Category Archives: Porsche

Catching up with Great Autos of Yesteryear’s Casual Concours

We’ve made a point out of not covering car shows or auctions.. cars in that circumstance are curated and not feral as we choose to define the term. Our focus is veteran cars of note found alive in the wild.  Nonetheless, we felt a tip of the Feral Cars kufi, fedora, boater, derby, skid lid, etc. was in order for Great Autos of Yesteryear’s tenth annual Palm Springs Casual Concours.  Great cars, fun people and for a very worthy cause (Sanctuary Palm Springs providing teens in foster care an environment of health and kindness) so we figured it would be OK to break format and display some of the “goods.”

Palm Springs has long been a haven for old cars and their owners. The traffic, for Southern California, is bearable and the weather – except in the oppressively hot summer – is tepid, conducive to round-the-clock top-down motoring. The Desert Princess Resort there was where Great Autos of Yesteryear, the largest LBGT car club on the west coast and with that acronym there’s nothing not “out” about this group of enthusiasts.  Casual Concours is the unofficial start of the Palm Springs “season” that runs through May; it took place back in October so apologies for not posting this earlier. Dubbed “the desert’s most fabulous midcentury car show,” Casual Concours is, in fact and indisputably, fabulous. It’s a truly brilliant showcase for the owners and their cars, running the gamut from full boat luxury to quirky JDM curios. We had a chance to peruse the cars, schmooze with their owners and, as the Flintstones theme intones, “have a gay old time” while celebrating automotive diversity.

Some of the highlights..

“Just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it..
No one wants to be defeated..”

Scott King and Sandy Edelstein’s 1991 Honda Beat won in the Best Foreign Open category. It’s a Japan domestic market Kei-class (under 650 cc) mid-engine roadster that bears the slogan “MIDSHIP AMUSEMENT” on its rear flanks. Isn’t that what happens when an aircraft carrier docks in Yokohama? One can’t really grasp how tiny it is in a photo but suffice it to note that it weights just 1,675 lbs.

Orange you glad to see this?

Accessories (and we don’t mean the J.C. Whitney kind or a string of pearls) are always in evidence at the Casual Concours: the owner of this ’73 Volvo P1800 found a set of period Samsonite luggage matching the color of his shooting brake from Gothenburg. The Porsche 356A sports a hat box mounted on a luggage rack over the boxer motor. Hatbox, boxer: get it?

Air cooled hat box

There’s a Rolls-only class at the Concours and, wouldn’t you just know it, the Best of Show was one of those selfsame Rollers. It’s Bill Stewart and Joe Gyori’s 1965 Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe by Mulliner Park Ward. It’s just one of 101 built of which 52 were left hand drive. The presence this car has is astounding, even in a field of astounding cars. David Hemmings drove one to all kinds of rich hippie psychedelic mischief in the film Blow Up, some RR-oriented highlights of which are here.

Dennis Duca and Dean Peck’s ’75 “Hang Ten” Dodge Dart (don’t you dare call it a Duster) took top honors in the 1970 – 1979 Closed Car category. Yes, the shorty surfboard came with the Hang Ten trim option. No one is quite sure how many were sold over just two model years but it’s a safe bet most were wiped out by the crusher.

It’s not clear what the story is behind the bloody “Jerry Mahoney” ventriloquist dummy resting in the back seat of a 1957 Ford DelRio, FoMoCo’s too little/too late response to Chevy’s Nomad. Actually, we don’t really want to know that story but can assure you that the jaunty green and white two-door wagon is otherwise non-creepy.

Brick, the little dog who put the “boss” in Boston Terrier, seemed enamored of this fantastic 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire done up for a mid-century camping trip. The fact that the rear portion of the roof slides forward so one can transport a refrigerator upright seems not to have affected its eligibility as it went on win in the 1960-1964 closed category.

Doggone clever idea from South Bend

Here’s a clip of a commercial highlighting the Wagonaire from the Studebaker-sponsored Mr. Ed TV series.  Yes, Studebaker spent the first part of the 20th century trying to disassociate itself from the equine realms in light of its history as American’s preeminent builder of horse-drawn vehicles. Towards the end of its corporate existence, Studebaker made it possible for a horse to come into your living room. Go figure.

Wood is good! There is always a fair representation of wood-sided (real and otherwise) station wagons at Casual Concours and the winner in the 1980 – 1995 category — open to any car built during those peak malaise years — was, in fact, a woody. It’s a 1980 Chrysler Le Baron Town & Country with glorious fake wire wheels and tufted upholstery that would be the envy of Little Miss Muffett.

Timber!!

