I don't think I was really ready for it. I thought there'd be things to salvage...lots of metal parts and pieces that would surely survive a fire. Maybe some things in a corner...out of the way of the flames and heat...surely something.
I was wrong.
Like everyone else, I've driven past PM Motorsport a million times. It had a couple of tire company banners in the front and occasionally a garage door was open and some Porsches visible. Like most, I never really gave the relatively nondescript and somewhat ancient building, at the corner of 34th Street and Stockton Blvd, much thought. As it turns out, it housed one of the rarest and most valuable Porsches on the planet and undoubtedly, a treasure trove of Porsche and other automotive history and relics, and a slough of other Porsche cars.
As time goes on, we'll undoubtedly learn more about exactly what was lost in the fire. Trust me though, if you're a Porschefile, you don't want to know. It's all gone and it's not coming back. Nothing in that mess is going to have a second life. Every inch of plastic is melted beyond recognition, or is totally gone. Every body panel is warped and now rusted. Every catalog, book, magazine and factory manual is ash...or close.
I've always been the kind of car guy that could look at parts and derelict cars and envision their coming together into something automotive or at least something awesome...there's always some potential. But not in this case. The experience of staring at the aftermath of this fire leaves me with only some eerie pictures and the memory of that post fire smell.
The Porsche world lost a lot this past weekend. It lost a lot more than the world's most pristine 1973 RSR. It lost all the parts and memories that a decades old shop can accumulate. All the shelves and piles and taped (and re-taped) boxes and tubes of exotic greases and sealants from long gone companies...and cork valve cover gaskets and carburetor rebuild kits, ancient cylinders and bearings wrapped in thick oil soaked paper with German writing all over (zündfolge 1-6-2-4-3-5)...that you can't understand. All of the notes that were written on scraps of old boxes and business cards...smeared with greasy fingerprints, but kept for generations...just in case. All the phone numbers of all the old shops and secret sources of parts that just can't be found anymore are gone too. And all the stacks of the 356 Registry and Panorama that somehow escaped the garbage can for all those years are finally history.
The Kentucky sinkhole gave most of its victims back to the world. The Corvette crowd lucked out. This fire in Sacramento though...it left nothing for Mr. Skoien, the shop's owner.
We at the Loud Pedal express our respects to Mr. Skoien, and a big shout out to the universe that no person was harmed in the fire.