Often when you attend a major race, such as the 12 Hours of Sebring, there is just as much to see off the track as there is on it. There were rare models cruising the grounds and parking areas of Sebring, devoted entirely to notable makes and models, such as Porsche, Corvette, Audi, and BMW. Each of them had their outstanding examples.
As a follow up to last week’s 12 Hours of Sebring post, I bring you a second piece, this time with the vehicles I saw in traffic as well as what was parked and on display.
Vehicles I Saw In Traffic
One of the first rare sights, seen from atop the Mazda owner’s lounge, a Panoz Roadster. One of just 220 produced.
This Ferrari 348 Spider was turning heads when it was cruising around the track…
…but later on, when it was found parked, what was even more attention-grabbing was the Hemi badge on the back. It’s likely just a joke, yet it would be really interesting if it turned out to actually have a Hemi V8 swapped into it. Unfortunately the owner wasn’t around, or we’d know for sure.
There were a couple of VW Things roaming around. This particular one popped up late Friday night over by the restrooms so I had to get a quick shot of it with the phone.
This 911 Turbo was a tricky one to catch, as I wasn’t really paying attention when it popped up. It appeared to be running on Fiske wheels.
This mid-’60s split window Corvette Sting Ray was parked at someone’s camp early in the morning.
This MG (TD?) was also parked out on the grass as if it were the family Camry. It was great to see these old cars being used properly.
Speaking of family vehicles, here’s a 1955 Pontiac Safari wagon. The resemblance to the Chevy Nomad is pretty obvious, but these were less common, outsold by the Nomad by more than 2 to 1 that year.
Moving from viewing mound to viewing mound offered great opportunities to run into special rides like this Alfa Romeo GTV 2000.
This bright and vivid lime green 912E had just parked when I spotted it. In such great shape that right away someone popped up to ask the owner about it.
Classic E9 BMW 3.0 CS
The Jeep CJs will always be close to my heart. My father owned a CJ-7 when I was a kid. This one looks to be a CJ-5, in slightly rusty but running condition with a straight body.
First generation Ford Bronco!
This Mexico Blue 964 911 Turbo kept catching my eye in the fenced off parking area closer the track, so I decided to take a closer look. It had some large yet tasteful aftermarket wheels, a Momo Abarth steering wheel, and who doesn’t love a ducktail?
Also in the fenced area was this Nissan 350Z, specially built for Gymkhana Grid events. The custom work on this car was done by the auto body students of East Ridge High School in Clermont, FL.
The new 991 GT3 parked in the Porscheplatz
First generation 911
The 911-preceding Porsche 356.
“Loud pipes save lives” is something you usually see associated with motorcycles but here it’s applied to an ultra-rare 911R.
Only 20 of the 911R were produced. According to what I found about it on ConceptCarz: “The monocoque was made of the thinnest gauge steel possible, while fiberglass was used extensively replacing the fenders, front and rear deck lids and bumpers. The doors and deck lids all had aluminum hinges while the interior was stripped of all creature comforts – there were only three gauges in the car and seats were replaced wîth Scheel racing bucket seats. Side and rear windows were all replaced wîth Plexiglas and the floor boards were drilled and lightened. The result was a 911 that weighed 450 pounds less than its production equivalent.”
In the reflections on the side you might have noticed something orange. That being the early 997 generation Porsche GT3 RS. This early model and a later gray example seem to pop up at shows in central Florida.
This unique build was put together by Kelly-Moss Motorsports and Stone Brothers Garage and is known as the Safari RS.
A personal favorite, the 1969 Corvette Stingray next to a nice split window.
The new Z06 is menacing in the flesh.
The corral cars took a few display laps on track. Most were newer C6 and C7 generation examples, but here is a first generation Corvette entering the hairpin at a faster pace.
As if the rareness wasn’t already off the charts, an E30 M3 showed up.
“Respect Your Elders” says the sticker on the back side window of this E30.
It was surprising to see a slammed i8 on custom wheels. Next to it is the beloved Z3 “clown shoe” coupe.
If there was an award for the “Most BMW Campsite” this would probably win.
Cars on Display
Faced back to back here are a Ford GT40 and its natural enemy, a Ferrari, in this case a newer 458.
Turn around the other direction, we see a Mini Moke.
Inside the little museum at Sebring they had a Chaparral 2.
This little 914 prototype might not look all that unusual from the outside, but it was the basis for the 914-6. Built at the behest of Ferdinand Piëch, it features the 350hp 3.0 flat-8 engine from the Porsche 908 racecar.
To finish off, is the new ND generation Mazda MX-5 Global Cup Car Concept. This was the first time I’d gotten to see the new Miata the flesh… if you don’t count the night before when I spotted it under a car cover. Photographs do not do this car or its paint justice. It almost seems to glow in the sun. If you like it in photos, you’ll like it even more when you see it in person.
If you’re interested in viewing more of the photos taken in these areas (there were far too many cars to include here), they can be seen in the following Flickr galleries: Car Spotting at Sebring | Porscheplatz | Corvette Corral | BMW Corral | Racecars on Display
[Photos: Copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Bryce Womeldurf]