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Thanks to Randy @Teammccalla for posting about an upcoming Sunday cruise hosted by a local chapter of PCA. After waiting anxiously the past few weeks the day has arrived. This morning a cluster of 356's cars and owners, plus a couple of clone cars met in Los Gatos, Ca for a lunch cruise to the coast, in the town of Watsonville, Ca. Temps were in the low 40's in and around the area. After a 1/2 hour of greetings and we were off toward Watsonville via the back roads. Spirited driving was enjoyed by all, as was the warmer weather as we approached our lunch stop on Aviation Way across from the local airfield. Twelve cars had made the journey without a problem. We arrived to a grouping of small specially food stands offering food choices to satisfy anyone tastes and Craft beers were also available. As only a meat man  would do, I went for the Hot Dogs from ScoopDog. They also served some crafty ice cream choices, but I'll wait till summer to try those. As people waited for their food, conversation turned to cars, travel, to what do you do for a living. As a non-member of the PCA the folks were very tolerant of me and my car. I enjoyed checking out their cars and talking about other vehicles they owned. One of the member on this drive was a lady I had known for over 50 years when I lived in Los Gatos. She is an avid car Gal and has owned many 356's over the years. She invited me to a PCA breakfast run in January if I am able to make it. So, we will see ......  After lunch the group of 12 cars made our way back to the start in Los Gatos via the backroads and the redwoods. It was a bit cooler in the mountains and glad I still had my electric vest on. We lost a few folks on the way home as they headed off to their homes. But, what a great drive it was.



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Thank you for doing the full write-up!  That is a lot of red cars in one place!  I hope someone checked under the fenders of the third red speedster pictured there — hmmmmmmm.  Haha.

It was definitely a great experience.  Plastic Fantastics were treated well.  There were a few under-fender-feels, so I think they are good enough that they wonder.  As usual, the “real” speedster crowd generally shows curiosity and admiration, often asking who made it.

I really enjoyed the 356 Registry people.  Very helpful and welcoming.  I think I will join the local chapter to support it.

Here are a few more photos.  I followed Dave’s car up Hecker pass once an intruding Ford got out of the way!  It was great to finally meet you, Dave!



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Last edited by Teammccalla
@Butcher Boy posted:

It will give the other guys something to dream on as the weather sets in.

Dear Kalifornia guys: please continue to post.

Meanwhile, in flyover country:


2" +/- last night and today. It was the first snowfall that stuck, and will certainly not be the last. Salt trucks were running on the way to church at 9:30.

The 2023 season is officially over.


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Last edited by Stan Galat


Thanks for the updates, guys. Looks like it was a great day for puttering about down there..

For those in scattered corners of the realm, not everyone in the Golden state lives just down the block from everyone else.

Los Gatos is about 130 miles and maybe 14 major freeway interchanges away from the corner of the Central Valley where I am.

My wife and I did venture out for a nice Sunday lunch, though, at one of our favorite Amador County spots. The weather was a little chill, but this is still the best time of year here for Speedie driving. The engine seems to have an extra 10 hp and no need to keep an eagle eye on the temp gauge. You can drive right through the middle part of the day as if that were a perfectly normal thing.

Didn't switch on the cooler fan once all day.


And then there is the other, slightly colder, coast: - The "We're just as cold as England", New England coast:

I finally got away yesterday for a run to the Northeast Connecticut "Greenway" and the Vanilla Bean Cafe.

Going there in Autumn when the leaves are pretty means shoe-horning into the parking lot amidst 200 - 300 motorcycles, but now that the leaves are down and self-composting and the bikers are gone, I could easily park next to another Porsche (Taycan?  Tincan?  I dunno) and wander in for a cup of surprisingly expensive tea.


@Stan Galat - Notice the LACK OF SNOW!!!!    🤣


The temp yesterday was mid-upper 30's, dropping to the low 30's on the ride home around 4pm, but I had the top up and heater glowing and it was pretty comfy inside.  Riding in the dark just reminds me of how bright my dash lights are (NOT!)  I've decided I really need those gauge LED thingies that @Marty Grzynkowicz used, whatever they are.

I'm always impressed that Pearl seems to run better in cold weather.  I think @Stan Galat mentioned that about his car as well.  Don't know why, but I'll take it.

