Porsche's conquest of automotive culture seems to be complete. Over the last few years, the marque has come to dominate seemingly every aspect of the car-enthusiast world. Prices for early air-cooled models have rocketed into the stratosphere, and personalities like Magnus Walker have achieved fame for simply being really into Porsches. We've witnessed the rise of the half-million-dollar boutique "reimagined" 911 from Singer Vehicle Design, as well as the birth of Porsche's own Experience Centers in Atlanta and Los Angeles. Though there is a hint of the venerable German sports car having become too much a fashion accessory in this atmosphere, it's hard to deny that there has never been a better time to be a Porsche enthusiast.
In southern California, worship at the altar of Porsche reaches its apex the first weekend in March, when the faithful congregate for three days of events centered around those magical machines from Zuffenhausen. With proportions now reaching something resembling a miniature, single-marque Monterey Car Week, L.A. Porsche Weekend offers a variety of experiences that can be overwhelming to first-timers. That's why we'd like to offer a handy guide to this exciting weekend, to help you navigate (literally) the tricky terrain of L.A. and Orange County to find the true jewels of Porsche Weekend.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1ST: Porsche Weekend kicks off with the first of several open houses at Porsche parts dealerships and workshops. The big event that day is hosted by the Sierra Madre Collection, a massive Porsche parts retailer in L.A.'s Eagle Rock neighborhood. A 10% discount on parts purchases is offered during the event. (1669 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles 90041; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Further south, Classic Porsche Restorations will also hold an open house on Thursday at their beautiful facility in Fallbrook (in north San Diego County, near Temecula). The somewhat remote location of this top-level shop for restoration and sales might better lend itself to a Friday visit in conjunction with other events that day, but for those with the time to spend on Thursday, it's highly recommended. (309 Industrial Way, Fallbrook 92028; Thursday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
FRIDAY, MARCH 2ND: Day Two of Porsche Weekend features an even greater number of open houses throughout the region. This gives the public a rare opportunity to look behind the curtain at some of the shops responsible for the care and feeding of some of the greatest Porsche models on the West Coast...and usually, there's free food involved. These facilities are spread widely around the L.A./OC area, so it's important to budget your time wisely. We recommend starting your day in L.A.'s South Bay and working your way south into Orange County. Begin at Callas Rennsport's open house in Torrance, where Tony Callas and his team service some of the rarest classic Porsche models in California. They have several seminars planned throughout the day, so get ready to get your knowledge on. (19080 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance 90503; Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
Next, for a real hidden gem, check out Steve Hogue Enterprises, also in Torrance, for a peek at some of Steve's bare-metal restoration projects. Though the shop is tucked into the back of a somewhat dodgy-looking industrial yard, the chance to see seven-figure cars in the very earliest stages of restoration is an opportunity not to be missed. (22416 S. Normandie Ave., Unit D, Torrance 90502; Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Midday, you're going to want to visit the legendary Pelican Parts headquarters in Harbor City for a look inside their facility's private museum of historic Porsche race cars, as well as partaking in their famous taco lunch. (1600 240th Street, Harbor City 90710; Friday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Continuing south, your next stop should be Willhoit Auto Restoration's open house in Long Beach. John Willhoit's shop has gained a reputation as one of the finest Porsche restorers in the country, and his staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding their processes. We're also told that bratwurst will be available. (1360 Gladys Avenue, Long Beach 90804; Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Your final stop on Friday should be Autokennel in Costa Mesa. Autokennel's whimsical showroom and pulse-quickening inventory of classic and contemporary Porsches and other desirable cars is usual open by appointment only, so don't miss an opportunity to peek behind their gates. (1974 Charlie Street, Costa Mesa 92627; Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
SATURDAY, MARCH 3RD: The centerpiece of Porsche Weekend is the L.A. Lit & Toy show, held in two massive ballrooms in the LAX Hilton. Now in its 35th year, the Lit & Toy Show features over 300 tables of original Porsche and vintage VW artwork and race posters, literature, shop manuals, small trim pieces, and of course, model cars. Attracting vendors and buyers from around the world, the Lit & Toy Show is a can't-miss event for serious collectors of Porsche paraphernalia. Please make sure to stop by the Model Citizen booth for a look at our special selection of Porsche diecast and resin models. (5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles 90045; Saturday 9 a.m. - ?)
The action at the Lit & Toy Show usually cools down by midday, leaving plenty of time for yet another round of open houses. Dealerships take center stage on Saturday, with CarparcUSA LLC and European Collectables (both in Costa Mesa) open their doors for browsing. We also recommend a visit to Porsche South Bay in Hawthorne, one of only six Porsche Classic Partner dealerships in the U.S.
- CarParc USA, 1701 Babcock, Unit B, Costa Mesa 92627; Saturday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- European Collectables, 1665 Babcock, Costa Mesa 92627; Saturday 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
- Porsche South Bay, 14610 Hindry, Hawthorne 90250; Saturday 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. (reservations required).
SUNDAY, MARCH 4TH: For those who still have the energy, the final day of Porsche Weekend features the All-Porsche Swap and Car Display at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim. As its name implies, it's a swap meet for Porsche parts and accessories, as well as a laid-back car show on the grounds of the venerable O.C. German-American event space. A haven for early birds, gates open at 8 a.m., with the $10 admission fee benefiting the Orange County Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For those seeking a rare part, the All-Porsche Swap is the place to be.
L.A. Porsche Weekend is something that every Porsche enthusiast should experience at least once. The opportunity to acquire not only parts and collectables, but also information and advice from the largest aggregation of marque experts in one location, makes for a true "must-attend" event.