Rain, snow and playing with models

The weather in Seattle from late November to March is great for skiing and having fun in the Jeep off-road, but not so great for sports cars, mountain drives or car shows. So what is a 45 year old car enthusiast that still acts like a 12 year old suppose to do when not skiing…play with models of course!

First up is a 1:43 scale model of the 718 Spyder that I’ve ordered and other than the caliper color, it is a perfect match for my spec.

Next, Shep and I finally got around to building one of his Christmas presents, a complex 1700 piece Porsche RSR race car. We got a freak snowstorm with over a foot of snow so while the kids were playing and Meg was busy making a huge snow family, I had some fun taking photos of the model.

The last model was a Lego build as well, but this time I bought it for me! When it arrived, Shep got all excited thinking he got more Legos but he quickly learned that this one was all Dad’s. Okay, he got to help build it and helped me find some pieces along the way…my old eyes need the help. This lego build allowed you to create an early 911, either a 930 Turbo or the 911 Targa. The Targa build is a near perfect match for my first Porsche so the choice was obvious. The only struggle was whether I should buy two kits and build them both!

Cars & Coffee, the COVID edition

Summer brings so many wonderful things. Beach days…vacations…boating…BBQs or just lazy sunny days with the family. We have a pretty short summer in Seattle so we try to cram as much fun in as possible between July and mid-September. For me, summer is also car show season! Exotics at RTC, Lake Washington Cars & Coffee, PCA driving tours, XXX Root Beer Jeep day. There are usually so many car events that it can be hard to pick which ones to attend. This summer, not so much. Cancelled is the theme of 2020 for so many things (we should be in Africa right now) and car events are no exception.

I feel very fortunate that The Shop is still hosting small car events with Cocktails and Cars on Thursday nights and Cars and Coffee on Saturday mornings. Sure, they can’t actually give out free coffee anymore and we have to keep our distance from each other but car talk works just fine through a mask and I’m just happy to have a few events to get out and meet fellow gear heads. Stay safe and be smart out there everyone, we want to have a full return to normal in 2021!

Cars & Coffee – Exotics Day

Cars & Coffee – Porsche Day (bright day, not great for photos)

Cars & Coffee – Japanese Day

Lake Washington Blvd is a gold mine for car photography

On Sunday, before we went into mostly full time home self-quarantine, I was able to go on a long drive in search of great spots to take some car photos. I started off by checking out the Lake Washington Cars and Coffee, not knowing that it would draw such a big crowd. It was cold but the sun was shining and if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 scare, it would have been the perfect day for a car show. There were plenty of great cars, I met some new fellow gear heads and everyone was really diligent about respecting the 8 foot rule…no handshakes or first bumps in sight.

I saw another photographer (@dm.lens) getting creative with my car and some spring blossoms so I tried the same. His was better!

Lake Washington turned out to be fertile ground for great car photo spots. It’s hard to find a place with a beautiful setting, where you can take your time and where there aren’t big crowds. I found a place every 100 feet it seemed. I’m done messing around with Alki…to crowded and no legal place to stage the car…Lake Washington is where its at!

I’m struggling to decide if I like this series better in color or black and white…but this is my blog so I don’t have to decide 🙂

Video Review of DSC Sport Controller

I love almost everything about my 2011 Turbo but I knew going into it that the suspension wasn’t going to be as good as my more modern 2016 991 series Targa was. After some seat time in and around Seattle, I have to agree. Even in normal mode, the 997 series is harsh on the crappy Seattle roads and sport mode is unusable on anything other than perfectly smooth asphalt. While my car is equipped with the Porsche Adaptive Suspension Management (PASM), the software that controls it is almost a decade old.

In comes the DSC Sport Controller. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and didn’t want to screw with the shocks or springs. Given I can barely get out of my garage without scraping the front spoiler, I certainly didn’t want to lower the car at all. I had read nothing but great reviews of the DSC Sport Controller and liked the idea of a simple controller/software swap to jump to 2020 software technology. The controller more intelligently manages the adjustable shocks and also improves the software for the dynamic engine mounts on the car resulting in a more compliant ride on bad roads as well as improved high speed handling and cornering. At least that’s the sales pitch and I decided to try it out myself.