Sunday after Thanksgiving is THE heaviest traffic day of the year between I-84 in Connecticut and I-90 in Mass heading to/from Boston, mostly students getting back to school after T-Day.  Traffic is at a crawl on I-90 for over 20 miles (both directions) so many people have been finding alternate routes on their GPSises and one of those alternates now goes through Oxford, Massachusetts, south of and parallel to I-90 to connect to I-395/290.  

Never heard of Oxford?  It's a sleepy little town, village, really, of maybe two dozen buildings, two of which are funeral homes and one is a Dunkin Donuts.  One business started in the 1800's making Colonial braided rugs and is still doing so, today.  It is the birthplace of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross in 1881.  Usually, the backup at the light in the center of town is maybe 3 cars.  Last night it was about 1/2 mile (!) so I detoured north around the center by Clara's birthplace (gave a toot on the air horns on the way by, in case she's around) and took a few back roads through Millbury to get back home, all the while wondering "just where the Hell are all these people going?"


I just looked at that first photo next to the Taycan.  Wow.  That Speedster sits really low, doesn't it???


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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

@Gordon Nichols I used eBay LEDs.  They aren’t dimmable, but the are just the right brightness for my taste.  They have various colors.  Worked like a charm and I liked them better than others I tried.  That picture was taken in a dark garage so they aren’t quite as bright as the picture - just normal bright.  (However, my taillights are flamethrowers as you can see!)



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Last edited by Teammccalla

@Teammccalla - "Flamethrowers"

Back in the early 1970's I had a '57 VW sedan that became my "CEV" (College Escape Vehicle) when I was a student at Northeastern Univ in Bahsten.  Mounted to the front bumper was a pair of 6 volt Lucas "Flamethrower" driving lights, guaranteed to singe the paint off the car in front of you at anything under 30 feet but everything in the cabin got dimmer when they were both on.  They could throw a spot down the center of a road for 3/4 mile, even at 6 volts.  Much later and now married, my wife gave me a pair of Cibie 10" Super Oscars which were 12 volt and twice as bright as the Flamethrowers - Those ended up on my '77 ford F250 pickup.

Awesome lights were out there, to be sure......

On the gauge lights, I need to pull one and see what the wattage is.  They are a BA style, if memory serves, and there are 4, 6 and 8 watt versions.  I bet I have weaker ones in there, but I need to start there before looking at LEDs.  It would be nice to have them dimmable, but lack of that is not a show stopper.


Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@Theron posted:

I am really, really, really sad I couldn't make this.  I'm less than 20 mins away from Los Gatos but I've had some problems that kept me from getting there.  So glad to see it was a nice turnout.

Theron, sorry you couldn't make it. It would have been fun to finally meet you. I've known that you were in this are for a long time. Even followed your cool stuff on Etsy a few times. I'm sure there will be more outings in the future that will make it possible for yourself and other to get together. Looking forward to that...........


Of dimmable dash lights.

For some reason, my VS came with 5-watt bulbs in all of the instruments (two bulbs per instrument). Which were WAY too bright full up.

So, I used the rheostat (dimmer) in the headlight switch to turn them down, as one does.

But soon, I smelled smoke, saw smoke. and shortly after lost all lights, period.

Aha! Cheap Chinese switch! I went to the electronics store (this was when there were still electronics stores), got a decent 2-watt pot, wired it up, turned it on, and again more smoke. Briefly. Then, more darkness.

It turns out that six times five (watts) is 30 (watts). So, to dim 30 watts worth of bulbs to half power, you've got to dissipate 15 watts in whatever is dimming the lights.

I suspect THAT is what killed most of the headlight switches that were dying at the time in new VS's. I have no idea why they put five-watt bulbs in those instruments.

The answer used to be to just use bulbs of a more appropriate wattage (like maybe one watt). Today, for us amateurs, the answer is low-power LEDs. The pros use LED's and a digital 'interrupter' circuit (or whatever it's called) that cycles the lights on and off rapidly, with them on less and less of the duty cycle to make the light dimmer and dimmer.

I was afraid if I tried pulling the bulbs I had out of their fragile, little plastic sockets, the sockets would crumble, so I wired up a giant ballast resistor circuit to dim the bulbs. It works, but kids, please, don't do it that way.



OK, left out the part about pulling out one of the, unused  sockets in one of the instruments and trying to remove the bulb from that. Those Chinese instruments had a row of, what, four of those sockets intended to be used for annunciator lights, but in the VS, they hadn't been wired to anything.

