On the first Saturday morning of each month, local Porsche owners steer their shiny sports cars into the parking lot of Glory Days Beachside Grill in Seal Beach. Rows of roadsters cover the asphalt as admirers walk from car to car, sipping coffee and taking photos.
The group is a subset of the Porsche Club of America’s 100,000 members. Called the Grand Prix Region (GPX), in honor of Long Beach’s annual car race, this club is comprised of 724 individuals. Some members have been with the organization since its start, 37 years ago.
“Life is short,” member Chuck Weaver says. “I could sit home and watch TV, but I’d rather get out and have fun with other fun-loving people and their toys.”
GPX members find a variety of ways to enjoy their cars. Some like to join with other Porsche owners for day-long destination drives. GPX Vice-President Alan Johnson also serves as the Tours Chair for the club. Johnson says he searches maps to find nice twisty roads and then plans group outings. Last month, 36 cars made a day trip to Carlsbad and visited the Museum of Miniature Engineering Craftmanship together.
“We have about 10 tours per year,” Johnson says. “Most of them are only one day, but some of them include overnight stays, like the trip we’ll take in January, driving up Highway 1 to Carmel.”
For those who like to test their driving abilities, the club also hosts an event called “A Day Away from Work.” Twice a year, drivers can sign up for instruction to improve their skill in maneuvering around a racetrack. Experienced racers also can participate in timed autocross events.
Member Dave Hockett is the Chief Driving Instructor for GPX. He and his brother Dan have been racing Porsches for almost 15 years; each Hockett has earned five championships titles in his class.
“For years, we raced against each other in the same class,” Dave Hockett says. “We were always within hundreds of seconds of each other — whoever sneezed lost.”
GPX members share a love for fast cars, but they also have a heart for community outreach. Since its inception, GPX has supported the Children’s Dental Health Clinic (CDHC), a local nonprofit that provides oral health care to 10,000 unserved patients each year.
As the Porsche owners move from the parking lot to the monthly breakfast meeting, many of them pause to purchase raffle tickets. Raffle ticket sales are an important part of GPX’s fundraising efforts. Driving tour donations are another way the club generates money for the CDHC. Silent auction items at the GPX Holiday Party, on Dec. 15, are a third source of support for the charity.
“The Long Beach Porsche Club is always there for us, fundraising and making personal donations,” says CDHC Director of Development and Communications Belinda Le Wells. “They are so helpful. The generosity of this group is amazing.”
“We have a great time together, but the Porsche Club also does a lot of good,” Weaver says. “It’s really a positive influence in the community.”
To learn more about club events and membership, go to http://gpx.pca.org/.