The Sixties NNJR Second Decade

Following the 1957 charter of NNJR into PCA, the full decade of the ‘60s witnessed sustained growth, both nationally and at NNJR. The US auto industry was regularly setting new sales and profit records. In Detroit and Europe speed sold cars, taking the sporty-car game to new heights as Ferrari battled a Ford challenge at LeMans, the circuit providing most visibility to race cars, including Porsche. The ‘60s saw new and faster models replacing ‘50s era counterparts: 911 Porsche, Corvette Sting Ray and Jaguar XKE making debuts at international auto shows. Competitive events of the ‘60s continued in the framework of the ‘50s; the local sports car clubs, most of which were too small to run racing related activities for their own members, belonged to umbrella organizations like the Sports Car Council of NJ. Some members also belonged to other clubs like the SCCA or the Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association. Hence, much of the reporting on Porsche and NNJR member success in competitive racing related activities was in multimarque events, hosted by other organizations.
NNJR was evolving following its August, 1957 inclusion into PCA, which was covered in the January 2016 Porscheforus article highlighting the ‘50s, NNJR’s first decade. According to a Panorama survey of 1800 PCAers in1960, 67% of the participants expressed interest in technical topics and events, followed by 9% for rally and 8% for racing. In 1961 NNJR’s 78 members participated enthusiastically in organized events similar to those offered today, such as concours, driver education, gymkhana (autocross), rally, and because of their proximity to Porsche headquarters in Teaneck, NJ, and highly-involved franchised dealers like Essex Sports Cars in South Orange, NJ (Lake Underwood), great technical presentations and discussions. Social events, then as now, were frequent, plus NNJR members were actively participating in national Parades, as well as Lufthansa trips to Stuttgart (Treffen). Not seen today are events such as ice-racing and hill climbs that were conveniently available and very popular in nearby Pennsylvania and New York. Discovering a valuable cache of early Porscheforus newsletters and perusing just the decade of the ‘60s, tech topics, tech sessions and tips were of high interest to members. It is possible to extract enough content dealing with historic tech tips, which could become a wonderful resource for anyone restoring a ‘60s Porsche, e.g. problem: miss in Normal engine; cause: dealer had installed L-85 Champion plugs, which would miss at higher RPM after 2500 miles; fix: installing LODGE HM plugs which can last 12,000 miles without a miss. Tires were also discussed often. Larry Weintrob (then President), favorably compared Metzeler tires to Continentals, Pirellis or Michelins. Then there was the tire offer from Semperit Austrian Rubber Corp. to NNJR, extending a discount for Super Sport tires. Tire representatives began to present their products at meetings held at popular venues like Essex Sports Cars (South Orange, later Maplewood, NJ) and Siegfried Motors (Englewood Cliffs, NJ). Some technical events were exclusive, only admitting NNJR members in good standing. The Porscheforus newsletter covered racing events across the globe, particularly the success Porsche drivers and drivers associated with NNJR were experiencing. As an example, the April 1964 newsletter covered the 12 Hours of Sebring, reporting that Briggs Cunningham and Lake Underwood brought in the first Porsche, a type 904, placing 9th overall and first in Prototype Class up to 2000cc. Quite a few NNJR members were also members of SCCA and were successful racers. Within the newsletters are hundreds of such references, making them a treasure trove for tech and racing stories.
Racing legends were a part of NNJR’s early history. Rene Dreyfus, a Grand Prix driver of distinction, attended a 1960 meeting to cover the 24 Hours of LeMans. The NNJR December 1961 Holiday party at Passaic City Club, arranged by NNJR member/racer Bernie Vihl, included guests Mr. and Mrs. Roger Penske and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Holbert. Essex Sports Cars, a franchised Porsche dealership operated by Lake Underwood, offered an abundance of tech workshops through the ‘60s. In addition, technical how-to was available from the outset from Porsche Corporate and
later Porsche of America, located in Teaneck, NJ. Fast-forward to today’s Lake Underwood, son of the senior Underwood, who is often seen displaying the classic 356 race car, inherited from his father, most recently on display by invitation at the national Parade Historic Concours Display in Jay Peak, VT.
