Oktoberfest is not only celebrated in the homeland of Porsche, but also here in New Jersey at the Deutscher Club in Clark, NJ. This year NNJR was again invited to participate in their final biergarten fest of the season on September 30. The Deutscher Club, in conjunction with NNJR, sponsored a lively dinner, complete with German food, plenty of beer, and a traditional oompah band, in combination with a people’s choice concours event.
After what seemed like a summer of continuous rain, we finally lucked out and had great weather for our Oktoberfest celebration – at least before 9:00pm after which, you guessed it, it started to drizzle. This in no way, however, hampered the enjoyment of the NNJR members who turned out for this fete. Once again we had an outstanding turnout of spectacular Porsches that our members put on display for all of the Deutscher Club attendees to view and enjoy.
Jeff McFadyen took first place in the people’s choice concours with his outstanding 1957 356 outlaw. Murray and Akemi Kane took second place with their always immaculate 1994 911 coupe, and Anthony Cristello took third place with his beautiful metallic blue 1989 911 turbo.
For those of you who have not attended this event in the past, the Deutscher Club is a social club that features German traditions in its food, music, and entertainment and invites the area German car clubs to participate with them in their Friday evening biergartens during the summer months. A great selection of German food and beer is available throughout the night and the event draws a very large crowd. The evening that NNJR participated, there were hundreds of families in attendance enjoying their food and drink at picnic tables set up in an illuminated grove of tall trees. As the band played and people danced to the lively music, the crowd enjoyed the mobile decorations of colorful Porsches.
This event was also co-sponsored by our Social Committee, Cindy and Anthony Cristello, and just happened to be on the occasion of Cindy’s birthday. To Cindy’s surprise, the Deutscher Club supplied a large birthday cake in celebration of the special event for all our NNJR members to enjoy along with Cindy. It goes without saying that the cake was far sweeter than the rendition of “Happy Birthday” we offered to Cindy. If you missed our Oktoberfest celebration this year, plan on joining us next year for an evening of great fun, food and Porsches under the stars.
Over the past few seasons our concours program participation has consistently grown, in part, due to the large number of new members attending our workshops and competitive concours events. Most of these new members are “novices” in our classification for the end-of-year championship awards, and are in the process of learning the skills and techniques to properly clean, maintain, and compete with their new Porsches. To help educate the large number of new members that are showing interest in our concours activities, over the next few months our articles will again focus on some of the basics of prepping and participating in a competitive concours event. We hope that this will also serve as a quick refresher course to our veterans as well. The remainder of this month’s article focuses on the basics of winter car care.
Now that winter is fully upon us, it is time to consider how to properly prepare your Porsche for the long cold months ahead whether you choose to drive your vehicle or store it until spring. Our recent concours workshop hosted by Jose DeLaCruz of ID Signs in South Hackensack provided some of the information to get you started; this article documents that information and provided some additional detail for those that may not have been able to attend the workshop.
If you choose to drive your Porsche during the winter months, it is critical that you take some simple steps to ensure that it emerges in the spring looking no worse for the wear. The exterior surfaces take a real beating from the salt, sand, and slush; protecting these surfaces is critical. After a thorough washing and drying, polish and protect the paint and chrome surfaces with a synthetic sealant. Synthetics last longer than carnauba wax and are often easier to apply since many are one-step processes. The newer polymer sealants actually bond with the painted surfaces and provide a very slick long-lasting protective coating. Some can also be applied to the glass surfaces to provide a hydrophobic coating that aids snow and ice removal. Rejex is one example of such a polymer sealant, but most of the major brands offer similar products.
For concours cars that are driven in the winter, if the undercarriage factory wax protection was previously removed from the aluminum suspension pieces, engine, and transmission, these components should also be protected from the corrosive effect of the winter salt. If left unprotected, the aluminum components will grow a white chalky powder that is very difficult to remove. You can protect these pieces by spraying them with a matte clear coat from any of the major spray paint manufacturers. Just be sure to remove any newly acquired oil or grease from the surfaces before spraying otherwise the spray will not stick.
Wheels need protection too. If you are fortunate to have the newer clear-coated silver wheels, you can use the same synthetic polymer sealant that you use on the paint surfaces to protect them. This will also work well on chromed wheels. However, if you have anodized Fuchs wheels, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual since many of the synthetic sealants specifically warn against use on coarse or porous surfaces.
Do not forget that your weather stripping around the doors and trunk needs attention to make it through the cold months as well. They have the potential to freeze to the mating surfaces and tear if not properly lubricated. Apply a coating of silicone in the form of silicone grease (Gummi-Pflege by einszett Car Care Products) or liquid silicone spray. If using the spray, apply to a rag or small sponge first and then spread on the rubber. As an alternative, a quality rubber and vinyl protectant can be used.
