HomeNews and EventsClassic Porsches more exciting than new car array at LA show

Classic Porsches more exciting than new car array at LA show

Galpin showcases seven vintage Porsches gems and a quite-literal 'Bathtub’


What we used to know as the Los Angeles Auto Show has been recast as AutoMobility LA, but has retained its late-November dates and its location in the LA Convention Center. It also remains a showcase for more than 1,000 vehicles, including the newest cars and concepts from many of the world’s automakers.

The show continues through November 28 and this year includes a new automaker, VinFast, a Vietnamese company showing its vehicles in the US for the first time.

Show visitors can take part in a variety new-car test drives and ride-alongs, including a ride on Bronco Mountain, a 38-degree hill in the convention center plaza where visitors can “put their courage to test with a ride over.”

The Bathtub
You’ve heard of Porsche 356s referred to as ‘Bathtub’ Porsches, but check out this custom car known as ‘The Bathtub’

The overall theme of the show is electrification, as displayed in vehicles from the Porsche Sport Turismo to the Composite Project Cobera Model 300 that looks like the Shelby original Cobra but comes from Hungary with an electric powertrain for a 2.7-second 0-to-60 sprint. A company called Electra Meccanica displayed its eRoadster, which looked like a Porsche 356 Speedster but has electric power, air conditioning and power windows and locks as well.

After strolling through the various halls looking for something truly eye-catching, I found the Galpin Hall of Customs and knew there would be some exciting creations displayed there. The Galpin dealership group, which includes Porsche of Santa Clarita, has a long history of customizing vehicles.

But I was stopped in my tracks when I spotted one of the craziest thing I had ever seen. It was “The Bathtub” show car. The car was the brainchild of Rob Reisner back in 1968 and was shown and promoted by George Barris. The wild vehicle features two French bathtubs and a toilet housing a twin-blown Chrysler engine. 

As my laughter calmed down I turned and feasted my eyes on an incredible seven-car collection of classic Porsches. Chills ran down my spine. The group of German beauties was skillfully lined up behind a low-lying glass enclosure to protect the valuable collection.

The stunning group of rare sports cars includes

1964 Porsche 901

This is one of about 40 prototype cars built in mid-1964 before production of the 911 began. Power comes from a 2.0-liter air-cooled flat six producing 130 horsepower.

1996 Porsche C45 “RWB” conversion

“RWB” is Rauh Welt Begriff, a shop specializing in combining Japanese and European tuning elements while transforming 911s into “high performance beasts.” This car was transformed in 2017 for Galpin Motors president Beau Boekmann and Galpin’s Porsche Santa Clarita store.

1988 Porsche 911 Turbo “Flat-Nose” coupe

Only 200 examples of this model were produced. This one is finished in Guard Red over black leather, has only 7,000 miles on the clock, and has a Blaupunk radio with cassette player, sunroof, alarm system and velour-covered luggage compartment.

1984 Porsche 959 Turbo by Rinspeed

This customized Porsche is based on the Swiss-market 930 Turbo and is well preserved while showing less than 10,000 miles. As few as 12 were done by Rinspeed. The engine is a 3.3-liter flat-6 with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a KKK Turbocharger.

1955 Porsche 356 Speedster

This car won the People’s Choice trophy at the 2021 Porsche Restoration Challenge. The car was imported through Max Hoffman’s historic dealership and is a California car, with same-owner history spanning 50 years. Customization was done by Boekmann and the Porsche Santa Clarity team and includes custom-mixed Blue Green paint and a set of 1960 Halibrand knock-off magnesium wheels finished in House of Kolor gold. Beneath the rear deck lid sis an upgraded 1600SC flat-4 mated to a 519 transaxle.

1955 Porsche 356 1500 Continental cabriolet

A one-year only model with Continental trim, this gem is one of 228 built. It’s a matching-numbers example that is an older restoration and features the original special-order steering wheel.

1960 Porsche 1600 B coupe “Super 90”

Ernst Paulsson, one of Sweden’s best young drivers of the day, was in a rollover while racing and after the accident he never drove again. He owned this Super 90 but never drove it , leaving it forgotten in an outdoor shed. A special coating was applied to the “rusted areas to preserve its special appearance after the Swedish muscle-car magazine Gasoline brought the car back to life several years ago 

Howard Koby
Howard Koby
Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on


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