The DIY Workshop

Summer has fully arrived and for concours enthusiasts, that means that our annual “Do It Yourself Concours Workshop” was again part of our concours agenda. Ray Catena Porsche generously agreed to host this event at their outstanding service facility in Edison, NJ on June 3rd. 

Despite erroneous reports on the local radio station that Route 1 was closed in both directions at the Route 287 exit as a result of an overturned tanker truck, over forty members showed up for this workshop ready and eager to learn the tips, techniques and secrets of proper Porsche car care from our celebrated team of concours experts. With our club’s emphasis on recruiting new members, it was encouraging to see a number of new faces interested in proper Porsche care.
Our hosts for the day, Joe Germino, the general sales manager; Steve Walker, Porsche sales representative; and Bryan Shute, Porsche technician, went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Joe and his team provided an outstanding lunch of assorted deli sandwiches, pasta salad, and soft drinks to kick off the workshop. Craig Ploetner welcomed our attendees and offered a big thank you to our hosts for their generosity and introduced Steve Walker. Steve welcomed NNJR to their facility and enthusiastically provided some details on upcoming Porsche models based on his recent personal experience at the dealer introductions. It became quite obvious to everyone that we are in for some exciting Porsche product introductions in the next few years.
Ray Catena Porsche also offered a selection of new 991s, including a coupe and a cabriolet, for our members to test drive during the afternoon and generously provided the services of Bryan Shute, a factory trained Porsche technician, to assist our members with any service related issues.
After the introductions and welcoming of the new members, I paired the attendees requesting assistance with specific aesthetic problems on their Porsche with the NNJR concours veterans for resolutions during the afternoon.
A number of our members expressed interest in removing fine scratches and generally improving the appearance of tired looking paint. Craig addressed their curiosity with a series of demonstrations. Using Grant Lenehan’s beautiful 1990, 964, Craig demonstrated the proper techniques of employing a random orbital buffer to remove light scratches and swirl marks to restore the luster to older paint.
Since all of us are constantly looking for improved techniques and new products to make the job of maintaining the appearance of our Porsches less taxing, with the endorsement of Phil Yiu from Detailer’s Domain, Craig introduced our members to the Nanoskin Autoscrub system, a clay bar replacement. This is a relatively new technology that replaces the traditional clay bar with a very fine textured waffle pad that is claimed to be up to three times faster than clay. Like clay, a lubricant is sprayed onto the paint surface and the Autoscrub pad is moved over the surface of the paint to remove contaminants and surface debris. Unlike clay, however, there is no kneading required and the manufacturer claims that it lasts up to four times longer and is washable.
After “claying” and polishing Grant’s 964, Craig applied a light coat of Victoria’s Wax to bring up the final shine and preserve the fresh paint surface.
Sharon and Don Doherty brought their recently acquired gleaming red 2008 Cayman to the workshop with a number of cosmetic concerns. As Sharon explained it, “This is my new baby and I want to maintain it in pristine condition.” They were looking for advice on how to mitigate a number of scratches on the rear spoiler and restore the rusted steel lug bolts that were detracting from the appearance of their immaculate silver wheels. Unfortunately, rusted lug bolts are a far too common problem since Porsche switched from the aluminum lug nuts to the steel lug bolts. Not that the aluminum lug nuts did not have their own problems with rounding over on the edges and the anodizing wearing off over time. The Dohertys were ready to purchase new lug bolts to cure the problem; I suggested a more cost effective solution – repaint them.
The lug bolts, in time, rust because the factory applied paint eventually chips off from the use of a metal socket to remove and replace the wheels. Once the paint is chipped, road salt and moisture further accelerate rust development. The solution is to remove the lug bolts, clean them with fine sandpaper or steel wool, and degrease them before repainting. Apply a fine coat of primer and then re-spray them silver using Wurth Lacquer Spray Metallic Silver paint. This paint is a near perfect match to the silver painted wheels on most recent Porsches. If you prefer, you can choose to paint the lug bolts body-colored or black. Recognize that repainting is not a permanent solution, since they will eventually start to rust again. But if you use a soft socket, you can maintain their appearance for an extended period.
Craig and I both worked on the scratches on the Cayman’s rear spoiler and were able to show some improvement with basic hand polishing using a number of coarse and fine polishes, but some of the deeper scratches required wet sanding which we were not prepared to do.
Vince Baroncini brought his 1990, red, 911C2 to the workshop looking for advice on how to improve the appearance of his leather interior, particularly his seats. His beige leather seats were quite sad looking with cracks, worn surfaces and significant soiling; Vince was convinced that he would have to replace them. We asked Jerry Manna, our resident NNJR leather care expert, to assist Vince.
Jerry reviewed the leather care and restoration products that he prefers to use from Color-Plus in Pennsylvania, particularly the Surflex leather dyes that are available in colors to match Porsche interiors. Using a small amount of matching Surflex dye that Murray Kane just happened to have on hand, Jerry showed the proper application method and the degree of improvement that can be achieved. Unfortunately some of the cracks on Vince’s driver’s side seat cushion were deep enough that they required crack filler before re-dyeing. Nonetheless, Jerry taught Vince the basics in leather restoration and may have saved Vince from having to completely replace his expensive leather seats.
At the conclusion of the demonstration portion of the workshop, we reconvened in the reception area of the service center for the door-prize drawings. Ray Catena Porsche generously provided an extensive selection of Porsche Design shirts, models, hats, and gifts to be awarded as door-prizes. Needless to say the majority of attendees went home with a prodigious amount of newly acquired car care knowledge and a great door-prize gift!
Craig and I want to thank our hosts at Ray Catena Porsche for another outstanding workshop and for their continuing support to NNJR. We also want to extend our personal appreciation to all the concours veterans who came to the workshop to assist and instruct. We realize that without your continued support and enthusiasm for these types of events, we would not be able to offer our members such diverse and educational concours programs.
Do not pack away your polishing pads just yet for the concours season is still in full swing with two of the best competitive events yet to come. On Sunday, August 12, NNJR will again participate in the prestigious New Hope Automobile Show at the New Hope-Solebury High School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. This concours draws some of the most outstanding antique and foreign cars in the northeast and is truly nirvana for any car enthusiast. Porsche sports cars, up to model year 2000, compete in their own class for the coveted silver platters awarded as trophies to the winners. We follow the New Hope Automobile show concours rules for scoring which include engine judging, so be forewarned! This is an outstanding show for spectators, so if you are looking for an entertaining Sunday activity for the entire family, come out and see some of the finest antique and foreign cars and root for your favorite NNJR competitor.
The pinnacle of our competitive concours season is our fall concours, which in the past was held at the Red Mill Museum in Clinton. Because of increasing participation, we have outgrown this location and in keeping with our objective to seek new and exciting venues for our events, we will be moving to a new and even more spectacular location this year! On Saturday, September 8¸ NNJR will hold our fall “Concours on the Green” at the Mountaintop Manor of Robb Francis Motorcars. This estate is nestled in the beautiful rolling countryside of Bernardsville, NJ and features acres of manicured lawn surrounding a bucolic pond framed by woodlands. Rob Francis Motor Cars, LLC, a major source of quality performance and luxury pre-owned vehicles in Peapack, NJ, is generously sponsoring the event. The registration fee includes lunch for the primary concours competitor. Come compete; trophies will be awarded to the winners based on class decided by the age and model of the vehicle. Be sure to bring your camera to photograph your Porsche in a spectacular setting. See this issue of Porscheforus for additional details and registration information.
As always, if you have suggestions or questions, please send an email to