This article was originally submitted for publication in Panorama. Due to space considerations and the volume of articles submitted to Panorama, the article was not published. As we approach the 2013 iteration of the event on April 13, we are posting this article to give members a taste of what the show is all about. Check the details for the 2013 show posted elsewhere on the Carolinas Region website and join us if you can.
On April 21, 2012, the first of a series of 50 events was held as part of the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lake Hartwell. Lake Hartwell, a man-made lake that covers 56,000 acres with 962 miles of shoreline in South Carolina and Georgia, is one of the biggest and most popular lakes in the Southeast. To help mark the anniversary, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society partnered with the Carolinas and Peachstate Regions of PCA to stage a combination antique & classic wooden boat and Porsche show. The boat show has been a major event on the antique & classic wooden boat show circuit since 1993. This was the first year that the Porsche Club was invited to participate.
The boat show is actually a three-day event starting on Thursday afternoon with the arrival of boats from the Eastern United States and Canada. On Friday evening, PCA members were invited to attend the boat club's social gathering held at the home of Al and Bonne Olsen, local Blue Ridge Chapter members. The boating crowd warmly welcomed those PCA members that either drove in the day before the show or lived local to Hartwell. It was truly amazing how the conversations went, with the boaters asking questions about the Porsches we drove and the Porsche owners asking about the care and maintenance of the boats - some over one hundred years old. This was a good sign that the two groups would blend well together the following day.
The main event was held on Saturday, April 21st. The day started early for a group of us as we gathered for breakfast in Anderson, SC. This location was chosen for it's proximity to I-85 and allowed for a convenient meeting place for PCA members from across North and South Carolina. After breakfast, the group of 16 people in 9 Porsches headed down to Hartwell, GA. We drove along some interesting two-lane roads of western South Carolina and around the eastern edge of Lake Hartwell in Georgia. It was a great way to get the "Porsche" juices flowing for the big day ahead.
We headed to the edge of Hartwell, GA, where other members of the Carolinas Region and Peachstate Region of PCA were gathering in a shopping center parking lot, some 2 miles from the marina. Members from as far away as Greensboro, Charlotte & Asheville, NC, Athens & Atlanta, GA, and Columbia, Spartanburg and Greenville, SC made the drive to participate in this event. We gathered to meet new friends, grab some additional "wake-up" coffee and go over the plan for the day.
While the PCA group was gathering, Hartwell Marina became the home for 48 antique & classic boats from Chris Craft, Gar Wood, Arista Craft and other manufacturers. At 10:00 am, the marina was opened to the public with phase one of the welcoming ceremony. The boat club officers addressed the crowd, presented the colors and opened the docks for the spectators. At 10:15am, the Porsche group formed up for the drive to the marina. The show organizers arranged for a police escort down the main road in Hartwell, GA, through the town square and into the marina. This was phase two of the opening ceremonies, as those in attendance were not expecting our arrival, especially en masse. It seemed like everyone along the way stopped to watch the parade and take pictures.
The club member's Porsches were then arranged in front of the marina building for the "land" portion of the "land & sea" display. Once settled in, members spent the day in a number of ways. There were the antique & classic boats to view, Porsches of all years and models to check out, PCA members and boat owners to meet and talk with, radio controlled boats for kids of all ages to test their watercraft skills, food vendors to sample and boat rides on the lake. The marina operators provided 2 skippered pontoon boats for PCA members use to enjoy cruising around the lake. They took up to 10 people at a time for 30 minute rides on the water. There were also the "special rides". Any PCA member who wished was offered a ride on one of a number of the antique & classic boats in the show. The boat's owners graciously offered rides to show our members how well the boats performed and to provide an opportunity to step back in time on boats from the teens through the 50's. There was even a boat cruising the lake that was built in 1903.
Many of the boat owners, when not on the water or on the docks answering questions about their boats, were in the display area in front of the marina examining the Porsches and asking the owners about their vehicles. While not quite as old as the boats in the show, Porsche was well represented with 30 examples of the marque ranging from 1956 to 2011. Almost all models of Porsches were represented and all we heard were positive comments from the boat owners and show attendees, whether they were talking about the 356's, 911's, 944's, Cayman's, Boxster's or the Panamera. In fact, I received a lot of questions from the boat owners about the Panamera, as they felt its shape closely resembled some of the silhouettes of the Chris Crafts on display.
