Training Wheels

Also from Issue 160

  • Ruf 3400K coupe: A 400-hp Cayman
  • Steelie Screamer: Early 911 Hot Rod
  • Riding Shotgun with Walter Röhrl
  • 911 SC-based 953 Rally Replica
  • Inside Penske Racing’s Premises
  • 997 GT2 Preview
  • Great White: A 680-hp 996 GT2
  • Market Update: 914 and 914-66
  • Porsche Icon: 917/30
  • Project 914 3.6: Fiberglass Bumpers
  • Installing Wheel Spacers Properly
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In 1991, Hudson told Excellence that he and Gurney loaded the damaged car on a trailer and hauled it back to Southern California, where he went hat in hand to John von Neumann, West Coast Porsche distributor, begging for a new mount in which to finish the season. Von Neumann, already well aware of Hudson’s abilities, grudgingly provided him a fresh red 1956 1600 Super Speedster, but it came with a strong warning that he’d be on his own if he damaged it. Now on even terms mechanically with the established competition, Hudson racked up more victories. The following season found him in a Carrera Speedster, in which he captured a hotly contested 20-lapper for F and G Production cars at the inaugural Laguna Seca weekend on November 9-10, 1957 by averaging over 65 mph.

Skip Hudson went on to a sparkling career behind the wheel of many larger and faster cars. Of course, the day soon came when Dan Gurney would join the ranks of the world’s top drivers and construct his own racing machines. Their stories are well documented, but, after 1956, #80032’s trail grows cold. Eventually, though, it came to rest beneath a tarpaulin in the rural community of McMinnville, Oregon, just southwest of Portland. There it quietly slept while the elements and the passage of time took their toll. Then, around 1994, a long-time Porsche enthusiast named Walter Kolouch learned of the old bathtub and acquired it.

“It was in very poor condition,” says Kolouch, who has restored a half-dozen 356s of various types. Kolouch relates that he rebuilt Hudson’s old mount from the ground up, replacing the floors, longitudinals, closing panels, battery box, and any other steel the rustworm found tasty. “The good news is that the car was pretty complete and absolutely original, including the repaired left front corner damage caused by Hudson’s crash in the trees at Pebble Beach. The bad news is that one side of the two-piece engine case had been destroyed when a rod let go. I was able to find a new, OEM case half I used to assemble a new engine that included correct new pistons and cylinders that I found at Mahle.”

The original transaxle was still with the car, fitted with competition BBAB gearing. A full brake and suspension rebuild, careful body repairs, fresh paint, new upholstery, and a new top and side curtains completed the cosmetics, bringing the car to as-delivered appearance and condition. Kolouch says #80032 packed a few more surprises in the good-news category: “All of the original switches and gauges still worked, and the car still had its original set of five 16-inch steel wheels, all properly date-stamped, complete with the now-rare ‘turbo’ trim rings. In fact, the spare tire was the original factory issue!”

With the three-year project complete, Kolouch decided to see what the market would bear. He placed a large ad in the DuPont Registry magazine, describing the car and restoration in detail. The little Porsche, said Kolouch, had rolled up barely a dozen miles since the rebuild. The ad caught the eye of noted Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld, who sent someone to Oregon for a first-hand examination. In late 1994, the title changed hands and #80032 was on its way south, to L.A. and the care of Sam Cabiglio, Seinfeld’s automotive consultant.

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