Rendez-vous April 1999 – Did you miss me…?

RSR Rendez-vous April 1999

Did you miss me…?

Sorry about last month. The real world interfered and I got buried. I’m
sorry about that, but stuff happens. I’ll try and be more reliable in

Deemed if you do and deemed if you don’t:

Anyone who’s active on the Internet probably knows that PCNA is on a
charge lately. If you have an Internet list or web site using the word
“Porsche” you’ve probably heard from their lawyers.

The issue is that Porsche is trying to preserve their trademark and
rights to “Porsche”. If they allow the name to be used freely, they may
be deemed to have failed to defend their rights and potentially put the
marque in the public domain. This quirky aspect of the law is what
causes companies to say things like “Kleenex brand facial tissue”. If
Kimberly Clark fails to mention that Kleenex is a brand (theirs) then
they too might be deemed to have relinquished their rights to their 
own trade name. 

Personally, I’d like to expunge/delete/ban/render-inoperative and
without limiting the generality of the foregoing, make the word
“deemed” and the concept it expresses simply go away! I hate it
even more than idiots who drive with fog lights on at all times.

“Deemed” is a word that stands for a concept that I despise.
Basically even though you haven’t done something, someone else can
decide that you did, even though you didn’t. You might be “deemed” 
to have done something-or-other. This term is often used by income tax
departments. You didn’t sell something, but the tax department 
deems that you did and you have to pay tax on something which you didn’t sell
and for which you got no money. Arrgh!

Did you know that when you die, you are deemed to have sold all of
your assets at fair market value? Did you sell everything? Of course
not, you were too busy dying and besides you willed your assets to your
loved ones. Still, the tax department deems it a sale so that they can
collect tax on the proceeds. See why I hate the concept?

In the case of Porsche’s name, to allow use of the name by unlicensed
parties is “deemed” to mean that they have failed to defend against
infringing parties which results in watering down their rights to their
own name. Porsche can’t let that happen. I don’t blame them. The only
reason I’m mentioning this is that one of the most useful sources of
Porsche information on the net is being threatened as a result of
Porsche’s legitimate desire to protect their rights. 

I’m referring to, the fountain-head of knowledge
about Porsche cars. It has grown from a few enthusiasts to over
6,000 subscribers in a little over a year. If there is anything
you want to know about a Porsche, someone on this list has the
answer. A search engine allows you to locate information in the
extensive archives. 

After long negotiations, the parties, John Dunkle of Porschelist and
PCNA have agreed to disagree and the name will have to change. I’m
hoping that John and his pals won’t just give up and that the list will
come back under a different name. 

Apparently this is a major technical challenge. The name is
hard-coded into a large number of databases and converting to
another name involves a huge effort. Since the list is free, all
this work is done by volunteers. I’ll keep you posted.

Porsche AG financially healthy!

I keep an eye on sales figures. Not so long ago, I was worried that my
favorite brand of car-toys was going to go under, or at best be bought
out by VW or one of the other industry giants. Things have changed and
if you haven’t been paying attention, Porsche sales and revenues are
very healthy indeed. If I had been smart enough to buy Porsche stock in
1990 or so, I’d have made a mint of money by now. It has increased
almost 4 fold. 

When the 996 came out, I snagged a short test drive and reported my
initial impressions here. I speculated that the 996 would help Porsche
attract MB SL 500 buyers.

Recently I ran into John Raymond of Autostrasse. He confirmed my
guess. The new 911 is indeed attracting not only the hard core
enthusiasts but people looking for a little more sophistication along
with performance. Porsche sales are way up, driven by the very
successful Boxster and increased sales of the 996 versus 993.

This is a very healthy trend. Mercedes sells a lot more SL-500’s
than Porsche ever sold 911’s. The way I see it, financial security for
Porsche means more R and D money and better cars for us. When you think
about manufacturers of “enthusiast” cars, Porsche is the only
independent firm left. Please don’t email me about Morgan, since I
don’t count them as a high performance car builder. I can live with
changing 11 plus liters of oil but spraying for termites is too much.

Gee Tee Three … I wannit!

Porsche AG has introduced (in Europe) the GT3 version of the 996.
Wow! I was sure that they’d raise the bar on the 996 and they did. The
new model is closely related to the Supercup racing version of the 996. 

The engine has been bumped out to 3.6 liters and makes 100 HP per
liter. There may be some benefits to water cooling after all! The car
looks serious with subtle aerodynamic touches and a very unsubtle rear
wing. Wider 18″ wheels with massive rubber, lowered sports suspension,
up-rated brakes and a de-contented interior for weight reduction
complete the picture.

Does this mean that after being accused of building GT cars instead of
sports cars, Porsche has heard our call? It sure looks like it. The GT3
is not likely to attract the person who’s shopping between the Mercedes
SL and the Jag XK8 but it will get my attention for sure. The big
question is whether or not they’ll sell it here. I’ve been bummed for
years that Porsche sold 993’s in a 3.8 “Club Racer” version in Europe. 
Maybe the GT3 will make it to this side of the Atlantic. Call your
dealer and bug him!

Speaking of awesome Porsches….

Fernand Leblanc, who along with his wife Mireille dazzled us with
their red 993 GT2 replica at DEWs last season, has gone a step
farther. Late last fall, he ordered one of the last factory 993
RSR’s. The last one was sold to a US collector.

The RSR is a factory race car. Fernand told me it’s amazing. I can’t
wait to see it for myself. By now he’ll have tried it out at Sebring
and perhaps Road Atlanta. He’ll be running it at our DEWs and PCA Club
races this summer.

Formula One ….

Like many of you, Louise and I stayed up to watch the first race of the
season from Australia. Qualifying runs looked promising. The McLarens
ran away from the field but Ferrari, BAR and Stewart looked to be
gathering speed. Maybe race day would be exciting? The podium session
after the qualifications reminded that that Mika is still emotional and
Michael is still surly.

Come race day (night here) it was snoresville. We shut if off before the
end because by then there were only 8 cars running. The new rules seem
to have made the cars much more difficult to drive. There was a lot of
“opposite-lock” stuff going on and even the top drivers were making

When Jacques Villeneuve lost his wing on the straight, we were amazed
at the result. Poof … the wing comes off and, instant loss of
control. Now on an airplane, losing a wing is a bad thing. It’ll ruin
your day if you happen to be flying. I wouldn’t expect a -car- to lose
control in a straight line just because the wing took flight. This makes
me wonder if current F1 racers aren’t more like airplanes than

Considering how much time is spent in wind tunnels, maybe racing
teams have been looking in the wrong places for winning designs. 

Here’s my prediction for the 2010 Grand Prix of Montreal. Pole
position will go to the MIG F1-33 Bat-out-of hell, followed closely by
the Lockheed-Martin-Rolls Royce-BMW F1-11C Polecat. The second row will
be the Prost-Aerospatiale F1 Matra Mirage and the Jordan – Boeing
F1B3-GE Phantom-Apex. You can guess that AVRO with team up with Arrows
for obvious reasons.

Porsche … keep your wings level and landing gear on the road


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