I would like to mention some "Stars of the Show".
From the boat side, there was the "Miss America IX". This mahogany Gar Wood boat was built in 1930 and was the first boat to break the 100 mph barrier - in 1931. The boat was built and driven by Gar (Garfield) Wood himself, over a measured mile course in two directions. Current owner Charles Mistele, who has owned the boat for 42 years, explained how the record was set using 2 experimental twelve-cylinder Packard engines making a total of 2200 hp. The boat now sports 2 GM motors making a total of 1100 hp because the Packard engines were appropriated by the US Government and used as prototypes for the PT boats in WWII. Those motors were not returned after the war but the boat is still very fast to this day, capable of hitting triple-digit speeds. When Charles started it up and took it out on Lake Hartwell, the sound could be heard and felt throughout the marina.
Al Olsen took a number of PCA members out on his Chris Craft, the "Norwegian Son". This boat held 9 and made multiple trips on the lake. The blond wood prevalent on this boat went very well with the boat's Scandinavian name. Also on hand was Chris Smith, the grandson of the founder of Chris Craft boats. He was readily available on his boat to share stories of the beginnings of the Gar Wood and Chris Craft lines of boats and how they developed over the years. His insight was the equivalent of having a casual conversation discussing the beginnings of Porsche with Dr. Ferdinand Porsche's grandson, F. A. "Butzi" Porsche.
From the Porsche side, there was the 1956 356A Coupe of Bruce Edge from the Sun Fun Area, Carolinas Region. Bruce uses his 356 often and his was the oldest Porsche on hand for the show. Bruce's Porsche was probably just rolling off of the assembly line when the newest of the boats on display was already in the water. Another 356 model on hand was the 1963 Cabriolet of Bob Kuchenbecker, VP of the Peachstate Region. The two 356's, with their closed and open tops, compared well with the cabin cruisers and runabouts of the same era on display at the docks.
Gail & Alex Galloway's 2010 Panamera drew many comments for it's sleek lines that mirrored some of the lines on the boats on hand. This look was also evident in the lines of the Caymans on hand. Other comments were heard on the purposeful look portrayed by the lines of Claude Burke's GT3 and many 911 variants on display, echoing the power held within.
There were also a number of fine examples of the 944 line in attendance, both turbo and normally aspirated versions, representing the front engined machines from Zuffenhausen. They ranged from RJ Schramm's all original 1986 Turbo with 57,000 original miles to my own, one owner, 1986 normally aspirated 944 with over 235,000 miles on its original drive train.
All in all, the event was a great success from both the Boat Club's and the Porsche Club's perspective. Even before the show ended, Julie Moore and Dennis Moore, President and Vice President respectively of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society, asked us to make this an annual event on the PCA calendar. They said they received nothing but positive comments from participants and attendees alike about having the Porsche Club as an integral part of the show. The Porsches and the boats were a perfect combination and both appealed to the same basic tastes. Almost every PCA member in attendance said they would be returning for next year's event and that they would be spreading the word to other members. Others that could not make it this year have already said they are adding it to next year's calendar.
I would like to thank the key players that made this event a great success. Larry Torrence of the Lake Hartwell Marketing Alliance. Larry is a past Porsche owner who had the original idea to match the Porsche Club with the Boat Club. Don Roof, Carolinas Region Web Manager, who put me together with Larry to discuss and plan the event. Bob Kuchenbecker, Peachstate Region VP, who spread the word of this event to his region's members. The Blue Ridge Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society for inviting us to participate in their annual event and for the warm welcome they extended to us. And finally, to the members from all over of the Carolinas and Peachstate Regions of PCA that brought their vehicles out and made the event even more special for those in attendance.
If you are in the area of Hartwell, GA next April, look for this multi-region event on the Zone 3 calendar. The combination of engineering excellence, graceful lines and timeless design applies equally well to the Antique & Classic Boats and to our beloved Porsches. Additional photos from this event can be found on the Carolina's Region website.
Until next year, keep the shiny side up and smooth sailing...
Upstate Area Director
Carolinas Region PCA