PCA Southeast Michigan Region

From the Blog

P4-2019-11-12 – Racers in the Storm-The Doors

From 2005 through 2006, Patti Door was the first and remains the only female President of the Southeast Michigan Region (SEM) of the Porsche Club of America.  Jerry Door was the SEM President from 1996 through 1998. 

“With a rock and roll name like yours, do you play a guitar or sing?

(Jerry) “No singing and no guitar. I like listening to the 60’s and 70’s music, but I’m not a musician.  Racing is fun and I’ve been a PCA driving instructor for 12 years. I hear the sound of the engine, the tires on pavement and the brakes.  I raced cars at the Canadian Tire Track. It was built in the 50’s. It’s a high-speed track with curves that you can do at 80 to 90 and long straits at 120 MPH.  Love it.  I used to teach other drivers how to race. That’s my music. “  

“What about Patti?”

(Jerry) “Patti was a dancer.”

 “Tell us more.”

(Patti) “That’s how we met. It was on the dance floor.  Jerry and I became a team when we met in Social Dance class at Western Michigan University. Jerry was a senior and he went to the counselor’s office to be sure he had all the required credits to graduate in December. It was 1962 and Jerry majored in the Engineering Program, but to graduate he had to complete a physical education class. Room in a dance class opened and Jerry signed for the three-month session. We learned to Fox Trot together. The dance class started in September and on Thanksgiving weekend we started to date.  We got engaged in February and married in August of 1963.”

Jerry and Patti were in college, broke and struggling to make it through, but Jerry had two passes to a different type of place for a Honeymoon than most newly married couples would want to go to … a drag strip in Indiana.

(Patti) “Jerry enjoyed watching the drag races on Saturday nights.  We went together … and it was fun.”

Southeast Michigan Porsche Club members
Patti and Jerry Door have been married 56 years.
They have four children, Rick, Amber, Stacy and
Christian plus nine grandchildren and two Porsches.

Patti’s career began as the manager at a large restaurant with three banquet rooms and a staff of 100 in the city of Cascade near Grand Rapids. Jerry taught Industrial Engineering at Western for a time and then decided on another career as a representative for the Minster Machine Company in Ohio. He sold presses to the automotive industry in the Detroit area and other U.S. locations, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.

(Patti) “Jerry and I have always enjoyed being together. We enjoyed riding a motorcycle and Jerry changed its appearance every year. We had the bike for many years until we moved to Metro Detroit. After riding one Sunday we decided it was time to sell because it was much more dangerous to ride in this area than on the western side of Michigan. We then got into Corvettes, but found the members were not very friendly after attending some of their events. It was 1985 and Jerry decided to buy a Porsche, so we bought a dark brown 1977 Targa that I called the Turd. We actually wanted it red so the car was stripped down and painted Guard Red. It runs great now and it’s been in the family ever since.”

Jerry and Patti have done volunteer work for the Porsche Club since the morning that 1977 moved into their garage. Today, Patti drives a 2000 Boxter and Jerry has his special, painted in Germany, 1995 Ferrari Fly Yellow colored Porsche 993. The interior has a yellow steering wheel, gearshift boot, emergency brake handle, door trim, wheels, bumpers plus outlining on the dash and gauges. It was delivered from Germany to Michigan. Patti picked up the car from the Fred Lavery Dealership in Birmingham and drove it home.

“Jerry,  with a special painted 993 with 100,000 miles from your travels all over the country, including many Porsche Parades, and one you said was raced at most of the tracks east of the Mississippi under blue skies, rainstorms and slick surfaces, … what happened to the yellow hat?”

(Jerry) A hesitation, a short laugh, “No, I, uh, well … I just never got a yellow hat to go with the car,” he said with his long smile.

Jerry Door with his 1995 Ferrari Fly Yellow Porsche 993 painted in Germany. Notice the yellow trim around the gauges on the instrument panel, steering wheel, bumpers and gear shift boot.

