Garage Kept Motors

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Driving School frequently asked questions

By Bradley S. Pines
Veteran club driving instructor
Questions? email:

What is a driving school and what does HPDE stand for?
Driving schools are recreational, non-competitive events held on twisty, and sometimes hilly, road courses. Often, an experienced instructor rides along with the driver during all sessions on the track. Classroom sessions add the theory of high performance driving and other information before and after driving on the racetrack. HPDE stands for either High Performance Driving Event, or Driver’s Education. The Porsche Club of America calls their events DE or Driver's Education. Driving school, HPDE and DE are interchangeable terms. 
A BMW, Porsche and Audi on track during a recent driving school.

What kind of car do I need to drive?
Sporty, German cars are perfect for recreational track use, providing they've been inspected for safety. You'll need good tires and fresh brakes. Driving school organizers will supply a pre-event inspection checklist. Any safe, well maintained car will do. I’ve had students in economy hatchbacks, rental sedans, but mostly sporty cars. Most tracks don’t allow trucks, SUVs or minivans, however.
Do I need any special equipment?
The only thing you’ll need is a Snell SA2005, or later, rated helmet, although some organizations do have loaners. This is the same kind of helmet used in autocross events, so one helmet can certainly due double duty. Lane Automotive, in Watervliet and the advertisers of Grassroots Motorsports magazine are great places to shop. Lots of folks will also buy driving shoes with rolled heels and thin soles, but they, and gloves, are optional. Many people add small video cameras like the GoPro to record their on-track adventures.
How fast will I go and is it dangerous?
There are no speed limits. Anytime you drive your car, there is some element of risk. There are rules of the road while on the track to keep everyone safe. Having an experienced instructor with you really helps. I have both driven and instructed in well over a hundred events in the past thirteen years, and I’ve had no damage to my car, or my students' cars. With no cross traffic, lots of rules of the road and instructors to guide drivers, it's often safer on the track than driving on public roads.
Will my regular insurance cover me at track events?
Although these are educational events and not timed competitions, most policies won’t cover you while on a race track. There are several insurance companies who will sell driving school/HPDE event insurance, if you wish. 
Who puts on driving schools like you’re talking about?
Many car clubs, including the BMW Car Club of America, The Porsche Club of America, the Audi Club of North America. Several other organizations like Hooked on Driving/MIdwest puts on events at several area racetracks and is part of a national program. At GingerMan Raceway, CGI is the in-house driving school, with schools on several Mondays. The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) blends its HPDE program into their racing schedule.  Check organizer and racetrack websites for event dates.
Where are these events held?
We are fortunate to live in Michigan, which has three road courses. GingerMan Raceway is in South Haven, just about seven miles inland from the lighthouse. A bit northeast of Grand Rapids is Grattan Speedway, in Belding, and Waterford Hills Road Racing is in the Detroit area near the Oakland Airport in Clarkson.
How much does it cost?
It varies, depending on how many days the event runs, where it is (some tracks, like Road America, are very expensive to rent) and other extras, like lunch. Figure about $200-$400 per day. Open track days are less, but offer no in-car or classroom instruction and require the driver have previous track experience. Experienced instructors may be available for private coaching to create a more personal driving school experience during open track days. 

When are these events held?
The driving season usually opens in early April and runs through late October, but the weather is the determining factor. Check both organizer and track websites for schedules.

Here's a YouTube video of two Michiana Chapter BMW CCA local drivers during an open track day at GingerMan Raceway. That's a track map at lower right and the speed in large red numbers. Both cars are regularly driven on the street:

Here are some handy links:

Our local racetrack, GingerMan Raceway, hosts many driving schools and spectator events on its newly expanded 2.2 mile road course just east of South Haven on Phoenix Road. Be sure to "like" them on Facebook too. 
The track’s website includes a varied schedule:

National Auto Sports Association (NASA) Midwest region puts on HPDE events as part of
their racing weekends. Note GingerMan on their schedule:
Hooked on Driving - check Great Lakes region

