Having spent more than 35 years traveling the globe to work on some of the most exotic Porsches of all time, Jay Lloyds probably never figured he'd come close to meeting his demise in a blizzard outside of Buffalo, New York.
Just five days earlier, Lloyds was in his suburban Toronto Porsche performance shop finishing up a custom wastegate for his highly modified 1981 Porsche 911 Turbo before embarking on a marathon 19-hour solo run to Daytona, Florida, for the inaugural "Classic 24 at Daytona" historic sports-car racing event. Although he wasn't competing, Lloyds had plans to reunite with friends from Germany and generally soak up all the sun and Porsche vibes he could. He figured—and we agree—that the best possible way to arrive was in his bright-orange Jägermeister Porsche 934 tribute. More than just a cosmetic homage, Lloyds's car packs a 560-hp, turbocharged 3.3-liter air-cooled flat-six and an original four-speed manual transmission. "It's the best transmission Porsche ever made," says Lloyds. By his account, the weekend was a great success.
Lloyds's Porsche as of Thursday evening, four days after the storm hit. Buried under up to five feet of snow, another two feet fell later that night. That writing on the roof? It's just the signatures of Porsche racing drivers Jürgen Barth, Jochen Mass, Kees Nierop, and Altfrid Hege
When the tents folded in Daytona, Lloyds pointed the car north and set out to repeat his nonstop dash. He figured he might hit some snow, so, using a small kit of tools he had packed, he took the precautionary measure of raising the car's ride height by an inch or so before departing. On Monday night, as he reached the southern shore of Lake Erie in northwestern Pennsylvania, it became clear the lift was in vain.
"The snow was so deep and the wind so strong they closed all the highways," Lloyds told Car and Driver in a phone interview. "I had to use two-lane country roads, and it got to the point where the snow was being measured in feet instead of inches. At times, the car slipped 90 degrees sideways, but I never spun it." An impressive feat in any vehicle, much less a car with a well-known reputation for swapping ends at the most inopportune moments. His choice of rolling stock didn't help matters, as Lloyds's handcrafted steel fender flares shroud massive 245/30 front and 315/30 rear Toyo Proxes R888 competition tires—essentially track rubber with just enough tread pattern to remain street-legal—on 18-inch AUTOArt wheels, themselves measuring 9 inches wide in the front and 13 in the rear.
The 911 Turbo in, er, sunnier times in Daytona, just a few days ago.
"Eventually, some 30 miles outside of Buffalo, the tires would just spin, and I came to the realization I was stuck. I thought, This is it, I'm 58 years old and I'm going to die in the car I love." Complicating matters further, the Porsche's heater was operating at 50-percent effectiveness, as Lloyds had disconnected one of the car's notorious heater boxes before the trip. "Those things don't make a lot of cabin heat to start with, and one of the exchangers was leaking, which can pump exhaust fumes into cabin," said Lloyds with characteristic understatement.
As reported by , that's when Lloyds encountered Michael Weazer, 24, and his girlfriend, Brittany Leighbody, 23, clearing snow in front of their Brant, New York, home. They offered him shelter from the storm, and he was still there when C/D spoke to him today. "It snowed again last night, and we're having trouble getting out of the house. I was planning to take more pictures, but the car is even more buried now," said Lloyds. (Update: The dig out has started! Lloyds sent us a couple more shots, which are at the bottom of this post.)
Lloyds at work on a 3.6-liter air-cooled engine destined for a 1981 930.
Lloyds, who has a close relationship with and whose résumé includes stints with the Roitmayer GmbH racing team in Munich and the Zeiss Racing and Flying Tigers teams in Hong Kong, seems to be taking it all in stride. "I can't overemphasize how grateful I am for the couple's hospitality, and I'm not sure when the conditions will be right to continue on," he says. "But I have a lot of adventures in my life, and I'm not interested in wasting away in front of the television in a home. My Porsche shop, in Mississauga, Ontario [motto] has, among other machine tools, a lathe that I use to craft parts on. With any luck, I'll die behind that lathe."