This post continues from a series of articles in which I’ve chronicled the events of a trip to California earlier this year. Here we’ll take a look at what was a very quick trip to classic collector car seller, Canepa. From the first photograph to the last, this whole article was shot in just a one hour visit. The brevity was due to this being part of a long road trip which I shared a video of last time. Canepa is not a small place, having two floors and a spacious garage. Seeing as much as I could and getting high quality photographs would not be easy on such a small timeline. But from the final images, I’d say that it was worth the effort.
A quick trip to Canepa lined up perfectly with our road trip down the California coast, so how could we say no?
It was a little overwhelming at first, seeing so many rare vehicles in one place. What to shoot first? Where to begin? Let’s just go with the flow (of the room).
On entering the ground floor display area, we were greeted by an early D’Ieteren-bodied Porsche 356B roadster and an early ’70s 911. If you look further back, you can see a Mercedes 300 SL roadster just peeking over the green 911. There’s history everywhere in here. That 356 was imported back in ’62 by Knievel Imports, which was owned by Robert E. Knievel, father of the famous Evel Knievel.
If you’re into hot rods, you just can’t not like a Deuce roadster with scallops. This one’s powered by a supercharged 383 Chevy delivering 500 hp to the rear wheels. For it to be here, it’s not just any Deuce roadster, it’s a prize winner, having won America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award at the Grand National Roadster Show. Built by Squeeg Jerger, it features one-of-a-kind parts and outstanding craftsmanship.
Italian design meets Detroit motivation. The De Tomaso Pantera (Pantera L in this instance) was powered by the Ford “Cleveland” V8. The “L” model featured better cooling, updated bumpers and some other updates. This one wears custom 17″ Campagnolo replica wheels.
The Cleveland V8 peeking out of the rear window of the De Tomaso Pantera L.
This 1974 Ducati 750 Sport was built into a Super Sport by Australian motorcycle racer Gavin Martin and Ducati legend Ian Gowanloch.
This bike was just loaded with interesting details.
One of three Lamborghini Countaches that I would see that week. This one is a 25th Anniversary edition from 1989. I’ll likely put all three together in a separate upcoming post. Another black 25th Anniversary edition was the first Countach I got the opportunity to photograph with a digital SLR camera, when I was first starting to shoot a few years ago. It being black hides the more audacious bodywork that was added for the 25th.
1994 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 was a one year Porsche model. Behind it, you can see a Carrera GT and a 959. Rare, rare, rare!
The Interscope Porsche 934.5’s wide body is quite menacing in person.
What must it be like to look out from your office and see a Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer and a 512 TR?
1965 Lotus Elan Series 2. The original Mazda MX-5 Miata took much inspiration from the tiny British roadster. This particular Elan underwent an 8 year restoration by Tom Dunham of San Martin, California. The engine was rebuilt by David Bean Engineering.
Venturing up the stairs, we were greeted at the top by this small toy car.
Upstairs is where many of the older historic race cars were kept, the Canepa Motorsports Museum.
I had no idea what this was at first, but it definitely had presence. This is a 1926 Miller 91, built by Harry Miller, a man who has been called “America’s Ettore Bugatti.” Winning 5 Indianapolis 500s between 1922 and 1929, the Miller cars dominated American automotive racing in the 1920s (for more on the history, see this article by Sam Smith in Road & Track). This particular car, a front wheel drive variant of the Miller 91, is one of only two which survive in original form. It was the sixth car produced by Harry Miller and was delivered to driver Leon Duray in the summer of 1926. It would go on to set a lap record in Europe, at the Monza Grand Prix.
Cars this old can be interesting in just how far removed they are from what is sold or raced today.
An early 20th century driver’s view.
Indianapolis 500 competing 1953 Kurtis 500B. Freddie Agabashian qualified 2nd at the 500 in this car at a speed of 137.546 mph. This car technically captured 2nd place in the 500 as well, but was cheated of it’s victory due to a scoring error placing it in 4th. This car is from the days when only 5 cars competed in the 500, manned by several drivers throughout the race who would change place as they were exhausted by the extreme heat.
The 270 cubic inch Offy engine which powered the Kurtis 500B.
Bruce Canepa’s helmet watches over the historic cars sitting silently in the upstairs display area.
The USAC Championship-competing 1960 Kuzma built by Eddie Kuzma, was driven by legendary driver Parnelli Jones. It won two “Hoosier Hundred” races and was the last dirt track car to compete in the Indianapolis 500 before being replaced by rear engined cars.
This So-Cal ’34 Ford Coupe utilized a supercharged Flathead V8, chopped top, and custom aerodynamic nose to set a class-C speed record at Bonneville of 172.749 mph back in 1953.
The famous 6-wheeled 1976 Tyrrell P34, from back when Formula 1 was more experimental and open in its specifications.
Porsche 934.5 in which Bruce Canepa competed, in 1977 and ’78.
The last factory-built Porsche 935, which was driven by Bruce Canepa in 1979 after he had impressed Porsche with his racing in the 934.5 over the previous years.
It wouldn’t really be a tour of Canepa without the famous Gulf-liveried 1969 Porsche 917K.
World SportsCar Championship 1985 Porsche 962C which was driven by Derek Bell, Drake Olson, Jacky Ickx, Jochen Moss, and Hans Stuck.
From upstairs, we were able to get to a walkway which overlooked the garage. Not only is the Porsche 918 down there but at least three Porsche 959, a BMW 3.0 CSL, Ford coupe, and a Ferrari Dino as well.
Porsche 930 up on the lift.
Over on this side, there was a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Porsche Carrera RS, and a 356.
Looking out the window behind us, I could see a rusty shell possibly awaiting restoration, as well as a parked early ’70s 911-S and a Ferrari 308.
Before we knew it, our hour was up and we had to continue on our trip along the California 1. It was a short visit but I’ll definitely be back for more some day. I hope you enjoy the photographs. I still have more content to share from this trip, so please follow us to see more.
Text and Photography by Bryce Womeldurf
Copyright 2016 HOONART/Bryce Womeldurf