Make up a short list of the 10 quintessential California cars and I’m betting the list will have a Porsche on it.
Frank Mantranga’s little 356B is a shoe-in for Sunday morning fun, but Frank’s little Porsche is his daily driver. Purchased in 1970 with 40,000 miles on the odometer, he’s added almost 200,000 more scooting around the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
Like old cars, some people make getting on in years look good and he’s one of them. At 81 he still works professionally as a potter and sculptor, while carefully maintaining his machine. He recently had the interior reupholstered, and is converting the 6 volt system to a 12 volt.
Men always want more horsepower and Frank is planning to upgrade his Porsche to SC configuration with a bump of 20 HP. My kind of guy…
And you don’t own a Porsche for all those years without stories:
- His 1st Porsche, a 1960 convertible D was stolen out of his driveway. A little wiser, he moved his next Porsche safely into his garage. Yep, thieves broke into his garage and stole that car, too. Then came a 59 roadster…not stolen, but T-boned by a kid that blew a stop sign.
(A lesser man may have cursed the Gods and given up on Stuttgart altogether but not Frank)
- A 65 coupe and a 62 convertible (remarkably sold, not stolen or destroyed) were stepping stones toward his present car, this little yellow 356B that caught my eye at a local car event.
- He ran into Jay Leno in the late 70’s, where they were both gassing up in Hermosa Beach. Jay, on the way to a comedy club performance, commented on how nice Frank’s Porsche was. Jay was driving something that he had stuffed a big motor into. He shot out of the station after showing the engine to Frank.
Frank’s dream car? A new Porsche Turbo.
Funny, but my dream Porsche looks a lot like the one he currently has in his garage, and as I know where he lives, I’m very tempted to break in, steal it, and set him off in search of his Porsche all over again…
- A little less than 30,000 built and only 5% had factory sunroofs
- 2000 pounds
- Extremely collectible
***Dave’s Note: I didn’t have time for a drive before we published, but next month Frank and I are going cruising!