Any excuse to leave Ohio in the middle of a dark and cold winter is a good one. Leaving for the warm weather and revelry of the Los Angeles Porsche Literature, Toy, and Memorabilia Show at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel, however, was an absolute godsend. While we didn’t get to see much of LA in my time there, we did get the chance to explore the inner workings of the Porsche community. The Literature and Toy show is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as events the day before, as well as the day after, turned a normal California weekend into one of the best weekends of the year.
Bent-Windshield 356 greeted arrivals at the LAX Hilton
We arrived late on Thursday night, and preparation began for our tour the following day. The Friday before the meet, many of the local Porsche establishments opened their doors and welcomed enthusiasts in by hundreds at a time. With prime tours available from Porsche centric shops and retailers like Willhoit Enterprises, European Collectibles, California Porsche Restorations, L.A. Dismantlers, Sierra Madre Collection, Tru-Speed, and Callas Rennsport, it was difficult to decide where we should visit first. Knowing that any of these would be a great place to visit, we threw a dart at a map of LA and started driving.
With early-aircooled cars being my personal favorite, we started our day with a visit to the Klasse356 workshops. This gorgeous black-plate 1955 Speedster was in for a standard checkup during our trip.
Next on the list was a visit to the shops of Steve Hogue Enterprises, where work was being done, meticulously, to a number of fascinating automobiles, including this RS61 Spyder, a recreation of Glockler Porsche #2, and one of 20 production 911R models.
The third shop visit was to Callas Rennsport, and was definitely worth a stop. With an inauspicious exterior, first impressions would predispose you to believe you are in for a lackluster experience, but that could not be farther from the truth. A pair of 959s, one in for engine rebuild, and one for a full restoration, greeted us, and the excitement only went up from there. A gorgeous 914-6 was in for restoration, and 911R #001 was inside being prepared for a trip to Pebble Beach.
As the day wound down, we slid into home plate at the immaculate workshops of Willhoit Enterprises. Long known as the source for a quality 356 restoration, Willhoit didn't let us down, however we were surprised by the quantity of 911 variants in for work as well. A handful of twin-cam 356 were nestled in next to a cadre of long hood 911 and 912 models.
Saturday started off with a bang at the Toy and Literature show as we spotted notable Porsche celebrities, Jerry Seinfeld and Magnus Walker. Both were amiable, and excited to be in attendance.
The Saturday show hall was bustling with activity, and overflowing with relevant goods. Early birds were allowed in before the crowds with an additional entry fee, and I jumped at the chance to be first in line. Sweeping the room, diligently searching for that one special piece to complete their collections, Porsche fanatics steadily trickled in. By mid-day, the crowds were heavy, and the tables were slowly emptying. The fact that we exited in the afternoon with any spare cash is, surely, a miracle. Vintage Porsche factory documents, owners manuals, posters, and early tin-toy rarities all shared space, and we wanted to take all of it home with us.
As Saturday afternoon wore on, the display hall started to empty out, and we ventured on to the open house of California Porsche Restoration. With more than a few cars currently being restored, CPR has a lengthy waiting list, each to be finished in their signature caring fashion, with an attention to detail that is second to none.
Following our stop off at CPR, the European Collectibles open house was filled with an inventory to absolutely die for. A row of eye-wateringly beautiful Porsches, combined with several other desirable European automobiles made for an exciting time. A room filled with perfect examples of 2.7 RS, and an early 911 so original it still wore its factory fan belt, topped off our Saturday with an elegant cherry.
The unrelenting heat of Sunday was a welcome change from the bitter freeze of North Ohio. The shelter of Anaheim’s SoCal All-Porsche Swap Meet and Car Display provided little respite, but we were not about to complain. Like Saturday’s Toy and Literature show, the swap meet was well attended by vendors and shoppers alike. Spending most of Sunday perusing the aisles of parts, as well as the rows of cars on display, we were kept well busy.
If there was a relatively flat surface large enough to park a car within a half mile of Sunday’s Swap-Meet, you could bet that there was a Porsche present. 911s, 356s, and 914s stretched out as far as we could see, and all were clean, gleaming, and beautiful. In Ohio, we’ve become accustomed to rusted rockers and wheel wells, especially on German metal as early as some of these. The clean, gorgeous sweeping curves of these So-Cal beauties were a sight for sore eyes. Why is it that we don’t live in Southern California, again?
After careful consideration, we’ve found another event to add to our exciting calendar for next year. It is unlikely that we will ever not attend this show again. The Porsche industry in America continues to thrive, and this show is just one example of the enthusiasm shared among us. This trip provided an opportunity to meet the people that continue to make our hobby possible, an opportunity to see some of the hidden gems of Porsche history, and an opportunity to escape the barren cold of winter. It was a weekend that we wish would never have ended.
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