Rolling into Roanoke participant has roots deep in town

Roanoke native Klint Crawford (right) stands beside his 2012 Porsche Cayman R while his son, Clay, stands beside his 2005 BMW M3. The Crawfords will be bringing their cars to Roanoke on Saturday, July 21, for this year’s Rolling into Roanoke car show, where the spotlight will be on European automobiles and motorcycles.
Roanoke native Klint Crawford (right) stands beside his 2012 Porsche Cayman R while his son, Clay, stands beside his 2005 BMW M3. The Crawfords will be bringing their cars to Roanoke on Saturday, July 21, for this year’s Rolling into Roanoke car show, where the spotlight will be on European automobiles and motorcycles. Photo provided.

One of the many cars set to be exhibited at Rolling into Roanoke this Saturday, July 21, is a 2012 Cayman R. Produced by German sports car manufacturer Porsche, it will fit right in at this year’s show, as the theme is “Across the Pond” and European cars and motorcycles will be in the spotlight.

While the aforementioned Cayman R may hail from overseas, its owner, Klint Crawford, does not. In fact, when Crawford comes to Roanoke, he’ll be coming home.

Crawford resides in Plainfield and has lived in both Indianapolis and Chicago, IL. Roanoke, however, is his hometown. And his family’s roots there run deep.

From the 1940s into the 1960s, Crawford’s grandfather, Charles “Charlie” Stabler, ran a drug store in Roanoke, Stabler Drugs. He eventually sold the business to Crawford’s father, Jim Crawford, who rechristened it Roanoke Drug and Variety and ran it with a business partner, Denny Hogan.

Crawford was no stranger to the family business.

“I grew up through the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s stocking shelves, running the cash register, all the stuff that you normally do at a drug store,” he says.

The money he made there went toward the purchase of his first car, a 1977 Ford Mustang, which he bought in 1982 from Gary Hartley at Hartley Garage, in Roanoke.

Aside from money, the drug store also gave Crawford the opportunity to work alongside Dawn Ditmer, whom he would eventually marry. Like him, she was also fond of cars, and the couple drove her red 1986 Pontiac Firebird on their honeymoon after college.

While Crawford’s career after graduating from Purdue University took him away from Roanoke, his hometown retained a special place in his heart over the years. And when he learned this year that Rolling into Roanoke would be featuring European cars, he jumped at the chance to attend.

The timing was perfect as Crawford purchased his Cayman R this year. He had some money to invest and elected to put those funds toward a Porsche model that he describes as rare. Crawford’s black and silver Cayman R features a manual transmission, carbon fiber racing seats and a red and black interior – a series of qualities that, he estimates, only 25 other Cayman Rs in the United States boast.

While Crawford’s Cayman R may be unique, something that every Cayman R has in common is that they’re engineered for speed.

“It’s all about weight,” he explains. “It’s about 2,700 pounds, which is pretty light for a sports car. And what they did to reduce the weight, to make it faster, is they put aluminum doors on it.”

Other things Porsche did to the car in the interests of maximizing its speed include widening it by a few inches, lowering it by two inches, putting low-weight rims on it and installing a fixed wing on the back, states Crawford.

“I think they added, it doesn’t sound like much, but they added I believe it was 10 horsepower to the engine,” he adds. “But by adding 10 horsepower to the engine and lightening it … the performance just went way, way up.”

The Cayman R’s top speed is 175 miles per hour. Crawford, though, hasn’t driven his Cayman R nearly that fast.

“I don’t trust myself to do that,” he says with a laugh. “I would love to. And, in fact, I had three people, when I drove it back from Chicago – this is no joke – there were three people that pulled up next to me that wanted to race.”

Crawford denied all three of them and continues to turn down family members who want to race him.

“I’m like, ‘Nope, I’m not going to do it,’” he says with resolve.

When Crawford rolls into Roanoke, he’ll have company. One of his sons, Clay, will be with him, behind the wheel of his blue 2005 BMW M3 that features the competition package.

“He’s been my worker and my saver,” says Crawford of his son. “And he actually bought the car, he had enough money saved up, to make his down payment when he was 15.

“He had it for a year before he had his driver’s license.”

Crawford is excited for him and his son to participate in Rolling into Roanoke, which will be the first time either of them has attended the annual event.

Crawford is equally excited for the simple pleasures that are sure to come with coming back to his hometown.

“I’m sure I’ll run into a lot of people in town that I know,” he says. “So, I’m really looking forward to catching up with everybody during the event.”

Rolling into Roanoke is set to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Roanoke and Roanoke Park.

While European cars, such as the ones Crawford and his son will be bringing, will be the show’s featured vehicles, automobiles and motorcycles of all makes and models will be present at the event.

The pre-registration period for the show has closed, but limited registrations will be accepted the day of the event.
While there is a fee to register, the show is free to attend for spectators of all ages. Attendees will have several food and drink options to choose from at the event.

The show is organized by Rick Fischer and hosted by the Roanoke Beautification Foundation, a nonprofit group that spearheads improvement projects around Roanoke. The show serves as a fund-raiser for the foundation, with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum and the National Automotive and Truck Museum, both in Auburn, receiving a share of profits as well.

For more information, visit www.RollingIntoRoanoke.com.