I ran some test before the swap, plugged I the new DSC controller and drove the same streets back to back. To me, it was an immediate and obvious difference. In normal mode my 997 feels just like my 991 did and feels like it handles rough roads so much better. I was even able to put it in sport suspension mode and leave it there for most of the day. It too felt like my 991 in sport mode…much firmer but I’m not taking kidney shots with every bump. The limited high speed cornering I have been able to do tells me that it is working just fine at speed as well but I’m far from being a pro and I’m not taking my car close to the limit. My verdict is that this inexpensive and easy DIY upgrade made an immediate difference for the problem I was trying to solve. I love the car even more now.

I decided to try my hand at making a review video, mostly so I can play around with some fun camera tech. I’m no videographer and likely belong behind the camera but it was fun to do:

Some fun photos I took while out and about doing the testing and filming the video:

PNWR Tech-Ed Seminar on Radar Detectors

My 2011 Turbo came with a high end fully integrated radar detector / laser jammer, the Escort 9500ci. It was state of the art back in 2011. The benefit of a fully integrated system is that you can’t tell its there…no ugly device stuck to your windshield. The drawback is that unless the manufacturer supports an upgrade path, it ages quickly. When I saw that my local PCA chapter, the Pacific Northwest Region, was putting on a TechEd session all about radar detectors I just had to go.

PNWR arranged to have Ariel Bravy from Vortex Radar lead the class and it was informative and fun. This was my first TechEd session but if they are all this well put together, it won’t be my last. We started with some classroom sessions to learn all about the equipment, the options and how radar and laser works in general. There were some off-duty and retired police officers there to lend their perspective as well. Then we went outside and got to test some cars and guns to see how they held up. Mine did okay shifting the laser hit but it was able to punch through eventually. The clear winner to beat laser is the AL Priority system which also issues frequent updates. Escort has never and will never update the older 9500 system. While having a radar detector is fun to play with, my outdated tech isn’t going to keep me out of trouble against modern laser guns so I’ll stick to Waze and save the really heavy foot for the track.

Sunday Drive and the first “photo shoot”

Sunday was a pretty typical January day in Seattle…cloudy with a high chance of rain. I have a choice with this car. Baby it and treat it like a garage queen, or enjoy it rain or shine. This is no garage queen so we took it out on a cold rainy day for our first Sunday drive. The temps would be in the low 50s so not too bad for the summer performance tires.

Meg and I ditched the kids and took off to have some fun. When I got home, my youngest son, Shep, wanted his first ride and so I went back out. I brought along my camera this time and stopped at a favorite spot of mine for some quick iPhone shots…nothing fancy.

Shep was very patient with me but also wanted to get in on the action 🙂

I randomly ran into a co-worker that was there to take some skyline photos and he shared a few of his shots with me as well. Thanks to https://www.instagram.com/wildmanzen/ for the photos.

Time for some critical “mods”

My automotive mechanical skills are severely lacking but I can tackle the easy stuff and I completed my two must do mods this morning:

I started by re-flashing my Cobb tune to stage 1 on 91 octane since 92 is the best I can find in the Seattle area and I don’t want to mess with custom mixes. The last owner had the 93 octane tune. I’m sure I won’t notice a difference and this will give me peace of mind. Say what you want about Cobb vs custom tune but this was so easy to do myself. I’ll have to see how the car feels with the stock engine and PDK tune so I can appreciate what I have. Super easy to flip back and forth.

Next I installed the Rennline ExactFit iPhone mount. Picked it up from Suncoast and the install was super easy, just follow the video they provide a link to.

I like the look, where it mounts and that it doesn’t interfere with the passenger, the glove box or cover up the PCM.

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

After a short wait that felt like forever, today was delivery day! The streets in my neighborhood are small so I decided to have the car delivered to a car club I belong to. Weather gave me a break and the delivery, inspection and ride home was rain (and snow) free.

My son capturing that “how does this work again” look on my face as I’m prepping the camera equipment:

It is really here!

A short video of the delivery:

Some fun photos we took quickly on our way out before the weather turned worse:

Made it safe to its new home…my garage!