Sunday morning July 21 dawned cool and gray. Would this be another year for the 356 Club of California, Dana Point Concours to be the victim of rain? This was a question discussed by my son and I as we cruised down the 5 freeway on our way to this years Dana Point Concours. As we turned off Pacific Coast Highway and approached the access road to Lantern Bay, we could already see a line of Porsches snaking up the hill leading to the Marriott hotel where the event is held each year on the lawn, overlooked by the hotel. We followed a Porsche 356 part way up the hill and then pulled off at the first turnout and tucked in line behind the other cars already waiting. As it neared 8 AM, the line finally began moving, and we all began inching up the hill. This proved to be a test of mettle for each car and its driver; nothing like a test of ones hand brake, clutch and throttle skills for ascending a steep hill under bumper to bumper traffic with a Porsche directly ahead and behind…
Our Carrera performed flawlessly and in short order we were at the top of the hill and following the other Porsches onto the grassy grounds of the Concours. The organizers were busy directing all Porsche 356 models to park with their brethren already aligned in neat rows. All of the remaining Porsche models were directed over to the opposite side of the show grounds, to be grouped with the 912, 911 and 914s already present. As we pulled in next to a Grand Prix White, 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS, we watched as the members of the RGruppe arrived, and were directed to park in the middle of the grassy area reserved for their club. So with our camera gear assembled, fresh battery packs installed, and a “thumbs-up” from my son, we headed off to begin our respective photographic quests.
Standing among the parked RGruppe cars, a distinct un-muffled exhaust note could be heard approaching from behind. As we turned around, we watched as a blue 1973 911 RSR approached, blipped its throttle several times and then came to a stop.
Parked to its immediate left was a pristine example of a 1973 911 Carrera RS; the ideal car for providing a visual comparisons between the two models.
As we walked through the RGruppe parking area, the unmistakable smell of burned clutch wafted through the morning air. After a brief search, we located the 911 with the overworked clutch. It turned out that the car in questions had an inoperative hand brake, so scaling the hill up to the parking area in bumper to bumper traffic became an exercise in balancing brakes, throttle and clutch. Unfortunately in this case, the clutch was the loser.
A gathering of the RGruppe faithful…
A trio of 1970s vintage Porsche 911S models (below), all members of RGruppe.
Two more beautiful and rare Porsches seen below, bridging the gap between the 911 parking and the 356 Concours area. The red model as seen below, a 1964 Porsche 901, and to its right, a 1968 911L in pale yellow.
This particular car was recently restored in Germany by the firm RUF…
It even included a vintage brochure (in German), advertising Porsches new for 1964 model, the 901. It’s believed that this particular car is the very same one as represented on the brochure.
Another of Porsches milestone cars, the 904 Carrera GTS, as seen below, and one of several Porsche race cars on display from the Ingram Collection.
This is also one of the few Porsche 904s that I’ve seen that has the small Porsche letters placed across the rear deck, in addition to the standard Carrera GTS rear fender badging….
With the rear deck opened, a view of the 2.0 liter, four cam four-cylinder motor…
The writing on the wall, or in this case on the transaxle; gear ratios recorded for future reference (see below).
Parked immediately to the right of the Porsche 904, was an example of Porsches first 911 based race car (and one of my all time favorites); a true 1967 Porsche 911R, model #17 of only 20 models produced by the Factory, and another Porsche from the Ingram Collection on display.
The first of Porsches many explorations into fender flare profiles (circa 1967) as seen below…
Porsche 911R # 17s Biography…
The quintessential 911R tail lights; the original source of all present day derivatives, and inspiration for all subsequent copies…
Below, the potent 1991 cc, 2.0 liter race motor. And in this case, one featuring a rare and unique option found on this car; a slide valve fuel injection system (normally reserved for Porsche’s 910 race cars), but in this case one sourced from the parts department back in the day at Vasek Polak’s Porsche dealership, while #17 was undergoing a rebuild for a celebrity client.
This back story was shared by none other than Dieter Inzenhofer (of Andial fame and as seen in the photo below), upon viewing #17’s motor. He immediately recognized it as one of his early rebuilds, in particular due to the 910 slide valve fuel injection system as installed. Dieter noted that he had personally sourced and installed this very system onto the motor for this car while he was employed by Vasek Polak. This information was also shared with Kevin Watts of Road Scholars (seen in the yellow shirt), and who just happens to manage the Ingram Collection. This new information can now be used to bridge some of the gaps in #17s past history, prior to its acquisition by the Ingram Collection.
Open for business; 911R #17s spartan, race prepared interior.
And now for something completely different… row after row of Porsche 356 models, cleaned, polished and aligned for this years featured event; the 356 Club of California, Dana Point Concours.
A stunning example of a fully restored, Azure Blue 356 Speedster…
seen wearing a set of rare, Rudge knock-off wheels, and in this case body color matched.
A line up of Dolphin Gray and Silver Porsche coupe and cabriolet models below;
perfect for providing inspiration and producing magic moments.
Let the judging begin. Parked several rows back, a Porsche 356 coupe undergoing scrutiny by one of the multiple, blue – shirt adorned Concours judging teams.
Ankle height perspective of the neighborhood and ones immediate neighbors…
and recording 911s arriving for a visit (below).
Another of the beautifully prepared 356 Speedsters, positioned along the front row, awaiting its turn for judging.
Next up was a visit to the trophy table, where this years design was themed to surfboards. And what better location than Lantern Bay, overlooking Dana Point, to employ a surfboard styled trophy to commemorate this years 356 Concours, especially since Dana Point has a long history as one of Southern California’s classic surf spots.
And with the unveiling of the trophies, the Concours results soon followed. One by one, the various trophy winners from each respective class were announced. Each of the winners was required to drive their cars up to the presentation area, in order to accept their trophies.
I learned that the car seen below had just undergone a 2+ year restoration, and had just been completed the day prior to the Concours, thus making this show its debut.
The happy owner and a class winning trophy; the perfect way to celebrate a Concours debut.
The gathering of the other happy Concours award winners…
Class winner; The beautiful Signal Red 1964 356C 2000GS Carrera 2 coupe.
Ironically, the Signal Red 1964 356C Carrera 2 (below), in addition to winning its class was also awarded “Best of Show”, having registered a score of 298 out of a possible 300 points.
Freshly restored, and now the award-winning Porsche proudly displaying its four cam motor (seen below)…
Collateral material and accessories as displayed across the cars rear jump seats…
Carrera specific; the lower rear apron masking the cars dual outlet muffler. Even the fit and finish and detail observed on this small area were amazing, and reflected the same care and overall level of fit and finish found throughout this entire car.
While I was in the process of writing this blog post, the latest issue or Excellence magazine (October 2013) arrived in the mail. Imagine my surprise when I came across an article on John Willhoit, and a companion article about a certain Signal Red 1964 Porsche 356C Carrera 2 2000 GS coupe, restored by non other than John’s Willhoit Auto Restoration shop. To read the full article on the 356 Carrera 2 as found in Excellence, please refer to this link.
Some of you may be asking what happened to the “hidden spectator” reference as noted in the title of this post? After returning home, and reviewing my photos from the events, I noticed after studying one particular image, that there was in fact a hidden spectator observing the Concours and who had gone undetected.
Can you find the “hidden spectator” in the photo above?
And who knows, perhaps there will be even more “hidden spectators” present for next years 356 Club of California, Dana Point Concours.
(All photos by the author)