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Hooniverse Goes To The Canepa Design Open House

Bradley Brownell July 6, 2015 Featured, Hooniverse Goes To... 17 Comments

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Do you live anywhere on the west coast? Have you been to Seconds Saturdays at Hanzel’s yet? You really should. It’s awesome.

While the Seconds Saturdays event usually takes place at Hanzel’s in Oakland-ish, a couple of weeks ago, Canepa Design was hosting their open house, and the Seconds Saturdays crew was on their annual convoy to Canepa event. Hanzel’s is a 4 hour drive for me, but it’s worth the trip, especially when it involves a side trip to one of the best vintage restorers in the country. As an added benefit, Mr. Canepa himself had recently purchased one of Porsche’s 959 Dakar racers, so I absolutely had to make this trip.

Hanzel Auto Body Works – 

My new bride and I, literally the day after we’d returned home from our honeymoon, set out for another trip to California at about 4 in the morning on the second Saturday of June (get it?). Being that we left early in the morning, my brain was an absolute mess. We were already in Davis, CA before I realized I’d left my camera at home. Ugh, what an idiot. Oh well, no turning back now. A traditional stop for coffee at Dutch Bros. and my brain was a little clearer, but not much. With pedal to the metal in our little Boxster, we made decent time and arrived right before the SS gang was about to leave.

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Luckily, Mr. Chris Hanzel was such a nice guy, and he offered to let me use his camera to capture the trip. Some of these photos are his, and some are mine, as we shared the camera throughout the morning. It was a great time, and I was able to meet up with a ton of people I knew that I hadn’t seen in months. I think we got more congratulatory remarks on our wedding at Canepa than we did at our actual wedding. The car community is great, especially on the west coast. There are just so many cool people that make trips like this all the more valuable.

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The crew making the trek from Hanzel’s to Canepa was a motley one. Lotus, Subaru, Porsche, Ford, Audi, Jaguar, Peugeot, Opel, Aston Martin, and Toyota, nobody is discriminated. It was only about an hour drive from Oakland down to Scotts Valley, perhaps at extra-legal speeds, but it was a lot of fun getting looks from passersby as we all cruised in a solid line of intensely cool cars, each for their own weird reasons.IMG_4642

Again, it was the people that made this little trip possible, and made it fun. The cars pull us all together, but the people keep us coming back and keep us hanging around. So many interesting conversations going on all over the place that range from swapping Porsche 944 aluminum spare wheels onto your disc brake Porsche 356 to running an Opel in LeMons. There’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

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Canepa Design – 
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Thanks to efforts by Hanzel’s, we had preferred parking in the Canepa lot once we arrived. It was hard to make it through the parking lot without drooling, as some of the best cars in the world had gathered there for the open house. The building was surrounded by some of the most interesting and coolest super cars, sports cars, vintage cars, and a whole lot of oddballs. Some home-grown hotrods, some Italian hypercars, a whole lot of Porsches of all vintages, it was intense. If you could imagine it, there was probably one on the premises. IMG_4665

How can you beat a clean chrome-bumper B? I need to own one of these some day. IMG_4673

A handful of LeMons cars were there, including the Evil Genius Racing Opel-Vette and “Ferkel the Nein-11”, a diesel swapped 80s Porsche. Both got a lot of attention, which is interesting considering these ‘crapcans’ were sharing the parking lot with multi-million dollar world-beaters. I guess engineering and weird hacks are interesting no matter how much money you have.

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I have no idea what this was, what it started life as, or what it was supposed to be, but it was super cool. It was sporting a quite large inline six engine with a quite large supercharger. Unique is an understatement, in this case.

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A line of Porsche goodies. IMG_4703

I’ve always had a soft spot for these diminutive Hondas. Bike engine? Sure, why not?IMG_4715

In the land of euro-centric, this Caddy cuts a stunning figure. There’s a reason Cadillac was once the standard of the world for luxury. This thing just screams opulence. I want one.

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You just can’t not enjoy yourself at an event like this. It’s so eclectic and strange and inviting and fun.
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Pardon me, chaps, just sliding through in my vintage Ferrari. Please make way. Thanks. (Any color but red!)

