What started out as a pleasant drive in the country resulted in the loss of a mint condition Model 912 Porsche “Targa”, circa 1969. According to the vehicle’s owner, the car was destroyed after its engine burst into flames during a drive to Barry’s Landing around noon on Thursday.
The classic vehicle was owned by Ev and Susan Diehl of Cody who were taking it out for a “spin in the country.” According to Ev, the car was in “pristine museum-quality” condition. The couple had purchased the vehicle from Hollywood actor Enrique Murciano who has acted in “CSI,” “Without a Trace” and other television series.
“We were just out taking a nice little road trip,” said Ev. “ I have a boat and wanted to check out Barry’s Landing. We parked the car, walked around a bit then got back in and drove off.”
Ev noticed the car was responding in an unusual way and asked his wife Susan, who was driving, to pull over.
“I accused her of being in the wrong gear as we drove up the incline out of Barry’s Landing,” said Ev. “The engine, which is located in the back, burst into flames right behind our heads as soon as she stopped the car.”
Ev said the fire spread so quickly that the couple barely had time to retrieve their belongings from the vehicle.
“There was very little traffic out there and no cell service at all,” said Ev. “It was a long time before anyone got to us because of that, and we literally just stood there for about an hour and watched the car burn to the ground.”
The couple watched all five tires and the gas tank explode before anyone could get there to help them.
Ev said he suspects that a gas leak either in the carburetor or fuel pump caused the fire. The hot engine most likely ignited the flammable substance.
According to Lovell Fire Chief Jim Minchow, the vehicle was completely destroyed by the time fire fighters arrived on the scene.
Nonetheless, the couple was impressed with those who responded.
“Jim Minchow was great. He was more than helpful; he had genuine concern for us,” said Ev. “He helped us make all of the arrangements to get the remains of the car towed out of there.”
Although the couple is sad to lose such a special car, they are grateful that no one was injured in the incident.
“We have insurance, of course, but you just can’t replace a classic car like that one,” said Ev.
The couple own and operate the Chamberlin Inn, in Cody.