them, but their corpses will block
your filters and even the fuel lines.
When I saw the ads for Algae-X I went “yeah-sure”. It turns out that I was
wrong. Recently I noticed that both Yanmar and Detroit Diesel have approved
the device and are selling them under private label. They tested it and it
works. The weak magnetic field is enough to upset the organism and kill it.
It works. I wonder how big a magnet we’d need to kill the bump at Turn Seven?
See you all at the AGM!
… Porsche – life is short, turn in late.