Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Way-Back Machine

Poking around on the interwebs this evening and I stumbled upon a catalog of photos of various racing events here in my home state of Ohio during the '60s and '70's. Some of the photos were taken at various auto-cross events, so I was hoping to find some period photos of my '70 "S" since it was used extensively in time trials and auto-X's.
Sadly, there was no joy in my quest, but I did find a couple of other interesting cars.
The first is what appears to be a 66 or 67 911. The car was campaigned out of AutoHaus in Fairborn Ohio, which is only about 15 miles from my home. The driver, Lou Gregg, was also the owner of AutoHaus (which has been defunct for decades). The photos seem to be from a hill-climb, possibly the ones held in Bellfountaine, OH in the 60's.
What caught my eye, besides the great stance and megaphone exhaust, are the magnesium American Racing Wheels. Could this car still be tucked away in a dusty Ohio garage today? Unlikely, but it doesnt hurt to dream.

UPDATE!  I got this great email from Ken Tiven who used to work for Lou Gregg and now lives in South Africa.
The car is a 1965 911 2.0 litre which ran one year in B Production and then in C Production. Louie first ran it in 1967, so I would guess this picture is 1968 or 69. I'd hazard a guess from the proximity of grass and trees to the road and think this was the Bellfontaine Hillclimb which we loved to run. 

I left Autohaus in October, 1966 for the US Army. That season we ran a silver 57 speedster. I believe I recall Louis getting the 911 the next year and then later he got the aluminum coupe 356A that had been run for several years by a guy in Cincinnati. I stayed in close touch with Louie for years because of the close friendship we had developed between 1963 and 1966 when I spent way too much time at the garage, first in Yellow Springs and then in Fairborn. I got a BA in Political science from Antioch University and unofficially received a BS in Porsche repair.   To this day I have retained an abiding affection for fast cars, with a WRX Turbo in the USA and a 2.0 litre Subaru in Cape Town. 
Louie was a fantastic mechanic, a huge influence and friend, and an honest car dealer. That is a real hard to find trifecta. 

Louie was stationed int he USAF in Germany for probably six years at Kaiserslautern and raced a Healy 100 there. When he came to the WP AFB as the senior enlisted man in the  hospital Xray Unit he worked the night shift so that he could run his "hole in the wall VW and Porsche garage in Yellow Springs. I met him in 1963 when he diagnosed a problem with my 57 VW convertible merely by listening to it. His diagnosis of a cracked plastic insulator in the distributor was on the money and I was beyond impressed. Soon after that I was a shop assistant and worked my way up. In 1963-64 we ran a Fiat Osca in F Production. The Speedster was the 65-66 season.  In those days we routinely ran Mid Ohio, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Meadowdale (Chicago, now houses), and a few others I cannot recall. I think it was 1965 when he finished up with the Air Force and we moved  to the garage in Fairborn... later it moved again in Fairborn and at various times was a Porsche, Peugot, BMW and a Datsun (Nissan) dealer. He later sold it and went into mortgage banking and brokering the occasional car for someone.  The split with Porsche came when POA decided to depart from its arrangement with VW and market on its own... demanding dealers move to a specific location with a specific dealership size and look.  That was not to Louie's liking as a business deal and he balked.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, David, for this great bit of local sports car history.