Grattan Raceway in Belding:
Autobahn Country Club near Joliet, IL:
Waterford Hills Road Racing in the Detroit metro area:
Lane Automotive, just south of I-94 in Watervliet, has lots of Bell, Simpson and other helmets, other safety gear:
My favorite hardcore sports car magazine is Grassroots Motorsports. Their advertisers sell helmets and everything you’ll need. Pick up a copy and look at their website:
OG Racing driver supplies:
Safe Racer:
G-Force racing helmets, safety gear:
Pyrotect racing helmets, safety gear:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Volkswagens, Audis shine at show

by Bradley S. Pines
William Chapple of Marshall, a Michigan Vintage Volkswagen member, took home the Best in Show Volkswagen crystal trophy with his classic 1968 Karmann Ghia convertible during the DeutscheMarques German auto event. The green beauty has only 101,000 miles on its odometer and features sparkling chrome and a tan interior.
William Chapple holds his Best in Show Volkswagen crystal trophy with his 1968 Karmann Ghia.
A large gathering of Volkswagen owners found shelter from the hot summer sun under the shade of trees at the Gilmore Car Museum. Both classic air-cooled and modern front-wheel-drive VWs were to be found, lined up alongside The Oval.
Local VW club members kept cool by seeking a shady spot on The Oval at the Gilmore Car Museum.
Greg Calderon of Kalamazoo was the Best Daily Driver award winner, with his 2003 20th Anniversary GTI. The bright blue car has aftermarket coilovers, a hybrid F23 turbo and xenon headlights.
Greg Calderon won Best Daily Driver Volkswagen with his bright blue GTI.
The Cleanest Concours Volkswagen award winner, Jim Hanson of Battle Creek has a 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle convertible with fewer than 73K. 
Jim Hanson's 1972 Super Beetle droptop was named Cleanest Concours Volkswagon.

As clean and pretty as that orange beauty was, the Best Special Feature Volkswagen winner, Bran Hartman of Battle Creek’s 1967 Volkswagen Beetle looked like a true survivor. Hartman is a member of The Good Volks.
This survivor is Bran Hartman's 1967 Beetle.
The Best Volkswagen of the 21st Century was Troy Cox’s 2008 Volkswagen R32, the 920th of only 5,000 made. 
Troy Cox had his R32, a narrow-angle V6 powered all-wheel-driver sleeper, named Best 21st Century VW.

Another Good Volks member, Aki Tsuji of Delton had his 1970 Karmann Ghia autostick coupe, a "retirement toy," win Best VW of the 70s.
Aki Tsuji's classic Karmann Ghia features stylish "sleepy eyes."
Winning the Best of the 1980s Volkswagen Award with their 1986 Volkswagen Cabriolet and Best of the 1990s Volkswagen Award with a 1999 Volkswagen Jetta TDI with 328K miles, and an electronic sign, Harold Walters and his family had a lot to smile about.
Harold Walter's other car featured a towed electronic sign and a turbo diesel engine. VWs are family fun.
The Best in Show Audi crystal award was won by Joel Phillips of Kalamazoo, a regular customer at Foreign Car Services, a show supporting vendor. Phillips’ 1995 S6 features a rebuilt engine with a 3071 turbo and standalone engine management system. He also took home Best of the 1990s Audi, Most Miles, 114k, and Best Special Feature - a period-correct bag phone.
Best in Show Audi and other awards for Joel Phillips and his 1995 Audi S6.
Tom Woodburn of Portage took home several awards with his 2005 A4, including Best 21st Century Audi, Best Daily Driver and a Judge’s Special Award for a huge bug spat.
Lots of awards to frame for Tom Woodburn and his 2005 Audi A4.
Please bookmark for information of interest to all German car owners and please send your feedback about the DeutscheMarques German auto event to

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Great feedback from our fans

"Awesome! It was a very classy show and very well organized. I've been to a few other shows (DeutscheMarques) did it right. Once it catches on it's going to become big. 
(The) Shirts, posters, awards, cards for the cars to display, everything was done First Class."
- HN

"I really enjoyed the show, but next year could you have it be a little cooler?  I especially like your whimsical awards and the beautiful glass (Best in Show) awards.  I have received many different kinds of awards, but nothing as nice as yours."
- BC

"I just wanted to say thanks for a great time I had at the DeutscheMarques this past weekend. I will definitely be back with my (cars) next year for the second annual DeutscheMarques at the Gilmore Car Museum."
- HW

"Thank you for a great show.  Really enjoyed it."
- BH

Please send DeutscheMarques Auto Group more feedback via email at that we may forward to the sponsors that made this event possible, Delta Porsche in Grand Rapids, Harold Zeigler BMW in Kalamazoo and Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz in Kalamazoo. Have any suggestions for next year's event?