Sand and grit find their way into the interior foot wells during the winter and can really destroy expensive carpets and floor mats. Vacuum often to avoid this potential problem. If you really want to preserve your Porsche floor mats, you can replace them over the winter months with temporary mats cut from a carpet runner available at the home center. While you have the vacuum in hand, spend a few minutes vacuuming any sand or grit that may have accumulated in the folds and pleats of your seats. This will prevent the grit from abrading the stitching and save an expensive repair.
For owners of the more recent water-cooled cars with radiators up front, take a few minutes to vacuum the leaves and accumulated debris caught in your front radiators and air conditioning condenser coils. This debris acts as a sponge to suck up and retain salty slush that will eventually corrode the aluminum radiators and condenser coils leading to expensive repairs in the future.
Although there are many opinions about the use of a clear bra on the front end of your car, winter is the season that they really prove their worth by protecting against sandblasting. While a clear bra is beneficial in this circumstance, a removable vinyl bra is not. Sand and grit can easily get beneath the removable vinyl bra, because of their loose fit, and grind away at your front-end paint. They should be used very judiciously during the winter months.
In a previous article we discussed temporary flaps to protect the surfaces of the rear wheel arches from stone chips. With all the sand and grit applied to our roads during the winter months, now is the time to consider the preventive measures you will employ to avoid sand blasting your rear bumper fascia and wheel arches.
Additionally, if you really care about the appearance of your paint, never use a plastic bristle snowbrush to remove snow from the painted surfaces of your Porsche. These bristles are hard and sharp and will scratch the paint. As cold as it might be, your hand is much safer (for the car).
Should you choose to store your car for the winter, there are some steps that you should also take to ensure its successful emergence in the spring. A thorough cleaning, and a polish and wax never hurts so spend a few good hours preparing your Porsche for its long nap. In this case since the car will be not be subjected to the cruelties of winter on the road, you can use your favorite polish and wax – either carnauba or synthetic.
Consider also providing an additional bit of protection by covering the car with a breathable indoor car cover; cotton flannel is the softest and offers a little extra cushioning should something inadvertently bump the car while in the garage. Do not cover the car with a plastic sheet! The plastic will trap moisture and allow mold and mildew to grow on your paint.
If you park your car over winter in a garage with a porous concrete floor that allows moisture to rise from the ground below, you can place a sheet of plastic under the car to limit the exposure of the undercarriage to this source of moisture. You will not be able to completely eliminate the moisture, but the extra effort helps. This leads to the question of whether it is better to leave the windows open a crack, or completely closed. Opinions go both ways. If you choose to store the car with the windows closed, you should consider placing some desiccant (silica gel) in the car to absorb any moisture that does get into the car. On the other hand, since the car is likely vented to the outside even with the windows closed, many people choose to leave the windows open a small crack, especially if the car is covered. This has another advantage of providing a convenient opening to run the cord from a small battery maintainer to an interior 12-volt power receptacle. Make sure that the power receptacle you choose is active when the ignition is off.
Rodents can be a big problem for stored cars; they enjoy snacking on the tasty wiring and cloth hoses and nesting in all the wrong places. Consequently some form of rodent protection or prevention is required around and under your vehicle. A cat can be a great deterrent, but they can bring their own problems. Traps and poisons help; just choose wisely based on your personal circumstances if you have young children or pets. Also stuff a rag or steel wool pad in the tail pipe(s) to prevent any unwanted guests from making a home in your exhaust system. Do not forget to clear the tail pipe(s) before starting the car.
Legend has it that mothballs will act as a pest deterrent; they will not – unless you are trying to prevent moths from eating your faux-wool carpets. Additionally, it is difficult to eliminate the pungent aroma come springtime.
Although modern tires are less prone to flat spotting than their predecessors, if you have concerns, add additional air pressure or use a set of tire cradles. Do not exceed the maximum pressure on the tire’s sidewall.
Do not forget to protect your Porsche’s battery during the storage interval by using a smart, low current battery maintainer. If you do nothing, you can be assured that your battery will be discharged come springtime. And if you are fortunate enough to be able to recharge it, the battery is likely to be permanently degraded, and for the newer water cooled cars you will have to reset a number of the computer controlled functions in the vehicle.
One last caution, if you store your car in an unheated garage over the winter, ensure that the freeze point of the windshield washer fluid is appropriate for the lowest anticipated temperature. You do not want to return in the spring to find a cracked washer fluid tank.
With the current calendar year almost complete, we are actively in the process of planning our concours program for next year. And, as always, we are seeking your input to assist us in preparing a challenging and interesting program for both the Novice and the Veteran. We are also looking for new venues at which to hold our workshops and competitive events. Please, if you have suggestions for topics that you would like to have discussed at our workshops or explored in our Porscheforus Concours articles; send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Happy holidays from Craig and Hank.