Whether the scene was concours, field trials (essentially “tests of driving skills” through an obstacle course laid out on open fields or huge parking areas), including gymkhanas-aka auto-cross, rallies of all types, racing and hill climbs, ice racing, or a ladies auxiliary- (while PCA ladies fully participated in rallies, gymkhanas, and concours events, they also competed in cake-bake-offs, similar to today’s chili cook-offs), NNJR was blossoming as its members gained full recognition for high accomplishment within PCA, the tri-state sporty-car community, as well as weekly press coverage by automotive columnists of the Newark Sunday News, Paterson Herald-News  and Bergen Record. Early issues of Porscheforus were hand-typed newsletters, well prepared without spell-check, and basically mimeographed copies, some 10 pages double-sided, without photos. Modern printing began in the fourth quarter of 1967, with credit given to Andy Dennis for his innovative breakthrough including images, and reducing verbiage. Opening an early ‘60s-era newsletter, it reported a modest $395 opening bank balance in 1961, with the following objectives for the year: increase membership to >125 (from 85), reduction of turnover to < 25%, increase treasury yearend balance to >$300. A split of NNJR moved 15 members to Jersey Shore Region. 1963 objectives included: secure timing device, PA system and 16 mm sound projector, gain two tech sessions with Porsche of America (Corporate) considering its proximity in nearby Teaneck, NJ.  There actually was an overall “participation point
schedule” for NNJR members competing for ranking by points accumulated for participation, work and competition.  What a compilation job! POPULAR EVENTS OF THE ‘60S Many NNJR members attended ‘60s Porsche Parades in the East. The 1961 Parade in the Berkshires included 33 Regions with 254 cars. Split Rock Lodge in the Poconos hosted the Parade in 1963. In 1962 Connecticut Valley, Metro NY & NNJR got together for an event called “Tri-State Porscherama.” Interlaken Inn in Lakeville (then a large old wooden hotel) was the event headquarters. A gymkhana was set up on Lime Rock racetrack’s front straight using many pylons. A concours was held on Sunday at Interlaken and a rally started later that morning. The event concluded with a “victory” banquet at Interlaken late Sunday afternoon. Porscherama continued on during the 60’s utilizing Lime Rock Park, and varying nearby hotels; this event was resurrected at Pocono for a number of years after the turn of the century. At the 5th Annual New Hope Auto Show in August 1962, Charles Mulhern entered a 1930 Mercedes SSK roadster (Porsche design), bringing home five trophies, including Best of Show, a precursor to the good fortune NNJR enjoys at that show today. Decades later NNJR would furnish the primary Porsche judging team with Porsches being the best represented brand competing for awards. MEMBER NAMES FROM THE ’60, STILL HEARD TODAY • Paul & Gisela Crutchlow, VP ‘61 & Membership ‘61 • Andy & Sandy Dennis, VP ’67 • Ed Hunter, Pres ’62, Fowler Award Recipient ’63, • Phil & Betty Pratt, Fowler Award Recipient ’63, VP ’64, Pres ‘65 • Charles Mulhern, VP ’62, Pres ’63, (Mulhern Concours Perpetual Award established 1981 to recognize NNJR member contributing most to NNJR concours activity) • Mac McWilliams, Pres ’64, Fowler Trophy Recipient ‘65 • Marilyn Richberg, Publications, Porscheforus Editor, ‘63 • Harry Slates, Hill-Climber, Pres ’66, Fowler Award Recipient ’68 • Dennis & Marlys Thovson, Dennis Pres ’69-’73, Parade Chair, Pocono, PA ’74, National PCA Pres ’87’90, presently: BoG- Mailing & Distribution, Marlys, BoG- Executive Administration, Membership • Larry Weintrob, Auctioneer, Pres ‘60 • Lake Underwood- Racer, Dealer, Regional Director of NNJR, ‘60
• Hans Ziereis, Racer, named in NYT (along with Lake Underwood) as semifinalists for “Man of Year in Amateur Racing” ‘64 Examining those early newsletters, we noticed another familiar name of a couple who participated in a ‘60s rally, driving a 1960 Triumph TR3, N. & F. Vogt.  We reached out to John Vogt, our Rally-Meister Extraordinaire, asking if any relation. Sure enough, John confirmed that this were his parents Norman and Florence, who were big rally enthusiasts in their day, and who later graduated to a couple of 928s and a 964 Cabrio.  As evidenced by the remarkable renaissance/transition of today’s NNJR rally program from Time-Speed-Distance to FUN, we now may comprehend the lineage that John was able to call upon to gain his expertise in conducting rallies and events in general.      John can readily call upon that lineage to aid in preparation of present-day rallies. Writers note that a ‘60s-era reference to a McWilliams Forge in Denville (NNJR past-members Betty & Mac McWilliams) was most recently incorporated in a 7/10/16 Hot Rod & BBQ Rally question/clue prepared by John.                NNJR MEETING PLACES NNJR Meetings were held all over New Jersey, for example at the Governor Morris Hotel in Morristown, the King George Inn in Mt. Bethel, a place called Schwaebische Alb in Warrenville and the Olde Mill Inn in Bernardsville. More distant locations were the Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, CT, which had close proximity to the Lime Rock track in its favor, and Le Chanticler in New York City. Le Chanticler was Rene Dreyfus’ restaurant and a well known hangout for racing drivers in the ’60s. As reported in the Jan ’16 issue of Porscheforus, a primary venue for gymkhana (autocross) and driving instruction was the Mennen parking lot in Morris Plains, NJ. In response to this article NNJR’s former concours
