On a recent sunny May Saturday, I made the trip to nearby Brookfield, CT with my pal — and detailing superstar — Larry Kosilla for an invitation-only gathering of “Porsches and Pinots.” While the promise of either cars or wine would have made the trip a no-brainer, I was in for an experience even better than expected. The event was the brainchild of Rob Edwards, creator of the all-aluminum Spyder Creations 550 Spyder, and Dr. Jack Gish, one of the Northeast’s most interesting Porsche collectors.
The plan was to invite some Porsche fanatics and friends to celebrate the arrival of spring with a party at Jack’s place, and the weather couldn’t have been better. Jim Gravius Catering of Brookfield cooked up an excellent buffet of grilled and chilled delicacies under the tent.
Parked adjacent was Todd and Monica Brown’s restored 42 Dodge truck filled with a superb selection of wine and gourmet cheese from their Ridgefield, CT based 109 Cheese & Wine shop. Longtime Porsche enthusiasts, the couple own a silver 1963 356B Super 90 Coupe that is driven almost daily. They have taken numerous long distance trips in the car including an epic 4800-mile journey from L.A. to Whistler, BC and then across Canada, through Glacier National Park and eventually back home to CT.
It Would Be An Understatement To Call Dr. Jack Gish A Porschephile
In 1999 he traded in an air-cooled Porsche for the then new 996. While he liked the refinement of the new Porsche, he immediately missed the sounds and smells and feel of the older cars. So he found and purchased another air-cooled Porsche. And then another Porsche. And on and on. Today Jack’s collection of Porsches numbers 32. To house them all he bought an old day school and remodeled it to create a beautiful museum to the German marque he named the JLG AutoCrib. The collection includes Porsches of practically every model and era from early 356s up to a 996 Turbo.
Jack’s racing collection includes serious memorabilia like a Hurley Haywood racing suit from Daytona and some track worthy cars including a 1958 RSK clone and a stunning 1972 RSR in Gulf livery. The RSR features a hidden smoke machine and an engine audio track which Jack uses to amuse guests and add more realism to the display. Jack loves to give tours of the collection and is happy to talk about each and every car.
But Jack’s smile was bigger than ever when he went for a spirited ride with Rob Edwards in the 550 Spyder recreation. He said it was the fastest 40mph he’s ever done. This first car is powered by a pushrod engine, but still delivers plenty of performance. Having driven the car twice now, I have an incredible appreciation for what Rob and his dad Ben have accomplished in bringing the project to life. Car 001 was parked next to car 002, shown as a roller so the guests could see the detail and craftsmanship in the body. After paintwork 002 will be receiving a freshly rebuilt four-cam engine. Speaking of four-cams, also on hand was Ben’s stunningly perfect 1955 pre A Carrera Speedster, one of only 14 built in 1955 and possibly the finest example.
Rob and his longtime friend Tom Peterson put together a great little video of the event. But next time I think I’ll hold off on that third glass of wine until after filming is completed.
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