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All around great guy, Mr. Alex Ross of Sharkwerks fame was there. I’ve driven their 800ish horsepower GT2, but have not stepped into the 4.1 liter yet. There’s a standing invitation, and I need to take him up on that. What a great car. I bet it drives like a dream. IMG_4814

Speaking of #PARSH content, this one is my ultimate dream. There will come a day when depreciation has hit the 987 generation Boxster Spyder enough that I will own one. The Purp-Stag in the background was intriguing. I started my journey into car-freak-dom with a Triumph, and they’ll always hold a place in my heart… Unfortunately.IMG_4815

So Syncro. So Volkswagen. So burgundy. (I thought it was pretty hilarious that this AWD VW was parked next to another AWD VW.)

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Just a Lusso. No biggie. IMG_4818

Just a 512 BB. No biggie. IMG_4820

This #CAMERO had one of the biggest superchargers I’ve ever seen. I wish I had found the owner. I want to know how fast it is! Probably way faster than your Mustang, PUNK!IMG_4821

Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the Ferrari 308 club. The first order of the Ferrari 308 club is to learn how to defend your car when you go to regular Ferrari meets.

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E30 M3! Any car that came from the factory with box flares is 100% A-Okay by me. IMG_4828

Oh, is that a McLaren F1? Huh. Never seen one of those in person before. NEAT!

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Carbon everywhere and a seat in the middle. What an oddball car. I really hate being “that guy”, but the F1 has never really done anything for me. And that’s even more true now that they’re selling for 8 figures. No thanks.

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Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
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That Ferrari The Ferrari. Much like the Ferrari Hypercars that came before it, the LaFerrari, I think, should go only by one name. It sounds better that way. If you own one and say “I’m going to take the Ferrari LaFerrari today”, you’re doing it wrong. THE 288 GTO. THE F40. THE F50. THE Enzo. THE LaFerrari. That’s just how it works. IMG_4838

It looks like an alien. It sounds like heaven. It goes like insanity.
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Here’s my ride for the weekend. I didn’t have the correct spacers to fit my new GT3 wheels all the way around, but my old wheels had tires that were too far gone to make a 560 mile trip reliably (Especially if a particularly sad person were walking down the road and happened to get a tear in my path. They would not have done well in the wet.). What’s a guy to do? Well, I put the front GT3 wheels on the rear with new tires and limped along on my marginal original front tires. This has since been rectified. 295 section width rear tires are amazing! (Read more about this project on FlatSixes.com!)IMG_4843

Remember what I said about oddballs? This SVX and the Peugeot 505s below should be all the proof you need that there were some off-the-beaten-path cars at this event.

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Hey, guess who it is! Jonny Lieberman arrived in this gorgeous AMG GT after having driven it almost literally everywhere. He said he should have a video of this car up on the MT YouTube page soon. He seemed impressed with it. I made a dumb joke and he didn’t get it, and I felt like an idiot. Oh well, that’s the way life goes. All around nice guy, though. Even if he does ruin everything.

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EXIGE! Even the name sounds like it could kill you. I don’t know what was up with the mismatched wheels, but I dig it.
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It takes all kinds to make a car community. Some love their traditional cars. Some love other… less traditional cars. IMG_4875

The Canepa Showroom – 

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An Interscope Racing 934 made me weak in the knees. This beauty was just so damn mean. That Interscope livery has always been a favorite of mine, and the stories of Flyin’ Hawaiian Danny ON-THE-GAS Ongais driving these machines has always been the stuff of legend.

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A white 930, a white 959, a white Carrera Speedster. ALL WHITE EVERYTHING!

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I’ve seen this creamy pearlescent 959 a couple of times now, and every time it just blows me away. There’s something about that very of-the-time-period color combination that makes me love this car more than I normally would. It’s just dream-worthy.

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In stark contrast, this Vader-esque Porsche 914 looks like it would rather kill your closest sibling than allow you to tame it. I’ve been following the build of this car for a few years as well. It’s such a unique car that it’s hard to miss it if you’re involved in the Porsche hobby at all. A chopped top, shaved door handles, a front hood filler, unique front and rear bumpers, and those GT-style flares just make this car look so dark and broody. It’s also got a large-displacement flat-six with more than enough power to make you giddy. Don’t look at it wrong, though.

