Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Portland Historics 2012

On January 1, 2012, 1800ES buddy Dean Koehler received a message from me that said “What kind of drugs are you guys on out there?” Dean had just informed me that the local Portland Volvo group “PDX Volvos” was going to help bring us from northeastern WI us to Portland 6 months hence. Well … the 36th Annual Portland Historics are history and we were really privileged to be part of it thanks to Dean and buddies’ generosity. I start this post then by saying a special thank you to Dean Koehler, Ian Crisp, Colin Roberts and Peter Eulau.
 Lolo Pass, at the Montana-Idaho border -- that Titan really hauls
2137.5 miles, Wisconsin door to Oregon door -- just a short jaunt
PDX is the Portland International Airport FAA designator. Nearby is the 1.97 mile Portland International Raceway (PIR). Owned by the City of Portland, the sound meter located at the Start/Finish line is piped directly to City Hall, and that ain’t good. HMSA took a novel (and controversial) approach to this little problem by moving the start line to just before Turn 1! It worked but oh, were the spectators treated to some interesting starts.
12 turns, many tight, with lots of drifting opportunity
In many respects PIR was the event made for us because our crew, absent Dave Buettner, consisted of regulars David Farrington who flew out from Rhode Island and Joy Perry, plus Volvo gurus Cameron (Cam) Louvre (Portland) and Phil Singher (Whidbey Island, Washington). We’re blessed to have really knowledgeable high quality help at home. Here we had the best of the best in vintage Volvo expertise in one place at one time. Our Chief Transportation Coordinator also flew out from Milwaukee. Moreover, another major sponsor, Mike Dudek of iRoll Motors was able to drive up from Central California to join the fun.
Enough Vintage Volvo brain-trust to undertake any task. Back to Front: Dean Koehler, Sam Seward, Colin Roberts, Mike Dudek, Jayne Koehler, Ray Shutrop, Phil Singher (in hat), Cameron Louvre, Joy Perry, Jim Perry, David Farrington.
Phil Singher (L) and Mike Dudek. All of us Volvo guys have long locks, or at least wish we did.

In preparation for the trip we had some [re]work done on the Sellholm transmission and changed to a higher ratio differential more suited for a shorter track. So we decided to test out the car in the Thursday practice session. Halfway through the first lap there was a big bang below my feet. Before Phil ever got to the track we had transmission problems again. Up on jack stands, I could not get the car to go through the gears. So it did not take long for Cam to get his hands dirty removing the Sellholm. 
Once again upon opening the top of the tranny we could see nothing wrong. A little consultation with Crew Chief Dave back in Wisconsin convinced us that it was highly unlikely that the tranny was going to heal itself. Phil arrived and he and Cam installed the spare Volvo stock M47 that I had wisely included in the spares. Phil replaced the old pressure plate and found the pilot bearing loose in his hand. A quick call to  Peter Eulau brought him to the track with a retainer ring in hand to replace that one MIA.
We were ready to go for Friday! Race Engineer David was working furiously on getting the data acquisition up and running again so we had so performance data to look at.
The Historics were definitely a fun run, as the large Group 6 was not broken into classes.  A small block Chevron V8 made most of us look like we were standing still. A Datsun 240Z was the only car in the field to even remotely keep up with him. There were also some very fast Lotus 7’s.
Friday was a day of becoming accustomed to the track. There is virtually no elevation change, but the turns are quite tight and the chicane is an adventure in itself. The crowd sits at the chicane watching for things to happen.
The grid workers were fun. This woman had a reason for the pink wig – celebrating the end of breast cancer chemotherapy, and with a great outlook (David Farrington photo)
Phil did a fair amount of experimenting with jetting and emulsion tubes to see if we could get rid of the stumble that has plagued us all season. Still we were definitely in the back of the pack after the first qualifying session.
In Saturday’s Qualifying Race the water temperature went up, and the overflow bottle filled to the extent that water was spraying on the windshield going through the chicane. And speaking of the chicane, well, I’ll lead you on and suggest that you look at the video to see the excitement that took place there!
Time to change head gaskets. When the head came off there were definite signs of a leak – minor but perceptible. So we went with a Cometic head gasket to replace the Elring.  That solved the issue and our times continued to improve.
Surgical team at work (Dean Koehler photo)
The Portland Historics includes a nice show of vintage street cars. PDX Volvos was one of a number of clubs at the event. The car that attracted more attention than any of the other good lookin’ Volvos was Daria Loi’s Duett. Daria is Cam’s spouse. What a classic! Open the hood and you find a beautiful power plant. Open the doors and you see a beautiful interior complete with heated seats! Look at the body and you wonder how long ago it came out of the barn. When they were talking restoration Daria decided she liked it that way.
Daria’s Duett. Has a nice ring to it, no? (That's Phil's Amazon in the background) 
Don’t mess with this lady at a stoplight!
Daria Loi trys out Mobil 1 for fitment. At about 5’1” we’ll need to add blocks to the pedals!
And the same goes for Jayne Koehler (taking a break with the Chief Torque Wrencher, Joy Perry)
Alas, while Daria got the attention, Jayne Koehler took home the trophy as Best of Corral among the Volvos.
 Jayne’s ’72 1800E took the prize (Dean Koehler photos)
This beautiful 142 was an IPD experimental car at one time
Sunday started out with a “heat race” that was so darn short that it took me more time to get dressed in preparation for it than to run it. Sort of left me shaking my head wondering why we had bothered. The feature for Group 6 was the last race of the day to complete the weekend, and it was a good one for us. Even though we were once again bumping up against the danger zone of water temperature we were able to complete the race with a dandy drag to the finish line between us and a nice Porsche and a Volvo-powered Marcos. For several laps late in the race I was able to hold them off until the Porsche squeezed by coming out of the back straight and into Turn 7. As we headed to the finish line it was the Porsche, me and the Marcos, and it seemed our Mobil 1 was running out of steam even under full throttle – or maybe it was that we were too full of steam -- and the Marco pulled alongside. Take a look at the video for the excitement!
Mobil 1 leading the Porsche and Marcos, at least temporarily (David Farrington photo)
This little three week road trip was outstanding. Not only did we have a great time on the track we met some wonderful Volvophiles and got to see some great country both out and back. We burned about 478 gallons of fuel in the Nissan pulling the windbreak, er, car trailer. Had it not been for PDX Volvos I don’t think we could have done it.
Home after three weeks, 4792 mile, 478 gallon road trip

Complete video will be posted soon. In the meantime, here's a teaser:

Next up, Double Race Weekend at Road America.

1 comment:

  1. pretty cool blog, i love it..i find it very interesting and very impressive..i love car racing too, me and my dad loves to watch it..its fun and pretty awesome..

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