Video of the Day: Stahler drives U27 at Coronado

Our managing editor gets some fun laps in a championship-winning race car at the last race at Coronado Island

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In 2016, I had the pleasure of giving military personnel rides in a very special car. We were at the very last ‘Speed Festival’ race to be held at San Diego’s Coronado Island during Fleet Week. Fleet Week is a very special event and at the center of all of it is honoring the men and women who serve.

In my hands was “U27,” a resurrection of the Porsche 901-series race car that Tony ‘a2z’ Adamowicz drove to his first professional national championship; the 1968 under-two-liter SCCA Trans-Am.

During the 1968 season, Adamowicz, with an independent team owned by Marvin Davidson, would win six races and podium in two more — an absolute shock to the establishment! So much so, that Porsche’s factory engineers examined and took notes on the “phenom car” that was beating their best efforts in their North American campaign.

The car is owned by Porsche collector and MFI Solutions principal, Jonathan Sieger. MFI Solutions manufactures specialty mechanical fuel-injection systems for early Porsches. Tony a2z was a very close friend to both of us. Sadly he was in hospice at this point, and passed in October 2017 from brain cancer.

Working on the car that weekend was ace Porsche wrench, Mark Allen of Vintage Excellence in Oceanside, California.

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Back in 2016, I wrote about the experience for Turnology. “We got the signal to head out, and my right foot squeezed the throttle to about 2,500 rpm as the towering Solex carburetors mixed air and gas over the pistons. I slowly engage the clutch with my left. The clutch grabs right at the end of the pedal’s upward movement and the throaty, air-cooled 1,995 cc flat-six purred and U27 began to move.

“Out the pit exit and up the main straightaway of this unique track was a sweet taste of sound, torque and speed as I pushed and pulled the Porsche shifter from first through fourth. Gently braking and blipping to third, the Orange rear-engined beauty tracked perfectly through the first corner. The 24 inch stainless steel trumpets, swept upward from the headers, and made a Porsche hot-rod noise like no other! Like the finest musical instruments — tone baby!”

While you will see I did not drive the car hard, as it is valuable, and fragile. However, it was fun to put it through its paces. Make sure to crank up the volume! More than anything, it was a way of honoring our friend.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Oh, Thomas, another car built specifically for driving way over limits that will languish in collections, “worth too much” to use as intended.
    I believe cars possess a secret life, unseen and unnoticed by we, their creators, and that machines such as this yearn to redline, slam gears in joyous rage, and jostle sheet metal in the competition for which they were conceived and bred. I’m Indiana born & Indianapolis raised, and as much as I love the collection at the IMS museum, I always feel a vague sense of sadness and longing there. So many great warriors, condemned to sit idle, perhaps occasionally allowed to do a parade lap, knowing that even if they live forever no-one will ever use them properly again.
    To be entirely removed from the purpose of one’s existence, with no hope of reprieve- what could be more tragic? To be unable to use one’s voice, the skills and traits built into your very structure- because the greedy weaklings that birthed you now imagine your monetary worth exceeds your physical prowess.
    Sigh. Racecars have one purpose, only: to be that extension of the driver’s skill and will that achieves victory at all costs. Cars die. Drivers regrettably die. Both doing exactly what they love and crave. I can’t imagine AJ Foyt, Emmo, Teo Fabi, any Unser, my personal hero Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher, Tony Kanaan (yay!), Ayrton, Moss, Stewart… on and on, stuck in a box to be stared upon by folks, many of whom haven’t a clue what acts of which they were capable.
    Yeah, I know. Money is the be all and end all. #Sad.
    Did those Baja Bug stacks even carry a bit of longing and regret?

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