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The Canepa Museum – 

The original Shelby GT350 has always been my favorite Mustang. It’s a no-nonsense homologation special. A true-blue racer for the road. What’s not to like?

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With Pikes Peak just last weekend, this car is as apropos as ever. Bruce Canepa himself built this car to run up the mountain back in the day, and it was insanely fast. In 1980, Canepa originally built this car with a naturally aspirated flat-six, but soon found out that the lack of oxygen in the upper atmosphere was hurting his times as he got higher and higher. For his 1981 assault on the hill, the team installed a Porsche 930 engine in the back, and Canepa qualified easily on pole. Unfortunately, crowd control was poor in those days (it’s not great these days either), and Canepa rounded a corner to see a man standing in the middle of the course. In avoiding hitting this moron, Canepa spun and it cost enough time that he lost his easy win, settling for second.

The Unsers were not happy with how much speed Canepa’s turbo car had, so they petitioned the SCCA to adopt USAC’s displacement/weight rules. With a 3-liter turbocharged engine, Canepa’s car would have had to put on hundreds of pounds of lead ballast to be legal in 1982, effectively neutering the car’s advantage. The car has not raced since, but it is still and awesome piece of machinery. I hope one day Bruce will bring the car out for the classic class at Pikes and let it rip.

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Porsche’s championship winning LMP2 car, the RS Spyder. I’ve often wondered what will become of these cars. They are carbon-tub manufacture, so they can’t be vintage raced very much, can they? The rumor goes that Porsche gave this car to Canepa for his help in setting up the Rennsport Reunion 4 a few years ago. I don’t know how true that is, but it sounds like something that might happen. Regardless, this car is awesome. It won its class at Sebring back in 2010.

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This was the first car in NASCAR history to record a one-lap average at more than 200 miles per hour. This unrestored beauty was run by Buddy Baker and Cotton Owens back in the day, and even won a 500 miler at Darlington.

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When I was a youngster, I used to really love NASCAR. By that, I mean I used to really love Dale Earnhardt. He was what REAL racing was about. He wasn’t in it for the glory, he was in it for the love of the sport. While he was mostly remembered for his stints in the Goodwrench black *INTIMID8R* cars, the bright yellow Wrangler car was always a favorite of mine. A few times in his later years, he ran a throwback livery to this one, and those stick out in my memory. Anyway, seeing the real-deal in the flesh was pretty awesome.

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Is that a frickin’ 6-wheel Tyrrell? Yep, that’s exactly what it is. This was such an innovative car in its day. With a bit of work, some better tires, and a lack of dickish-ness by F1, this car could have been developed into something properly fast.

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Here it is. The main event. The DAKAR car. I… I just… Can I have a shoulder to cry into? This Porsche was the absolute beauty I expected it to be. I’ve wanted to see a real one in person for basically my entire life. Who else but Porsche would have thought to take a supercar to one of the most dangerous and grueling races of all time.

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It’s just so… SO AWESOME!

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Holy CRAP. A 917!

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Holy CRAP. Another 917!IMG_4775

Um… Jackie Ickx and Jochen Mass drove this? I’M NOT WORTHY!

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This was the first Penske Javelin built, and was campaigned at the 1970 Daytona 24 hour before being run for the full Trans Am season by Mark Donohue. Because Penske was, at the time, heavily involved in the upcoming Porsche 917 Trans Am project, he worked a deal with Porsche to supply 917 brake calipers and rotor assemblies to AMC with AMC part numbers on them. Because it was an “optional part” in the AMC catalog, the 917 brakes could legally be used on the Javelin Trans Am car. Just a bit of that “Unfair Advantage” Donohue talks about in his book.

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Abarth! Take 2 parts cute and one part insane, and you’ve got this Fiat Abarth figured out. IMG_4782

A late Kremer-built 935 K4! Only two K4s were built. Kremer ran this car for the 1981 season in Europe and won two races (and four more podium places). After that, John Fitzpatrick purchased the car to use for the 1982 IMSA season. Modifications included the door ducts to feed larger intercoolers, rear belly pans, and a reworked rear suspension. With the boost cranked up, the car managed somewhere around 800 horsepower. In the US for 1982, the car managed 5 victories and only DNF’d once. It was once owned by Nicolas Cage, if you care about anything like that.

