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Home Concours Concours Articles Concours June 2011 - An Ounce of Prevention and a Pound of Other Things
Concours June 2011 - An Ounce of Prevention and a Pound of Other Things
Written by Hank Menkes   

Over the past few years your concours leaders have written numerous concours articles about how to clean, polish, and wax this or that area of your Porsche, or how to recover from one automotive cosmetic catastrophe or another. This article takes a different approach, in that it offers a simple, inexpensive method of preventing a common problem from developing into a major eyesore requiring expensive corrective action.
 By way of a little background first – starting in the ‘80s, Porsche transitioned to more sculptured bodywork on their cars employing urethane bumper covers in the front and rear at the same time they began employing wider and wider tires. It could be argued that the performance and aesthetic improvements afforded by these changes more than offset any potential drawbacks. However, if you were a concours enthusiast, you were faced with a challenge every time you took your Porsche for a drive. The large sticky rear tires would pummel the leading edge of the rear bumper fascia and eventually sand blast the paint on the urethane fascia until it looked like it had a bad case of teenage acne. And if you added wheel spacers, you could count on the sides of the rear bumper fascia being infected with the same case of terminal acne!

 The aftermarket quickly saw an opportunity to make a buck off this problem and came out with the traditional, permanently affixed mud flap as the ubiquitous cure. Later, the protective film vendors proposed to simply cover this area with clear plastic, much as Porsche did immediately in front of the rear wheel well openings. Porsche concours enthusiasts, being a resourceful bunch, also developed solutions to combat this debilitating skin rash. Many used the invisible plastic film where it could be effectively applied, and lived with the fact that over time the edges of the film might lift, collect dirt, or yellow, and detract from the overall concours appearance. Others employed temporary solutions by applying removable tape over the vulnerable areas before taking the car on the road each time – even though it was unattractive and a tedious process. Very few ever attached permanent mud flaps to the rear wheel wells as a cure.
 Of all the potential solutions, the clear film was the most universally accepted and became the “VHS” to the alternative’s “Betamax” until Porsche made yet another change to their evolving body design. With the introduction of the water-cooled cars, Porsche subtly changed the molding process for the rear bumper fascia, no doubt for cost saving reasons, and placed a mold seam along the outer edge of the rear wheel well arches.
 Although on most of these cars, the seam was not too obvious; however, some cars had a much-pronounced ridge at this seam. (Guess which category my car fell into?) This made it difficult to smoothly adhere clear film over the raised slag and onto the side of the fascia without a significant bubble over the seam. This left few options to protect this vulnerable area. Although it was still possible to protect the sides of the bumper fascia, it was now a challenge to protect the inside edge of the wheel arch with a convenient, presentable solution that did not detract at a competitive concours event.
 Since I wanted to protect the paint on this exposed area of my 997, I explored all of the potential solutions. I dismissed the permanent mud flaps immediately out of hand because I did not want to make any holes in either the bumper fascia or the fender liners, and I wanted to keep the car completely original. I also tried a long narrow strip of clear protective film on the inside of the wheel arches, but was not satisfied with the appearance and the limited area that could be protected.
 As a result I resorted to applying blue painter’s tape to the edge of the bumper fascia immediately behind the rear wheels. Talk about tedious and ugly! If I was attending a competitive concours event, I had to apply the tape before the drive to the event, remove the tape once I arrived, and then reapply it just before heading home. I know, I know; only a thoroughly committed concours nut would go through this much effort to prevent a few paint chips. However, this is the nature of the sport, and this is the behavior that it forces you to adopt if you want to play in the big leagues.
 After a few occasions of taping and un-taping, I knew that there had to be an easier, more convenient alternative to protect the paint in this area. What I needed was simple, reusable, protection that was quick and easy to attach and remove. Something similar to mud flaps would do the trick if they could be attached and removed without permanently modifying the urethane bumper fascia or the wheel well liners.
 As always, necessity is the mother of invention, or in this case development; I rummaged around the garage and uncovered some remnants of a heavy black vinyl floor runner that I had purchased years ago at Home Depot to use under the cars to cover the concrete garage floor. I had just enough to make my own version of small flaps to go behind the rear wheels; the problem was how to attach them without damaging the bumper fascia?
 As luck would have it, Porsche saw fit to provide a three quarter inch lip on the wheel arch of the bumper fascia that was easily accessible since the plastic inner fender liner was positioned a small distance behind the fascia – perfect for some type of non-permanent clip. After a little more rummaging, I discovered that small metal binder clips, the kind used to hold a stack of papers together in lieu of a staple, made a perfect temporary attachment clip.
 I made a template by tracing the arc of the bumper fascia behind the rear wheel onto heavy paper, and completed the general shape of the flaps ensuring that they would be both plumb and level to the road surface. I transferred the pattern onto the vinyl, and cut out the flaps with heavy-duty scissors. Three clips are required to hold each flap securely in place. The photos show the finished product.
 These flaps are quick and inexpensive to construct, easy to apply and remove, and avoid any permanent damage to the bumper fascia – perfect for a serious concours car. Anyone interested in a template for a 997, drop me an email at and I will be happy to send you a copy.
