Avants Tour of The Brothers Collection

I lived in Seattle for over 20 years as a car fanatic without knowing that the Avants car club existed and I joined the day I found out that it did. Avants embraces a drive everything philosophy and welcomes anyone interested in cars, trucks, SUVs and even has an Avants Offroad branch. It is a great community, publishes a first-class magazine and organizes fun events.

One of these events was a very special tour of The Brothers Collection down in Salem Oregon. If you have never heard of the Brothers Collection, you are not alone. Nobody has. It is a very low key private collection and the owners work hard to maintain their privacy so I won’t be doing anything to change that. I didn’t link to anything because there is nothing to link to. When you search The Brothers Collection, you will find links with titles like “the greatest car collection you’ve never heard of” and “the biggest muscle car collection in the world”.

On Sunday, June 27th, I had the good fortune to spend three hours walking around the collection, jaw open and completely overwhelmed by the cars…it lives up to the hype and so much more. One of the brothers was there to host us and was so gracious. They are not open to the public but they do offer limited private tours for charity. Private collectors can get a lot of grief, mostly due to jealousy inspired by the kind of wealth it takes to build a collection, but these brothers are doing so much to preserve automotive history and I’m so grateful for it. It seems like they are gearing up to open more frequently so hopefully more folks have a chance to experience this history for themselves.

Clearly I’m a huge Porsche fan…and I will get there eventually, but I need to start with Ford. The Brothers Collection is heavily weighted with America muscle cars and what better place to start than the Ford GT. Next to a 911, the Ford GT is my favorite car of all time…it might be tied with first. Not only does the collection have an actual 1966 Ford GT40 MK I (go watch Ford vs. Ferrari if you haven’t already) but they have four early 2000 Ford GTs and two of the latest generation Ford GT supercars.

Okay, with that out of the way, I can spend some time on the Porsches they had on display. When you can walk by a 911 GT3 RS without even glancing at it…you know something very special is in front of you. There it was, the first Porsche 959 that I have ever seen in person. This car was truly revolutionary as a sports car with the most cutting edge perfomance tech for its time, all crammed into a stunningly beautiful but purpose built design. Bill Gates bought one and petitioned hard to have the Show or Display laws passed so he could own it in the US. Now it was right in front of me so close I could smell the leather and imagine myself breaking all kinds of traffic laws in it…again…just like Bill 🙂

There were plenty of other stunning Porsches there as well, like a 918 Spyder and Carrera GT sitting together and row after row of rare aircooled models.

Let’s get the other exotics out of the way and head on over to Ferrari land…not a place I spend much time but they did have some drop dead gorgeous cars! Throw in some sexy Lamborghinis and a Bizzarrini GT 3500 Strada as well!

Let’s hop back to American Muscle with a stop by Shelby but we need to walk by a 2006 Saleen S7 Competition on the way (1 of 13 in the world).

You want row after row of Corvettes…they have it. You need a 63 or 64 or 65…I could keep going…they are all in a row by year and all perfectly preserved.

Okay, I’m going to shut up and just give you the orgy of American metal that awaits you when you have a chance to visit this collection. I did a few laps with my camera, a few laps with my phone and then I just had to put it all away and slowly walk the floor trying to absorb it all. I want to go back!

You can tell from looking at the building that something fun lives inside…and occasionally comes out to play outside. In fear of being chased off, I didn’t try to add any character lines in my Jeep. Instead I drove home in 111 degree weather without my hard top because I thought that would be a good idea 🙂

Here is a direct link to higher resolution images if you want to view them without all of my blabbering or to download higher resolution versions. If you use or share them, please credit me Jeff Jones @911Maniac on Instagram.

Adobe Link for full-size images – https://adobe.ly/3dqxVi1

On one of my many laps, I pulled out my iPhone to capture some video. Sorry it is vertical but it was originally done for Instagram. Not a great video but you get a sense of the scale of this collection. For a much more in-depth video, check out what this guy has on YouTube.

Here is just a small list of cars that I captured, there are about 400 in the collection:

  • 2020 Ford GT Factory Lightweight
  • 2005 Ford GT
  • 2006 Ford GT
  • 1966 Ford GT40 MK I
  • 1987 Porsche 959
  • 1990 Lamborghini LM002 SUV
  • 1967 VW Type II 21 window samba bus
  • 1982 Lamborghini Countach 5000S
  • Lamborghini Diablo
  • 1962 Jeep DJ-3A Surrey Gala
  • 1969 Ford Torino Bobby Unser Pikes Peak Racer
  • 1965 Shelby GT350R
  • 1966 Ford F100 Police Interceptor
  • 1970 Plymouth Duster 340 Rapid Transit Show Car
  • Spyker C8 Spyder
  • 2005 Porsche Carrera GT
  • Porsche 918
  • 1949 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta 
  • 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Long Nose Alloy
  • 2003 Ferrari Enzo
  • 2006 Saleen S7 Competition 
  • Bizzarrini GT 5300
  • 2007 Porsche GT3 RS
  • 1988 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa
  • 1989 Porsche 930 Turbo
  • 1989 Porsche Speedster
  • Two Porsche 911 Slantnose Turbos
  • Porsche 356 in all forms
  • American Motors Javelin 
  • 1933 Packard Twelve 1005 Coupe Roadster

