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Thread: A gal named Elsie and her little Tornado...

  1. #1

    A gal named Elsie and her little Tornado...

    When I was little, one of my best friends was the lady that lived next door. Her name was Elsie. She was certainly a character. She had a bunch of little dogs that she constantly toiled over. Yorkshire Terriers. She also had another passion:

    Porsches! She and her husband had a garage full of them. A 928, a 914-6.... and this little 1973 911S she called the "Tornado". It was her baby, her pride and joy. You see, she raced this little car. And she was good too. They bought the car new in 1973. She barely knew how to drive a stick-shift. But, by the time the 1974 Porsche Corvette Challenge came around, she was pretty good... she won 1st place. Over the next few years she kept winning, A LOT.

    Just a few of her wins:
    SCCA Regional Champion 1975
    SCCA Regional Champion 1976
    SCCA Regional Champion 1977
    SCCA Regional Champion 1978
    SCCA Regional Champion 1979
    SCCA Regional Champion 1980
    SCCA Regional Champion 1981
    SOLO I winner (stock class) 1976
    Central Division Champion 1978
    Central Division Champion 1979
    Central Division Champion 1980
    Central Division Champion 1981

    Finally, she was the FIRST woman to ever win a SCCA National Championship. And she did that TWICE - 1976 and 1981.

    All of that was done in this little Tangerine Orange Porsche 911S... the Tornado.

    I was obviously over at her house any chance I could get. I'd spend hours in her trophy room looking through all the old Porsche Panorama magazines and other artifacts she kept over the years. Of course, every time she would fire a car up for a drive, I was right there. She was a BLAST! And I always hoped she enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers. She didn't have any children of her own (well, except for the dogs). When I was 12 years old, we moved away. It was one of the saddest days of my life. She cried, I cried... it was terrible.

    Life went on over the years and I kept loose tabs on how she was doing. They moved to NC and then back to OH and I ultimately lost touch. Then one day I got a phone call from my Aunt that Elsie had passed away. She had lymphoma and went home in 2009. I never got to say goodbye or tell her how much she meant to me. ....... Over the years, I thought about her often and always wondered what came of her little Tornado. Then, earlier this year, as I was unpacking some old boxes my Mom sent to me I found something amazing. Elsie had given me three of her trophies when I moved away... and there they were! They brought back all the great memories! And gave me a deep and unshakable need to try to find her husband. Through friends and family in the old neighborhood I was able to get a phone number. I ended up connecting with him and even went to visit him this last July 4th. It was a great visit and I learned a lot about her life and love.

    ..... about a month later, I received an email from him. He still had the Tornado and has been agonizing on what to do with it since she passed all these years ago. He didn't want to sell it to just anyone, even though it's now worth a significant amount of money, because he didn't want someone to restore it back to "stock" and remove Elsie's soul from the car. He wondered if I wanted to buy the car.

    It was like a surreal dream. The car that started it all for me and something I thought had been long lost! Of course, I was honored. He knew I don't have much money, he just wanted the car to go to someone that would love it as much as she did... her only "child". So, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse and we finalized the deal this last weekend. I am now the proud caretaker of a wonderful piece of history and a huge reminder of a great friendship with a wonderful woman that had the soul of a saint. This little gal named Elsie that could drive like the wind!
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    Last edited by 4SFED; 11-21-2013 at 08:46 PM.

  2. #2
    What a lovely story!!

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Moderator Chuck Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Reseda, CA.

    Thumbs up

    Fantastic story.......... welcome to the board........... can't wait for more posts........
    Chuck Miller
    Creative Advisor/Message Board Moderator - Early 911S Registry #109
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  5. #5
    Now that has to be one of the best stories on any car forum in a long time.....congratulations.
    Roy Smalley
    member 877

  6. #6
    Thanks, everyone! It's great to be here.

    The batteries gave up in the car about 4-5 years ago according to her Husband, Glenn. So the car hasn't been started since. I have 2 fresh U911 Interstate batts on order. The car had a recent tune-up before it was driven last. Everything is very sanitary and well cared for. I will drain oil, fuel, brake fluid and change all filters. I'll check the plugs and make sure there aren't any critters (or remnants thereof) hiding anywhere... then we'll fire her up and see what happens! Elsie put in Scheel seats and a Racemark steering wheel, which are all in great shape. The motor is stock, as far as I can tell and has a Rally muffler on it. She sent it to Stoddard in the mid-70's to have it lowered. There are Koni shocks on the car as well. Everything else is original to the car.

    As I'm digging through all of the ancillary stuff that he gave me with the car, I came across this great picture of Elsie and Glenn from 1977. The local newspaper did a story on her incredible success racing.

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    Last edited by 4SFED; 04-03-2014 at 10:08 AM.

  7. #7
    Wow. Great story! Thanks for sharing and congrats on a real treasure.

    Are you in Ohio as well?
    Renn-Spot - Cars & parts For Sale -
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    Early "S" Registry #439

  8. #8
    Time Bandit Jens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Right Here
    That is just so good. Wow, what a story. Welcome to the Registry. We look forward to seeing more of the car and more of the artifacts surrounding this fast Lady.

    Zitronengelb R1012 the RatBasterd

  9. #9
    Nope, not in Ohio anymore.

  10. #10
    Great story . . . and welcome to Our Little Corner

    I hope that you enjoy the car . . . and share more of your adventures w/ us

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