My Car Quest

September 19, 2021

Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals: Porsche Club and RUF Automobile Group

A great father and son Porsche car day.

by Derek Meluzio –

There are few things I love doing more than going to car shows with my father, Don Meluzio. There are no cars I love more than Porsche and RUF Automobiles. For six years in a row my dad and I have attended the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals. This year was our seventh… but it was a bit different than in the past.

Each of the first six years we took various Italian vehicles to the show and displayed them in the Italy section of the showfield. For those of you who are not lucky enough to have attended the Carlisle Import show, the giant showfield is divided by country of origin. Ferrari, Lancia, Fiat, etc. are all found in the Italy section as Porsche, Opel, Audi, etc. are together in Germany.

Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

We have shown dad’s Bizzarrini, his OTAS, and a few various other Italian Fiat/Abarth cars during the first six visits but this year we mixed it up. We threw the show a curveball. This year’s flavor was Porsche, and this year’s section was auf Deutschland!

I was born in 1977. In 1978 my dad bought his yellow Porsche 911T. He has owned it almost as long as I have been alive. I literally grew up in that car. We went on family drives with it when I was younger, I rode along in the back when my parents did PCA road rallies, and I rode in the passenger seat when he autocrossed it in the 1980’s. That car made me the Porsche lover that I am today. The sight, the sound, the smell… everything about it, I love.

Porsche 911T

Porsche 911T

What was also different this year was that for the first time ever, instead of me helping dad with transporting and showing his cars, I actually entered my own car. I bought a stock Porsche 996 Turbo from Chad Block in January of this year. Chad is a former Sebring 12 Hours winner and he is currently a Porsche Brand Ambassador and Sales Manager at Autohaus in Lancaster, PA. From that time until just a few weeks ago I was getting it ready for the event. Through RUF Automobile and with the help of the Porsche service and restoration shop “Translog”, I was able to complete a factory RUF RTurbo modification. My car was all dressed up but with Covid going on, up until now, she had nowhere to go.

Cue the Carlisle Import and Performance Nationals. Dad and I worked together prior to the event with my sons getting both cars cleaned up and detailed. Part of the fun of Carlisle is the 35-40 minute drive to the event from our house. We took off together, father and son. One in his old trusty round headlight air-cooled 911, and the other in his newer fried egg headlight water-cooled 911.

Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

When we got there we entered the grounds and found the Germany section and Porsche tent. We lined up with fellow Porsche owners. Most of them were local Central Pennsylvania PCA members but a few Chesapeake PCA members, Potomac members, and Philly area guys came from farther away.

As much as I love the 911, there are so many other great Porsche models that I enjoy too. So many different variations of Porsche vehicles were in attendance. We had modern day 992, 997, 996 Porsches there, various older air-cooled gems, a Boxster, a Cayman GT4, a 944 Cabrio, a Cayenne, and even a nice example of a 928. Some were bone stock while others had over $100,000 worth of upgrades. For the RUF lovers we had my car but also a really beautiful example of a RUF Cayman Kompressor. The owner of Translog, where I get all of my work done introduced me to Kevin, the owner of the Cayman via email but at Carlisle was the first time we met in person.

It is always nice when you meet someone with a comparable vehicle or similar automotive interest and they turn out to be a great person. Meeting Kevin was no exception. On top of meeting new people, my dad and I also came across numerous old friends. A fella named Jim , a long time friend of my dad and RUF specialist was there all weekend and listening to his stories entertained us a bunch.

Derek Meluzio and Don Meluzio

Derek Meluzio and Don Meluzio

We spent loads of time talking to fellow Porsche owners, car enthusiasts in general, and even automotive authors. I was lucky enough to purchase a copy of the book “Watkins Glen: The Street Years, 1948-52. Glory, Drama, and the Birth of American Road Racing” and have it signed by the author Philippe Defechereux. Listening to his stories about early post war road racing was amazing.

Not only was it a great time for car enthusiasts it was also some amazing father/son duo time. Like I mentioned before, I would ride along with my dad in autocross events when I was younger… now it was time for the roles to be reversed.

Part of the Carlisle event is the multiple day autocross on the fairgrounds track hosted by NICO Club (Nissan and Infinity Owners Club). Both dad and I entered in our Porsches. He ran his car and I ran mine but the special part for me was that on the last day he hopped in my car and drove along as my passenger. That was something special for sure. The event attracts a wide variety of cars from your typical autocross cars like a Miata, MINI, Subaru WRX, but also high horsepower Z06 Corvettes and old vintage MGs.

The event allows owners to exhibit their car together with like vehicles on the showfield divided by region or they can participate in a drive through style judging competition. Many of the Porsche owners elected to run in the autocross, one even competed in the exhaust competition, and a few even entered the judging. Depending on the year of the car and or the style we were placed in the “Euro Other” class and/or the “Exotic/Supercar” class.

I was very excited to find out that I had placed 1st in the Exotic class and to add to that two other Porsche owners also received trophies. Frank and his great looking and heavily modified 997 came home with a trophy as well. He and I met up on the last day to take some photos of our cars. He turned out to be a super nice guy and another Porsche friendship was made. Another guy I met was Carson, who had a busy weekend competing in the judging, the exhaust competition, the autocross, and even the low car limbo!

When the weekend was over we all said our goodbyes and many of us already started talking about next year. The drive home was both fun and sad. Fun because we were driving our cars on back roads but sad because the event had come to a close. That show has so many different vehicles with so many different great owners.

Most importantly though, memories were made and friendships were strengthened. For my dad and I that friendship runs deep. As much as I love Porsche and I love car shows, at the end of the day you realize one thing. It isn’t about the cars, it is about the people.

More photos are in the slide show below.

 

Below is a 5:54 minute video.

 

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Derek Meluzio grew up in a car loving family in Central, PA. He still lives there with his wife, daughter, and car loving sons. Derek is an amateur autocrosser who attends track events, Concours/shows, and Cars and Coffee events all over. He has an appreciation for all cars but especially anything Porsche.

 

 

Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

Derek Meluzio and his Porsche 996 Turbo RUF

Porsche Logo

Summary
Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals: Porsche Club and RUF Automobile Group
Article Name
Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals: Porsche Club and RUF Automobile Group
Description
When the Carlisle Import & Performance Nationals weekend was over we all said our goodbyes and the drive home was both fun and sad. Fun because we were driving our cars on back roads but sad because the event had come to a close.
Author

Comments

  1. Ken Phillips says

    Wonderful. A new competitor from one of America’s best collector families.
    Welcome Dereck.

  2. Byron LaMotte says

    Love the father son story and glad to see Dereck is following in Dad’s footsteps. Awesome Ruff Dereck!

  3. Great article, photography and cars. Dereck,congratulations on your award. A fun father and son day. Thanks for posting it.,

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