Classic car: rubber meets nostalgic road in Alberni
For some people, a car is merely a tool with four wheels and motor that gets them from Point A to Point B with a modicum of comfort.
For others though, a car is a story: sometimes a fast-paced adventure, others a tragedy, oftentimes a romance. It’s a passion. A life’s work.
Dave Koszegi falls into the latter category.
Koszegi is a Port Alberni realtor by day and a self-confessed gear head by night.
He is a Canadian champion rally car racer, and although his last race was in 2007, Koszegi still rallies for fun with Classic Car Adventures, a club for owners of classics who want to drive their cars, not just show them.
Koszegi drives a 1964 Porsche 356 that has seen better years, but has an emotional attachment: it used to belong to Koszegi’s favourite high school teacher, Mr. Mayo.
Mr. Mayo’s Car, or Teacher’s Car as Koszegi calls it, is getting on in years so he’s always looking for parts. He saw a listing online at UsedVictoria.com for a 1976 Porsche, which wasn’t suitable for parts, but the accompanying photo was a 1967 Porsche 912—which has the same drive train as Teacher’s Car.
Koszegi phoned the owner and made arrangements with two fellow Classic Car Adventurers, Albert See and Carl Clarkstone, to go see the car.
“This thing was sitting on the side of the road for eight years. It looked awful. But it started right away,” Koszegi said.
The trio drove around to different bank machines to gather enough cash to buy the car. Once the transaction was done, the previous owner handed Koszegi an old vinyl record, an LP of Valdy’s 1972 single, Country Man, and said the singer used to own the car.
Not one to turn down a good car story, Koszegi traced the singer to verify if he really did own the Porsche at one time.
Valdy confirmed it, and came to Port Alberni in December to meet Koszegi and check out the Porsche—which Koszegi has decided to restore instead of tear up for parts.
“I loved this car,” Valdy said.
“I know you aren’t supposed to love things. But I love this car.
“Never have I had such a spirited automobile. I sold the car because I wasn’t using it enough, which I thought unfair to such a vehicle.”
Valdy said he owned the Porsche 912 from around 1979–1985, his one and only sports car. “I courted my sweetheart [Kathleen] in this car. I drove to Ontario to meet her and brought her back to B.C. It’s an integral part of my heart because of that.
“She’s the love of my life and to have the conveyance of that love show up at this time is great.”
The Porsche has an old four-cylinder engine, which “is pretty lively,” said the singer, who now drives a Subaru Forester to many of the 200 gigs he performs annually.
While he was disappointed to hear the car sat outside for so many years, he is happy that Koszegi is having it restored.
“It warms my heart. I don’t have a pang of regret that it’s not mine. I’m overjoyed,” he said.
Last month the Porsche 912—now dubbed Valdy, in honour of its previous owner—was shipped to a converted airport hangar at Boundary Bay Airport, where RWM & Co. will undertake the car’s restoration.
Koszegi was given permission to drive the Porsche off the ferry and into the airport. He is excited about this renovation.
“I’m a sentimental guy,” he said. “Me having my old teacher’s car was important because without him I wouldn’t be here today.
“Me finding Valdy’s car is just the way it would end up with a car.
“It goes with my world.”
Classic Car Adventures will post ongoing updates on the restoration of the Valdy Porsche 912.
Watch its transformation at www.classiccaradventures.com.