chair Craig Ploetner wrote in to say to share that his grandparents built and owned the Morristown Raceway aka Soranno Park, which became Mennen, where his mother, as a young girl, witnessed many Porsche events unfolding. Small world…much history. NOTABLE NNJR TIDBIDS • Concours 1st place to Charles Mulhern at Das Awkscht Fescht (PA Dutch for August Festival), Macungie and 7th Annual New Hope Auto Show, both PA, Best in Show at The Mall in Short Hills in 1964. • Field trials, essentially “tests of driving skills” through
an obstacle course laid out on open fields or huge parking areas, were popular and regular events held at venues such as Old Orangeburg Fairgrounds, NY, Pleasantville & Old Bridge Speedways, NJ (5 classes). NNJR regularly organized and sponsored field trials at certain locales, with attendant publicity coverage in the Newark Sunday News. • Ice racing, essentially sports car racing on ice at Naomi Lake, Pocono Pines 1962 (including total loss of Stu Allwoerden’s Porsche following 3X rollover when it hit a snow bank). Course regulated by Ice Racing Enterprises (non-PCA/NNJR affiliated), was 2.5 miles long varying in width from 50’ to a quarter mile, open to sporty-cars of the era • Hill climbs, by NNJR hill climb contingent, held at various Pennsylvania locales, but illegal in NJ. 11 car classes, with championship run-offs organized by the Pennsylvania Hill Climb Association, grouping liketype sporty-cars of the era. • 4/67 Porscheforus reports Harry Slate’s Hill Climb Underground (Porsche only event) is set for Greenwood Lake NY. •■ Racing updates, including coverage of notables Joakim Bonnier, Phil Forno, Masten Gregory (St. Louis Flash), Dan Gurney, Walt Hansgen, Bob Holbert, Bruce Jennings, Ken Miles, Augie Pabst, Roger Penske, Bernie Vihl and Hans Zieries, the last two being NNJR members who actively raced and won races, Hans sometimes driving Bernie’s RS61 Porsche. •■ Racing Venues include: Bridgehampton on Long
Island, Lime Rock & Thompson, CT, Cumberland & Marlboro, MD, Vineland, Roosevelt Raceway and Watkins Glen, NY, attracting the highest-profile drivers to circuitous road-racing circuits •■ Monthly meetings with credentialed guest speakers such as Porsche representatives Herr Herbert Dramm and Herr Kurt Meier displaying a cut-a-way of latest engine •■ White elephant auctions for the benefit of area charities •■ Technical sessions at Lake Underwood’s dealership, expanded to other dealer locations and in 4/65 held at Esso Research, Linden, NJ. •■ Rallies, with descriptions like Siamese Cat, Rally Regardless, Rene Dreyfus Annual, Great Mountain, Poker, April-Fool, Gobbler, Back Road Ramble, Mileage, Do-It-Yourself, All Night Land Foot ($3 entry)- were theme-inspired to create excitement and fun among participants •■ Ski Weekend, Timber Hill, near Brook view Manor, Canadensis, PA •■ Expansive ongoing coverage of NNJR activity in Newark Sunday News “Tread Marks” column by Betty Nolan, newspaper columnist in the “60s •■ Coverage of September 1960 trip to Stuttgart-Treffen, beginning with departure party at Idlewild (JFK), hosted by Lufthansa & Porsche NA. Welcome by Dr. Porsche and mayor of Stuttgart, Arnulf Klett, tour of Porsche and Reuter factory, escorted to Solitude race circuit by racing team drivers Barth, Hermann, von Hanstein and von Tripps, all in latest Porsche race machines. Choice of driver escort for on-track runs at speed. Formal dinner at Killesberg (Waldorf equivalent), tour of Black Forest, car serviced in Zurich, overnight stay, drive through snow-covered Alps, on to Bern, Basel, Geneva, into France then Italy, back to Austria…ran out of film, driving over 4000 miles. Full presentation made at monthly meeting, fee in 1962 was $275pp, plus expenses. NNJR couples led by Charles and Helen Mulhern •■ Kart Wheeler Kart 1/2 mile paved Track, Clintondale, NY hosted a March 1963 drivers school for PCA only members only. •■ Gymkhana, Slaloms (autocross) – Don Yuhas planning real tests of skill substituting trampoline/trapeze maneuvers in place of a LeMans running start •■ Beach Party of Aug 1960 in Sea Bright canceled as a result of a hurricane.
Up next: The Seventies – NNJR’s 3rd decade Comments, observations and questions to the NNJR Historians are welcome as we continue to share NNJR history decade by decade, next up the ’70s. Input is best submitted to along with any attachments that you may care to share.