Please click on their names, above, to visit their websites and view inventory online.

When shopping for your next new or preowned German car, please support these local dealers who support local auto enthusiasts. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Hayes Mercedes-Benz Cup, awards go to local M-B owners

by Bradley S. Pines
The tall silver trophy was named after the local dealership who helped make the inaugural DeutscheMarques German auto event a reality. The Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz Cup would bear the name of the owner of the car judged Best Mercedes-Benz in Show. The winner would take home a beautiful crystal Best in Show trophy.
The Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz Cup.

The competition was stiff, with an official count of 88 cars on the DeutscheMarques show field in triple-digit temps at the Gilmore Car Museum on July 7. 
Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz displayed a trio of new models right across from the DeutscheMarques registration station for the event participants to see.

Most of the Cup-eligible cars were well-loved and cared for by members of the Western Michigan Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America. Its president, Marv Berkowitz, was one of the six event judges. 

Also on his team was Michael Betz, webmeister of the West Michigan Region of the Porsche Club of America and John A. Lacko, local automotive expert and former PCA and KAZOOM officer. Harvey Nuttal, president of the Michiana Chapter of the BMW Club of America, Lindsay Draime, past Michiana president and current board member, and Gary Apps, a longtime Michiana member, made up the other team.

When the judges were done, Jon and Jan Smucker’s anthracite gray 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL was named the Best in Mercedes-Benz in Show. They’ve owned their roadster with red leather interior for four years and say they don’t know how many original miles are on the car. It looks, however, as if it just rolled off the Hayes M-B showroom floor.
Jon and Jan Smucker smile with of their 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL, judged Best in Show Mercedes-Benz.

The Highest Mileage Mercedes-Benz was Richard Vaughn’s smoke silver 1990 300CE with 186,008 miles on the clock, and also won Best Mercedes-Benz of the 1990s. Scott West’s 1980 SEL, silver blue with velour interior, won Best Mercedes-Benz of the 1980s. 

Marv Berkowitz took home both Best Daily Driver Mercedes-Benz and Best 21st Century Mercedes-Benz with his 2011 E 550. The Best Classic Mercedes-Benz was won by Frederick Nugent’s 1969 280SL while the 1966 230SL of Kevin Bornhorst, unrestored with only 60k on the odometer, won a Special Judges’ Award.
Emily Michaelis holds the Best Special Feature & Cleanest Concours Awards her 2005 Chrysler (M-B) Crossfire won.

Under the skin of Emily Michaelis’ 2005 Chrysler (Daimler-Benz owned) Crossfire, lives the mechanicals of the M-B E-series. Her red crystal beauty won her both Best Special Feature and Cleanest Concours Mercedes-Benz awards.
Thanks to event sponsors Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz of Kalamazoo, Harold Zeigler BMW of Kalamazoo, and Delta Porsche of Grand Rapids area M-B owners took home eleven awards in all. 
Bill Tower, sales manager and Amy Krone, general manager, smile with The Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz Cup in the downtown Kalamazoo dealer's showroom. The first DeutscheMarques Best in Show Mercedes Benz winner, Jon and Jan Smucker, are the first names engraved on the trophy. Orrin B. Hayes was the exclusive Mercedes-Benz dealer sponsor of the DeutscheMarques German auto event at the Gilmore Car Museum. 

Please click on the sponsors' names, or on the links at right, to go to the sponsor websites. When choosing your next new or preowned German car, please buy local, and support the dealers who've supported local German car enthusiasts.
A picture gallery with all of the images from the event not yet published may be found here:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Delta Porsche Cup, Awards won by local PCA members

By Bradley S. Pines
The Delta Porsche Cup sat waiting, glowing golden in the early morning sun. The DeutscheMarques show field at the Gilmore Car Museum was quiet as officials and participants had not yet arrived. Gleaming examples of brand-new Porsche excellence sat in the dew. 

Delta Porsche, the exclusive Porsche dealer sponsor of the DeutscheMarques gathering, had parked the cars the evening prior to the event, across from where local Porsche owners would display their cars. When the judges chose the Best Porsche in Show award winner, whose name would be the first engraved on The Delta Porsche Cup?

