Reminiscing porsche Pete

by : Rain Stockton

He was known simply as "Porsche Pete", a character created on a website intended for Porsche automobiles specifically the Boxster. The man behind it was Charles "Chuck" Hammersmith of Burlington.

In July 1, Hammersmith died at the age of 53. He pioneered the Web site, or Porsche Pete's Boxster Board, one of the first Internet message boards on the subject, and the most active devoted to the Boxster, Porsche's best-selling car. The website might also have an insight on .

While Hammersmith had been charmed by Boxsters since before he could drive, friends from his message board say that the car particularly interested him because it was the first Porsche made available to a wider audience. Before his first Boxster, the fanatic owned three 911s.

Porsche fans organized the Blue Ridge Boxster Summit in Blowing Rock, where users have met for the last nine years. That's because of Hammersmith's site.

Karl Folkens, a South Carolina resident and administrator, said that the biggest thrill for many who attended the first and subsequent summits, was meeting "Porsche Pete" in person. He continued that one got the sense he's a pistol-pulling kind of guy form the website, but in person one would find he's very mild mannered.

Kim, Hammersmith's daughter, said that her dad was never the spotlight dominant, and would have been surprised by all the appreciation he received since his death began to spread. Thousands of posts are on the Web site, highlighting Hammersmith through memories and photos.

Kim, who has an appreciation for Porsche herself and toured a factory while visiting Germany a few years ago, continued they didn't realize how big an impact the site made for the past 10 years. The daughter added her dad never really wanted to take credit for anything he did.

Hammersmith wasn't able to make it to the 9th annual gathering last month, where Boxster friends spent four days driving along the 400-mile Blue Ridge Parkway's winding mountain roads.

Gordon Mckeehan, parts manager at Porsche dealer Suncoast Motorsports, said the honor was his and the other employees, to sell Hamersmith his last Boxster in 2003.

Cecil Thorpe, one of the site's administrators said that since the opening of the website, Porsche owners and other self-designated "car geeks" have posted millions of messages on the message board.

Thorpe said the discussions on the board are monitored by Porsche's corporate headquarters to learn what owners like and don't like about the vehicle.
The loss was especially difficult for Robert Granger, Hammersmith's co-host from Texas.

In an email, Granger implied that Chuck's philosophy has always been really so special.

Aside from meeting Hammersmith at Boxster gatherings, Granger had met Hammersmith's daughters, and was especially amazed by the father's love for them. He said that other than a true Boxster fanatic, Chuck's real pride and joy were his two girls, Kim and Sarah. He added Chuck never missed a chance to brag on them.