My First Concours d’Elegance

I’m often found at cars and coffee events before or after a long drive. I’m a regular on driving tours. I can occasionally be found at a race track. The common theme for me is always driving. I believe cars are at their best when they’re doing what they were designed to do…moving. Cars, especially Porsches it seems, last longer and run better when they are used regularly. For that reason, I never really paid much attention to Concours events. Concours d’Elegance is a French term that translates to “a competition of elegance” and a Concours event involves judging a collection of pristine, original and meticulously clean vehicles. I guess it started with French aristocrats who would take their horse-drawn carriages out to show off and be judged on appearance and elegance. Now we’re dealing with horses of a different kind but the competition still boils down to who has the cleanest car. Cleanest…you can’t be obsessed with cleanliness if you’re out driving the crap out of a car! Or can you…

I take it all back. Okay, I still don’t think I’ll ever be a Concours competitor, at least not a winning one, but after attending the largest PCA PNWR event in our club’s history last weekend, I came away with a newfound appreciation for Concours. Now this was a local event, not the super posh kind of event held at Pebble Beach annually, so the competitors here actually drove their cars to the event and polished them up before the judging started. No garage queens brought in by trailer to be found. It was an incredibly well run event, filled with stunning cars and fantastic people. PNWR volunteers always work so hard to make all events fun and the Aker family was kind enough to host us at their workshop outside of Seattle. I had an array of lenses with me and I was a kid in a candy store surrounded by Porsches as clean as when they rolled off the assembly line…some probably cleaner! Except for that tiny spider web on the rear license plate of the yellow Turbo S…that cost the owner some points 🙂

Contestants showed up early so they had time to polish things up before the judging started. The sun was shining so any dirt or dust would be easily visible. They have to clean everything…engine compartment, car carriage, storage…it all needs to be perfect:

Many of these amazing cars showed up as spectators but I couldn’t tell…they all looked like they were ready to enter the competition:

Clipboards at the ready, judges inspected cars, reviewed paperwork for authenticity, poked around engine compartments…no stone left unturned:

Here’s some proof that I don’t only take photos of cars…I take photos of people next to cars too 🙂

And the winners are…

Cascade Loop Rally with PNW Drives

Image from PNW Drives Facebook Event Site

For as long as I’ve lived in the Northwest, I’ve always wanted to drove the full Cascade Loop in one trip. I’ve driven just about every section of the trip over the years, but for one reason or another, doing the full loop in one shot has never happened. When I came across PNW Drives on Facebook and saw that they were organizing a two-day rally around the loop, I jumped at the chance. This was my first time on a tour with this group but I had a great time and look forward to joining them on future drives. PNW Drives isn’t a traditional car club, more of an event organizer with any and all cars welcome. Heavy on the swag but not the typical landfill fodder you usually get…high quality hats, hoodies, custom water bottles, etc. Most importantly, good people with a passion for driving and lots of cool cars.

The planned starting point was pretty far North of Seattle and the start time was early in the morning. I decided to extend the trip by a day and I drove up to La Conner on Friday. La Conner is a cute waterfront town with good restaurants and shops and was only 10 minutes from our starting point at Twin Bridges Marina in Mount Vernon. It was nice to get away from everything, have some chowder and just watch the boats go by for a while. I did make the time to drive to the stating point so I would be prepared for the next day…had to grab a photo under the twin bridges!

Saturday morning, I woke up early and ventured out to the starting point. I was happy to find a well organized event, my all important swag bag, and a large group of friendly gearheads equally excited for the trip. We even had a superhero along for the ride! Here are some photos from the early morning meetup where we stayed busy applying decals, talking cars and sheltering under the bridges from the rain. I learned a newfound respect for anyone that does stripes, decals or wraps on cars…I was struggling and the event organizers took pity on me and helped me out.

Geared up and ready to go!

We hit the road in the pouring rain, but there was even crazier weather to come. Our first destination was the Diablo Lake Vista where we would have the chance to stretch our legs, use the restroom and admire the amazing views. Okay, I was busy taking photos of cars and people, but trust me…the views of the lake are incredible when the weather is better and the fog isn’t so thick.

