2019 Cobble Beach Concours

Porsche Canada presents Canada’s Premier Concours d’Elegance

PORSCHE’S PRESENCE WAS ALL-ENCOMPASSING at this year’s Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance as Porsche Canada made its debut as presenting sponsor.

The Porsche shield appeared on every banner marking the classes, Horseless Carriage through American Muscle Car, and most notably Class 8, Classic Porsche, presented six immaculate contestants ranging from 1952-67.

Porsche Canada President and CEO Marc Ouayoun introduced the new-generation 911 (992) at Sunday’s awards ceremony, spoke at a seminar on Porsche history Saturday, and was an enthusiastic spectator throughout the event with his wife, Veronique Blanchard.

Russell Fleury, appearing on behalf of Porsche Cars North America, began the seminar promising he’d identify three Ferdinands, five races and six cars as having built the brand.

Attendees might quibble – he failed to mention the 917-30’s Can-Am domination – but Fleury vividly painted his three Ferdinands.

The first Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) created the electric hybrid in 1901 and the Volkswagen in 1939; the second, better known as Ferry (1909-1998) began manufacturing Porsche 356 sports cars in 1949; the third known as Butzi (1935-2012) is credited by the company for designing the 911 (although it’s clearly evolved from the earlier 356).

A fourth Ferdinand, Ferdinand Piech, son of No. 2’s sister, arguably contributed more than Butzi. He commanded Porsche’s investment in race-winning technology that established the brand with wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and dominance in European and North American series. Not having the right last name probably cost Piech prominence in Fleury’s myth-making.

Sunday’s concours began with heavy rain from 8 a.m. to nine, but Founder/Chairman Rob McLeese declared over the P.A. it was only a passing storm. Not according to my iPhone, but full credit to McLeese, almost immediately rain gave way to clearing skies and judging soon was underway.

Any of the Porsches in Class 8 can be described as significant in building the Porsche brand. Consider them one by one.  

My heart goes pitter-pat upon seeing the 1962 356B Super D  Becker has brought from Mount Forest because it’s silver outside, red inside, exactly like my first Porsche. It stands out from the majority of the 70,000-plus 356’s with the series’ final body configuration: check out the engine lid’s twin grilles, the broader front hood. I haven’t seen a car like this since selling mine in 1999. Sigh. 

Fun to see, a little girl can’t keep her hands off it. Turns out it’s Zoey Dejonge, Mike’s 18-month-old granddaughter, and as the judges approach she keeps toddling over despite mom Christina’s concerted efforts to dissuade her.

More rare by far, Mike Dejonge rescued his 1952 Pre-A 356 black coupe from Australia, where it had hibernated for years after passing through eight owners in the U.S. Dejonge incorporated numerous body panels from his company, Restoration Design Inc., of Guelph, in its three-year restoration. Fun to see, a little girl can’t keep her hands off it. Turns out it’s Zoey Dejonge, Mike’s 18-month-old granddaughter, and as the judges approach she keeps toddling over despite mom Christina’s concerted efforts to dissuade her. Maybe she’s imagining she’s polishing it. Anyway, I’m with Zoey: you’re not supposed to touch these cars, but everyone feels the urge.

A second Dejonge entry, one of the first 200 Speedsters built in 1954 in response to American importer Max Hoffman’s request for a lower cost model, looks magnificent in its simplicity, now as then, glowing in its mellow blue.

Also rare, the 1961 yellow 356 Karmann hard-top of Bardia Manafi of Richmond Hill. The signature 356/911 silhouette is creased in this case because Karmann welded its steel hard-top on to a cabriolet chassis to create the car, which Porsche chopped from its lineup after two years.

The lone 911 in Class 8, a 1967 S Targa, stands out with its plastic, zip-out rear window. But David Hargraves, of Victoria, B.C., points out that not only was ‘67 the first year for the Targa, the ‘S’ model was new with its 160-horsepower engine and uprated suspension, and Fuchs alloy wheels made their debut.  

The red 1962 356 Carrera 2 GS from Legendary Motorcars in Milton, Ont., shares its body with Dee Becker’s but little else. With its four-cam engine the Carrera was Porsche’s first supercar. This numbers-matching example sold at a Bonhams auction for $830,153 CAD in 2016.

Context for the Porsches awaits further along Cobble’s 18th green. Three dramatic Chevrolet Corvair concept cars from 1962-63 reveal how seriously GM considered transforming its rear-engined economy car into a competitor for Porsche. 

Class 16, Microcars also showcases rear-engined architecture. Messerschmitt and Heinkel, forbidden from making aircraft following World War II, introduced tiny cars as alternatives to motorcycles, as did Goggomobil and BMW with its version of the Isetta.

The judges confer, enjoy a gourmet lunch. It’s 3 p.m. when master of ceremonies Ed Lucas begins announcing the winners, the skies overhead clearer than anyone could have imagined six hours earlier. Beginning with the third-place car in each class, owners drive on to a rise to receive their ribbons. 

The Carrera 2 appears first in Class 8: Porsche Classics, followed by the second-place Speedster, and the winner, the 911 S Targa. 

Best of Show is the 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet from Class 4, European Full-Classic. Best news for Porsche enthusiasts: Lucas announces that Porsche Canada will return as presenting sponsor in 2020. </>

Story and photos by Dan Proudfoot, UCR Member

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