The plate on this 1952 Packard 400 Patrician reads SDNFEAR, an homage to the woman-in-distress film noir classic that starred Joan Crawford and Jack Palance. Sudden Fear, for which Crawford was nominated for an Academy Award, was set in San Francisco but Bagdad by the Bay’s steep grades were no match for Packard’s 327 cubic inch straight 8.

You oughta be in pictures..

Here’s a clip from Sudden Fear in which the Patrician is featured gobbling up a Frisco incline and disgorging Palance with no problem.

While the focus of Casual Concours is elegance and originality at least one overt muscle car was present. And, of course, it was a Rambler muscle car, not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a wild 1969 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler, utilizing the Pontiac GTO formula: stuff the biggest motor you have — in this case a 390 cubic, inch V8 — into the lightest body: a Rambler American. Sprinkle some Hurst <<ahem>> fairy dust on it and you’ve got a neck snapping factory-built drag racer. The bold graphic arrow, indicating the motor’s displacement, pointing to the over the top air intake recalls the slogan, “nothing succeeds like excess.”

Mke mine Scrambler’d

Heavy breather

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[photo of AMC SC/Rambler]

 

 

 

Porsche panoply

One more than 911 but two fewer than 6

One more than 911 but two fewer than 6

We’ve defined feral cars as those which are, plausibly, everyday drivers.  We don’t seek them out at car shows or dealerships, whatever one might see here is captured “in the wild,” so to speak. We’ve never done a Porsche post because, face it, most of the older ones are locked in garages, in exotic car dealerships and taken out for events.  We’ve been collecting Porsches in our image bank hoping we’d achieve critical mass and that day has come.

This post was prompted by the discovery of a really nice, original 912 (that’s not a typo, the body is very much like the 911 but there are two fewer cylinders in the motor) that was parked just down the street from us.  While we were photographing it the owner presented himself and confirmed that it is, in fact, an everyday driver that is used for the same errands for which you might employ your Corolla, Accord or Jetta to accomplish..  OK, maybe not for Dominoes deliveries

Off to Costco!

Off to Costco!

Except this is a for real 1969 Porsche 912, the last model year for the four cylinder air-cooled motor and it’s most impressive.  The owner reported the paint is not original but the car had been wearing it since he bought it several decades ago.  His 912 was actually hauled out of a barn where it had been resting at the time of its purchase necessitated by the fact that his Volvo P1800 had just been demolished in a confrontation with a truck.  Apart from its overall originality, we were impressed with the pop out rear windows and the toaster slot hand cranked sunroof, both items of which are very important details in the car which isn’t equipped with air conditioning, nor, for that matter much of anything that’s electronic.

Last of the breed

How blue can you get?

We reached back eight years earlier in Porsche history for this ’61 Super 90 that was captured in Salt Lake City by Feral Cars Field Scout Bennett C. Sandick.  The body colored bumpers won our heart as did the tiny two-tone taillights.

Brothers under the skin

Brothers under the skin

We found a ’65 Porsche C, one of the last of the historic 356 “bathtub” cars parked next to a late ’60s Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia.  Under their respective skins lurk many similarities, e.g. swing axles, air cooled rear engines, torsion bar suspension.  Could this rendezvous between not-so-distant cousins have been planed or was it serendipitous?

Old school

Back in black

The black paint job gives this 356C a formal look but we’re guessing it’s hot as the blazes inside.  Open the damn windows!

Roadside attraction

Roadside attraction

We are grateful to Sean Grimes for this very artful shot of his ’71 911.  It really does capture the car’s stunningly fluid simplicity.

Wheel deal

Rubber dubber

We found a ’78 911SC parked across the street.  These were built when black was the new chrome.  The subtle wheel flairs accommodate tires wider than the actual body and those rubber bumper attenuators and black rubber rear bumper bumpers are there to comply with new U.S. federal low speed crash standards.

Turbodelic

Bumpin’

Feral Cars Field Scout Tim Merlis found a 911 “Whale Tail” on the streets of Montreal. These Frankensteinish cars were the fastest Porsche cars of the era (’75 – ’89) and that huge rear appurtenance served several functions: it channeled more air into the turbo charged engine, it created down force to keep the car from lifting at high speeds and it told the world the driver was probably trying to compensate for something lacking in his (never a her) personality or anatomy.  From the look of that raw red rear bumper, it looks like this one is dealing with the automotive equivalent of a hemorrhoid onslaught. Ouch!

Moby dick?

Moby Dick joke goes here

Flair

Headlight washers, a handy feature, especially in Quebec

While we’re on the subject of workaday Porsches, let’s not forget the front engine water-cooled variety. Here’s an ’84 928.  It’s powered by a V8 and is fairly hefty (about 3400 pounds) and is, to our way of thinking the least “porschey” car ever build by Porsche.

