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2nd NSW - 928 Frenzy, 1st Aug 1999
Nowra - Naval Aircraft Museum

Back in May, the first "Frenzy", contrary to what its name would suggest, hadn't been frenzied at all. A chance to get out of town, stretch both the car's legs and our own, and to suck in some country air. And of course to meet a bunch of 928 owners. None of us knew what to expect of the day, and of each other, but these people were unpretentious and amusing, and it was a great day on the Mathew's farm.

Frenzy #2 promised to be just as much fun. My challenge: How to make an early-morning winter rendezvous with four kids, one (and only one!) wife, a picnic lunch and just one Porsche? We consider our options : I either wait a few years until the children reach that self-sufficient age when none of them would be seen dead in my company, or I recruit the relatives to baby-sitting duty. Selfishly, I choose option (B). And so, thanks to the Iced Volvo (a big, square, ugly battleship) we dispatch the two younger kids to the care of their doting grandparents, and head off with the others.

The 928 has superbly shaped back seats, great for kids while they're not too big. May I suggest that it's the only Porsche to offer realistic seating for pre-teenagers - a mandatory requirement in our case. Put a pillow on the gearbox tunnel and the little kids just seem to fall asleep as soon as we get underway (maybe I should fix that exhaust leak - just kidding). The bigger kids are also quite snug and comfortable, but would prefer a better view. Nonetheless, they deem to grace us with their presence, so in gratitude I invested in a new Backstreet Boys CD to help speed the miles along.

At the rendezvous point, there are parked a swarm of familiar 928, 928S and 928S4 sharks (what is the collective noun for front-engined Porsches?) a couple of 911s, and a sparkling GTS. "It's black on this side" says Natalie. "It's blue on this side" says Bernard. Actually it's midnight blue all over. Whatever it is, it's gorgeous and there isn't a speck of dust on it. I ponder life's little mystery #928 - no matter how much I clean, why is everyone else's shark always shinier than mine? Or do the others think the same?

Contrary to the forecast, it's a crisp, dry day. Not a cloud to be seen. Fire them all up. Three thousand horsepower burbling in a pub car park. How does it sound? Well, Ferris Bueller may have been describing a V12 Ferrari, but his quote is appropriate - it sounded 'very choice'.

We throw a U-turn and head for the single traffic light that leads onto the freeway. I follow the pack... and straight away get an orange light. I stop. The others are kicking it up through the gears and gone in a flash. I wait. And wait. Jenny shakes her head and looks at me as if to say "I hope you didn't forget the map. You're probably not going to see any of them again for the rest of the morning."

But it proves not to be so. We eventually catch up and cruise down the highway in a loose formation, diligently observing the speed limits (well, pretty much), occasionally jumping each other, and idling effortlessly past almost everyone else. At the back of the pack is a lovely old red 2 litre 911. At the front is a brown 911SC, being driven just a little more vigorously than the rest of us. In the middle are almost a dozen 928s. Eventually one of our number, who shall remain nameless, decides that the rightful place for Ferdy's Flagship is at the front of this wagon train. He embarks on a brief but emphatic demonstration of this point. I am later informed that resistance from the 911 is brief but futile. (Gentle reader, you will remember of course that the 928 was always, during it's 17 year production life, Porsche's fastest, most powerful*, most luxurious, most expensive, and certainly most misunderstood car. OK, so the later 930 Turbos had a little more torque, but let's not quibble.)

As we turn off the freeway, the rolling hills and sweeping bends provide a bit of variety. We glide into Berrima for a long breakfast. Berrima is lovely, lots of sandstone and craft shops, but a little too close to the city to be truly quaint any more. More sharks arrive. Everyone's bill gets mixed up and eventually we get underway again, with no-one sure exactly whose scones and tea they paid for. The tank is low, but no time to fill up (foolish boy) as I shoot a little footage of the cars leaving town. You can see it on the multimedia page 

Now the roads tighten up. I can only see a couple of cars ahead as we sweep from between crests and dips. After Moss Vale we take the back roads down the range to Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley. It's almost lunchtime already, so the twisty bits are a bit busier now than we would hope for. It's not particularly fast, but it's still fun, and the view over the valley below is glorious at times. If you haven't driven this road, come and try it. It's great. But skip the lengthy ham and eggs.

