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Unrestored '56 Porsche Carrera lands a spot at Pebble Beach concours

Fri, 26 Jun 2009 00:00:00 -0700

One Porsche at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance will be making its second appearance. And it will be easy to find--it's the one that looks a bit used.

The 1956 Porsche 356 1500 GS Carrera coupe made its Pebble debut in 1956 at the road races. That's where former NASA scientist Roger Craig saw the car. A year later, he bought the car, which has been raced by Don Dickey, for $4,950 from a dealership in Belmont, Calif.

Craig used the Porsche as his daily driver. It got an engine overhaul in 1958, which cost $1,600, and a set of radial tires. But Craig retired the car to a garage in 1961 with less than 40,000 miles on the odometer.

"I determined that the cost to run a former race car as my only car was a bit excessive," he said.

A veteran of the Apollo and Pioneer Venus programs at NASA, Craig retired in 1990 and began tinkering with the Porsche. Job one was putting the engine back together. It took about 10 years.

Now, the '56 Porsche is headed for the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links in all its unrestored glory--Craig even has the original tires and wheels--as part of the preservation class.

Bentley is a featured marque at this year's Pebble Beach concours, scheduled for Aug. 16. The event also will celebrate the centennials of Audi, Bugatti and Morgan, and feature the designs of Zagato. Find more information at

By Dale Jewett