Photographs by Sean Cridland
If you’re a true enthusiast, no doubt you’ve been to dozens of cars-and-coffee events, several Porsche Parades, a few Rennsports, and a couple of Werks Reunions. Gradually, you start to notice that there are a lot…as in A LOT… of silver, red, and black cars. Not that there’s anything wrong with silver, red, and black. It’s just that, well….
Eventually, you hear people arguing the paint codes of the various shades of silver, red and some other colors that look black. It doesn’t take long to start wandering around looking, hoping for something a little different. Then, every so often, you see something you’ve never seen before. Some of them are glorious. Some are ever so subtle. And some are…hmmm…not sure.
Those are the cars that SoCal Porsche-guy Tom Ridings prefers. Listening to Ridings talk about Porsches and his Long Beach upbringing, you can almost hear the Beach Boys singing This Car of Mine in the background. He remembers making it through his last class of the day at Belmont Shore high-school by sitting near the window because he knew a certain white 911 would drive by at exactly the same time each day.
His very first purchase with his own money was a 1963 356 Cabriolet and – since he was a teenager – he can’t remember ever not owning a Porsche. And it’s not that he doesn’t like the silver-red-black cars – he’s had several of them – it’s just that the oddball colors have that certain je ne sais quoi that sets them apart. Maybe that’s why he owns matching colors for each of his cars…
Though he – along with girlfriend Lisa Taylor – have been known for a variety of what used to be called “oddly colored” cars, they seem to have found themselves at the center of a new trend in Porsche collecting. While there are several newer-model paint-to-sample cars in their barn, it’s the air-cooled ones that seem to draw the most attention at national level vintage meets as well as local cars-and-coffee. Especially the ones featured here, which we’ve labeled The Olive, the Eggplant, and the Deep Blue Sea.
The Olive is the crown jewel of the three, a low-mileage 1973 911 E that’s all original and remarkably preserved.
If you’ve never seen an Olive Porsche, note that it’s not a color at the top of everyone’s list. Some guestimates suggest that less than .03 of all Porsches were painted Olive. And it’s doubtful you’ll find anyone re-painting their cars in that hue. As a color, it’s a bit like saki ika (squid jerky); you either love it immediately, or you decide to like it because you’re in love with someone who does.
But in the Porsche world of late – where rusty barn-finds, 914s, and other previously shunned anomalies of Porsche-ness have taken center-stage at concours meets and auctions houses — Olive is a color that has captured people’s imagination for being startlingly attractive. Especially if you have another of those distinctly 1970s Porsche features like a hounds-tooth interior or a Porsche-factory-optioned louvered rear window shade, as Ridings’ car does. Even more distinct, the 911 E is the rarest of production Porsches, rarer even than the RS. Spend some time around this car at a Parade or Werks Reunion and you’ll no doubt hear some obscene offers floating through the conversation. Ridings smiles, but he’s not interested. He prefers the looks over the cash…so far anyway.
The Eggplant is special too, but for entirely different reasons. It’s his daily driver, his autocross, and touring car. Though it started life as a 1973 911T, Ridings says there’s very little T left. It’s been updated with a 2.7 RS-spec motor, all new suspension, and somehow he’s managed to fit seven- and eight-inch wheels mounted with 225 tires under still-stock fenders. If you’ve done a double take on the hood-ornament, that’s intended. It’s a cracked Dauer 962 badge that he installed just because it’s in character.
Lastly, although originally black, Lisa’s Deep-Blue-Sea 1985 Carrera 3.2 is officially Porsche Oslo Bleu and doesn’t even try to look original. But it’s the perfect touring car for southern California weather: it has strong, fully functional air-conditioning. It’s been backdated to look…cool…no specific year or tribute intended. Taylor has her own penchant for the curious colors of the Porsche rainbow with a few of her newer cars, but that’s a different story, one that will involve the explanation of matching handbags….