The one I pulled did fall apart in my hand, so I ran out of courage about there. I've since used a few of them as status lights for various things (without trying to extract the bulbs or sockets).

And no, the last thing I wanted to try was pulling one of the gauges after examining the holy rats nest of wires behind them in my car.

Should also mention this was about the time I was formulating the plan for explaining to the wife why our brand new sports car just might need a whole new engine. Life was rapidly raising more questions than I had answers. I felt just leaving the gauges alone for the time and finding some solution exterior to them might be best.

I was younger then and just learning how to cope with these cars.

Last edited by Sacto Mitch

Thank you for the report and great photos. I am surprised many bona fide Porsche owners are now accepting of replicas; I remember when it was nothing short of sacrilege.

Re the temperatures; yes it is great having lower temperatures for more comfortable and trouble free driving and yes the motors will run cooler and better; probably due to the presence of more oxygen in cooler denser air which carburetors love.

Re those bulbs in the Chinesium dash cluster; I am still running what the car came with from VS back when it was delivered in 2004. Not sure if they're 1 or 5 watt. I have certainly messed with them first to switch the oil and gen/alt indicators from the small ones on the speedometer to the Porsche correct ones in the multi gauge and then when I removed the tachometer to get it VDO'd at North Hollywood Speedometer (which; btw, looks like I might need to send it their way again to calibrate because it seems out of whack and all over the place) .

Of Dimmable Dash Lights Part Deux:

I checked a bulb and mine are all of 2 whopping watts - No wonder it looks like a single birthday candle lighting them up.

I found some dimmable LED BA7 bulbs on Superbright LEDs.

They offer them in several colors, but I opted for the clear white versions.

I'll let everyone know how they look later in December.

Here's their page, and they're surprisingly inexpensive:

Last edited by Gordon Nichols


Gordon, let us know how those LED's work out for you.

As best I can figure, I cut the power output to my existing dash bulbs by about half, so they should be putting out about 2.5 watts each. They're a little on the bright side, but I prefer that to too dim.

Here's a photo taken in an otherwise dark garage. The ambient light in the cockpit is from the headlights bouncing off a white garage door and back into the room. A minimum of Photoshopping to make the photo look like what I see:


It used to be, back in the incandescent days, everyone knew the brightness of a '60 watt' bulb or a 5-watt. Then came LED's and now the only brightness metric that means anything is 'lumens'. It's hard to find solid numbers for small bulbs, but I think a 2.5 watt incandescent puts out around 30 lumens. The bulbs you ordered say '5 lumens', so I'm curious to see how they work out.

But not as curious as you are, I guess.

And oh, one more thing.

The four 'status' lights I mentioned above are in the combo gauge at right. The blue one is the high-beam indicator wired in by VS. The rest were unwired. I now drive with my headlights on during the day, but that blue light wasn't bright enough to be seen in daylight and I wanted to keep the lights on 'low beam' while driving. The leftmost status light is the one I munged up, so there's no socket in that position.

So Mitch, how can it be lit if there's no socket there? Well, it turns out you can stuff one of those LED's wired with just leads into the space formerly occupied by a socket and Viola! The cool part is you don't have to fuss around with finding a bulb to match a particular socket and LED's like that are everywhere on the interwebs for like two dollars for a gazillion. They are so cheap, you can't buy just one.

I wired this one up in parallel with the existing high-beam light, it's about five times brighter, and I can now tell if I'm driving around during the day with inadvertently undipped beams.

Don't ask me which LED's they are and where I found them. If you want them enough, you'll figure it out.

As they say in Fargo, end of story.



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Last edited by Sacto Mitch

@Sacto Mitch

Your gauges look 100% brighter than what I have now.  I have to look for a second at the Speedo to see where the needle is and while my tach seems brighter (but not much) it's brighter on the right side because of more green lines lighted over there.  Having brighter back lighting is something I should have done years ago.  Getting through the Canistrum Serpentium under the dash to replace them will be the next big step.

Got the shipped confirmation and they're coming USPS from East Zamboogie (your state, really) so they should be here by Monday and then, "Stand Back!  I'm Goin' Under!"

