The audience went wild at the Victory Banquet in the International Trade & Convention Center in Savannah, GA. The guests clapped and chanted: “Bud, you won the car.” Bud Kibbee stood on the stage with his wife Joanne, and could hardly believe what Manny Alban, President of the Porsche Club of America (PCA), and Alexander Fabig, Head of Porsche Classic, were offering him: the first prize. Bud Kibbee had just won a 1973 Porsche 911 T Coupe, which the experts at Porsche Classic in Stuttgart had spent a year completely restoring in order to raffle it off among PCA members. Kibbee had bought eight raffle tickets in order to secure a chance of winning the sought-after collector’s item. The 85-year-old has owned a 1963 Porsche 356 for 20 years, but he had never driven a Porsche 911.
Bud Kibbee’s good fortune late in life was one of the highlights of this year’s Porsche Parade. The event is a tradition for the 100 000-member-strong PCA, the largest Porsche Club in the world, and is one of the most important Porsche events held annually in the USA. Around 1600 members made the pilgrimage to Savannah in early August, and some 750 Porsche vehicles were proudly put on display. The extensive program put on for the Porsche community included the big parade, during which over 170 Porsches drove in convoy through Savannah. One of the program’s highlights was of course the Concours D’Elegance, during which 119 spotlessly clean and gleaming Porsche vehicles were presented for judging, and 275 other enthusiasts also displayed their vehicles. The program also included driving events, such as an autocross competition and a rally, for example.
This year, however, Porsche Classic was among the main players in the Porsche spectacular. Michael Bartsch, Vice-President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Manny Alban, Alexander Fabig and Jochen Bader, manager of the Porsche Classic Workshop, held an unveiling ceremony during the Concours D’Elegance to present the completely restored 911 T to an excited audience for the first time.
Just over one year ago, the PCA, Porsche Club Coordination and Porsche Classic had jointly launched the “Revive the Passion” project, found a suitable vehicle in Los Angeles, transported it to Stuttgart in a pitiful condition and rebuilt it again there. PCA members were given regular updates during the entire restoration process, in text, pictures and videos on the Internet, as well as in the Club’s newsletter.
Porsche fans were now finally able to admire the real-life vehicle in its full size. However, it was not only the appealing first prize that meant that Porsche Classic showed itself at its best in Georgia. A large group of journalists was given detailed information on the entire project and the restoration during a press conference held as part of the unveiling of the vehicle. Moreover, Porsche Classic had its own display covering just under 200 m2 in the Convention Center’s hospitality area, alongside Porsche Design Driver’s Selection, Porsche Exclusive & Tequipment and the Porsche Museum. Many visitors took advantage of the opportunity to get advice directly from Classic experts from Zuffenhausen and the USA, as well as marveling at the range of original Classic parts on display, finding out about the spare parts on offer and using the new “Family Tree” to get a general idea of all the models supported by Porsche Classic. In addition, club members could take part in a quiz to test their Porsche Classic knowledge, look at all the photos of the 911 T restoration and listen to a daily presentation during which the technical aspects of the restoration were explained using the vehicle itself as a visual aid.
“Our visit to Savannah was a complete success,” was the delighted verdict of Alexander Fabig, Head of Porsche Classic, “we were completely taken aback at the response to our 911 T project. People were in general very interested in the range of services we had on offer.”
But even so, it was still Bud Kibbee who was the biggest winner of this year’s Porsche Parade. The sprightly Porsche fan and his first and extremely valuable 911 have something very important in common – they are both from California. The Porsche 911 T, which was almost forgotten and has now been brought back to life, is back home again – in the care of a proud new owner.