Our next stop was Twisp Park in the town of Twisp but before we arrived to the sunshine, we had to drive through the North Cascades. I was expecting to still see snow on the ground but I didn’t expect it to be actively snowing. Earlier in the day a few folks were wondering if my Jeep was going to keep up but given the weather we hit, I was thinking I might need to winch a few of them out of a ditch 🙂

The weather just kept getting better and the drive even more beautiful as we made our way to BeeBe Springs Wildlife Area. We had some time to hike (okay walk) around, get to know each other and soak in the warm dry weather.

Our final stop of the day was the Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth. Leavenworth is a quirky Bavarian style town popular with tourists all year round, but especially during the holiday season in December. After a very early start and a full day of driving, I was pretty tired. I explored the area, grabbed some dinner, talked to Meg for a while and then went to bed early.

Day 2 started at a much more reasonable time of 10 am so I had the chance to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with copious amounts of coffee before our group meeting. We drove from Leavenworth to Stevens Pass and even with the rain, the roads were fun and the scenery was beautiful. I was once again happy to be in my Jeep and not one of the super cars with racing slicks. Fortunately the rain stopped before we hit Stevens so we could walk around without getting soaked.

We ended the tour at Lake Tye Park in Monroe. It gave us all a chance to eat lunch, stretch our legs and say our goodbyes before heading home. I drove away tired, happy, having met some new friends and looking forward to a return trip around the loop in a fun car and with better weather.

Exotics @ Redmond Town Center is back in business

On every sunny Saturday morning from April through October, hundreds of cars and even more spectators take over the Redmond Town Center for the biggest weekly car show in the country. Exotics at RTC has been operating as a free event run by volunteers for 12 seasons but last year they were unable to host any events due to Covid. This year they are back in business and we’ve been getting lucky with some great weekend weather.

This isn’t a regular cars and coffee, bring whatever you want kind of an event. They run a tight ship and have strict rules about the cars that are on display. It is still open to many, many beautiful cars, but it needs to be something special…an exotic. Inevitably this leads to some upset folks trying to show off their new Prius with flames painted on the side or something like that but the volunteers handle it all with grace. Oh, and don’t act like an ass coming into or leaving the show. The cops will ticket you and the event will ban you, otherwise they risk losing the support of the community to host such a big event.

Here are some of my favorites from opening day which had a big turnout even with the overcast day. The Magenta 911 was my favorite so I kept coming back to it but I loved the Martini inspired 911 as well. Okay, I loved them all!

My next visit was for German Car Day, one of the biggest, most well attended theme days of the year. Take that Italian Day! There were too many incredible cars to even scratch the surface but I tried to capture most of my favorites. The Magenta 911 was back again but it might have been the red RWB 911 that stole my heart this time:

Car show season is finally recovering from Covid!

While car social events are low on the priority list given the difficulties the world has faced from the Covid pandemic, I missed them so much during lockdown last summer. It’s awesome to see the progress we’ve made with vaccines and organized car events are starting to return to normal. Folks are still staying more distanced, many are still in masks, but at least we are able to get together and embrace the coolest part of cars…car culture.

Here are some photos taken at recent Cars and Coffee get together at The Shop.

Time to go full mid-life crisis?

I’m of the belief that cars should be fun…all cars. Life is too short to drive a boring car and you can make any car special, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Now sports cars really need to be fun, they have no other purpose than to bring joy. As stunning as the design of the Spyder is, I’m considering having a little bit of extra fun with it once it arrives and adding a race livery.

A livery is the specific paint scheme or sticker designs used on race cars in order to advertise sponsors or uniquely identify a car or racing team. There are thousands of different designs but here are a few of my all time favorites:

As common as it may be, Martini is my favorite and I think it accentuates the curves of the car perfectly. Personally, unless it is going on an actual race car, I think the race numbers and Martini racing team logo are a bit too much. Here are some mockups of what a Martini inspired design could look like on the 718 Spyder.

Like every tattoo I’ve considered but never put on my body, this might never make it past the design phase. Unlike a tattoo, these are just vinyl stickers that can easily be removed from the car down the road so it’s an easier risk to take and doesn’t hurt nearly as much 😁

Porsche saves the day

I’ve spent the last two weeks waiting for Porsche North America to send a more detailed communication to the 190 US car buyers caught up in the engine recall I detailed in my last post. I’ve done lots of speculating and commiserating with other impacted folks on various forums, going through what-if scenarios and trying to decide what it would take for me to want to just walk away from the deal.

