Vintage Racer

I FIRST BECAME AWARE of this 1965 356 SC coupe in the Shannonville Motorsport Park paddock at a VARAC race in the summer of 1993. The Baker Racing family arrived with this car as one of its many racecars for the event. Porsche was not a racecar most of us in VARAC associated with the Bakers. It transpired that they had taken it in on partial trade for a well-known Can-Am car from a racer in the Chicago area. It really got my attention on the track as it easily outqualified my MG Twin Cam. Unfortunately, one of the Baker boys rolled it early in the first race.

I particularly enjoyed racing the ’65 356 SC in the rain against more powerful machinery at tracks like Mosport.

Typical of Baker Racing, the car immediately underwent a full ground-up restoration of the highest calibre — painted white inside-out and underneath, hand-painted decals that were typical of the detail applied by the late Dick Baker, Aeroquip lines throughout, Koni shocks, Oberg oil filter, twin front oil coolers, Phoenix fire suppression system, adjustable sway bar, Lexan side and rear windows, Fuel Safe Systems fuel cell and full roll cage. In other words, a full-out race-prepared 356 weighing in at only about 1,650 pounds with its 160-horsepower engine, which was rebuilt by Victor Skirmantz, a renowned Porsche engine builder from Michigan.

The car came with SVRA and VARAC log books and a strong race history in the US.

Dick Baker was a well-known collector of all things BMC (British Motor Corporation). He wanted a Twin Cam to complete his collection. We worked out a trade for the 356 SC involving my Bahama Vintage Grand Prix concours- and race-class-winning, and US MG Grand Prix-winning 1956 MG Twin Cam. The 356 SC became mine in December 1993.

With the expert help and advice of long-time racer and VARAC Porsche 356 cab pilot Walt MacKay, and the race support crew at Phil Strudwick, I campaigned the car at Shannonville Motorsport Park, Mosport and Saint-Jovite.

The car came into my hands with the typical camber compensator installed. I found that I was most comfortable without this device. The car also came with a set of hand-cut gears that effectively eliminated the typical first gear. This made for a loud and bumpy 3,500-RPM-plus start in “first.” The car was quick and easy to handle. I particularly enjoyed racing the ’65 356 SC in the rain against more powerful machinery at tracks like Mosport.

In mid-1996 a minor medical issue forced me to stop racing for a few months. During that time, I made the decision to quit. I had been racing for 25 or so years and been deeply involved in the administration of the sport in Canada and at the FIA.

This beautiful 356 SC was my last racecar. I sold it back into the Chicago area to a SVRA racer introduced to me by Rick Bye in August of 1996. I have not seen it since but, as you can see from the model Dave Walker built for me, I think of it often. </>

Story and Photos by John Magill, PCA UCR Member

SCALE MODEL OF JOHN MAGILL’S 1965 356 SC

I first met John and Judy Magill at PCA UCR’s Annual Banquet in 2018. How long ago that seems! We got to talking Porsche as that is always the ice breaker at any Porsche gathering. Often my first question is, “What Porsche do you have?” John mentioned his beloved but long-gone racing 356. I volunteered to build a replica on commission.

I used the Fujimi 356 kit from its enthusiast series. These are excellent accurate kits but a bit fiddly. I needed two kits — one for the correct body and one for the engine. There were some self-inflicted errors along the way which meant John had to wait almost two years to receive his replica.

Building a model on commission has to be a labour of love as when one works out the hourly rate it is well below minimum wage. However, when John and Judy picked up the model, they were so thrilled and grateful it was all worthwhile. I was so touched and grateful for their response, plus the bonus bottles of wine I was able to pass along to my wife. — Dave Walker

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