All posts by Eddy Dubell

Third Annual Fahrenhart Fall Cruise: Pagoda Hillclimb, Reading, PA

The time comes again; it’s the end of the show car and racecar season. The wrenches are getting cleaned and ready to start working on next year’s car changes over the next couple months, #sowoprep! It’s like a hibernation mode for the low cars, to be tucked away in garages and under tarps for the fear of the bad east coast winters and the salt they pour onto the roads eating your car alive.

For the crew of Fahrenhart, it means it’s time for the Fall cruise, a yearly event of blasting our cars around together through the fallen leaves that mask the roads and finding magnificent views and great food along the way. In years past, we’ve enjoyed rolling through the New Hope area of Pennsylvania along the winding River Road stopping off in parks and catching attention of passers-by. This year however, we aimed our sights on something different, something that piqued everyone’s interest, the Pagoda Hillclimb, in Reading, PA.

The Pagoda Hillclimb refers to an SCCA event that happens in June every year on a 1.35 mile stretch of road in Reading on a residential road that’s closed off for the daring to take at speeds too fast for the normal car. This sounded like the perfect place for the “drive-hard” crew of Fahrenhart.

A small group of us gathered at FDR Park in Philadelphia to drive out to the King of Prussia mall and meet up with the rest of Fahrenhart. Keith Moore thought it might be great idea to grab some breakfast for the group at Potito’s Bakery. After a short trip to pick up some donuts it was off to King of Prussia and dealing with the crappy traffic on Rt. I-76.

We arrived at the mall all in one piece to find a good amount of the crew already waiting but knew there were a few still not there. Seemed like the perfect time to chat and eat some delicious donuts and talk cars. The weather was already looking beautiful and it was only 9 in the morning so that played well with hanging for a bit and getting amped for this hour drive out to Reading.

Everyone soon started getting antsy, as we knew it was time to being our Sunday drive. We rolled out like a giant conga line of Volkswagens (and Audis) and entered the Turnpike. Christine looked out the back window of our wagon and goes “ its so awesome how we move like synchronize swimmers while switching lanes.” We kept together in a long line of cars whiles Ryan and Joelle snapped some sweet roller shots of the group.

Roller shots courtsey of  Ryan Norris.

Occasionally, a few of us would pick up the pace and speed off from the group but try to stay going the speed limit since a few drivers are a bit too low to the ground to be hitting some speeds. We lost Michael Fetch and Paul Fink for a short bit losing at an exit so we pulled over and waited for them to turn around and come back. It was the perfect time to shoot some more shots of us hanging out and revel in the nice weather. When they finally caught back up with us it was time for the last leg of the journey, the Pagoda. I think we messed up the traffic flow on the roads a bit and might have upset a few locals while trying to get everyone back on the road, but it was worth it to try to keep everyone together and not to lose anyone.

Turning on to the first part of the hill climb we could tell this was a real hill climb. “The cabby would have not made it up this” said Christine turning to me, “it would have just been stuck at the bottom.” The road was elevated and we pushed upwards on the winding road full of incredible turns. We drove quickly up the mountain with all the cars one behind the other enjoying each turn to finally come to the stunning Pagoda, which looked like it had been removed straight out of East Asia. After parking up, we were all awestruck by the view over the town. Everyone made sure to get their selfies with one another against the backdrop.

Catching the wind in our hair and relaxing in the backdrop of magnificent sights, a few began to explore the area as others began to get in their cars and test their cars against the hillclimb. Alex mounted up the GoPro and took his car up and down the hill and others followed and tried to keep up. My wagon couldn’t really handle the roads in its stock form so after taking the trip down and then back up once was good enough for me. I ended up jumping in the car with Keith and enjoying his tuned MK5 GTi as he ripped the corners.

After racing further up the hill we found a watchtower and gathered up the rest of the crew to come check it out. This seemed like the perfect time to collect all the cars that came together and have a photo shoot of everyone from up above. A few people climbed the one hundred and sixty eight steps to the top to grab the shot of the cars below and take in yet another great view. I stayed on the ground and kept snapping photos.

By this time it was about one and everyone is starting to get hungry. Fetch shouts out “Liberty Taproom is close to here,” and that about settled it! Beer and food, were exactly what we were looking for. We headed out to our final destination to recap our day. Liberty taproom organized a group of table in the back for the nineteen of us that came out so we can sit back and bask in the day’s adventure.

Leaving felt like such a chore. We had spent the day together and needed to head home. We stood in the parking lot of the taproom and talked some more. It’s always hard leaving when you are in such good company. In the end, everyone hugged and said their goodbyes and headed homewards. The day was perfect, the ride was smooth and there were no accidents or mishaps.

A lot of car groups de-humanize themselves and make it all about the cars, the shows and the trophies but Fahrenhart is always something more then that, it’s a gathering of friends with a passion for all things Euro. This might be the last outing of the season with our cars but we now look forward to our Friends-giving party and I can’t wait to see everyone again.