Or­gan­ised in Or­ange County, Cal­i­for­nia, the 356 Club Con­cours has been a Clas­sic Porsche favourite for sev­eral years, thanks in part to its stel­lar lo­ca­tion over­look­ing the Pa­cific Ocean. But guess what…the show was forced to find a new site in 2017. Was

Classic Porsche - - Contents - Words & pho­tos: Stephan Szan­tai

Clas­sic Porsche vis­its the 356 Club’s show at its new Socal lo­ca­tion

Sites cho­sen by pro­mot­ers can make or break any car show. In the case of past 356 Club Con­cours (hosted by South­ern Cal­i­for­ni­aʼs 356 Club), par­tic­i­pants raved about the large piece of lawn over­look­ing the ocean, next to a Mar­riott Re­sort in the city of Dana Point, Cal­i­for­nia. The only hic­cup (in our opin­ion) was that the event of­ten ap­peared some­what iden­ti­cal, year af­ter year, as the lay­out of cars re­mained the same over­all. Itʼs a mi­nor com­plaint, re­ally, con­sid­er­ing the qual­ity of this an­nual meet!

Well, we cer­tainly had no rea­son to whine last July, since the city of Dana Point sim­ply asked the 356 Club to find another place to hold their Con­cours! The hard­work­ing troupe of vol­un­teers strug­gled for a while to find an ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tion, un­til they stum­bled upon Cen­tral Park, ob­vi­ously not in New York, but Hunt­ing­ton Beach. It lies ad­ja­cent to the cityʼs pub­lic li­brary, known for its great in­te­rior, with a spi­ral ramp and wa­ter foun­tains.

Sure, some par­tic­i­pants missed the prox­im­ity of the ho­tel/restau­rant found at Dana Point… And although the site did not of­fer a view of the Pa­cific Ocean, it still had quite a vis­ual im­pact, with small hills, a wind­ing road, plenty of trees and var­i­ous grassy ar­eas – we loved it.

The parkʼs lay­out al­lowed the 356 Club to be cre­ative, with spe­cific ar­eas al­lo­cated to cer­tain mod­els or show en­tries. While the event caters mostly to 356 own­ers, the club in­vites own­ers of other vin­tage Porsches to join the fes­tiv­i­ties as well, re­sult­ing in a com­mend­able tally of 400 cars. This trans­lated into the 911s (and 911 out­laws) hav­ing their own cor­ner, along with the 912s, which came in large


num­bers. In fact, it still amazes us to see how pop­u­lar they have be­come, when you think how very few showed up at meets even a dozen years ago.

The 356 Club de­scribes its hap­pen­ing as ʻthe largest 356-only fully-judged con­cours in the worldʼ. Pre-1965 Porsche mod­els cer­tainly rep­re­sented the bulk of the en­tries as you might ex­pect, though not all en­rolled in the con­cours com­pe­ti­tion it­self, pre­fer­ring to pic­nic with their friends, or sim­ply en­joy the com­pany of like-minded en­thu­si­asts on the lawn.

De­pend­ing on the level of restora­tion, show com­peti­tors could en­ter three 356 classes: Full Con­cours, Street Con­cours and ʻWash & Shineʼ; then each of them is sub­di­vided in nine cat­e­gories (Pre-1955, ʼ56–59, etc.). And be­lieve us, the con­test got quite in­tense, with five judges comb­ing through each car, timer in hand.

Over­all, the qual­ity of the ve­hi­cles – 356s and oth­ers – proved high, with a hand­ful hav­ing spe­cial sto­ries to tell. This in­cluded a pair of 356B coupés, a sil­ver ʼ61 and a green ʼ62, each be­ing part of the same fam­ily since new. While we did­nʼt no­tice any ʻSpe­cialsʼ or coach­built mod­els, the show of­fered a nice group of Pre-as, with a duo of rare ʼ55 Con­ti­nen­tals com­ing to mind.

The event has been sup­ported by 911 fans for years and this edi­tion was no ex­cep­tion, with many ex­am­ples fea­tur­ing out­law traits. Some R-gruppe pre-1974 cars in par­tic­u­lar may look not-far-from-stock at first glance, un­til you lift the en­gine lid to dis­cover a hot rod­ded 3.2- or 3.6-litre en­gine.

Tra­di­tion­ally held in July ev­ery year, the 356 Club Con­cours never dis­ap­points, thanks to the qual­ity of the vin­tage Porsches put on dis­play – and Cal­i­for­ni­aʼs sun cer­tainly helps as well. The date of the 2018 get-to­gether has not yet been con­firmed; but in case youʼre in town, donʼt miss it. More info at 356club.org. CP


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