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Porsche prestige

Handling, reliability set vintage sports cars apart

Rain dampened festivities at the West Coast Holiday gathering of Porsche 356 owners, but it didn't keep curious passersby away from the dozens of classic sports cars lined up near the Routt County Courthouse.
Melinda Mawdsley

— Greg Rawlings’ college roommate isn’t expecting a child, but if he was, there’s little doubt his daughter would be named Porsche.

It’s an agreement, Rawlings said.

On Saturday, Rawlings and his two young children braved the rain to visit the West Coast Holiday Porsche 356 showcase on Fifth and Sixth streets in downtown Steamboat Springs.



Elena Rawlings, 4, had her ladybug umbrella, and Johnathan Rawlings, 2, had his alligator umbrella. Each picked a different “favorite” Porsche.

Elena liked the convertible because “the top comes off – and that’s cool.”



Johnathan picked out a Porsche parked on the other side of the street because “it’s red.”

Greg Rawlings also loves the sports cars, but for different reasons.

“The steering is incredible,” he said. “It’s a grown-up version of a VW.”

Each Porsche – pronounced pour-sha – on display Saturday had a different story, although each shined with fresh wax and beaded raindrops.

Carol and King Clemens’ Irish green convertible has logged 757,000 miles, having been to each of the 48 continental states, Canada and Mexico.

George Dunn’s 1965 Irish green Porsche doesn’t have as many miles, but it does have a good story. After Dunn picked up first place in a competition in Snowmass, he and two other Porsche owners made their way to Steamboat via Colorado Highway 134. While weaving and winding on the scenic road, a brand new Corvette found its way upon the trio.

“It could barely keep up,” Dunn said proudly. “It did, but barely.”

Dunn and fellow Porsche owner Stan Bonnesen acknowledged power and speed aren’t what makes their cars stand out from other sports cars.

“That’s isn’t their thing,” said Bonnesen, who drove his 1964 Porsche 356 SC from Grand Rapids, Minn. “Their handling and their reliability is what separates them from most sports cars.”

Bonnesen said his Porsche, while beautiful and in immaculate shape, wasn’t nearly as valuable as some of the other assembled cars Saturday – at least in terms of monetary value.

“Some here – like that undisturbed speedster – is $120,000,” Bonnesen said.

Dunn, who bought his Porsche in 1973 for $4,000, wouldn’t take $80,000 for it now.

There is something about getting behind the wheel of his “British Racing Green” Porsche with rare black leather interior that creates an excitement he wouldn’t part with.

“I get a lot of this stuff when I’m driving,” Dunn said, holding his thumbs up while nodding his head. “They can still keep up with modern traffic. Most cars from the ’50s and ’60s can’t do that.”

Saturday’s show was part of a six-day, two-city tour of the National 356 Porsche Club. The Colorado chapter of the club hosted this year’s Western Holiday showcase. Porsche Type 356 was the first production Porsche automobile, made from 1948 through 1965. The 356 is now a collector’s car, with certain models selling for more than $150,000. Late 1950s models sold for about $4,000 new.

– To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com


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