Soon an official count of 88 cars filled the DeutscheMarques area, many of them were Porsches, and the vast majority of those were driven by West Michigan Region of the Porsche Club of America owners. Stuttgart-made sports cars, from classic air-cooled 911s to front-engined water-cooled models to the latest mid-engined roadsters, Porsches were on display and eligible for a variety of prizes.
Charles VanWyk of Delta Porsche describes the 2013 Porsche Boxter to DeutscheMarques participants.

Michael Betz, the WMR webmeister, arrived early in the 1986 Guards Red 944 he’s got for sale, and volunteered to help finish registration packages before the DeutscheMarques participants arrived. Delta Porsche's Charles VanWyk cleaned the new Porsche sports cars and prepared his dealership’s pavilion for the coming guests. Claudio Kaempf, a longtime PCA racer and owner of Foreign Car Services in Kalamazoo, an event supporting vendor, brought his 1970 911 GT4S class racer and soon the Porsches began pouring in.
Michael Betz, in blue, the West Michigan PCA webmaster and a DeutscheMarques judge, announces awards. Betz is flanked by DeutscheMarques officials, Brad Pines, left, PJ Hamlett and Lindsay Draime, in white.
Late in the morning, the six-member judging panel began to inspect the field. The Delta Porsche Cup was waiting. Split into two teams, the Porsches were seen by Harvey Nuttal, the BMW CCA Michiana Chapter president, Lindsay Draime, past president and board member, and Gary Apps, one of the chapter’s founding members. Michael Betz served on the other team, along with Marv Berkowitz, president of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America’s Michigan Section and John A. Lacko, former WMR and KAZOOM officer.
Terry Scheible holds The Delta Porsche Cup and his crystal Best in Show Porsche awards.
Terry Schieble’s 1967 911S was named Best in Show Porsche. The red classic has travelled 150,000 miles including many hot laps at race tracks like Road America and Blackhawk. Schieble is the veteran WMR PCA Chief Driving Instructor. He’ll take home a beautiful crystal trophy and the Best Classic Porsche award. His name is now engraved on 
The Delta Porsche Cup, which will be on display in the Grand Rapids dealer’s showroom.
Registrar Margaret Hamlett greets Jerry Broersma in his Porsche 944, who won Best Daily Driver Porsche.
Jerry Broersma, another WMR member, won Best Daily Driver Porsche with his burgundy 944, Paul and Diana Swope, members both of the WMR and the MBCA, had their 1981 all-original 924 Turbo judged Cleanest Concours Porsche and Best 1980s Porsche.
Kathy and Mark Bonnema smile with their award-winning Boxter S.
Mark and Kathy Bonnema’s 2008 Boxter S was named Best 21st Century Porsche and David Solleveld’s 1987 944 was given a Judges’ Special Award for its custom 924 GT look. Kaempf’s Foreign Car Services 911 racer won the Best Special Feature Porsche award and Jeff Krisel’s 1998 911 was named Best 1990s Porsche. Rick Riley’s beautiful Gulf Blue 1975 Carrera was named Best 1970s Porsche, continuing a sweep for WMR members.
Rick Riley's Gulf Blue 1975 Carrera has only 102,725 miles on the clock.
Charles VanWyk of Delta Porsche ended the awards by holding a drawing and giving away free use of a Porsche Panamera four-door for a getaway weekend. 
While the inaugural DeutscheMarques German car event at the Gilmore Car Museum is now history, plans for next year are already underway. 

Please send us feedback via email at that we may forward to the sponsors that made this event possible, Delta Porsche in Grand Rapids, Harold Zeigler BMW in Kalamazoo and Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz in Kalamazoo. 
Please click on their names, above, to visit their websites and view inventory online. 
When shopping for your next new or preowned German car, please support these local dealers who support local auto enthusiasts. 

This website, will continue to be a vital information source for all German car fans, creating an online community for you to join. 
Please bookmark the site or hit the “Join by email” button to be alerted to frequent updates.

For many more images from the DeutscheMarques event, please see this picture gallery:

Friday, July 13, 2012

BMWs compete for The Zeigler BMW Trophy

by Bradley S. Pines
The competition was as hot as the scorching temps to be the first name engraved on The Zeigler BMW Trophy. Only the Best in Show BMW winner would have that honor.
During the inaugural DeutscheMarques German auto event at the Gilmore Car Museum on July 7 Harold Zeigler BMW of Kalamazoo was the event’s exclusive BMW dealer sponsor. The tall winged trophy was given in their name.
Beautiful BMWs help fill the show field at the inaugural DeutscheMarques auto event on July 7.

