Jim had a birthday and Alex and Sammie brought him a present. While we waited for Barb, we played in the front room. Sammie thought up the games and Alex played with her. They were sitting in a chair with Alex as the driver but Sammy steering from the back. Then there was putting all the cushions on the floor and jump on them and laugh. Then there was put all the cushions on Alex plus anything else Sammie could carry and run around and laugh. And of course there was the Kellogg tradition of Sammie blowing out the birthday persons candle. It was the best birthday.
A customer thought he had lost his original tool kit and bought a reproduction kit. He found his original and the repo is for sale. $500, what he paid. Contact us for contact information.
Bill has exhausted all his cancer treatment options. Please include him in your prayers.
Jim’s First 356
While Jim continues on the remodel and move we will continue with the story of his first 356.
The book said it was owned by Hank Godfredson. That cover plus an article about the 356 in the Minneapolis paper and a picture I took of Larry racing it at Brainerd went on my garage wall. I would point them out to visitors and Say “That was my first 356.”
In 1987 we attended the vintage race at Steamboat Springs and Hank Godfredson was there with 58355. It still had a push rod engine. I took lots of pictures of the Carrera in the pits. It was a beautiful silver with red racing stripes. I didn’t get to talk much with Hank at that event but at a later PCA race I did and told him if the 356 was ever for sale I would buy it. I followed up with a letter. I heard nothing for about three years and then the phone rang and Hank said it was for sale but now it had a four cam! The price was a lot more than the $750 I had paid for it years ago. I told Barb about it and how special it was as it was my first Porsche. She didn’t hesitate in saying “Do it!”
Hank and his lovely wife Phyllis delivered 58355 a few months later.
It was as I saw it at the races but now it had a four cam. Hank provided many pictures of the 356, some from the mid Sixties. He also left some articles on the car written for Nord Stern and Panorama. The Kardex information, which he received in 1989, indicated the 356 was imported to Bangkok, Thailand. I drove 58355 around the neighborhood to re-familiarize myself with the right hand drive.
I even entered it in the historic class with the Rocky Mountain Vintage Racing but didn’t get much track time. At one event during tech inspection the last thing to check was the brake lights. They worked but as I drove back to the pits the brake pedal went to the floor. A steel braided brake line had broken. Jeez, it could have happened on the track. I decided not to race it until I double checked everything. With the demand of my 356 restoration business the Carrera was just sitting in the garage, exercised infrequently. When we drove a 356 it was either my ’63 Coupe or Barb’s ’62 Roadster.
I decided to restore 58355 to its original condition and sell it. So it was a back burner project in the shop. In December 2002 Dave Seeland dropped by to check out my ’58 Coupe race car which would be for sale after I moved everything over to a ’52 roller I had found. Dave passed on the race car but while looking at the other 356s in the shop I told him 58355 had been imported to Bangkok, Thailand. Dave said, “I wonder if the Prince drove it?” That got my attention and I told Dave if he could find any information it would be great. Dave, who had been the Four Cam Forum Editor for 356 Registry for fifteen years came by a few weeks later with two articles from the third edition of the Four Cam Registry. One article was a reprint from the Grand Prix magazine that talked about a Mr. Boonnak, an active amateur racer in Thailand. The other article was written in Thai but was about a “Joe” Bunnang. I could not tell if they were the same person. I got on line and asked if anyone knew these names. While I did not get a hit, Brad Ripley of NLA sent me the mailing address for the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand and the Porsche Club of Thailand. I wrote them both a letter asking for assistance in obtaining information about my 356 Carrera. I provided the two names from the Four Cam Registry articles. It was a long shot.
A few months went by and then, while checking my email on February 28, 2003 the following popped up.
“’57 1500 Porsche GS Coupe”
“Reference is made to your letter that was regarding the above captioned matter initially sent to the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand. Well, your letter managed to amazingly finds its way to me. I’m the grandson of Mr. Vilas Bunnang, deceased in 1999. My family remembers your car very well because it was the first of a series of three 356s that my grandfather owned before he took delivery of his 911. He also had three of these. Yes, your 356 was the First (maybe, second) Porsche in Thailand. Apparently my grand father ordered your car from Bangkok Swiss Trading. Then owned by a very good family friend, Dr. Kurt Mueller, a long time resident. Once your car was completed my grandfather traveled to Stuttgart with my grandmother to collect it personally before shipping it back to Thailand. In actual fact, I remember him telling me that his first impressions of your car was so good that he immediately placed an order for another car at the factory, this one was to be kept at our house in Switzerland.”
To be continued…