The verges are broken now, with trees close to the road. Len is on my back bumper, then blasts past in his Crystal Green shark when he gets a chance. Love that colour, Len. Jenny shakes her head. The 911SC does the same. Also safely. Boys will be boys. Jenny shakes her head. Now I see that some dingbat with an undiagnosed personality disorder driving a well-laden ute has decided that he simply *must* overtake all these Porsches. And as recklessly as possible. Well, that's fine by me. Away you go, mate. Except that it's not so easy. Opportunities for passing are few (for normal cars), so he makes little progress, spending time either on the wrong side of the centre lines, or sitting too close to expensive polyurethane bumpers his insurance company would resent having to pay to replace. Goose. Jenny shakes her head. I turn the music up.

The kids are happy enough, and Jenny isn't asking me to slow down, so I must be going pretty slowly!. In the Iced Volvo, we'd be rolling around like the Stones, which I must admit is half the fun of driving the Volvo, although less fun for the passengers. The shark is flat as a tack and isn't the least bit stressed, but my blood pressure rises a notch when I bottom out the front suspension in a sudden dip in a full-lock corner (never done that before), then the low-fuel warning comes on. Then some engine oil or perhaps power-steering fluid drips on the headers and wisps of smoke appear under the left front wheel arch. Jenny looks at me wryly but in the interest of marital harmony, decides not to shake her head. Where the hell did that oil come from? My engine is as dry as a bone. But it stops as soon as it starts and I put it down to just another of the niggling little mysteries of shark-ownership.

Down in Nowra, we head straight for the Naval Aircraft Museum and airbase. I can't find a petrol station. It's a perfect day, just like we had for Frenzy #1. Out with the sausages and a bottle of plonk. The barbeques are great and the serious business of socialising starts. We all try to show that we are capable of talking about things other than cars. I limit myself to one glass of wine.

Jessie gives a demonstration of how a RMB'd 928 roars and the boys all grin stupidly like teenagers. The girls roll their eyes. Jenny shakes her head. Len Zech, our natural born leader, cinematographer and resident bossy-boots organises all the cars for a photo shoot. If he hadn't been around we would probably have been too lazy and chatty to bother. But of course it's worth the effort. So thanks Len. And the photos are excellent as usual.

My kids find the tarmac at the airbase perfect for their roller-blades. They skate figure eights between the 928s (whose bumpers *my* insurance company would resent paying for!). But I trust them. They skate better than I drive. Well, almost.

There's just enough time for the museum. Well, not quite enough time, as the museum turns out to be much better and more expansive than I remember. Lots of old military propeller and jet aircraft to scramble over, cutaway engines to examine and even to crank, cockpits to play in, videos to watch, and heaps of imaginative models and exhibits. Planes with seductive names like Venoms and Vampires, or quainter ones like the Fairey Gannett and Spad.

We've run out of time - the in-laws need rescuing from the clutches of the kids. We've barely scratched the surface of the museum, and hardly had time to catch up with a few friends. Did I remember to thank Len and Graham Bates for the great day? Thanks guys. And Cec Hayes for planning the route? Thanks Cec. And did I have enough time to admire David and Wendy Hammond's lovely blue S4? Never enough...

Now, to find a petrol station... and promptly. We succeed, but it's a close thing. We decide to take the main highway for the 200km run up the coast to Sydney. Soon I see Jessie's Guards Red S4 stopped beside the road. Oh no, surely not our first casualty! I pull up. No problem - he's just adding some go-fast magic brew to into the fuel tank. Typical! It seems to work a treat, as he's gone in a flash with a roar and what sounds like a distant 'yee-hah'. Jenny shakes her head.

The traffic becomes slow, as it typically does as one approaches Sydney on a Sunday evening. We should have gone back the way we came. Doesn't matter. Fast or slow, cruising in the shark is satisfaction enough. The children are still happy, the Backstreet Boys haven't yet reduced my nerves to tatters, and Jenny even grabs a little snooze. I guess this is living.

No doubt our next Frenzy will be an overnight stay, probably near the high-country snowfields during November. Although the snow will be gone by then. Watch this space!

Hope you can make it!

Stuart Greaves. '84 928 S2 A/T Euro RubinRot