Member Profile: Bill Funderud - Smokey and the Bandit
October 1, 2011
The Historian’s Desk By Lou Scalzo
Bill’s current concours winner, a 964 RS America
One of the things I have enjoyed most about taking this post as PCA Historian is having the opportunity to meet some of the long time members of the Carolinas Region who have many interesting “Back in the Day” stories. I have been given the privilege to meet with them and pass their story along for all the current members to enjoy while getting to know some of the rich history of this region.

While attending the Triad Area’s Annual Swap Meet a few weeks ago at Dave Brown’s RennGruppe Motorsports in Lexington, I met with 38-year PCA member Bill Funderud. Bill, a very colorful guy, had brought along some of his photo albums containing pictures of his 42 past Porsche Models for me to look at! I then asked him if he would be interested in doing an article for the TR, and we agreed to meet in a few weeks.

I met up with Bill and his wife Linda’s home in Huntersville on a Thursday night recently and he told his Porsche story. A Carolina native, Bill was into Corvettes in the late 60’s, that is until in the early 70’s when he was bitten by the Porsche bug while visiting the AutoHaus Porsche dealership in Charlotte, owned by Melvin Helms and Rem Rogers. After becoming friends with sales manager Reece Burris and finding out that Bill was a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer, they offered him a part time job driving Porsches. For 4 years, Bill ran Porsches up and down the east coast, transferring cars for some of the dealerships including Checkered Flag in Virginia, Brumos in Jacksonville, and the Palm Beach dealership, Champion

‘It didn’t take long, when I started driving these cars, that I realized there wasn’t much comparison between a Porsche and a Corvette, and I had been bit with the Porsche Bug” stated Bill.

Bill joined the PCA in 1973, and bought a wrecked 1970 Targa. “It needed quarters and a rear lid.” This is how it started. Bill had figured out a way to enjoy his new Porsche hobby, and had a way to make it affordable. He would buy late model wreck with a loan from his bank, and then fix, drive and enjoy it. Most of the time his average length of ownership would be approximately 3 months. “I would change the title into my name, register the car and drive and enjoy it, and then re-sell it before the first loan payment was due! I would try and buy damaged Porsches that were still drivable to get the car home.”

Bill bought many cars from Tony Drum at Sports Car Salvage in Denver, N.C. Tony would buy them from insurance companies, and then he would call Bill. Bill would have much of the auto bodywork done at Tony Young’s Custom Cars in Charlotte, and Mutt Brawley’s Coach Craft in Mooresville. “I would do a lot of the disassembly myself, labeling all the wiring and bagging the parts, before I would send the car to the body shop. After a while, doing so many 911’s, I didn’t have to label the wires anymore because I had it all memorized”, stated Bill. It took a very understanding wife also. Linda let Bill use the dining table to organize parts and do final assembly, the bathroom tub was used to clean parts, and the hallway to store wheels and tires!

Bill’s favorite 1970 911S autocrossing at Charlotte Motor Speedway Linda Funderud circa 1979, winner of the Ladies Class Autocross at PCA Parade in Reston, Virginia.

Another good business relationship Bill had was with the doctors at Baptist hospital in Winston Salem. “I would buy many of the used Doctor’s Porsches coming off lease, they used them as everyday cars, and the needed some minor repairs, and detailing. After I did the work, I would resell many of them back to other doctors at the hospital. If they wanted a nice used Porsche, the word had gotten out, I was the man to see.”

Bill was elected President of the Carolinas region in 1978. Linda and Bill also got involved in a lot of the PCA and SCCA autocross events in the area from 1975 to 1990. “We used to race in Corvette/Porsche challenge at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which lasted 3 years. The only way the Corvettes could win was with small blocks against the 4cyl. 914, that’s it”, Bill said. “Being a member of the Highway Patrol, (now a retired Major after 33 years of service) after we would handle the traffic for the NASCAR events, I got to know Humpy Wheeler pretty well. I could call him directly and he would let the PCA use the track for our events –for free.” Nice!

Bill also got to know a couple other wellknown auto enthusiasts from the East coast. “I got to be good friends with Bill Warner (Amelia Island Concours organizer, auto photographer, journalist). I met Warner at a PCA event in Greenville, SC back in the day.” Warner would drive up from Jacksonville, Florida, stay at the Funderud’s home, and ride along on night patrol with Bill in the squad car at times! Another good friend is Tom Cotter from Davidson (author of The Ferrari in the Barn). Tom was the past Public Relations Director at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tom also currently oversees the Amelia Island Concours for Bill Warner. “The PCA back in the day, although not as big in membership numbers, were a close knit bunch. We would sleep at each other’s homes for out of town events. Our wives where involved with many events, including autocross.” Linda was good enough to take overall Ladies class win at the 1979 Parade in Reston, VA, and it was a time equal to a 3rd place time in the men’s division!

So finally I had to ask Bill after owning some 42 Porsche’s – what where some of his favorites? Well, he gave me several I have to mention. “My 1960 Roadster, and 1965 Black sunroof C coupe, where my 356 favorites. For 911’s – my Gemini Blue 1970 911S, which I used to compete in Autocross, with re-bushed suspension, and rebuilt transmission with airport gears. I owned it from ’82-’93, and was able to win many events in it.” In fact Bill showed me a movie made by fellow PCA’er B.J. Craven with the ’70 911S competing at CMS, with footage and soundtrack segments of the movie “Le Mans” edited in – Nice job B.J.!

Another one of Bill’s favorites with an interesting story was the ’74 Carrera. “I bought this car from a college student attending University of South Carolina in Columbia. His girlfriend lived in Charleston, and he was always getting speeding tickets with it going back and forth on the weekends. So he sent it down to Brumos in Jacksonville with the instruction, ‘Modify it so I can outrun the Police.’ Well being BRU MOS, they installed a 2.8 RSR spec twin plug engine, with a brass racing clutch. “When I bought it from him it was Sepia brown, I had changed to Lime Green Metallic.”

Bill’s current favorite now in his garage is his 1994 RS America. “I bought this car down in Atlanta in 2001 from the original owner with only 853 miles on the odometer! I found it on the PCA website, and after I made the purchase the owner was concerned how I was going to get it back to Charlotte. “Well I’m going to drive it,” Bill said. But it currently still only has 7800 miles and looks like a showroom car. The 42 cars Bill has owned include: 6 x 356s, 7 x 914s, 2 x 924s, 2 x 944s, 3 x 912s, 2 x ‘74 Carreras, 2 x ‘75 Carreras, 2 x 911Es, 6 x 911Ss (70-73) and 3 x 930s. Very nice Bill.

Till next month, Your Historian.