“Amber brings her father each year to the Father/Daughter event at the Grand Prix, “said Lynn Friedman, the PCA PorschePlatz and Corral Chair. Lynn knows both Jerry and Patti from the Porsche Parades and the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. “Jerry loves his 993 and brings it to the Porsche Corral. The color is special to Jerry. He lowered the suspension on the car and he was quite the racer. “

Most of Patti and Jerry’s children have Porsches. Amber drives a cream colored “Chiffon” 911 with five spoke wheels and brown leather interior that belonged to club member John Denyer. Stacy has the original 1977 Targa, Rick has a blue 1992 911 Turbo and Chris is not a car guy … yet.

Lori Schutz, our current Zone 4 Representative, whose Father, Peter Schutz,
saved the 911 as the former President and CEO of Porsche AG, said, “Jerry and Patti Door are great ambassadors, inspiring others to volunteer at Porsche Club events.”

Jerry became President of SEM in 1996. That same year, a group from Gingerman Raceway near South Haven contacted him and proposed sponsoring a race together for the Porsche Club at their track.

“It was new track for racing sports cars and motorcycles in 1996 that
needed volunteers, but not all PCA regions were willing to assist in the effort to
get it done,” said past SEM President Howard Gilson.
“Jerry convinced National to support the race and 100 cars were on
hand for this Porsche event in 1997. Jerry found dealer sponsors. ”

Jerry was the chief instructor for Zone 4 HPDE (High Performance Drivers Education). After ten years of support, both Gingerman and SEM had increased revenue and racing exposure. It was a good partnership for both.

Road America

Road America is a motorsport road course located near Elkhart Lake, WI. The engine failed on Jerry’s 914 there on the Labor Day Weekend 1993. He always had an aluminum trailer with parts, tools, tires and slicks for rainstorms, but not an extra engine.
What to do?

Jerry called Patti back in Michigan and asked her to load up the back-up engine he had in the garage and drive it to Road America that same night. With her son, Rick, Patti loaded the engine into a pick-up truck.  Patti, now a lonesome truck driver, drove that afternoon and night without the aid of a cell phone or GPS through Chicago to Road America arriving at 1 AM. Five hours later, Jerry woke, installed the engine, and finished the race while Patti drove back to Michigan to be on time for her evening shift at a private subdivision party in Bloomfield Hills.

As mentioned at the start of this article, Patti remains the first and only female President of SEM. Jerry also served as club President.

Jerry and Patti met Jerry Seinfeld at the 2014 Parade in Monterey and Jay Leno at the Los Angeles Airport where he stores and displays his auto collection in several different buildings. 

Patti Door posing with her Victorian Purses
that she assembles from many patterns,
shows at the Porsche Parade Art Fairs and
sells at the year-end Special Olympics Auction. 

Jerry and Patti have been to every Porsche Parade since the 1986 event at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Marc Molzon, past President of the SEM said,  “Patti has been a key organizer for the Holiday parties and the person to get things done for SEM membership.”

Patti Door is in charge of the Hospitality Suite at Parade and buys mountains of snacks from Costco and Sam’s Club locally for the attendees when she arrives.  Since 1985, Patti’s PCA and SEM volunteer positions have included the Hospitality Suite, Goodie Store, Progressive Dinner, Charity Auction for the Special Olympics and the force behind the “Ladies Only Drive. “

Patti and Jerry with the flag Patti had made for the “Ladies Only Porsche Drive.”

Patti tells the story about a gentleman member of the SEM who said, “My wife is not driving my Porsche. She’s never driven it. She will never drive it. It won’t happen. It just won’t happen. Ladies event or no ladies event.” Patti responded, “You can fix you car but how do you replace your wife?” In the end, it did happen. The wife took her husband’s Porsche for the Patti Door inspired “Ladies Only Drive,” event that began in 2007 and continues each year.

Patti and Jerry joined SEM in the mid 80’s, have volunteered for everything, they have met and enjoyed the company of many club members who shared their love of Porsches, dining, storytelling and travel including bare-boat sailboat chartering with former SEM members and now Florida residents Bob and Donna Peters.

As Patti said earlier, “Jerry and I have always enjoyed being together. “

When the Porsche Club says, “It’s not just the cars, it’s the People,” they’re certainly right with respect to Patti and Jerry Door.