Many BMWs, a large number of them owned by members of the Michiana Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America, filled the show field of 88 examples of German automotive engineering. Bimmers, from a tiny two-cylinder classic to a gleaming white V12 coupe, were displayed by their proud local owners.
Zeigler BMW client advisors Andy Cone, left, and Shane Thompson hand out gifts, answer questions and display new BMW to the event participants and Gilmore Museum visitors.

Zeigler BMW client advisors Shane Thompson and Andy Cone were on hand to display several brand-new BMWs, answer questions, and hand out gifts with an event logo on them.
Andy Cone, left, and Shane Thompson of Zeigler BMW talk with the crowd as
the panel of judges award the trophies and awards.

A panel of six judges, including the Michiana BMW CCA Chapter’s President, Harvey Nuttal, Lindsay Draime, membership chair and past president, and Gary Apps, a longtime chapter member, chose the award winners. So that the judges could enter their cars, the BMWs were judged by Marv Berkowitz, President of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America’s Michigan Section, Michael Betz, the West Michigan Region of the Porsche Club of America, and John A. Lacko, well-known automotive expert, photographer, and former member of the PCA, BMW CCA and KAZOOM. 
Hector Orlandi holds his Best in Show BMW trophy with his 1958 BMW 600.

The tiny, yellow, two-cylinder 1958 BMW 600 owned by Hector Orlandi of Kalamazoo, was named Best in Show BMW, and Orlandi’s name may be seen on The Zeigler BMW Trophy soon to be on display in the Kalamazoo dealer’s showroom. Orlandi took home a beautiful crystal Best in Show trophy.
New BMWs from Zeigler BMW in Kalamazoo joined owners' cars on the show field.

Best BMW of the 1990s was awarded to Austin Floyd of Portage, another Michiana member, for his Dakar yellow 1999 M Roadster. Scott Gerding of Perry, won both Best BMW of the 1980s and Cleanest BMW with his 1988 M3 with only 19.5k on the clock. The 1991 850ci V12 coupe owned by Gary Apps of Kalamazoo won Best Classic BMW, Jim Prihoda of Richland had his 2001 BMW 525i Touring named Best BMW Daily Driver. Tom Bordan of East Lansing, another Michiana member, was recognized as Most Miles on a BMW with his white 1980 633csi with an amazing 206k.
The Best BMW Daily Driver went to Jim Prihoda. 

DeutscheMarques founder Pete “PJ” Hamlett’s gleaming blue 535i received both Best 21st Century BMW and Best Special Feature for his very, very low profile tires. The judges’ Special BMW Award went to the red 1998 M3 that collected a poor little bird on its way to being the first arrival at the 2012 DeutscheMarques event. It is owned by your reporter, another Michiana member.
Tony Bonazzi, Sales Manager, and Brooks Weber, General Manager, smile with The Harold Zeigler BMW Trophy, which will be on display at the Kalamazoo dealer. The first DeutscheMarques Best in Show BMW winner, Hector Orlandi, is the first name engraved on the trophy. Harold Zeigler BMW was the exclusive BMW sponsor of the 2012 DeutscheMarques German auto event at the Gilmore Car Museum.
Thanks to event sponsors Harold Zeigler BMW of Kalamazoo, Delta Porsche of Grand Rapids and Orrin B. Hayes Mercedes-Benz of Kalamazoo, area BMW owners took home ten awards in all. Click on their names, or on the links at right, to go to the sponsor websites. When choosing your next new or preowned German car, please buy local and support the dealers who've supported local German car enthusiasts.

A picture gallery with all of the images from the event not yet published may be found here:

Other picture galleries may be found on the right side of the website.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Winners picture gallery online now

Paul Swope smiles with his DeutscheMarques Awards and his Porsche 924 Turbo. There are 21 images in an online picture gallery of winners from the event at the Gilmore Car Museum.

The pictures of the 2012 DeutcheMarques event award winners are online in a 21-picture gallery on the photographer's website. Click on an image's small thumbnail to enlarge it, and be sure to copy the URL in your browser to share the picture on Facebook or other social media or via email.

Here's the link to the picture gallery. There will be more pictures taken at DeutscheMarques posted soon. Add your email to with the "follow by email" button at the right side of this website.