Club History

Excerpted From The First “Official” Club Newsletter – September 1985

The kickoff event for the Southern California Chapter of the 356 Registry was an overwhelming success. On July 2, 1985, 479 of the faithful gathered at The Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum in Costa Mesa, Ca. Besides the 100 plus 356’s that were displayed in the parking lot, five best of show winners from past 356 Registry West Coast Holidays were on display inside the museum. The cars included: Steve Schmidt’s 1963 Carrera 2 currently owned by Mike Strub, Al Laudel’s 1962 356 B Roadster, Tim Goodrich’s 1965 356 C Coupe, Ken Ito’s 1965 356 C Coupe, Terry Moorhouse’s 1955 Continental Coupe, owned and displayed by Ray Hunt at the first West Coast Holiday in 1977. What a thrill to see these cars share the floor with one of the finest automobile collections in the world.

Tours of the museum were personally given by the Director, John Burgess, who has been with the museum for twenty years. It was a rare opportunity for those gathered to share in Mr. Burgess’ knowledge of these unique automobiles. A special award was presented to the Briggs Cunningham Museum on behalf of the 356 Registry. Mr. Burgess accepted the award and stated that the gathering was the largest, most enthusiastic and well-behaved group that has ever attended the museum. Awards were also given to Bob Lief who initiated the gathering and to the owners of the cards on display in the museum.

Almost every 356 model was represented in the parking lot: Pre-A’s, Carrera 2’s and numerous Speedsters, including a Carrera GT. One member counted over 25 Roadsters alone. Cabriolets and Coupes were reminiscent of early Christophorous photographs of the Porsche factory parking lot. This was by no means a Concours show, but a true gathering of enthusiasts whose cars ranged from drivable projects to those in show condition. Cameras clicked, eyes twinkled, faces smiled and ooh and aahs were heard by all.

The enthusiasm was carried form the parking lot into the garden area of the museum where a picnic was in progress. After feasting on famous In-N-Out burgers and the West’s finest beer, the 479 faithful settled back for the award ceremony and the numerous door prizes provided by the local vendors who supported the event.

The gathering tied in nicely with the 30th Annual Porsche Parade that was being held nearby that same week. A special thanks to the Porsche Club of America Parade Staff for their support of our event.

The evening concluded inside the museum with a showing of “Made By Hand,” a film produced by the Porsche factory in 1960 showing the making of the 356 Porsche from start to finish. The organizers of this “low key” gathering were overwhelmed by the turnout for this event. The enthusiasm shown verified the need for a Southern California Chapter of the 356 Registry. Anyone in the Southern California area who is a member of the 356 Registry may join the Southern California Chapter.

From that beginning, the Club developed and grew. Later it would come to stand on its own as The 356 Club. To see a gallery of covers to the Club’s renown magazine, click here

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