 On March 27, we kicked off the concours season with the traditional Gathering of the Faithful (GOTF) event at Gene Kirschner’s Autohaus facility in Chatham, NJ. The weather was cool, but this in no way deterred the throngs of concours supporters from gathering at Autohaus for this annual rite of spring. Attracted by the opportunity to catch up with old friends and review the winter’s concours projects, not to mention the great coffee and breakfast foods, we had another tremendous turnout! Almost 60 members turned out for this event with a large percentage of new members attending to hear all about this season’s upcoming NNJR concours program.
 Marlys and Dennis Thovson did us the honors by serving as our unofficial baristas, arriving early, to brew the morning coffee. With efficiency gained through years of experience, Marlys and Dennis made sure that breakfast was ready, sign-up sheets and waivers were available on clipboards, and greeted each new member with a welcome and a smile. Thanks, Marlys and Dennis, we could not have done it as effectively without your help.
 After allowing everyone time to socialize, greet new members, and catch up on recent club news, Craig kicked off the day’s program with a welcome and a detailed review of the 2011 concours schedule which is available on the NNJR web site, in the Concours Forum. All of the events will count toward this year’s championship point total to determine our 2011 Veteran and Novice champions.
 We discussed the need for additional judges for our competitive concours events since we have been drawing an increasing number of cars and taxing our veteran judging teams beyond reasonable limits. Any concours enthusiast that is interested in becoming a judge is welcome to do so. Training material is available from our previous Judge’s Workshops and will be provided to teach you the fundamentals. You will be ask to do a brief internship as an observer of an experienced judging team so you can get some practice and coaching before being set loose to judge on your own. It is relatively painless, and there is no downside other than possibly getting your fingers a little dirty.
 We are also soliciting input for topics for future concours articles and workshops, since as you can see we are clearly moving beyond the basics. Once again, just send us an email with your suggestions. One great suggestion we already received was to include a Question and Answer section in the monthly articles to specifically address your car care concerns. If you have questions that you believe we can help with, send them to and if they are of general interest, we will publish them along with the answers for all to read.
 At the conclusion of the workshop and social gathering, Craig drew the winning tickets to award a bounty of door prizes. The lucky winners received a great selection of car care products and tee shirts generously provided by Phil Yiu, proprietor of Detailer’s Domain in Norwood, NJ. Thanks Phil for so generously supporting the NNJR concours activity.
 Building on the momentum we initiated at the GOTF, on April 17 we held the ever-popular Paterek Brothers’ Workshop at John and Ray’s shop in Chatham, NJ. This event is always a large draw, and this year was no exception; we had 65 fervent concours enthusiasts in attendance. By now this should come as no surprise since John and Ray Paterek are two of the best in the Porsche restoration business, having produced numerous prize-winning Porsches at the country’s most prestigious concours events. It was also reassuring to see the large number of new members in attendance, eager to learn the proven car care methods practiced by John and Ray in their decades of Porsche restoration.
 We enjoyed a feast for both our eyes and stomachs with an outstanding array of classic 356 Porsches in various stages of restoration in the shop as we dined on a great selection of deli sandwiches, and gourmet cupcakes that were “to die for”!
 John and Ray selected Jon Gordon’s recently acquired, 1973 911T to illustrate the proper techniques to bring back the appearance of its tired paint and trim. After a quick wash and dry, and working with Blue Magic and P21S paint cleaner and wax, they demonstrated the correct method for paint polishing and waxing.
 As a special treat, you may remember from last season’s workshop, Jeff McFadyen brought his 356 coupe, work-in-progress, restoration project to use to demonstrate the process of wet sanding and prepping the car for final painting. This year Jeff returned with his spectacularly prepared and completed ivory 356 “outlaw” coupe. John and Ray served as advisors during the restoration project, as Jeff did most of the restoration work himself, and applied the final color coat in the year between appearances. Needless to say the car is a jewel and has already won a best-in show award at a local concours. Kudos, Jeff, for an outstanding restoration, even though it did take awhile!
 John and Ray wrapped up the educational afternoon by taking additional questions from the crowd and addressing specific car care questions regarding members’ Porsches. Donna Paterek was on hand to offer a convenient selection of car care products to the attendees. At the conclusion of the workshop, we drew the winning door prize tickets to award a selection of car care products and tickets to the New York Auto Show generously supplied by Paul Gavel of Paul Miller Porsche in Parsippany, NJ. A special thank you to the Paterek family for hosting another outstanding and informative workshop!
 As the summer continues, there are still a number of concours activities that you will not want to miss. On Sunday, June 5 is another great concours workshops, the Ray Catena DIY Workshop – better because your concours leaders can step back and watch you do all the work on your own car. This event is organized so you can bring your car into Ray Catena’s spacious service facility and perform any concours cleaning or repair necessary on your own car under the watchful eyes and guidance of the concours experts. We will have plenty of space indoors and lifts are available for those gluttons for punishment who want to do undercarriage cleaning in preparation for the Parade. Our hosts, Ray Catena Porsche of Edison, NJ, will provide a hearty lunch and door prizes. Turnout is always high for this event, so if you have something you want to work on and need help, please let us know by sending us an email to reserve your space.
 The summer would not be complete without the annual PCA Parade, this year in Savannah, Georgia on July 31 through August 6. NNJR championship points will be awarded to members who participate in the Parade Concours.
 We would love to hear your feedback. Whether you have a suggestion for improving our workshops, a new topic for an article that you would like us to explore, or a suggestion for improving the overall concours program; just send us an email to You may also use the Concours Form on the NNJR website to send us your comments.