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Machine-Motorsports: Porsche Hunters

by Frank Ewald

Recently the doors of Machine-Motorsports were opened to me and I had the opportunity to talk cars with the proprietor, John Coey. Not only does John love cars, but he loves tracking them. I first met John at a small (now defunct) road course near Dunnville, Ontario, Canada. It was a bit more than a decade ago and I was tracking my Nissan NX 1600 and, while not passed often, had to endure having an awesome RHD Nissan GTi-R frequently fly by. On pit row - between sessions - a conversation started. I got a ride-along in the GTi-R (that cemented my love for this engine) and a friendship began. That was my first encounter with John and a few years before his race team bore the name of Machine-Motorsports. That style continues as John welcomes novice track drivers to lean on more experienced drivers, himself included. Over the years our paths have crossed muliple times at track days, participating in Ontario Time Attack events, and his business as a principal with Jolly Jumper. That name surely brings back memories of your childhood or raising your own little ones with one of the bouncy Jolly Jumpers mounted in a doorway of your home. John helped me when I had some questions about modifying a Jolly Jumper for a child with unique special needs. I found out that there is way more to Jolly Jumper than just jumpers! (The above photo supplied by Machine-Motorsports.)

 

Walking into this large building, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew there would be a few cars, but did not expect to see this many unique machines in one spot.

Upon entering the warehouse housing the range of cars in his possession, I realized that nothing had changed. You see, I really wanted John's GTi-R. Or the cool STi he had after that. Maybe the Toyota AE-86 that he owned for a bit. The Honda S2000? Of course. Essentially John and I have very similar tastes in cars. The difference being that John has actually owned and tracked them while I have only dreamed. Over the past few years John has focused on building a collection that consists of historic and collector Porsche automobiles. You see, John and Machine-Motorsports are Porsche hunters. And there is a story behind each of them. Like the time he found and bought the first 911 sold in Canada. The 1965 911 was located in an old garage north of Ottawa. It was buried under all kinds of parts. Literally, this classic Porsche was sitting with all kinds of stuff and parts piled on top of it! Recognizing a car that had intrinsic value, this car is now being completely restored. It is gems like this that take John across North America - from coast to coast - in search of that forgotten car that was tucked away years ago. Machine-Motorsports is looking for these old Porsches that have seen better days and, when found, coming up with ways to bring these classic automobiles back to life.

 

After a few races with CASC in the vintage class, John decided that his orange 911-S was simply too pristine for this aggressive series. As much as he enjoyed the car, since I toured the collection, this S has moved to another collector.

This Porsche 911S is a beautiful car with a twin plug 3.0 litre engine. It is fully built and a lot of fun on the track. John pointed out that the 'S' also makes it stand out among other 911 models as it is a limited production model. As a result, it has a significantly higher value than a comparably set-up 911 and John was not comfortable pushing the limits while two and three wide in corners during vintage events. And there are not enough historic events close by. I had to ask for clarification between Vintage and Historic as the two terms appeared synonomous. Historic racing is for cars that have either a storied pedigree, a significant value, or both. All drivers give other cars generous room while on the track. In Vintage racing it may be a classic car (and probably one that you or I wouldn't dare to rub fenders with anyone else) that the owner/driver does not hesitate to push to the limits. And I have been at a few vintage races where I have observed beautiful classics get turned into unrecognizable heaps. No doubt there were tears and words of anger - but not quite the heart wrenching situation as if it were a historic car.

 

Barn find? No. This was an underground parking garage find. I wonder how many other amazing automobiles are collecting dust in underground garages across North America?

John picked up this orange 911S in what is a modern day barn find. He saw the vague listing for a Porsche on Craigslist in Toronto. Something about it told him to see it without delay and, after going down five levels in an underground parking garage near the SkyDome (Go! Blue Jays! Go!), he observed a recognizable Porsche shape underneath a somewhat ratty car cover. Sitting for at least ten years it was covered with dust, all four tires were flat, and most tire kickers would have walked away. John and another potential buyer were both looking at the car. John confirmed the serial numbers and knew it was an 'S'. He left, stopped by his bank, and returned with cash in hand to cement the deal. The Porsche was his and he then towed it out of the underground garage, via the spiral exit ramp, loaded it on his trailer, and then spent the next two years working on it to bring it up race ready condition.

 

The cockpit is race ready, clean and purposeful. It could put down competitive lap times.

This included a complete refreshing that first meant new tires, brakes, complete fluid flush and then on to more practical updates. At some point in the car's life it's twin plug distributor had been replaced with a single plug setup. While the car ran fine like that, John knew that it had to have the proper setup. This provides for greater power and allows more flexibility with fuel choice. The interior of the car was painted, it got new seats, new belts, and the rear window got new lexan.

 

The Porsche looks really good up close, but even better as it flies past on a road course. Photo supplied by Machine-Motorsports.

The 911S participating in a VARAC race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport). VARAC is Vintage Autobobile Racing Association of Canada - part of the Canadian Automobile Sports Clubs (CASC) - Ontario Region.

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Comments
ginsu
ginsulink
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 1:17 AM
To be honest, I never quite understood the fascination with Porsche, until I drove one. A Boxter S with 300hp was quite a revelation. The balance and grip of the front end was supple and delicate. The car would glide across the road and around the bends, the steering perfectly weighted. You can actually feel how light the front of the car is, it doesn't bang and crash over bumps like most front-engine vehicles.

I found a Boxster at a junkyard recently and had the pleasure to examine the chassis in detail. Each part is basically optimized for function and extremely lightweight, some forged aluminum jewelry basically. The car is so focused and sculptured into a perfect drivers car, I have grown to respect the marque immensely.

Porsche is really the only car designer that makes such focused vehicles that are not exotics.
You could argue the Corvette, but next to a 911, I would always take the 911.
nissannx
nissannxlink
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:18 AM
ginsu, I agree! I drove a 911 at Mosport and simply couldn't believe how great it felt on the track. I have had the opportunity to drive quite a few different cars there and the 911 absolutely stands out.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 8:50 AM
@ginsu, same for me! It wasn't until I drove my friends 997 911 that I was like, I GET IT NOW. Then I drove a 2007 base Cayman and was completely wowed! I love my Project S2000, but if there's a car I'll sell it for, it will be a Cayman/Boxster. Dave Coleman, the man all Miata, I think he will say the same about the Cayman.
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