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More 934 goodness!

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A GELO racing RSR!

The Canepa Workshop – 

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Holy CRAP. Another 917? Jeez.
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It’s impossible to not love a widebody 993. SWOON.

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I have a 1:43 scale model of this car on my desk at work. Nope, I wasn’t blown away at all…

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I’m pretty sure this is the same 906E that I saw running at Mid Ohio a few years ago. If so, it is one of only a handful of cars to have fuel injection (Einspritzung. Hence the 906E name.).

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Oh yes. IMSA Toyota. So much win.

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This car was just sold at auction in Florida a few months ago. Supposedly there are two 962s with the same chassis number, and they were both at that auction. I don’t know which one this is, but I hope it’s being overhauled in time for Rennsport Reunion V in a couple months.

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Carrera RS. Always a joy to get to inspect one of these. Ducktail FTW.

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How often do you seen an ATS just sitting around waiting for work?

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This is a pretty awesome way to store cars. That Coca Cola 935 prototype over in the corner is my favorite of this lot.
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Is that a real Cobra? Yeah, that’s a real Cobra. It appears to be a late-production narrow-hip 427 car with coil springs. I like this body a lot better than the wide-hip, but at the end of the day I really prefer the earliest 289 cars with wire wheels. THAT’s the look that screams Cobra to me. IMG_4883

Gosh, what an amazing trip. It was just so much fun! I need to make it back there. A lot.

I frequently talk to people at Canepa and sell them a lot of parts, so it’s always fun to see the fruits of my albiet limited labors. Thanks for the coffee, thanks for the donuts, and thanks for opening up the shop for everyone to see. We owe you, Bruce Canepa. You’re a gentleman and a scholar.

[All photos ©2015 Hooniverse/Bradley C. Brownell/Chris Hanzel, All Rights Reserved.]

  • Pauly WallNutz

    what an amazing set of photos. is this all of them? i wanna see more!

    • Bradley Brownell

      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/o44xn1u1hjy91n5/AABEKSx52fRC9l-qI54ixYmfa?dl=0

      Here’s a dropbox with all of our photos from the day. None of these have been edited even a little bit, so keep that in mind.

      • Pauly WallNutz

        next question, did they have to force you to leave? they would have had to pick me up and carry me out at the end of the day! so much to look at and appreciate.

        also, img_4729.jpg in the dropbox, what were those stacks on? looked like a classic Indy racer but i couldn’t see it in another angle.

        • Bradley Brownell

          I, shamefully, have no other photos of that car. It looked to me like a replica of a 1960s Formula 1 car. Mayhaps a Ferrari or something?

          http://www.speedhunters.com/2015/06/the-new-king-of-cars-coffee/

          • Pauly WallNutz

            from the little bit of bodywork i can see, it looks like a Ferrari 312, but that wouldn’t be the original engine setup, just speculation.

      • Pauly WallNutz

        oops, forgot to say thanks too, so Thank You for the link.

        • Bradley Brownell

          No, thank you. I’m happy to oblige.

    • Bradley Brownell

      I guess this was the truck’s maiden voyage. I loved it. So weird and lovely.

    • dead_elvis

      Towing with a Vanagon?! That must be a leisurely exercise if it hasn’t had a swap of some sort. (I realize that to you, it must seem like an enormous excess of torque & HP – but just look at that bloated monster in tow!)

  • JR

    ” off-the-beaten-path” Peugeot owners

    • Is that Washington plated Pug on the right, “Moby” the parts car that was resurrected and driven home to California when “Pujo!” the LeMons 505 Turbo S of Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys fame was recently sold?

      Racing Pujo! in LeMons has turned me into a French car convert. I love that car.

      • JR

        Yes Bret, all correct on your comments!

        • That’s excellent! The white car was really nice. Too nice to be sacrificed to keeping a race car going.

          How’s Pujo!? Is a new engine in his future?

          • JR

            Bret, come on over to our Facebook page “Peugeot Owners of North America” and request to be added.