GRANVILLE — More than 400 Porsches in a 3 1/2-block area, two famous race car drivers with their own models, and perfect weather were a difficult combination to beat Saturday.
The hosts — the village of Granville and the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce — and the guests agreed hosting the annual show in Granville was a good move.
Bet on it returning in 2013.
“I hope that the people who ran the show were happy with Granville and the people of Granville were happy with the show,” said Dave Thomas, of Granville, who wants the show back in 2013, and who especially liked the powder blue 1955 356 Speedster parked in front of First Presbyterian Church.
“I’m not a Porsche fanatic, but it’s interesting to see all the styles and models,” said Patrick McCafferty, of Granville, who attended with his four children.
“I love seeing this here, especially to see an old 911E, in which I had my first memorable Porsche experience (riding with Granville resident Dr. Robert Raker),” said Bob Karaffa, also of Granville.
The people running the show were pleased, said Ron Thomas, who was in charge of the event.
“We’ve had nothing but positive comments,” he said. “They (the Porsche owners) like the town. They like the streets. They like the width of the streets.”
Thomas said the width of Broadway provides more room for the club to “get a lot more cars in a condensed area.” That width allowed them to line cars up and down the middle of the street in addition to the angle parking along the sides.
“Some townspeople have thanked me. They like it,” Thomas said.
Village Manager Steve Stilwell didn’t discount that prospect.
“They would submit a letter asking to come back. I would ask of many of the folks involved their impressions … and bring it all to council and get council’s direction,” he said.
Two spots in front of the Day Y Noche restaurant downtown commanded much attention. It’s where world-class race car drivers Bobby Rahal and his son, Graham Rahal, parked their Porsches.
Graham Rahal’s vehicle was a major attraction — a 2005 “Guards Red” Carrera GT, whose engine is located behind the driver and passenger seats. Ron Thomas estimated its value at $400,000, the most expensive in the show that he was aware of.
Graham Rahal said the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is about $450,000 and that he bought it as an investment. He hopes its value ultimately reaches that figure.
When Rahal popped the hood, a crowd gathered. Holly and Ron Heinze, of Hebron, were among the bedazzled.
“Not many of them on the open road. Very exclusive!” Ron Heinze said.
For Bobby Rahal, the show was another trip back to his college alma mater. The Denison University alum couldn’t agree more with staging the show in Granville.
“It’s fantastic. I think Granville is one of the most beautiful villages,” he said. “I think it’s attracted a few people. It’s got to be good for business.”
In among the vibrantly colorful cars, which stretched from North Granger Street just over four blocks west to the big pine tree on West Broadway, was another popular curiosity: a 1959 red Porsche Diesel tractor owned by Andy Thomas, of Wilmington.
“A lot of history in that,” said Andy Grace, of Granville.
Next to the tractor, at the East Broadway/Prospect Street intersection, was a two-sided, 8-by15 LED TV monitor set up by Rolling Media USA. Shots of the show and videos of sponsors’ products were shown, said Robert Long, of Rolling Media.
“We love getting kids on there,” he said.
Vendors with T-shirts and other memorabilia, photographers, a demonstration of a power tool for waxing and polishing, and “classic car insurance” salesmen also attended.
Several local businesses without downtown storefronts set up in Opera House Park and didn’t regret it.
“A lot of people picked up our brochures,” said Don Jones, of Orchard House Bed and Breakfast, hoping for their business in 2013.
Trish Newcomb, selling her Granville Gourmet Whoopie Pies, said she saw a lot of new faces and heard many favorable comments about Granville.
Granville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Maggie Barno said many of the event participants were complimentary of Granville’s hospitality.
“The feedback I’ve heard from business owners, the community and participants has been extremely positive,” she said.
Barno and Stilwell said there were some concerns about parking — mainly where to park, especially since the Porches took up much of the immediate downtown space.
“We realize there are a few things we could have done better,” Barno said, indicating there will be evaluations “so that future events will be better.”