A CHANGE OF PACE
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 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
“A COMMENDABLE TALLY OF CARS…”
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
“QUALITY OF VEHICLES PROVED HIGH…”