September 1, 2019
In 1984 I was driving Danny Brewer’s car lot in Caribou, when I spotted a used 1983 VW Rabbit GTI for sale with less than 20,000 miles on the odometer. I stopped in and talked to Fred Manzer the salesman. Fred said another guy was looking at it and he would let me know if that fell through.
The other buyer backed out of the deal and after some thought I became the owner of a relatively new car. This was the closest I have ever come to owning a new car. We did by a new pickup earlier in our marriage.
The first owner had traded the car in with a slipping clutch, which eventually was replaced by Presque Isle Volkswagen shortly after I owned the car. When oil seeped from the engine rear main seal that clutch went bad and was replaced a second time.
This car had been used as a pace car at Spud Speedway and was driven by Gary Willette a VW mechanic who became a our mechanic until he closed his shop and went into education.
The car became my daily driver many years until I accumulated over 200,000 miles. I purchased another 1983 VW GTI and ran it for several years until I parked both on the tree line pictured above.
An article in Automobile magazine in 2007 titled, “Best Sports Cars” caught my eye as I was waiting for my car to be finished at Hogan Tire in Caribou. I opened the magazine to the section on best street sports cars and lo and behold the #1, yup # 1 car picked by Automobile magazine readers was the 1983-84 Rabbit GTI made in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania!
I went on to pick up two more 1983 GTI cars over the course of the next couple years. I decided to restore the original red GTI and make it my “sleeper” street/autocross car.
The car spent a year at the automotive shop at Caribou Tech Center where every bushing, spring, shock, and eventually the engine was rebuilt or replaced. I had the machine work done locally and rebuilt the engine which the auto class put back into the car.
The car eventually was street driven, probably 200 miles or less, run at Spud Speedway in the “Race Your Neighbor” event once, and autocrossed twice at Loring with the Cumberland Motor Club. Despite all the new parts and the gain of about 10-15 hp (estimated). New technology allowed mundane street cars to easily match the 100 plus hp of the GTI.
The car sat parked with its three other GTI “friends” for a couple of years until I got a message from Edwin Walker, Caribou, who wanted to look at the cars and make them one of his next automobile projects. You may remember Ed from the segment I showed with his Isetta frame off restoration project.
The deal was sealed on Saturday and Ed began the pickup process today (Sunday September 1, 2019). The cars left on the flat car hauler operated by Dan Robertson of Beaulieu’s Garage in Caribou for the new home.
Some of my Loring Timing Association highlights Harvest Event 2019
When I arrived at Loring on Friday afternoon, I noticed that the paddock area was not packed with land speed racers like it has been in the past and I was quite frankly disappointed. My attitude changed when I saw the quality of the motorcycles and cars that made the trek to the largest speed trial in the northeast United States.
While conversing with Paul Calaguiro he showed me the broken engine and the large holes in the Pinto block. As we brought our conversation to a close, Paul said, “Did you see the Big Red Camaro over that way”?
I said, “What? The real Big Red Camaro from Hot Rod Magazine”?
“Sure is ,” he said, “Great story with that team.”
Big Red Camaro
I have read about the famous Big Red Camaro, Outlaw Racer, in Hot Rod Magazine a couple of times. I never thought this Los Angeles based team would consider traveling across the United States to set records at the County track. The team has raced at a myriad of locations of which two stand out to me, Pikes Peak and the Silver State Classic where they averaged 199 mph on the closed street for 90 miles.
New Hampshire’s White takes Wanner Top Speed Title again
When Big Red Camaro rolled into Loring his team goal was to best the 267.4 mph speed set by Jason White in 2018 in his 2006 ZO6 Corvette. This made it interesting to watch the two teams juggling back and forth for top speed. Ron Keselowski was in the mix with his 1963 Corvette which ran in the low 250’s.
White’s RecMech Team was unable to make the 2019 Summer Event at Loring due to engine issues. This gave them time to get the Chevy ready for their goal of 270 mph.
For the first time White’s engine sported a turbocharger rather than a supercharger. The turbo was massive! A gray squirrel could have run through the cavern inside the turbo with room to spare.
The team tried high boost on the test track prior to making a run on the main runway. The characteristics of the new engine with a lag in boost combined with the high boost prompted the team to take the more conservative approach and reduce power for their initial run and creep up the power as they got in more passes.
Area high school student restores vintage muscle car
Holler Customs ties the knot
Substitute driver finishes on podium
Let’s Go Racing
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 5:16)