Porsche 356 Restomod Is a Tartan-Clad Contender in Restoration Challenge – The Drive

This is the first year Porsche is hosting its Restoration Challenge in the U.S., with 40 models entered. 

Tyler Clemmensen

For the first time, Porsche is hosting its Restoration Challenge in the U.S. The Stuttgart-based brand says the U.S. is home to more classic Porsches than any other market, so it makes sense. Typically, the competition is based in Europe, so American dealerships are jumping on the chance to restore a car that needs a little love.

Galpin Motors-owned Porsche Santa Clarita (which, by the way, has a vault full of classics inside) recently finished its submission, a beautiful 1955 356. The tartan accents on the seats pull the whole interior together, and it’s a fine finale to the entry period of the competition.

Tyler Clemmensen


The dealership purchased the 356 from its second owner, who enjoyed it for the last 50 years. This example, which includes coachwork from Reutter Karosserie, was built on July 29, 1955, and entered America through the port of New York. From there, it was shipped to California to meet its first owner. When the second owner got his hands on it, he made some modifications that included upgrading the engine and adding a roll bar and louvered decklid.

Porsche’s Restoration Challenge is aimed at keeping classics running. While this particular 356 was in pretty good shape when the dealership acquired it, there were opportunities for updates. Galpin’s president and chief operating officer Beau Boeckmann oversaw the restoration, opting for period-correct modifications to keep it as authentic as possible. He tapped technician Nicolas Briseno to handle the mechanicals and entrusted the body and paint work to Dace Shuten of Galpin Speed Shop.

The Galpin 356 will compete against 40 Porsche models from the 1950s to the 2000s from dealerships around the country. Anything goes, and engines output somewhere between 75 and 612 horsepower. This 356 sports an air-cooled 1600SC flat-four pushrod engine with chromed accents and a 519 transaxle.

Matched to the custom-mixed Blue-Green finish from PPG, its 1960 magnesium Halibrand knock-off wheels (15-inch in the front and 16-inch wheels on the back) were painted in custom House of Kolor Gold with Matte Klear. The trim is color-matched to the exterior, and Porsche Santa Clarita modified it with shaved rocker moldings and rear reflectors to enhance the tailored body.

Tyler Clemmensen


I don’t know who picked out the red leather with tartan inserts, but it’s striking. The mishmash of Blue-Green exterior, gold wheels, and red-with-tartan is unusual, but somehow it works. If the other Porsche models in this contest look as good as this, it’s going to be tough for the judges to pick just one. 

The 2021 Porsche Restoration Challenge entry period just closed, and soon one winner each will be picked from three regions: East, West, and South-Central. Those three cars will then move on to the final, and the grand prize winner will be crowned next month. 

Got a tip? Send the writer a note: kristin.shaw@thedrive.com

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