2017 Penn-York Rally Was Quite Successful

Last weekend the Northeast Rally Club held the Penn-York Rally in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.  This time-speed rally is called the Penn-York Rally because Beach Lake, Pennsylvania is located just over the border between Pennsylvania and New York states.  Portions of the rally took place in both states.  The rally was a “shakedown” rally for Harald von Langsdorff’s newly built 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC.  In a few weeks Harald von Langsdorff and I will be competing, using this car, in the 9-day long Great Race rally from Jacksonville, Florida to Traverse City, Michigan and therefore we wanted to determine if the car was ready for that long, multi-day rally.  Even the 400-500 miles drive from Toronto, Ontario to Beach Lake was helpful as a fan failure occurred on the way to the rally.  It is much better to have things like this occur now rather than during the Great Race.

A Frequent View Of The Mercedes-Benz 350SLC During The Penn-York Rally Weekend

Much of our weekend was spent in the parking lot of the Central House in Beach Lake working on the car.  There were some issues that we knew had to be completed, in addition to the surprises that came up over the rally weekend.  The Central House was the place were most of the rally competitors stayed and it certainly was a very pleasant, friendly place to stay.

Central House Hotel In Beach Lake, PA

One of the things that we discovered during our pre-rally testing was that our speedometer drive/pulse generator was not working correctly.  It was causing our Timewise 825 speedometer to constantly swing back and forth with a 15 mile per hour amplitude.  In a rally where you can only use a speedometer and a stopwatch, a faulty speedometer set-up is fatal to your chances of success.  We determined that this could not be properly fixed at the rally, therefore we installed an E-Z Pulse external wheel sensor on the rear wheel that Harald had brought along as a backup.  The photo below shows the Mercedes-Benz with the E-Z Pulse wheel sensor installed with the external cable leading inside the car.

The 1972 Mercedes-Benz With The E-Z Pulse Drive Installed

During the weekend the rear sway bar on the car broke which resulted in some strange noises from its rear end.  Harald also added some warning signs for those who follow too close to our rear end.

Note The Caution Signs Added To The Car!

David Wells, who had a lot to do with the re-building of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz came to the Penn-York Rally to continue this assistance and to get an inside look at these time-speed rallies.  He is interested in competing in these events in the future.  The picture below shows Dave and Harald at the Penn-York Rally.  David, who has recent experience in servicing a Ferrari 308 in the East Africa Safari rally, also was able to work on a control timing crew during the Penn-York Rally.  David will also be attending the Great Race to support Harald and I.  We are lucky to have his help.

David Wells And Harald von Langsdorff At The Penn-York Rally

As usual, there were many older cars taking part in the 2017 Penn-York Rally.  And just to keep everyone in order, Jim and Louise Feeney brought along their 1936 Ford police car.  Now we know where Car 54 is!

Jim And Louis Feeney’s 1936 Ford 4-Door Sedan

Due to our problems with the car, Harald and I decided to skip the practice rally that was held on Friday afternoon.  We needed to do more car performance testing rather than take part in a practice rally.  To us, data was more important than rally experience.

On Saturday we took part in the main Penn-York Rally.  The rally roads were quite hilly and interesting.  The rally route took us for a nice lunch stop in a lovely state park were we had a welcome prepared luncheon.  Many of the park visitors were interested in the variety of cars that were taking part in the rally.

Saturday Lunch Time Parking

We finished the nine scored rally legs on Saturday with all of our scores being 4 to 9 seconds late.  This was clearly a pattern which caused us to make an adjustment to our factor in the calibratible Timewise 825 speedometer for the Sunday portion of the rally.

On Sunday morning we had an interesting stop during the rally at Cranker’s Museum Of Mechanical Marvels in Sterling, PA.  From the outside it appears to be a very modest museum, but inside is an interesting collection of high end American cars.

Cranker’s Museum Of Mechanical Marvels Was A Sunday Morning Stop

Inside Cranker’s Museum of Mechanical Marvels is an impressive collection of mostly Lincolns and Cadillacs.  I spoke briefly with the owner’s son who told me that the cars were purchased, not so much for display, but as an investment.  Certainly owning these cars is a lot more interesting than simply having the money earn zero interest in the bank.

Cranker’s Is An Impressive Collection Of Mainly Lincolns And Cadillacs

One of the cars in the collection that I liked best was the 1937 Cadillac Model 62, shown below.  This 2-door coupe had great lines and I especially liked the long hood.  This car was powered by a 346 cubic inch flathead V8 that produced 135 horsepower.  It also had a rumble seat.  I am not a particular fan of rumble seats, as I think that the additional trunk space would be more useful.

1937 Cadillac Model 62

Our scores improved on Sunday and we were even awarded an Ace for scoring a perfect zero on one leg.  We also scored a 2 seconds and 4 seconds on what for us was 4 timed legs.  Our total scored time was off considerably due to some scoring methodologies that are too long to explain and actually are not relevant to the point of this rally for us.

Our Ace Award For Leg 1 On Sunday

Our friends, Brian Blood and Steve Keller finished third overall in the Champion Class in their 1969 Saab 96.  They did very well in a class with very highly skilled competitors.

Brian Blood And Steve Keller Flank Corky Rutledge With Their Trophies

Other friends, Rockney Rookey and Larry Tribble, finished second in the Pro Class.  They did very well in Larry’s lovely 1955 Chevrolet.

Rockney Rookey And Larry Tribble Won Second Place In The Championship Class

In addition to having a very productive and informative rally, I also had a meeting on late afternoon on Thursday in the Three Wishes Restaurant in Beach Lake with Simon Arscott who lives in nearby Eldred, NY.  Simon has a very interesting and significant rally car and it looks like we might be doing some Sports Car Club of America rallies together in it later this year.  I will explain this further in the upcoming days.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the Penn-York Rally, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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1 Response to 2017 Penn-York Rally Was Quite Successful

  1. kmkemper says:

    Steve – nice write-up on the rally, glad the SLC made it through. If you are still having cooling fan issues, there is a good and cheap way to fit an electric fan to the car instead of the clutch fan on the pulley. As close as your local self-serve yard, from a Volvo 940, just in case your mechanic may be interested.



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