Great Escape

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A never-ending list of instructions show how fastidious Arnett was: “Jack— in side pocket with mini-hydraulic; fuel pump—in trap door compartment with auxiliary heater; windshield wiper—intermittent action is time adjusted by a small knob left of the steering column; carbs—as originally used on 1968 911 L Sportomatic; coils—now on fan housing; and shocks—front Boge, rear Koni.”

Besides being intent on perfecting his own car, Arnett was an ardent admirer of those owned by others. He was a long-time member of the PCA and drove his gray coupe to several gatherings. Included were the 1973 Parade in Monterey, the 1975 Parade in Seattle, and the 1977 Parade in San Diego. Arnett’s nephew, Jim Arnett, traveled with him and drove a very early Blue ’65 911 (#278) he had owned since 1969. In 1987 Jim bought the ’66 911 from his uncle and made several road trips between San Diego and Oregon, where his uncle had moved before passing away in 2002.

In 2010, Jim saw an ad in the PCA San Diego Region’s magazine Windblown Witness placed by Jay Karolyi of San Bernardino, California. Jim called Karolyi and told him he had a Blue ’65 911 for sale. When Karolyi saw the ’66 sitting next to the ’65, he wanted that one. He had fallen in love with the Slate Gray/Red color combination after seeing it at the factory museum, but he would have to wait. After purchasing the Blue ’65, Karolyi partially refurbished it, sold it on eBay, and bought the ’66 coupe from Jim in 2012.

Fortunately, unlike the ’65 car, the 1966-built Porsche was roadworthy and in good overall condition. It had evaded accident damage and was repainted to its original color about ten years earlier. It still had the automatic headlight dimmer, beam eye detector mounted to the rear view mirror, CB radio, homemade tube amp, radio, and speakers. It also came with everything the engineer had placed in storage: the original sisal mats, 4.5×15-inch steel wheels, complete tool kit, sales correspondence, and all the electrical drawings and notations.

It was only after he carefully studied the sales manager’s correspondence that Karolyi put the name of Peiper together with his ’66 911. Once he did, the story of #303744 became a lot more interesting. You see, Karolyi had completed his Masters in Education thesis on WWII Prisoner of War treatment by the German Army…and here’s what he found out.

From 1938 to 1940, Joachim “Jochen” Peiper served as a personal assistant to Adolf Hitler’s Chief of German Police, the infamous Heinrich Himmler. Peiper was ambitious and charming, becoming the youngest commanding colonel of an SS Panzer Regiment at age 28. In 1944, Peiper’s loyal military unit was reportedly involved in the Malmedy Massacre at WWII’s Battle of the Bulge. There, 84 defenseless American POWs were lined up and shot down with machine gun fire on a snowy Belgium field.

After WWII, Peiper was convicted of war crimes at the Dachau Trials and sentenced to death on July 16, 1946. But his sentence was commuted after improper pre-trial procedures were revealed. After serving eleven and a half years in prison, Peiper was released on parole at the end of 1956 contingent on his finding employment.

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