Every year, just as spring begins to settle in, Southern California hosts one of the largest Porsche gatherings on the West Coast. The annual Festival of Speed (FOS), held on the grounds of the world famous Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.
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This year, however, would be something to truly celebrate the famed Bavarian automotive company. This, as many of you know should know by now, is the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche 911. So how could the organizers of the Festival of Speed mark such an occasion? Simple, they would call on owners across the nation to display an example of every 911 within its 50-year history. A feat many organizers would find practically impossible, but the FOS team was able to pull it off. They even managed to pull the hallowed 1964 901 model out from the Petersen Automotive Museum vault to gleam under the infamous California sun.
Something unique about the Festival of Speed is the racing. Most clubs would simply set up an autocross course, not FOS. They work closely with the Porsche Owner's Club and the Porsche Club of America to organize seasoned points races in the Pirelli GT3 Cup series, Club Racing (class 1 & 2) and various Time Trials for every level of driver. They even host a one-hour endurance race to end Saturday's festivities. Even a few non-Porsche models decided to crash the party to get in some seat time. Including the GMG twin-turbo converted street Audi R8 track car.
While roaming the grounds we came across a few Porsches worth taking note of. Including a 1989 911 RUF Turbo owned by Carlo Minassian, who ripped the guts out of his motor and replaced it entirely on his own. Then had BBi fit a one-off intercooler and tune the motor to pump out a reasonable 520hp to the wheels! The motor was an original RUF 3.3L that received a 3.6L crank, 3.4L pistons, along with a GT35 turbo and a 993 RSR flywheel, turbo cam and intake manifold. Remember, Carlo put this motor together in his very own garage. Turns out some Porsche owners can turn a wrench or two. Next up for his wild ride is a complete suspension and handling upgrade along with some minor interior upgrades. Keep an eye out for this one in a future issue of EC when Carlo deems his ride "complete."
Another clean classic we couldn't pull our eyes away from was a beautifully understated 1972 911 which was built over the course of the last four years and over two thousand man hours. This heavily modded classic started life as a narrow body and underwent the knife to receive her new RS wide body steel fender flares along with a messaged 3.0L pulled from a '82 SC. Even the stock muffler received some TLC, as the owner, Michael O'Neal, cut out the center section of the interior baffles ultimately creating an ST exhaust system. He finished his handy work off nicely by coating the entire system in ceramic white. The color itself was painstakingly created to be an absolute neutral grey. No blacks, no greens, no reds just as pure of a grey as you can create. With a little help from the suspension gods, Michael fitted a complete Koni and Bilstein race suspension to the car. His close friend, who has over 20 years as a professional race suspension engineer, gave the set up his official stamp of approval. Next up for Michael is a modest interior overhaul along with a new set of refurbished magnesium racing wheels to replace his period sourced BBS mesh wheels.
The Southern California Porsche enthusiast seems to never loose its appeal and with events like the Festival of Speed you can only expect it to grow exponentially over the coming years.