Every year, the VW/Porsche Toy And Literature Swap Meet weekend gets bigger and bigger. Last year, I decided to drive my way down the spine of California to the swap meet, and it was a nightmare. Between the rain, the 8 hour drive, and the cost of parking, it was decided that it would be better to fly down this year. Besides, by flying, I'm limiting the amount of unnecessary stuff I can bring back with me, which is always good. Ticket booked, bags packed, time away from work scheduled, I flew down on Thursday evening for an early morning wake up to get things started. There's so much to do that this is a three (some people make it four) day trip.
On Friday, the local Porsche restoration shops all have their annual open-houses, and it's a race to get from one to the next in order to see them all. Friday is one of the busiest and most fraught days, mostly because you have to deal with the SoCal traffic, and all of those crazy highway interchanges. That said, that single day of travel can net you visuals of more Porsches than you've likely seen in a single day in your entire life. Literally hundreds of air-cooled Porsche favorites dot the landscape in every direction, and some little groups coalesce around those shops for a while before migrating to another shop. I managed to make it to 6 shops on Friday, and spent about an hour at each one. I can tell you, it wasn't enough.
Stop 1 - Steve Hogue Enterprises
Hogues shop is the de-facto home of lengthy and meticulous metal work. Their work is second to none, but be prepared to wait, and to pay for it when its done. You know when you walk up to the shop and there is a beautifully neglected 356 Speedster out front, that you're in the right place. This shop is pushed back off of the main road by quite a bit, and it's a small space, but though they be small, they are genuine craftsmen of the highest degree.
The back of the shop is loaded with all of the old school metalshaping tools you might need to do their kind of work, and either side of the 'aisle' is filled up with long term metalwork projects. There's a 911R, a 718 RSK project, and a number of other non-Porsches including a couple of Shelby Cobras, an old Jag, and even an old Lancia Aprilia.
This RSK frame was here last year, too, and it looks like little progress has been made. A project like this isn't something you take lightly, and there is probably a lot of non-metalwork work going into this one. Things like research and parts searching and measuring other cars takes a lot of time. It'll look great when done, I'm sure.
Stop 2 - Callas Rennsport
Callas Rennsport never fails to be anything but stunning in their annual open house. This year they said that they would have a handful of 959s available for everyone to view, a couple of Carrera GTs, a handful of 914-6s, and even a 911R, not to mention the 356s and early 911s sitting around. Not only did they deliver that, but much much more. They had a few engines on stands that some of the technicians were giving talks about, they had some of the cars, including Walter Rohrl's personal 959 Sport, the white one, up on the rack. That particular Porsche was so nice underneath that it still had it's perfect waxy undercoating intact from the factory.
This 959 engine was dropped out of one of the cars on site for a clutch change. From the sounds of things, this was a much more involved job than in your average 911, needing a lot of time, and a lot of money, to have the job done properly.
As a lover of all things long-hood 911, this 1968 911R (Chassis number 1) is always a treat to see. Much of the car, including the paint, looks perfect, but it seems that it's always a bit of a work in progress every time I see it. I really hope this one shows up for Rennsport Reunion this fall. The engine in the 911R is essentially the same as what was available in the 906 Carrera 6 racing car, and those big carburetors and high stacks look so good.
Another favorite early Porsche of mine, the 914-6, was also on display in mid-restoration. This one looked absolutely perfect, which is a nice change from the usual rusty and beat up ones I've become accustomed to seeing. The chrome was mirror-like, and the paint was deep and beautiful. This is a quality restoration that the new owner should be ecstatic with when it is done.
I can't say I've ever seen the underside of a Carrera GT before, so this was truly a treat. The gorgeous flat carbon weave underbody trays make for an amazing sight, but the rear air evacuation tunnels are spectacular. The way that the rear lower control arms are shaped to disturb the air as little as possible is fantastic. You can tell that a lot of engineering was involved here. What a fantastic Porsche this is.
Immediately to the right of the Carrera GT was this 356 Karmann Hardtop "Notchback" Coupe. These are still a little bit unloved among the 356 faithful, but for some reason I've always gravitated toward them. I think they are unique and strange enough to be quite interesting.
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