The Chili and the Aquamarine

by Roger Sanders

This year, the end of February could not have come any sooner. Our annual Chili Cookoff was a bright light in the endless overcast days. Pat and Fred Nielson and Barkley had again agreed to host the Chili Cookoff and Fred had a chance to let club members into his 356 Porsche garages.

Some ate chili, some drank wine, some visited, some petted Barkley and some went on Fred’s guided 356 Porsche tours. Many of our 40 or so club members did it all! Of course the tasting competition of 18 chilis was the real reason we were all there and this year there was a special buzz going on.

Could anybody ever beat Al Frickey’s vegetarian chili? Al had been winning the vegetarian chili trophy almost every year since the beginning of time and this year it was time for some real competition. So, instead of one or two vegetarian chili entrants there were seven, all gunning for Al. Al finally had some real competition.

Al is shifty, however! Know what he did? He had heard the rumors that many of us were out to beat him this year, so he shifted gears and didn’t enter vegetarian. He entered the regular chili competition category. There would be no gloating that we beat Al’s vegetarian.

Lisa Sarmiento, winner of best overall chili

Our trophy winners: This year Lisa Sarmiento won the big one… best overall chili! Talk about great tasting chili! Viki McConnell won the best spicy chili and I won best vegetarian. The grand finale after tasting, of course, was to eat the left over chili. I found that adding a bunch of sausage to my vegetarian entry after the competition made it very popular. We also had an endless supply of great side dishes and hors d’oeuvres.

A highlight of the evening was taking one of Fred Nielson’s 356 collection tours. This year, one car really stood out over his Speedster, Roadster and Coupe collection. It was that weird, non-original plum colored, ugly duckling '58 Coupe that Fred bought several years ago as a daily driver. You may have seen him driving it around town.

Fred likes sunroof 356 Porsche Coupes, which were very rare. So a couple of years ago he had the roof of the “Plum” cut off and swapped with a sunroof version. The transplant looks so good that it could be original.

This winter Fred really solved the weird plum color problem for good. He had it repainted in original aquamarine blue! It’s now a spectacular, rust free, aquamarine, sunroof '58 Coupe with a red interior. Can you say rare, rare, rare?! Blue with red interior was popular in Germany, but never in the US. Believe me, it’s a real head turner now! We need to talk Fred and Pat into showing off their very unique, aquamarine '58 at some club activities!

See the photo gallery here.