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Final Seconds Saturday of 2014 At Hanzels Auto Body Works

Bradley Brownell August 15, 2014 Cars and Coffee 11 Comments

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Now, Mr. Odell is usually the one to go to Hanzel’s for this event, but his series of posts convinced me that I needed to make the trek over to the bay area from my hideaway in the high deserts of Sparks, Nevada. Set the alarm clock for 4AM and hit the road. There’s nothing quite like a one-day road trip to really liven things up (especially after a quick stop at the ever-fantastic Dutch Bros. Coffee on the way out), and after having been given the opportunity to poke around a bunch of fellow enthusiast’s cars and probe the inner workings of Hanzel’s I’m convinced it was well worth the trip. Fun was had by all as we shared the intricacies of our cars among the gathered crowds. Coffee, crullers, camaraderie, and camshafts; how could it get better?

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Everything was going just like a normal cars & coffee gathering until this beastie pulled in. Around the Hooniverse, I’m far from the LeMons expert, but I recognized it instantly as being the 914 cum 908 from vintage Porsche dismantler ‘EASY’ (shorthand for European Auto Salvage Yard), located just down the road a piece. It stands out in a crowd with garish Gulf livery and pseudo-racy bodywork, not to mention that exhaust note. This car sounds like Beelzebub himself gargling a mouthful of chainsaws. I haven’t yet decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

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Being the resident Porsche nut, I had to talk at length with the car’s handler. For those not familiar, this thing started life as a 914, and has recently been subjected to a slightly off-kilter Volkswagen 2.0 liter ‘ABA’ engine swap. It has also received a brakes upgrade from a mid-80s 911, as well as a four-corner 5-lug hub swap. I’m convinced that this thing has to be pretty quick, and the driver did confirm that it after almost a dozen LeMons races it is getting its racing legs, but after upgrading a lot of the common failure pieces, they’re starting to run into uncommon failure stuff, you know, stuff that starts to break with age and wear (maybe the wear of racing LeMons?) Either way, it was a super cool car, and I was excited to be able to pore over the details. Which other cars & coffee event provides an outlet to do that?

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After the 914/908, we were all standing around discussing the various merits of the vintage Japanese collector market, and corrollarily how difficult it is to find a nice, unmolested Miata these days. What do you know, as if on cue, a beautifully turned out early NA Miata parks up just feet from us.

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Just minutes later, a well-worn, yet clearly cared for BMW E30 rolled in looking smug. There is yet another car that is getting harder and harder to find in decent shape. E30 tax is getting ridiculous, but as good as that car is, good ones will soon be stratospheric in price. Get one while you can, you could stand to make a few thousand on the deal.

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I made the trek to the coast in my Porsche (as they say in rap songs ‘I’m steady puttin’ miles on it), and was more than happy to pull in next to a gorgeous fellow mid-engine owner. Who would have thought that the Porsche driver would be jealous of the Honda driver? We bonded over the joys of similar paint hues, and relatively low power, and fantastic mid-engine driving dynamics. The NSX owner was a supremely cool dude, and it was a fun chat.

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Not much after that, the owner of this super-clean 987 Cayman S walks up and we expand the conversation to include his beauty. He’d recently had a Borla cat-back exhaust attached to his big-bore flat-six, and goodness did it sound delicious. He commented that the mounting was a huge pain, and some things didn’t quite line up right, but once on, he was very happy with the sound.

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As cool as the stuff outside was, I was itching to see what was inside the shop. I’d heard all about their penchant for French and German vintage sheetmetal, and I wanted to lay my eyes on that. I was not disappointed.

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Citroens, Citroens everywhere! I don’t believe I saw this many Citroens since I was in France. They littered every corner of the shop with their crazy French parts, and each one was more beautiful than the last.

 

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Where there weren’t Citroens, there were a handful of Porsches, VWs, and BMWs. The little black Isetta looked cheek-pinchingly cute, the minty-grey color sprayed onto the metal of the Karmann Ghia shell was perfection, and the short-wheelbase-long-hood soft-window-targa 911 in the back was everything I could ever want in life.

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This may have been the last Seconds Saturdays of 2014, but instead of being sad that we would have to wait several months for the next one, I was jazzed up to get the 2015 season started. Beautiful cars, less beautiful people, and excellent conversation. How could it be better. Pack up your classic or modified or bone-stock whatever and meet up at Hanzel’s next year. Oh, and bring your dog.

All images ©2014 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell, All Rights Reserved.

 

 

  • Boxster/NSX pic – why is everything else black and white?

  • jeepjeff

    Alright. Next year, those fenders are going to be painted and I'm going to do something about that front bumper.

    It was good to meet you, Bradley. (I am now having a forehead slapping moment as your byline now connects with your face 😉

  • Eric Rood

    The Easy 908/14 is [LeMons] fast and sounds alarmingly good. Watching them dice with an Alfa GTV6 at Sears Point is definitely worth your time (Gets good around the 4:00 mark):

    [youtube ufM50BkVTS4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufM50BkVTS4 youtube]

    • Eric Rood

      (Also, HCOTY K-Car sighting around 8:30, with the Xmas tree strapped to the roof)

    • Richard Breazeale

      That was the most fun I have ever had in a car. Although, driving the 908/14 through West Oakland is pretty fun, too.

  • That's it… it's official, I am making the trek next year. TIM, I'M SLEEPIN' ON YO COUCH!

    • SecondsSaturdays

      Jeff, we have our unused crack house apartment next door you can sleep in. No charge for the crack pipes and dime bags you find. Chris

  • stigshift

    Damn, I need a Citroen.

  • Nice shots. I need to time a visit to family to coincide with a second saturdays. Looks like a blast.

  • craigsu

    Interesting wheels on that E30. I don't recall ever seeing that particular style before.