Late last Friday night into early Saturday morning, the facilities of PM Motorsports at the corner of 34th and Stockton streets in Sacramento, California suffered significant fire damage. The fire, thankfully, did not injure or kill any humans, though it did take the lives of some significant collector Porsches that were housed inside when the blaze started. Several million dollars worth of vintage Porsche cars were absolutely destroyed in the July 18th fire, causing untold mental anguish to Porsche enthusiasts the world over.
According to a news report, the blaze raged and the local fire departments fought against it for about four hours. Being an automotive shop, the place was reported to have been filled with tires and chemicals, which exacerbated the long burning issue. At one point, the fire was escalated to a "three alarm blaze", and the surrounding neighborhoods were feared to be in danger. Luckily they were able to contain the fire, and no damage was sustained outside of the walls of the shop.
Undoubtedly the most significant car lost in the blaze is this 1973 911 Carrera RSR, chassis number 911.360.1008, owned by the shop proprietor, Mr. John Skoien. RSR #1008 was originally brought into the country as one of two cars purchased by Volkswagen of America, presumably for promotional purposes. This car was later sold to a San Diego based Porsche dealer, Alan Johnson. Skoien was the first private owner of the car, and he has had it in his collection for a number of years. In 2001, the car was featured on the cover of Panorama Magazine, and touted as being the most pristine and original RSR, probably in the world.
The RSR, as you can see in the photo above, was mortally wounded in the fire, and its famed originality is now forever lost. Undoubtedly, the car will be restored to a facsimile of its former glory, but it will never have matching numbers, original paint, or any of its original accoutrements. There are other original RSRs in the world that come close, surely, but the significance of this one has now been diminished.
Since the fire was extinguished, a handful of local Porsche enthusiasts have stopped by to document the damage to share with the greater Porsche community. As you can see from these photos, the RSR is not the only significant Porsche loss in the melee. A few handfuls of 356s, including at least two Speedsters, a number of early long-hood 911s, and a couple of 914s were also in the shop at the time of the fire.
Is Your Porsche Adequately Insured?
While many enthusiasts have expressed anguish at the community's loss, it is inspiring others to take a look at their own private collections. This great loss of sheet-metal has brought up a very good point; as Porsche collector prices continue to increase, it's a good idea to revisit your existing insurance policies on a yearly basis. I have personally met a number of enthusiasts who were the original owners of their vintage P-cars, and if their insurance policy on a 356 Speedster hasn't been updated in 5-10 years, and something catastrophic were to happen, they would likely be paying for much of the restoration/replacement costs out of pocket, which only adds insult to injury.
If we can take just a couple of things away from this great loss, the first has to be 'Cars can be replaced, and humans can't. It is good fortune that nobody was injured or killed in such a hellacious fire. The second must be 'pay close attention to your insurance coverage and policies. Make sure you won't be left holding the bill if something like this were to happen to your pride and joy.'
It has not been disclosed how many of the cars were from the shop-owner's private collection, and how many of them belonged to customers either having their cars stored or serviced at PM Motorsports. No count has officially been made as to how many cars were involved, or how extensive the damage was. For the time being, we can simply wish the best for all parties involved. Dealing with insurance companies can certainly be a pain.
The cause of the fire has not been released, or is not known.
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