Stop 3 – Klasse 356
Ed Rutherford’s Klasse 356 shop is an interesting little shop. They have been doing quality work and selling quality parts for a while now, and this is where the action happens. You can see some of their meticulously organized shelves in the background stocked to the brim with quality NOS and reproduction vintage Porsche parts.
They had this car in the middle of a restoration fresh from the paint shop. An early bent-window 356 Coupe, either 52 or 53, this Porsche looked fantastic. The bodywork prep had to have been perfect in order for the paint to look this nice. Someone spent a lot of quality hours making this gorgeous grey look just so.
Stop 4 – Willhoit Auto Restoration
After finding a parking place about two blocks away, the walk up to Willhoit’s shop was almost like walking among the rows of a car show. Not only do the shops have great cars on display, but the cars that enthusiasts drive to the open houses are sometimes as exciting as the stuff being restored. This R Gruppe monster was one of the best cars I saw all weekend. Truly gorgeous.
Further down the street was this beautiful duo of pretty early and late 356 examples.
In addition to the gorgeously completed cars in the other room, Willhoit even displays some of their works in progress. A speedster, a Cabriolet, and a Coupe makes for a not too bad lineup.
In the “finished product” room, Willhoit had the 356 Carrera 2 that they had just barely finished last year, and it still looks just as beautiful. The car competed at the Amelia Island concours last year, and it still looks 100% show ready. I loved the ability to walk around under one of the most meticulously prepared twin-cam 356 in the country.
Part of the appeal of going to Willhoit’s open house (aside from their delicious hot dog, bratwurst, and hamburger luncheon) is that they trot out a portable dynamometer for anyone to give their car a run. This particular 356 was one of the loudest cars I’ve heard in quite some time, and it looked pretty stout for a little flat four. I’ll bet it’s a hoot to drive.
Speaking of ‘a hoot to drive’, it seems like every time I go to a Porsche event, I see Mr. John Eiskamp’s gorgeous 912 hot rod. This Porsche is one of the most beautiful shades of paint I’ve ever seen, reminiscent of the dirty red Georgia clay of Road Atlanta. More than that, though, it’s the detail work that makes this stand out over every other early 900 series car, including the 356 Carrera front and rear deco strips (these have no rubber inserts), Euro front signal lights, and 1973 911 black horn grilles. Every time I see this Porsche, I see something new I hadn’t noticed before. If you get up close to it, do yourself a favor and check out the interior. It’s spectacular.
In another bout of spectacular, this is Mr. Willhoit’s personal hot rod. It sports a 3-liter flat six with glorious velocity stack fuel injection and modified cylinder heads to add in motorsport-style twin-spark. I can’t imagine how much fun this car is to drive, and to make it even cooler, Willhoit has a matching surfboard that he apparently uses regularly, being just a short drive from the ocean.
Stop 5 – Liberty Motorsports
After our stop off at Willhoit, we took a drive down to Costa Mesa to visit some friends at European Collectibles. We got a private tour over there, of which you will hear much more about shortly. Just around the corner, quite literally, from EC, is Jim Liberty’s little part of the Porsche restoration game. His shop is a bit smaller than most, but he only works on a couple of cars at a time, and does a bang up job of it. Case in point, this gorgeous light blue cabriolet on the lift. This cab was unique in that it was ordered without a soft top, opting to use only the factory delivery hard top. Either way, it’ll look gorgeous.
This other cabriolet in his shop was a barn find car that was mothballed more than 30 years ago, and was just dragged out last fall. The car wasn’t perfect, but aside from a few minor niggles, it looked pretty darn good. It certainly was stored nicely, as there was no damage to any of the interior bits. According to Jim, the car arrived to him with ‘some assembly required’. I’d say it looks like a great 3-season driver.
Out in front of the Hilton, East Coast restorers extraordinaire “Road Scholars” brought along a pair of gorgeous early Porsches. They are one of perhaps five shops in the country that I would say do the best restoration work. On par with, or better than, many of the shops in the Los Angeles area. Always top quality.
Saturday starts bright and early at the Airport Hilton for the swap meet itself. This is officially a literature and toy swap meet, but people bring a little bit of everything. Vendors show up with parts both used and new, people bring poster boards offering whole cars for sale, and there are some restoration shops that use their booths only as a space to talk to prospective customers. A little bit of everything shows up at this event. It’s huge.
Looking for Tamiya models, hand painted tchotchkes, or even desk lamps made of crankshafts? Chances are likely that you’ll find it here. If you don’t find something you’re looking for, ask around, as someone here knows a guy that has what you need.
Do you need an original parts book for your 935 race car? This one can be yours for only 500 big ones. On another table, I saw a rebuild manual for a Fuhrmann four-cam engine with a four-digit price tag on the cover. I have one on my archives shelf, do you think it’s really worth that?
You see, that’s part of the problem of events like this. If you don’t buy anything, and don’t plan on buying anything, you might see something you already own with a massive number on its price sticker, and think “maybe I should bring some of my own stuff here next year”. Dangerous.
One of the great things about this event, though, is seeing all of the really cool Porsche people out there in the scene. It wasn’t hard to spot Nicolas Hunziker, as he had a booth selling his shirts, prints, stickers, and posters, but I also exchanged pleasantries with Jerry Seinfeld, Magnus Walker, Jeff Zwart, Wayne Dempsey (Pelican also had a booth), and so so many more Porsche enthusiasts I’ve met over the years. It’s a great time, and a great event.
Saturday after the swap meet is European Collectible’s open house, which is fantastic. We opted to go on Friday because Saturday is so jam packed that it’s difficult to get any kind of decent photos of their cars. They slam literally hundreds of people in there for a few hours to show off their gorgeous shops, beautiful cars for sale, and provide a bunch of free tacos and hamburgers. I still went, because it’s a fantastic time, but more to peruse rather than to report. You’ll see more soon.
Please take note, this story contains so many great pictures that we needed to break it into three (3) pages so it would load properly for everyone. Please use the buttons below to move on to the next pages and see the rest of what we found in LA.