You coulda had a V8

You coulda had a V8

Scraping by

Scraping by

We found this 1988 944 Turbo the other day and were impressed with its <ahem> “patina.”  These were powered by a four cylinder motor that was, essentially, half of the V8 used in the 928.  This same trick was used by International Harvester for its 4 cylinder Scout. that motor was sourced from the company’s V8 of exactly twice the cubic inch displacement.

924

944:  924 plus 20

Porsche invented and patented the term Targa ®.  It’s really a full width hatch top with a fixed rear window.  The idea is it’s the best of both worlds — convertible and coupe — and that brushed chrome Targa ® band is a nice touch.  This one is a 911SC that we believe is a ’77 based on the look of the bumpers but your guess is as good, if not better, than ours.

Butterscotch Targa

Butterscotch Targa ®

Feral Cars Field Scout Amy Treco risked life and limb to capture this ’68 911. That California black plate beginning with an “X” is the giveaway as to the model year as are the side markers on the front and rear fenders.  Great to see an original car like this in actual use.

Porsche

“X” marks the year

We like this Porsche propaganda film starring Dr. Ferry Porsche whose accent is straight out of Ludwig Von Drake.  We found a ’67 Porsche 912, not unlike our featured car, in nearby Beverly Hills, CA offered for $27,500.  Great for pizza delivery!

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

 

Will of the Triumph

TRiffic!

TRiffic!

Americans post-war love affair with British sports cars opened the door to the idea of imported cars in general and nothing’s been the same since.  The very first name that springs to mind in this regard is MG but Triumph was also a very significant player in this small field.  Its TR3 was a direct competitor to the MG-A and the later TR4 was the firm’s answer to the MG-B.

We encountered a much later TR, this one a TR6, on the mean streets of Palo Alto, CA a few months ago.  Owner Mike Cobb revealed that the car was purchased new in 1974 and he’s been driving it ever since. He’s put 80,000 miles on its odometer that is nestled in a very traditional wood-clad dashboard.

Wood is good

Wood is good

Production of TR6s ceased just two years later as the British auto industry continued its downward spiral towards near-extinction.  As with predecessor TRs, the car’s primary export market was the US.  Did we say “primary export?” Make that just “primary.” Period. We were shocked to read that, of the total of almost 95,000 TR6s produced, more than 86,000 were exported, most to these shores. A paltry 8,400 were sold in the UK.

Union jacks comes standard

Union Jack: ON!

Style-wise, the TR6 was something of an update of the TR4 that had been designed by Giovanni Michelotti who had penned all manner cars for Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia and — though the gang in Munich is loath to admit it — the iconic BMW 1600/2002.  The transformation to TR6  was undertaken by Karmann, as in Karmann-Ghia. That’s right, the look of an iconic British sports car that actually wears a Union Jack on its rear flanks is, in no small measure, the product of Italian and German minds.

"We shall fight them on the beaches.."

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds.. and in the streets…”

Speaking of the Axis Powers, let’s not forget the Battle of Britain, won in the skies by the RAF’s heroic Spitfires in mortal combat with the Luftwaffe’s Messerchmitts.  That valiant fighter plane lent its name to Triumph’s smaller sport cars, a competitor to MG’s Midget and Austin-Healey’s Sprite. We encountered a ’65 Spitfire Mk 2 in our local supermarket parking lot the other evening and we were impressed by the car’s “as is” condition.  Clearly, this very original roadster has never been restored. In fact, that babied Palo Alto TR6’s little brother seems to have been trashed to some extent.

Bonnet popper

Bonnet popper

Our supermarket Spitfire was sporting a newish soft top, but the rest of the car seemed to not have been messed with all that much over the past 50 years and that’s really not a criticism.  We think it’s a vehicular manifestation of that stiff upper lip ethos which we most heartily applaud.

Black plate special

Black plate special

We dug deep into the massive Feral Cars image bank and found another TR6 which —  taking a wild guess here — seems to have been painted a non-factory stock color.

Purple passion

Purple passion

Lastly, we found this “missing link” between the TR4 and TR6, logically called TR5. It was captured in Philadelphia a while back and happened to be parked just outside a conclave of the Society of Automotive Historians, giving those scholars lots to consider and discuss.  These were sold in the US as TR250 but this example, despite the decorative UK number plate and badged TR5, seems to be a US market car (left hand drive, side markers in compliance with federal regulations) and is equipped with a “Surrey Top,” Triumph’s answer to Porche’s Targa.

Can you surrey?

Can you Surrey?

We found this very presentable and very, very red ’74 TR6 in nearby Beverly, MA for a mere $9300.  In terms of today’s rate of exchange that’s only £6070!  See those rubber bumper extensions on Mike Cobb’s lovely blue TR6 at the top of this post? They were Federally mandated from mid-’74 forward and this US-market TV commercial made tongue-in-cheek reference to them.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.