Porsche had committed to a second email with clarity two weeks from the first email which left me expecting something by Saturday at the latest. Those Germans are so precise…it was two weeks almost to the minute. I woke up early on Saturday and picked up my phone to see if anything had come through. There it was, an email titled “Important: Updated Information Regarding Your Porsche”. I was a little afraid to open it. Not after reading it. I was pleasantly surprised to see how comprehensive the communication was. They had specifics for the fix, compensation details and the timeline all nailed down. Here’s the summary:

  • A new factory built engine. All fears of a rebuilt engine are gone, Porsche will be building new engines in the factory and shipping them to be swapped at the dealership. It’s pretty common to have to remove a Porsche engine to work on it so I’m not worried about this job being done well. Phew…dodged a bullet.
  • Certificate of engine exchange to show it is a matching original engine provided new with the car by Porsche.
  • 8 year warranty for the engine (an extension of 4 years). This was a bonus I didn’t expect and certainly helps with peace of mind.
  • $4k discount on this Porsche or another.
  • $1k voucher for a Porsche Experience Center or Porsche Track Experience Day.

The downside is still the delay in getting my car. I should be driving it home next week but Porsche will be doing these engine swaps between June and September. Given COVID, chip shortages and supply disruptions, I have no reason to complain, they are moving as fast as they can. They are working in order of original planned delivery so I’m not sure where mine will land yet. I’ll likely miss most of the driving season this year but I still feel like Porsche has gone above and beyond to make up for the mistake. This is a great example of a customer first approach because they didn’t have to do anything other than apologize for the delay and fix the cars. I don’t know of any other car manufacturer that would be taking such a customer friendly approach. Thanks Porsche…now get me my damn car!!

Porsche makes a rare mistake, but a big one

I’ve owned old and new Porsches and there are many things to love about them. One of the biggest advantages is you get super car like performance, street livability, a fun track car and a level of quality that no other performance car company can come close to. You can take a 600 horsepower Turbo on a cross country trip and feel confident that you won’t break down along the way…not something most people would try in a Ferrari or Lamborghini.

Sometimes even the best screw up and this time I hit the unlucky lottery. Up until recently, everything about my order has been trending early. On or around March 17th, we started to hear rumors of a stop-sale order issued by Porsche. These aren’t common but there have been a few recently. One recent one was due to possible emissions and extra steps the US was taking on import…most people felt about a one to two week delay. There is another stop-sale impacted cars where a suspension bolt needs to be replaced which is also being handled quickly and isn’t an invasive fix. The rumors we were hearing for this recent one were different…possible issue with the 4.0 engine used in the Cayman/Boxster GTS, the GT4 and the Spyder. Uh-oh. Rumors spread like wildfire and you can see from this growing thread on Rennlist that without clear communication from Porsche, many of us filled the void with anxiety and angst (this thread is up to 1200 posts and 90K views as of 4/11)

On March 29th, an official recall notice came out by Porsche through the NHTSA:

It was confirmed and my car is impacted. Porsche had discovered an issue with the connecting rods used in a specific range of cars that can result in catastrophic engine failure and fire. This is very similar to an issue that happened to 991.1 GT3 engines that also resulted in a massive recall. In this case it is 190 cars in the US and ~800 worldwide.

On April 3rd, while my car sat at the Port of Houston, I received an email from Porsche confirming that my car was impacted and that it would take 3 to 6 months for me to receive my car. More information to come.

Simon Kuhnimhof was nice enough to take a video call with me the following Monday and I was able to express my frustration and concerns with the lack of transparency in how they were handling this. Simon was as helpful as he could be and I really appreciated his willingness to at least meet and listen. He committed to additional details in the next few weeks so I’m hoping to know more by the end of this coming week.

What I know so far. Out of the 190 US cars impacted, 19 had been delivered to customers already. These cars clearly represent the biggest risk to Porsche since the issue may result in engine self-destruction and fire…not a good look. As expected, Porsche communicated faster and with more clarity to this group offering a loaner car, $2K/month for lost time and depreciation, a trip to one of the Porsche Experience Centers and they will be swapping the engines for new factory built engines within 1 to 2 months. There was 1 additional person that had already fully paid for their car and they eventually included this person in the delivered group with this same offer. This is a crappy experience for this group but Porsche is ensuring they get made close to whole.

What is still uncertain, is how Porsche will handle the undelivered cars. In the similar situation with the GT3 fiasco, Porsche replaced all engines with factory built engines. My spidey sense is telling me that Porsche is considering a repair instead of replace strategy for the undelivered cars. Check my last post for a video of Porsche manufacturing an engine and it starts with connecting rods going in. For this 4.0 engine, any repair will require removal of the engine and a complete tear down of it, splitting it open to replace the rods before it all gets put back together. While I mostly trust Porsche to do this to the highest levels of quality possible, doing it outside of the factory, either at Port facilities or at the dealership, is less than ideal. I’m waiting to hear official word from Porsche before making any decisions but I am highly unlikely to pay for a new car that has a day-0 engine rebuild without substantial compensation to account for the time and “story” these cars will carry with them. I’m still counting on Porsche doing the right thing and replacing these engines.

Photo from the Porsche factory:

My worst nightmare (not that I expect this but still…)

My attempt at a Porsche engine rebuild with my first 911 and a patient father: