Some Southern Arizona Club History

by Jeff Gamble

Coming from our humble beginnings it's an honor to be the last active Charter Club member.  Just the other day at lunch I had the opportunity to speak with Larry Randall who is one of the few Porsche owners in Tucson who started the University Arizona Porsche club in the mid 60's, that became the Porsche Club Tucson then Tucson Porsche Club.  In the summer of 1967 Gene Parrill along with fourteen other Faithful signed a Charter petition with the Porsche Club of America to be come a Region.  Obtaining the blessing of the Arizona Region was needed to split Arizona into two Regions.  I recall that meeting at the Guendelsburgers Brau House (now gone) restaurant on Broadway and how we were all so excited to sign the paper work for the Region.

In January 67 along with the help of Larry Ashton I purchased a 55 Speedster (for $800) that my Dad found in Safford over the New Years' holiday. I was anxious to become a part of the Porsche Club and participate in all the various events;  this included the popular SCCA slaloms at the old Tucson Airport. 

Unfortunately all too soon the slaloms proved too much of a strain on the weak ring gear bolts of the Speedster transaxel and the car was sidelined when the Club held (my first official TPC event) the Beetle Rally no.3 Feb 12, 1967.  I was so disappointed we couldn't drive the Speedster and that we had no choice but to take my tan Karmman Ghia to a Porsche Club event.   Soon Al Jobst repaired the transaxel and I sold the car (Apr 67) in favor of the improved suspension design of an A model 1957 Speedster.  It's amazing to think back that these were just old used sports cars that happened to be German 356 Porsches and were only worth about $500-$1000, plus we had a selection to chose from.  We simply didn't think anything about their collectablity...   Except for Larry Randall who traded his A Coupe for a rare race Carrera Abarth at Vasek Polaks in So. California.

Larry Randall's Carrera Abarth

Airport Slalom Pits

Airport Slalom, Class P

In the next few years the SAR racers (as we called ourselves), with the security of the PCA National insurance, expanded our horizons and organized the first driver school and auto-x at an abandoned WW11 training airstrip behind Pichaco Peak.  I'm proud to say as the second SAR President interest in those 1968-69 events helped launch the club to the next level. The SAR and the Phoenix clubs jointly rented all of Phoenix International Raceway for a weekend of DE track time. Many people are now surprised to learn that then the PIR track was just a dusty race facility with a configuration that went outside the oval and around Stagecoach hill to complete a 2.75 mile road race course.  In fact the experience of those track days prompted a group of us with our relatively new 911's to attend the 1973 Monterey Parade to drive the famed Laguna Raceway speed event.

Picacho Peak airstrip

Picacho Peak Driver's meeting

PIR road course, back when it went outside the oval

Laguna Seca circa 1973

So many wonderful people have since stepped up to the plate to volunteer their precious time as officers and event chairmen and to perform club duties that has made this club into one of the finest PCA regions on the Planet.  As your resident old timer I couldn't be more proud to say I'm a Charter Member of this Region.

Concours at Randolf Park

Concours at El Con Mall

Concours at El Con Mall

   Here are a few "Then and Now" photos:

Linden Street

Another view of Linden street

Gamble house