After a morning at the Hendrick Heritage Center viewing over 200 Corvettes and American muscle (along with 11 Porsches and six Ferraris), the Appalachian Region field trip to Charlotte returned to its roots as visits to Porsche shops were on the schedule.

The first stop was Sonderwerks, a Porsche air-cooled shop specializing in performance, service, restoration and sales. Just as we walked into the Hendrick collection and were wowed with Corvettes, we walked into Sonderwerks and were wowed with air-cooled Porsches.  They were everywhere, in every color and in every state of repair.

Owner David van Epps greeted the 18 Appalachian Region members who continued on the field trip from the lunch at the Speedway Club.  Sonderwerks was a candy store of Porsches with blue cars, white cars, sepia cars, red cars and more.  David gave us an overview of what Sonderwerks is all about and then walked us through the shop.  

They do it all when it comes to air-cooled Porsches but I really know them for their fine upholstery work.  Don Zelm got into a serious discussion with them about adding Pepita to his 997 so we all may get a chance to see their handiwork soon in one club member’s cars.  Bob Disney was quite taken with the Midnight Blue 911 Carrera for sale that would make a good stable mate for “Blue”, his sapphire blue 991.

When we walked into the paint shop, the green ’72 911 brought a tear to Charlie Hickey’s eyes as he remembered his own Region-famous green ’72 911 Targa.

The surprises weren’t over yet, as we walked through the next door to be greeted by a beautiful white RSR Tribute Porsche.  The real surprise though was when the deck lid was opened to reveal a Tesla motor.  The frunk had the batteries from a Chevrolet Volt.  The purists will reel in “horror” at the thought of an electric “air-cooled vintage” Porsche but I have to admit that I admired the pioneering effort and quality work the owner put into the car to determine how to electrify a Porsche.

The day ended with an hour or so to relax at the hotel before dinner at Waterman’s Fish Bar.  The owner of Waterman’s is a “Porsche Guy” so he welcomed us with a complementary selection of appetizers including oysters, hush puppies and seafood dip.  We all felt that appetizers could have been our meal, but then we would have missed the fantastic seafood entrees that we all enjoyed.  

The night was followed by a bourbon tasting back at the hotel where we all wisely screwed the lids back on the bottles by 9:00 p.m. since we had a full day of shop visits and drive home to Asheville the next day.

Wednesday morning started with a stop at GMP Performance, a German Performance Shop in Lake Norman that supplies Porsche Asheville with performance parts for your Porsche.  Owner Stephen Klittzsch, a long-time friend of the region and Manager Quentin Boatright greeted us with coffee and donuts at the shop and similar to the Hendrick Center requested that we not take photos in the shop as they are preparing very specialized builds for owners.

They weren’t kidding as we saw an array of Porsches on lifts and engine clean room that were just stunning. Everyone was taken by two Porsches in particular, an Ocean Blue 911 with a paint job unmatched by any restoration shop in the world and a 991 Guards Red 911 that was customized to the owner’s wishes with graphics, a duck tail spoiler and enough performance add-ons for an additional 50 hp.

GMP Performance has three locations now, the Lake Norman shop we visited, the main Charlotte location and a new South Atlanta shop.  As was mentioned they can provide any of their performance parts to Porsche Asheville for installation or can handle the install themselves.  Several of us have purchased DSC controllers and other performance parts from GMP for our own or Porsche Asheville install.

The beautiful Ocean Blue paintwork we all admired was actually from GMP’s shared building partner, Carolina Coach Crafters.  Carolina Coach Crafters is world renowned for their work and craftsmanship. They build cars from the ground up and as their web site says: “You dream, we build.” One project was a customer’s sketch of his vision of a Porsche that he turned to Carolina Coach Crafters to make a reality.  The body was being hand-rolled and formed while we were there.

Owner Tim Lingerfelt led us on the tour of his shop where we were amazed at the car sights as we entered each different area of the shop.  Tim gave us a sneak preview of an aluminum masterpiece and work of art that will be displayed at the upcoming Werks Reunion and Amelia Island Concours. We can’t share any more than that so we don’t ruin the debut in Amelia. 

We saw why no photos were allowed as we viewed these works of are that were being created before our eyes.  As Tim said; “They are not a collision shop, but a dream factory for delivering an owner’s vision of what the ultimate car is for their collection. 

The field trip had not originally had Carolina Coach Crafters on the schedule but thanks to Stephen Klitzsch of GMP and Tim Lingerfelt we had this extra bonus to the trip. 

The morning and the Appalachian Region field trip to Charlotte ended with good-byes until the next event as some went off to Kart race, some ran errands in Charlotte and the rest headed back to Asheville with great car experiences to enjoy as memories of a fantastic Appalachian Region event.

Jim Moore – Appalachian Region President