Keith’s Blog: The 2013 Northwest Passage – Following a GTV for 1,111 Miles

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The 2013 edition of the local Porsche Club tour, Northwest Passage, took place this past weekend.

SCM, Chubb Collector Car Insurance and Sunset Porsche-Audi were the sponsors. We invited two good friends from L.A., Mark Berns and Jaime Gesundheit, to join us and offered them our 1967 GTV.

As they are both deeply immersed in the world of collectible Corvettes, we thought a weekend spent cruising in 46-year-old Italian car powered by 108 cubic inches (the GTV has an upgraded 1750 engine), would offer a nice change of pace.

They weren’t the only SCMers on the event. Contributor Michael Pierce rode in a 1976 911S owned by Robert Katz, and Joe Angel brought two GTVs, so that his kids Peter and Chris could play “hare and hounds” with him – which they did all weekend. Legal Files columnist John Draneas and his wife Carlyn were along as well, driving John’s 911 SC, which just had a complete suspension rebuild.

>The tour began with an evening reception at LeMay — America’s Car Museum in Tacoma on Thursday night.  Friday morning found us on two-lane roads with a lunch destination of Whistlin’Jack Lodge in Naches, WA. Then it was on to the Icicle Inn in Leavenworth.

Modeled after the Danish-themed town of Solvang in California, Leavenworth is a completely fake Austrian town, with every shop selling trinkets curiously stamped “Made in China.” Nonetheless, the setting in the Cascade Mountains is stunning, and the town has become a wildly popular tourist destination, providing a tidy source of income to the locals.

Saturday was another couple-hundred miles of two-lane roads, with a lunch stop in Arlington. During the afternoon, SCMer Kevin Blount created some excitement when smoke began to spew from under the dash of his 1959 Giulietta Spider Veloce. It turned out that the wire powering his tri-gauge cluster had shorted out — without blowing the fuse (Alfa electrics never cease to amuse). He simply pulled the wire at the fuseblock, wrapped it in electrical tape and was on his way.

Our final destination was another faux town, this time Winthrop – which made me feel like I had walked onto the set of Gunsmoke. But it was charming, and the various Porsches and Alfas (and solitary Corvette and Ferrari) on the tour looked terrific against the aged buildings.

We headed back Sunday morning for the long, 400-mile return trip.

When Jaime rolled the GTV into the SCM garage on Sunday night, he had covered 1,111.4 miles. They burned just a ½ quart of oil, and aside from a driver’s-side windshield wiper that needed tightening, and the hood release cable that broke (on-the-spot repair, courtesy of Vice Grips), the car behaved perfectly – and got 25 mpg as well.

I would like to give a special thanks to Jim and Judy North, who spearheaded the organizing of this event. It takes many, many hours to put on something like this, and every element was flawlessly executed. Managing 39 cars and 78 participants is a big task, and they did a great job.

My only sadness was that I wasn’t behind the wheel of the GTV! But soon enough my foot will be healed, and I plan to be driving to the Alfa National Convention in Santa Rosa in a couple of weeks in my 1965 Giulia Spider Veloce.

 

 

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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