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Car Tales: A Porsche 356SC coupe called KNULP

‘What a great week. Not every day you get a chance to successfully purchase a 1965 Porsche 356SC coupe, an end of an era Porsche model before it was phased out by the 912. It was a wonderful opportunity to find a West Coast car that has not changed many hands in its lifetime – the last owner had the vehicle for 46 years. 
‘This Porsche 356SC coupe comes in beautiful slate-grey, with matching engine numbers. Its last owner had this car since 1975 and in 1983 had a body-shop go through the entire vehicle, getting rid of the rust in the floorboards and body. The Porsche 356SC is undriven and with its bodywork protected since 2004.
‘The original 356 was a lightweight and nimble-handling, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-door, available both in hardtop coupé and open configurations. The 356C, which had disc brakes all around, had been introduced for the 1964 model and included an option to purchase a more specialist, more powerful version, the Porsche 356SC.
‘The Porsche 356 was first made in 1948, Porsche’s first production automobile. ‘I saw that if you had enough power in a small car, it is nicer to drive than if you have a big car which is also overpowered,’ said Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche, the son of Ferdinand Porsche, founder of the German company, in 1972. ‘And it is more fun. On this basic idea, we started the first Porsche prototype.’
‘Production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911’s autumn 1964 debut. Altogether 76,000 365s had been produced. Porsche continued to sell the 356C in North America during 1965; demand for the model remained strong. 
‘And ten years later used Porsche 356SCs remained an extremely attractive proposition. Which is where Peter, the vendor of the one I just bought came in, who even gave the car much more of its own specific identity with a nickname: KNULP, a book by the great German writer Herman Hesse, the story of a vagabond, which the vendor had always loved.
‘‘KNULP was the car my wife and I had our first date in. That night my wife wore a tight dress and had some difficulty getting in and out of the Porsche. Because of that on our second date I arrived in my other car, a 1980 VW Rabbit. She said, ‘Was that your car you took me out in the other day? Why didn’t you use it today?’ Because you complained…
‘‘I had been working in a VW/Porsche repair and service in Seattle. The car’s third owner brought it in, a piano tuner from a small town in Washington state. So I bought it from him and rebuilt the engine. The car needed other work done: it had some rust, and so the bodywork needed repairing, which I did the year after buying it, in 1976.
‘‘Originally my vehicle was an ivory white. But I always liked the slate-grey colour and had it repainted like that. In 1983 I had another body-shop go through the whole car, getting rid of the rust in the floorboards and body.
‘‘When I bought it in 1975 I was only 25, and wasn’t really knowledgeable about car shows and concours competitions. To me it was simply a driver, something to get around in. But I quickly fell in love with my Porsche 356SC. I drove it on a number of trips, short and long. I’d go up into the mountains and loved driving it on the curvy roads and switchbacks. It was wonderful. My two kids loved riding in the back seat. My parents were in Minnesota and I went there a few times, a two day journey. 
‘‘I loved the shift transmission, especially up in the mountains where you needed that shifting. As in the snowy roads in Montana, where the stick-shift would come in handy: the feel of the engine in the back pushing you along felt so great.
‘‘In the late 1970s I drove it to Los Angeles, to the Porsche dealership, where I bought a copy of the original manual. Then I went on to Albuquerque in New Mexico. On that journey I slept overnight on the side of the highway on the Continental Divide, the spot where Interstate 90 crosses the watershed that divides North America.
‘‘I just loved to drive this car anywhere I could. That’s why I named it KNULP, a really good book that I loved as much as I did my vagabond Porsche.’
‘Thanks, Peter. I’m so happy with your Porsche 356SC. And guess what?
‘On its way to me is a copy of a book that I have just ordered: Herman Hesse’s KNULP.
-Alex Manos, Owner – Beverly Hills Car Club

2 replies on “Car Tales: A Porsche 356SC Coupe Called KNULP”

  • Keith Hummel says:

    Thanks for the great article. In 1975, I was a twenty-three year-old poor graduate student at U of M (that’s University of Minnesota.) I traded my 1968 Volvo 144 and $75 for a 1965 356C Cabriolet with a bad starter from a Romanian mechanic at a gas station in Dinkytown (a then kinky, micro village near the university. I loved the car. My long-suffering , now PhD wife had to help me push to start (no drift hills in MPLS) for two weeks until I got my first TA stipend check. Porsches are special. Your articles are special. I now have my eye on a 1965 brown 912 being offered by a car squirrel in Beverly Hills. wish me luck.

    Keith Hummel MD, MFA

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