ight, seven, nine, zero, oneʼ chanted a tall guy in front of the Karmann Konnection parts stand at the Phoenix Club Porsche meet in Anaheim. I instantly recognised this series of numbers to be the chassis number of the 1960 Drauz Roadster I had recently bought, and the man behind the friendly face was Rick Kreiskott, who had owned the car for 10 years previously.
ʻSo, how do you like the car?ʼ he enquired, to which I replied, ʻI love it!ʼ We exchanged pleasantries and stories before heading off to look over his superb, original paint ʼ72 911, which was parked in the car display on the grass.
I had actually purchased the Roadster via Bob Campbell the year before (2003) that meeting. I was initially hoping to find a nice Speedster but good ones were just out of my price range. And then, Bob emailed me the details of 87901 and I was excited, as it sounded like it could be just my kind of car.
The message read, ʻ1960 T5 Roadster, originally Aetna blue with red interior, now white with tan. The car has never been taken apart and all the numbers match (including panels, motor, transmission, wheels and hubcaps). No rust or accident damage as the car has been in Arizona and California since new. Itʼs had a cheap respray in white (masked up/not dismantled) and an older retrim in light tan vinyl with German carpets, but underneath itʼs all original underseal and floor pans etc. The convertible top canvas and top frame paint are good, tooʼ.
As well as all the original parts it came with some nice extras, too. These included a tuned 1720cc 356C motor, a rebuilt transmission, an 80-litre long-range fuel tank, a set of five 4-in wide RSK steel/alloy wheels, plus many NOS spares. It was priced at $49.5k for the complete package up-and-running with the tuned C motor and wheels, or $40k with just the original parts (and not running). I opted for the complete package, which Bob kindly delivered straight to the shipping company for me. Eight weeks later the car arrived and I was pleased to find that Bobʼs description had been very accurate.
I started work on the car that week, first removing the bumpers and fitting a Bursch performance exhaust. Next I fitted a pair of aluminium Speedster seats trimmed in matching beige leather. While I was working inside the car, I went on to fit a restored (dished) Les Leston wood rim steering wheel along with a period radio and under-dash faceplate, too.
Moving to the body, a pair of original Us-spec headlights with period, custom machine-turned inserts and halogen bulbs were installed, along with a pair of Iron Cross torsion bar hole covers. I went on to source an original blue vinyl toolbag and made up a correct kit, and also found an original blue T5 travel kit.
I then set about buffing up the cheap paintjob and sunk countless hours into removing overspray (due to poor masking) from much of the trim. It was worth the effort, though, as the car looks far better than it did upon arrival.
After a few days of getting to know the Roadster, I decided to fit a fresh set of Koni dampers to tighten things up a little. I also fitted an uprated front antiroll bar and new torsion bar before greasing the suspension (as this probably hadnʼt been done for years!). While I was under the car I also checked the brakes over before adjusting them up, which certainly inspired a little more confidence when driving hard!
I enjoyed the car for a few months but, with some overseas adventures looming, I decided to service the engine before booking a rolling road session at John Mowattʼs where Mick, who sadly is no longer with us, saw a respectable 97bhp at the rear wheels.
Its first major outing was to the Porsche 356 International in Deauville, Normandy, and Iʼm pleased to say that the car performed faultlessly. Driving along some fast country roads back to our hotel on the Friday with Tom Pead and John Hearn, I was struggling to catch up with a little blue car ahead.
I continued to push on, determined to show this modern car what a classic Porsche could do but, as I came alongside to overtake, I spotted the large Gendarmerie lettering on the side, hence I jammed on the brakes and tucked in behind him. I saw him smile and guessed he was thinking ‘Stupide Anglais!’ I later heard that the local Police
“WE SAW A RESPECTABLE 97BHP AT THE REAR WHEELS…”
had been briefed about the meeting and had agreed to be very tolerant in the name of tourism!
The next big trip was to La Sarthe to attend the Le Mans Classic gathering. This was a memorable trip for many reasons…including a few cases of food poisoning, someone stealing our champagne, Jez Parsonsʼ mad 911-powered Volkswagen Deluxe Bus, and the Geoff Turrell and Delwyn Mallett comedy duo.
The Roadster was loving the long, straight French roads and Geoff clocked us at 125mph as we came alongside his GT3 (with the Roadster ʼs tacho firmly in the red!).
I had a set of Empi five-spoke split-rim wheels on the car at this time, which had been clearanced to fit over the B brakes, and were fitted with some old (read ʻhardʼ) Michelin ZX tyres. After a couple of unnerving 90mph slides in the wet (!), I decided it was time for a change, hence I fitted the genuine RSK steel alloys with Avon CR road/race tyres, which instantly improved the handling and safety (although it has to be said, these rare, period rims did require some fairly large balance weights).
Angela and I attended a few more 356 International meetings in the car, which involved driving to Holland, Belgium, Italy and also a tour of Germany, which included the picturesque Black Forest region. There really isnʼt anything like a grand road trip in a classic Porsche, and the Roadster certainly proved to be reliable, capable and a blast to drive on the open roads.
Angela then bought a ʼ58 Speedster, which became our main transport to many 356 and classic car meetings in following years. Incidentally, there was no real reason to retire the Roadster from regular service other than the fact that we wanted to enjoy driving the Speedster for a change!
It was about this time (circa 2009) that I was contacted by a previous owner, Dick Mcnulty, who had owned the Roadster back in the 1980s while living in Arizona. He told me that when he purchased the car some engine spares had been left inside and had spilled some oily deposits on the carpets and trim. Therefore, he removed the seats in order to clean the interior properly, which is when he found a small metal plate with the chassis number 87901 stamped into it, which he kindly sent to me. It was painted Aetna blue and had a hole drilled in the corner so it could be tied or attached to the car. I deduced that perhaps every Porsche of that era may well have had a similar tag whilst on the production line to ensure it was painted the correct colour, and that these were typically removed on completion/ final inspection. Has anyone seen this before? Iʼd certainly like to hear from you if so.
The T5 Roadsters weigh about 850 kilograms, and I have lightened this one by about 100 kilos in total. Coupled with the extra power of the 1720cc motor, it really is quite quick – in fact, Iʼd gauge the performance as being somewhere between a 911T and a 911E. The handling and brakes are very good and it is nimble and great fun to slide around! Like Speedsters, the Roadster is best driven with the top down, although the vision through the glass wind-up windows is much better than the Speedster plastic side curtains. All in all, these really are great fun cars. Like most Porsches, you either like them, or REALLY like them!
After a five-year sojourn, we began recommissioning the Roadster around three years ago and now it is regularly used for outings to Classics at the Castle, the Kingshead Klassik and other meets – often with our son, Charlie, at the wheel. I would like to do a few more European trips in it and maybe even restore it to original spec one day, as I do like Aetna blue (especially with a red interior). For now, Iʼm just enjoying this survivor while I ponder over these plans for the future… Here's to another fun 15 years! CP
“I WOULD LIKE TO DO A FEW MORE EUROPEAN TRIPS IN IT…”