P4-2019-10 – A Speedster’s Path to Glory
By Howard Gilson
This is a story of a 1989 911 Speedster’s path to an overall Full Preparation Class win at the Porsche Parade Concours. This story begins with the 2015 60th Porsche Parade held in French Lick/West Baden Springs, IN where my father, Michael Gilson, showed his Speedster for the first time in the Full Preparation Class. Like all Parade Concours it is all about cleanliness and what the judges are looking for. Even though Michael forgot to clean the front bonnet, he was still awarded 2nd place in class, not bad for his first Full Preparation Concours. Every time you show a vehicle, your score sheet is returned so you can see what areas were marked down. This score sheet is a great reference for future concours so you can address the areas that were previously looked over or missed.
Michael’s next Concours was the 2018 Porsche Parade held at Lake of the Ozarks. He corrected all the areas that were deducted in French Lick/West Baden Springs and this time earned 1st place in Group 2, but missed the best overall Full Preparation award.
Now Michael was looking forward to the 2019 Porsche Parade in Boca Raton, FL. My personal Parade experience started a little sooner this year, as I left a week early to stop in Ft. Lauderdale. But, Michael’s Parade experience started months earlier, as he started cleaning the Speedster at the old Gilson MotorSports location.
My father had Fred and Kathy Young carefully go over the Speedster with score sheets in hand to look for deficiencies the week before it left for the Parade. Both Fred and Kathy pointed out some areas that needed some additional attention. For the next two days, my father was at the shop cleaning all of the problem areas that had been identified. I was able to help my father with the side trim, it had accumulated years of protectant that needed to be cleaned off before new protection could be applied. There was a huge amount of effort required, spread over three months, in preparation for the upcoming Porsche Parade.
Michael also had a volunteer judge plus Fred Young go over the Speedster again a day before the Concours when it was in the preparation area at Boca Raton. To aid in the preparation, Suzan Gilson had even purchased tire covers for the Speedster. These were the talk of the Concours preparation area since the tire covers even matched the Speedster’s color.
After the judging was completed, we waited for the results to be posted. The Speedster received an excellent score of 297.6 out of possible 300 points. As my father and I were finishing the Concours box lunch, he was called to the car for the second round of judging to determine the overall winner of the Full Preparation Class. We were not prepared for this second round since we had hoped to have some time to correct the deductions from the first judging, but we had no other choice than to let the judges proceed. We would not find out what this second score was until the Concours Banquet.
I received a phone call a couple hours prior to the Concours Banquet requesting to have the Speedster displayed at the event, but it was already in the trailer and on top of that it had started to rain. So, unfortunately the Speedster was not able to be shown. As the awards were being presented we learned that Michael had earned 1st place in Group 2 Full Preparation, 1st place in the overall Full Preparation Class, plus a Stuttgart Award for scoring better than 295 points. After all the work Michael Gilson put into his Speedster over the years, this was a well-deserved recognition for his efforts. I am so proud that my father’s hard work paid off and happy that he can take a break from cleaning cars for a year or so.