By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
This was probably the first time in history that nearly 300 Porsches were crawling along at less than 10 mph.
Altogether, 275 coupes, convertibles and SUVs from the famous German carmaker synonymous with fast, sporty cars took it nice and easy for their grand entrance at the Porsche Boardwalk Reunion show Saturday.
Val Mats, an Ocean City resident, marveled over the spectacle of so many high-performance cars rolling down the Boardwalk with such style.
“My goodness,” Mats exclaimed.
Mats, though, said he really had no interest in driving any of the Porsches because of their relatively small size. But he did enjoy looking at them as they passed by his spot on the Boardwalk.
“Sure. Why not?” he said while admiring the glamorous cars.
Organizers said 440 Porsches registered for the event, but rainy weather that brought a blanket of cheerless gray clouds over Ocean City cut down on the turnout.
Bob Gutjahr, who co-chairs the event with his wife, Ellen Beck, said that 20 states were represented for the Porsche Boardwalk Reunion’s fourth year in Ocean City.
“We had Porsche owners drive here from as far west as Michigan and Illinois, as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as southern Virginia,” Gutjahr said of Saturday’s turnout.
Gutjahr’s family began vacationing in Ocean City starting in the 1950s. His familiarity with the resort town served as the impetus for bringing the Porsches to the Boardwalk.
“We started this as a way of giving back to the city and bringing our friends to the Boardwalk,” he said.
Another Porsche event called the “East Coast Holiday” was held on the Boardwalk for one year before the reunion took over to begin its four-year run.
Praising the partnership that the Boardwalk Reunion has with the city, Gutjahr noted there are plans to make it a permanent annual event that will bring visitors and economic benefits during Ocean City’s shoulder season.
“We’re locked in with the city for the next four or five years,” he said.
Gutjahr explained that the Boardwalk creates a dramatic, oceanfront venue to display the Porsches to spectators. On Saturday, the cars and SUVs occupied several blocks of the Boardwalk near the Ocean City Music Pier.
“I would say it is well into the millions of dollars,” Gutjahr guessed of the collective value of all the cars.
Both vintage and new Porsches of all colors graced the Boardwalk on Saturday – from a 1952 356 series coupe to a 2024 911.
Some of the classic Porsches lining the Boardwalk appeared to be straight off the showroom floor, although they were actually 50 or 60 years old.
Larry and Beth Nork, of Perkasie, Pa., grabbed a lot of attention with their 1964 Porsche 356C resplendent in a shiny red paint job. Larry Nork pointed out that the official designation for the color is “signal red.”
Three years ago, part of the car was a burnt brown color after an engine fire caused quite a bit of damage.
“Paint jobs don’t like engine fires,” Nork said with a laugh while showing cellphone photos of the then-scorched car.
He had the car repainted, but other than that the 356C has not been restored. Nork and his wife have owned the vintage Porsche for 10 years.
“It runs great,” he said.
When asked how much he thought his Porsche is worth in today’s market, Nork paused for a moment before answering with a smile.
“It’s priceless,” he said.