BTW, Like you, I used one of the panic lamps in my multi-gauge to tell me when the glow plug is on in my gas heater.  It's super bright compared to the background lights (easily seen in daylight) and yet the same bulb.  I'll leave the panic bulbs alone and just change the backgrounds (for now).  It's hard enough, just getting to the easy bulbs.

@Sacto Mitch

Your gauges look 100% brighter than what I have now.  I have to look for a second at the Speedo to see where the needle is and while my tach seems brighter (but not much) it's brighter on the right side because of more green lines lighted over there.  Having brighter back lighting is something I should have done years ago.  Getting through the Canistrum Serpentium under the dash to replace them will be the next big step.

Got the shipped confirmation and they're coming USPS from East Zamboogie (your state, really) so they should be here by Monday and then, "Stand Back!  I'm Goin' Under!"

BTW, Like you, I used one of the panic lamps in my multi-gauge to tell me when the glow plug is on in my gas heater.  It's super bright compared to the background lights (easily seen in daylight) and yet the same bulb.  I'll leave the panic bulbs alone and just change the backgrounds (for now).  It's hard enough, just getting to the easy bulbs.

Your not kidding, I got the higher wattage bulbs and they are still sitting in the enveloppe, waiting for me to get the nerve to crawl under the dash… no fun.  

So I wait till I have a bunch of stuff to take the whole dash apart, like lights, variable speed rheostat for wipers, I know what wipers ,  New wheel hub already paint matched to my other one to take a new VDM replica wheel .. thanks Marty.

And I wait.

Last edited by IaM-Ray

Brighter background lights would be very useful. This here is good info, and I will wait to hear about Gordo's experience here with these LEDs. a while back I researched to some degree LEDs for headlights.  Found the Headlight Revolution website where the market is presented in bewildering array.  They have a lot of good info there, videos, and on and on.  Anyway, I was not interested in duplicating  the brightness of the sun at the edge of the coronasphere, as some of the products seemed capable of doing that.  Rather I just wanted plug'n'play versions of the H4s (or whatever was in there already).  A little more brightness would be great, but really going for the reduction in current needed to run the show.  I found such bulbs, offering maybe 2x or 3x the lumens at a dramatic reduction in electric power needed.  Plug'n'play they were, not very expensive, and such a difference in what I can see. Flash those babies up to bright and switch on the driving lights, which I also have, and the night turns in to day.

Anecdote relative to the wiring mess that exists behind the curtain on many, if not most, of our dashboards. a while back I had my tach rebuilt to include genuine VDO innards and after replacing said gauge, ran into an issue with my battery running down. It was quite variable and I eventually noticed that all seemed to be OK when I was driving at night despite the fact that the red generator light seemed to come on only at night.  Very weird until I discovered that I had inadvertently  swapped the instrument background light wire with  the red idiot light wire.  Hence my alternator was only energized when I turned on the headlights, which of course also turned on the idiot light.  getting the wires mixed up is especially easy in a JPS since he uses the same color wire (red) for everything.  Add in doing it all while standing on your head, and, well, there ya go . . .

That's funny Kelly. You got red, Tom Dewalt's car was predominantly white wire...

I don't know about Speedsters, as you have the dash brow, but on  a Spyder dash lighting needs to be dim. HEAVY reflection in the windshield as the "brow" is rather short on a Spyder.

It took a bit of time to get used to(if one actually drives one's car at night like me) but not too long. I don't even notice it now, but I've got a lot of seat time.

Last edited by DannyP

Hey all you NorCal guys and gals!

I’m kind-a, sort-a thinking about doing a week-long bicycle trip in the Big Sur.  It would start and end in San Francisco and here is the link:

If you know the area, does it look like it’s a $4K value trip?  I have never been out there so have no idea and looking for feedback.


The itinerary says you'll be starting/ending in San Jose so I'm not sure if you'll fly in to San Jose or San Francisco. It sounds like they have you covered on the shuttles though.  I've ridden this entire route and then some but we did 75 mile days instead because we started in Santa Cruz, CA and only rode for 3 days, but it was an awesome ride. You may not find the ride as challenging as some of the ones you've done but the scenery is what they're selling. It can get quite windy along the coast, but for the direction you're ridding it SHOULD be off of your back and a little to your side. You'll experience a fair amount of traffic since every tourist from within and outside of  California will be driving the route. The only positive for that is the traffic is going slow, it just gets a little crowded. The ride through Edna Valley is nice, I've driven all of those roads in the Speedster and the Boxster.

