My two-week research trip to Zuffenhausen delayed this issue. I apologize. I had hoped to finish the issue before I left – just before Thanksgiving – but the flu had other ideas and then Internet connections had still other influences.
The talk throughout Porsche while I was there centered on the same two questions most of us in the U.S. have: What to think about the VW diesel situation? And what to expect from our new president?
For the latter, one can only reply that time will tell us what will happen and what we should think. For the former, the Germans are full of their own observations and frustrations.
A number of individuals throughout the city said they believed VW had been completely blind-sided by the strength of the U.S. reaction. In Germany, they explained, situations such as these typically got a strong (or slight) slap on the wrist and a promise extracted to “never do this again.” Not so in the states, and while the public and governmental reaction apparently surprised Wolfsburg management, individuals said VW should have known, based on U.S. reactions to other automotive situations, that this was bound to be big.
How big? The Germans who own VWs powered with diesel engines were furious when the company offered American owners a cash buy out. What about us, they asked, in newspaper letters and street protests. A company that previously enjoyed high customer loyalty squandered tens of thousands of potential repeat customers with that decision. Then it upset its own employees with the announcement it would lay off some 23,000 of them to “become more competitive” in the marketplace. More than a few individuals suggested this could mark the beginning of the end of passenger diesel in Europe.
That all remains to be seen. Time will tell us in this situation as well what will happen and what we should think.
Meanwhile, in this our final issue for 2016, we open the issue by introducing you to Porsche’s new Experience Center in Los Angeles. This facility – on “public” grounds rather than inside an international airport – likely will become a destination not just for driving experiences but also for lunch or dinner in their two food facilities. Next, we offer you thoughts and reflections on cars and car enthusiasm from our own Kevin Watts.
Following Kevin, Sean Cridland introduces us to the late Don Janssen, an American who lived the Porsche experience in Germany like many of us might fantasize. Following that we’ll recommend some books for you to give yourself during this holiday season and beyond. And then Randy Wells will show and tell you how to enhance the handling on your early 911.
Lastly, if Don Janssen’s story is sublime, our closing tale – of an immense vehicle auction in Italy – is the ridiculous. R.M. Sotheby’s handled a government sale of “Duemila Ruote,” two thousand wheels consisting of bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, and boats. The condition of many of the vehicles was, umm, dodgy. The prices achieved were startling.
All of us who contribute to and produce Road Scholars Magazine thank you very much for reading us and for telling your friends about us. We hope you have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and a wonderful New Years along with every other holiday you celebrate.
Editor, Road Scholars Magazine