The long awaited day for the Capitol Panteras Foothill Wine Tour came,
along with the unwanted threat of rain! No matter what the weather
was we were not going it cancel this event. We headed out early to the
appointed meeting place of Bella Bru Coffee, in El Dorado Hills. The
drive from Rio Vista went very smoothly. The river route was
beautiful with no traffic and only a cloudy sky above. Our Pantera
loves cool weather. The car ran just fine and at the end
of a 190 mile day we averaged 16 miles per gallon. The
drive though Sacramento was speedy and we arrived at Bella Bru with plenty of
time to spare. We split a breakfast croissant with fruit and coffee.
While we enjoyed our coffee, we talked about what we might do if no one showed
up for the Wine Tour. We had received a couple of inquiries if the event
was cancelled, because of the threatening weather. No one had cancelled
out on us, but Pantera owners don't like rain! One by one people began to
arrive. Eventually everyone arrived on time. They just arrived
minus their Pantera's! There were a variety of reasons for the change in
cars; bad battery, bad brakes, in the paint shop, in the shop, all good
excuses. Only Dennis & Patty Gacutan and John Worsley drove their club
cars. This made our caravan to the wine country an odd mix;
Panteras(2), Mercedes(2), an Alfa(Nancy & Mike Haney), a
Bricklin, and a Ford truck leading the way! Those who made the drive were
Emilia & Jim Seiferling, Patty & Dennis Gacutan, Sherry & Terry
Morosky, Chris Difani and friend Christine, Mike & Nancy Haney, John
Worsley, and Linda & Jeff Budelli.
It is located in a cave! The wine was very good and
many bottles were transported home. Terry offered to carry any
purchases in his Mercedes, as he knew that the wine would overheat in the
Pantera's trunk! The next stop was Mt. Aukum Winery. This winery
would have had a wonder view of the surrounding countryside had it not been for
the rain clouds! By this time, the rain had begun to fall! Out came
the umbrellas and coats! We enjoy the wines and took a break to dine
al-fresco on cheese, salami, and crackers that Chairmen Jeff had brought.
This was especially welcomed by those who had not eaten either at home or at the
Bella Bru before the tour began. The last stop was Villa Tuscano.
This winery has a beautiful plaza area, but by now it was a hard and steady
rain. There was no setting and enjoying the grounds. This made the
tasting room rather crowded. The winery was hosting an early release
party. We were about the only people not part of that party. The
rainy weather really did thin or eliminate crowds this day.
The winery is under the green hill behind the cars.
Mt. Aukum Winery, snack time
In the clouds, with plenty of rain. The Pantera's
didn't dissolve in the rain!
After the stop at Villa Tuscano, we headed for the BBQ at the home of
Chrissy & Glen Cramer. The BBQ was catered by the Back
Forty. It was delivered shortly before we arrived. The food was great
and no one had to cook! We were joined for dinner by Sue & John
McNamee. The Cramer home is beautiful. Thank you Glen and Chrissy for
hosting the group. The day ended with a tour of Glen's second
garage. The Pantera was there, clean and dry. The Lamborghini Gallardo was present, but the Mangusta
is down at Steve Wilkinson's having work done on it. Glen hopes to take
both the Pantera and the Mangusta to Monterey this year.
Final Stop at Glen's home for an indoor BBQ
It took two years to come up with a date that worked for the group, but
it was worth the wait. There are so many wineries in the area, we should
try to do this again next year. If the weather had cooperated, we would
have had a good turn out of Panteras. Let's think about doing this again
next year! Thank you Jeff and Glen.
Emilia & Jim Seiferling
Sorry to report that the Reno Fun Rally was cancelled this year. We
hope to be able to report on this event next year. Jim and I were
disappointed but look forward to next year's Reno Fun Rally.
This year was a little different for us. Normally Emilia joins me
on this annual event, but she was in charge of a local charity event, with her
Soroptimist club. This opened up the right seat in the Pantera for my
cousin Rich to join me. He has been a hot rodder & drag racer for
50 years, but I believe this was his first sports car road race event. We
left Rio Vista Saturday morning and had an easy drive to Sear Point, thanks to
the new Vallejo freeway bypass. Upon arriving, I pulled the car into the
Shelby coral, thanks to the efforts of Rick Carlile from our club and Louis
Downs, of the Shelby club. We had first class parking, on the grass, at
the turn 11 hairpin.
We then proceeded to the garage area, where the Trans Am cars were
stationed. We found Carl's car there, still with the cover on it.
This turned out not to be a good sign. Earlier that morning he
took the car out and something either cracked in the block
or head, or a gasket blew. The engine oil pan was full of
radiator water; event over! It was later determined to be a loose bolt or
stud in the head valve train, allowing water from the jacket to get
into the valve rocker area and then into the engine oil pan. After
that disappointing news, Rich and I continued through the garage area.
Then we did the "museum shuffle" through the pit area. The variety of cars
at these historic events is really incredible. There was everything from a
three wheel car to Can Am series cars. While walking down one of the pit
rows, I spotted a modern sports car that I didn't immediately recognize. I
walked up to the front of the car to examine the badge. It
was a McLaren F1 street car! Top speed is 240 miles per hour, only 100
were ever built. It carried a $1 million plus price tag. Here
is a link with lots of photos of this supercar. http://www.cottingham.co.uk/macf1/index.htm
While walking the pits, we stopped to look at an unusual Corvair powered
kit car, called a Piranha. They were having trouble with the carburetor
and asked if anyone standing around knew anything about Holley
carburetors. I pointed to Rich and he began to clue them in on the
workings of it. At the very least, the vacuum port on the bottom of the
carb had nothing plugged into it, thus a very big vacuum leak resulting in a
very lean mixture. It certainly appeared the owner didn't have a clue
about the engine in his car! After we went on our way, Rich said he didn't
have the heart to tell him that the model Holley on that engine was not suited
to a race engine.
After finishing the pit walk, it was time for a tri-tip sandwich at the
BBQ vendor. Since we are both non breakfast people, this was a much
needed break. After lunch we went back to the Pantera, pulled out the
lawn chairs from the rear tub and enjoyed the sounds of the cars for the
afternoon. During the event I saw many Pantera folks, Steve and
Merry Dalcino were parked to our right with Tom Gali and his Mangusta next to
them. John Worsely was on my left, with his Bricklin. Later in the
afternoon, Darryl and Connie Johnson drove in with their newly modified
Pantera. That car drew quite a crowd. Carl Stein and Rick Moseley
were taking care of Carl's sick car. Mike Drew was there talking to a
Pantera/Mangusta owner, from the Napa area. I never did talk to him, but
I'm sure Mike filled him in on all the aspects of the local Pantera POCA
chapters. After the last group of cars ran on the track, the Trans Am
group, Rich and I headed home. It was another easy drive. We even
made it through Fairfield without being stopped by any of the lights.
Sometimes you're just lucky!