Six Degrees of Porsche Separation

Hi Patrick,

Franz Blam and Hurley Heywood, 1977. Two famous guys Ive talked to without having a clue who they were at the time.

Franz Blam and Hurley Heywood, Watkins Glen, 1977. Two famous guys I've talked to without having a clue who they were at the time.

I’ve seen the name “Thomas Blam” on the Flying Lizard team website, and have always wondered if he might be related to Franz Blam. I have never met either of them, but I owe a debt of some gratitude to Franz. Last Summer, I was shopping old Porsches in the Atlanta area where I grew up, and his name was passed to me as THE mechanic to do a pre-purchase inspection. I was looking at two 1988 911s, one right in Tucker, where his shop is located. But I ran into a bit of a problem with the owner of the Tucker car, who wouldn’t let the car leave her property for an inspection. She was asking top dollar, which I could tell was not really warranted by the look of the car alone. Still, these oldies-but-goodies are hard to come by, and I didn’t want to judge this book by its cover.

Test Drive #1

Test Drive #1

Franz was so very kind to me. I talked to him two or three times in the days leading up to trip to Georgia to test-drive the two cars. He even said depending on the logistics and timing, he was willing to go to the woman’s house to do the inspection on the Tucker car, cautioning me that the inspection would be limited to what could be accomplished in a driveway without a lift. He took a good long time talking to me about the things I did know about each of the cars, advising me of things to look for, and very patiently entertaining my many questions. I didn’t Google him at the time, and had no clue who he was in the world of Porsche racing and engineering. He didn’t know me from Adam’s housecat, yet was entirely generous with his time and knowledge.

Test Drive #2

Test Drive #2

In the end, I passed on both of these cars before having either inspected. The Tucker lady ended up being way too difficult to deal with, and she seriously overstated the condition of the car in every important way. The other car looked pristine, much closer to what I’d expect at the asking price (low $20K’s), but it was my least favorite color combination, Espresso brown exterior, with linen and cork leather interior – kind of an ick tri-color combination. Plus I got a bad feeling from the salespeople at the lot where I saw it. They were not going to budge on the price, no matter what my inspection found. So I moved on, eventually identifying a car in Houston which ended up being my car.

But I never forgot the kindness Franz Blam showed me. And now I see from the Lizard website that both he and his son, Thomas, are closely involved in keeping the Flying Lizardmobiles on the road, with Thomas serving as Chief Strategist. What an interesting family! I will hope to meet them someday, and to have an opportunity to thank Franz in person. I see that he has a website, and I’m going to go send him a thank-you note right now while I’m thinking about it! Better late than never, right?

In other garage news, I got a call from my Porsche mechanics today. They were wondering where I’ve been! Hahaha! I had gotten into the habit of stopping in there often, and especially running over there on my breaks from work to breathe in the air-cooled goodness, and gawk at all the pretty Porsches (and mechanic butts). Their call totally cracked me up! They said they thought for sure they’d see me at Easter, as I’d also gotten into the habit of dropping by there with all manner of holiday-themed baked goods. I spoiled them, and they missed me! I’m going to swing by there tomorrow to say hello. I’ve missed them, too.

Hope you are enjoying your time in California!



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