My Car Quest

March 30, 2023

A Porsche Christmas Party

In this case, it’s not only love of the car but love of the club that makes you want to own one…

by Wallace Wyss –

Photos by Richard Bartholomew –

Ya think old Porsches, a model where even the newest one is over 50 years old, you hardly think they would be able to get out and about in numbers as it nears Christmas but no, when Jack Stagg, a mechanic in San Clemente, CA throws his annual Christmas party, the rare Porsche 356 “turtle cars” ( my own nickname, because of their side profile) come out in droves.

Porsche 356

This year, along with photographer Rick Bartholomew of Riverside, CA I counted about twenty-five 356 models, including some pre-As (the first Porsches were built in 1949) all the way up to near the last of the 356—C models.

Porsche 356

It was a little difficult to tell the roadsters from the Speedsters when the tops were down (yes, in California in December it’s top down time) but then someone clued me in—the cabriolets (which are ostensibly four seaters) have a sliver of paint on the windshield pillars where the roadsters have all chrome. The Speedster windscreens are more gently rounded and they have no roll up windows like the roadsters and cabriolets do.

Porsche 356

I didn’t see a four cam “Carrera” model there but maybe those are indeed too precious to drive on the road now, fetching as much as a million dollars each at the latest auctions. That engine was originally made for the Carrera Panamericana races in Mexico and subsequently became a rarely ordered production model.

I also didn’t inspect enough engine compartments to see if anybody’s upgraded to the 914 engine which bolts right in and which puts out enough horse power to match the originals and is a temp solution to those who haven’t saved enough to be build their original engine yet.

Porsche 356

There were at least 100 people at the day long party, and as a vendor (of fine art, all Porsches naturlich!) I saw people come and go but was impressed that so many knew each other and have had long friendships of 20,30 even 40 years. It was with a pang of regret that I remember I owned a ’59 convertible D (same body as Speedster but fixed windscreen and roll up windows and taller roof) and never joined the club (either the Register or the 356 Club; many people are in both) or I am sure I would have met a great bunch of people.

I might have kept my car and enjoyed it all these decades. One thing you need when you own an old car is feedback from satisfied owners….when I owned one, alas, I didn’t know any owners and sold it down the road…

You don’t often think about “what kind of people own the car I want to buy?” but I’m saying here and now, as a guy who has owned many collector cars (including 300SL Gullwing, Iso Grifo, Porsche 356, etc.) that question is worth going to some pains to answer.

Porsche 356

Before you buy your dream car, believe you me, it’s worth going to a club gathering of the marque you’re thinking of joining before buying the car. In the case of the Porsche 356 Register and their branch clubs, I found a group that likes to do precisely what I like to do, toodle through the mountain roads to an outdoor lunch high above the flatlands, have parts meets, technical sessions, group trips to tourist meccas or museums in places like Santa Barbara or San Diego.

So, even if you are not a 356 owner, or even a member of the Registry or 356 Club, put Jack Stagg’s Christmas party in December on your 2018 calendar (clue: It happens close to the 356th day of the year). And, oh by the way it’s a “potluck” which means you must be sure to bring enough food for at least five to eat so you and all the attendees can munch all day….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a fine artist who among the brands he portrays, are many Porsches. For a list of available prints write


THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Richard Bartholomew is a Riverside CA based fine artist whose work is on display at the Downtowne Bookstore, Riverside,CA.

More photos are in the two slide shows below.



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A Porsche Christmas Party
Article Name
A Porsche Christmas Party
A great Porsche party includes great Porsche cars and great Porsche people.


  1. Wow! Those Porsche cars are beautiful.

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