The selection of accommodations look good. Hotels/Motels in this area are usually $250.00++ per night so that's where most of your money is going. It's nice that they're providing the bikes, any idea on what you'll be riding?  It also looks like you'll have plenty of free time to take in the sites. Your other option is to price it all out yourself and see how much they're taking off the top for profit. My assumption would be is that they're getting the hotels discounted a fair amount since it will be a group. It's nice to have them handle all of that though which makes it a good deal.

Riding Hwy 1 is a real challenge.  The climbing seems far harder than it appears on a map.  Day 3 is going to be a BEAR.  Riding south almost always has a tailwind or side wind.  Riding north on Hwy 1 is not fun.

The accommodations look nice.  Pine Inn is more than $250, and is right on the “main drag” of Carmel.  Very nice.

The key to any supported tour is the way they support.  It can feel like a luxury experience, or more like roughing it.  I would study reviews carefully and see if it fits what you are looking for.

$4,000?  That does not seem unreasonable at all.  It is more than I would invest, but it would be a lot of fun, especially if you have a couple buddies joining you.  I live between San Jose and the coast if you have more questions.

Thanks, guys - Just what I was looking for.  

My group usually fills the tour of 12 slots and we're all of about the same riding ability and we all get along pretty well.  Because we are the entire group and some people want to tour San Francisco, we got them to move the start/stop place for us.  

No Drama Queens or Macho riders in the group and we all hover around 70 years old so I guess we're a "mature" group.  We try to pedal 50-ish miles per day - our 75-mile-days are kind of past us and we're more of a "Hey, Let's check out this side-route for Ice Cream" kind of group.

The info on traffic and tourist congestion helps a lot.  I passed on a trip from lower Manhattan, NY up to Syracuse because the first day+ was urban riding and I don't go for that, but I think RT 1 would be manageable.

We always rent bikes for the trips.  That's a LOT easier than shipping ours in special bike containers.  I have one of those but it's a PITA to knock the bike down, store it just so and then drag it along with you - And that was when I rode a 12 pound bike.  My E-Bike is 38 pounds so no thank you.  They usually provide Cannondale or Specialized Hybrid bikes.  We send them our personal bike specs and they're set up and ready when we get there.  Most of us bring our saddles, and pedals so our cleats fit.  One guy has a pair of TEVA sandals with biking cleats on them - Very cool.

We only use Bicycle Adventures or Wilderness Voyagers for our trips and both have been excellent over the years.  We've only had 2 trips out of 12 where we were chatting at the airport coming home that the guides sucked.  Usually they become friends for life and we all keep in touch.  One guide later rode that torturous trip from Mexico to Canada along the ridge of the Rockies and we arranged a bike trip in Colorado to see her flash by.  

Day 1-2 of any trip is the worst unless you've put in 2 months and 700+ miles of training for it.  By day 3 you're in the groove and hills no longer matter.  Usually by Day 6 I'm getting bored so we always find a side trip to take to lighten things up.  6 days in the saddle kind of wear on you but we're a crazy bunch and find things to do.  I'll never forget doing the "Angel's Landing" in Zion Nat. Park....  We must'a been crazy, but we did it.


If you've done group trips like this before — and especially with this outfit — this should work for you.

The biggest issues on the coast road are that there's zero shoulder in many places, pretty high-speed car traffic, and LOTS of RV's, especially in the summer. But it looks like almost all of your riding will be mid-week, so that's a big plus.

The scenery IS spectacular, and as always, the big advantage of going by bike is that you can stop anywhere to take it all in. There are many overlooks and cool state parks along the way, which the tour will no doubt use to good advantage.

Advice about expensive motels is too true, but youse guys will be two in a room, so that's really about $1200 per day per room. If you wanted to hammer out a lot of the details yourself, you could probably do better with an un-guided tour, but the convenience of having them supply the bikes probably makes it worth it in the end.

One thing you shouldn't have to worry about is weather. Rain is almost unheard of that time of year, although mornings could be overcast and misty.

My bike touring days are long over. Did quite a bit in Europe in the '80s and '90s when it was much less complicated throwing your own bike on a plane or train and figuring things out on your own. Some of the best travel I've ever done.



Last edited by Sacto Mitch

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