Sonne Porsche
Newsletter March 2002 Articles

 Bernard Chung

A True Porsche Lover
by Kevin Ham

    Hey, wasn't that an Abarth Carrera I saw in Kaneohe? What a rare sight with no more than twenty cars made! Rare but true, there was an Abarth Carrera here in Hawai'i in the 1960's. It was owned by Bernard Chung, fellow PCA member. He shared in a recent interview for Sonne Porsche that his wife drove it to the beach, as it was at a point their only family car.

Sonne Porsche: Tell me about your history with Porsches and the PCA.

Chung: My history with Porsche started in 1958, when I was a student in college. Ted Fukuda had a '57 Super coupe and I had this '55 1300 coupe. I got to know him [Ted] because we were the only students with Porsches. Later, I remember another student. She had a '58 coupe her father bought for her in New York. Ted brought it up that there was an organization for Porsche owners, that was based in Virginia [PCA]. They got together with the local VW agency and about 10 to 15 of them formed a local chapter. Their first meetings were held in Kailua.

Sonne Porsche: What was your first Porsche and why did you pick a Porsche?

Chung: Donald McKay, a local Volkswagen dealer, had a place on Kalakaua, just a store front. I had a friend that owned a VW at the time and he went in for a service. I went into the storefront and saw a Porsche up close for the first time. I thought it was cute. I just fell in love. I liked the arrangements. It had these little back seats. My first car I bought was a used '55 coupe. All my friends had sports cars at the time. I wanted something different and I liked the look of the new Porsche.

Sonne Porsche: There were other cars out there at the time, the Corvette Stingray for example.

Chung: I'm a Porsche man. I don't think of anything else. But there were other Porsches I had my eye on. I wanted this 1957 Super coupe. The Super being top of the line for Porsche, next to the Carrera. It had all options, chrome wheels, leather interior, Telefunken radio. The owner was shipping it back to the mainland because he could not sell it here. He bought it for thirty-six hundred, new. That's one that got away.

Sonne Porsche: Three thousand, six hundred was a lot of money for that time.

Chung: You could buy yourself a brand new Cadillac for the price of a new Porsche, but I wasn't into that. I liked Porsches. After you own a Porsche , then you get to meet the other people with Porsches. I remember the guys you get to be close with: Ted Fukuda, Hiko Uyesato, Linus Pauling. Our circle of friends were all Porsche lovers. We were a close knit group at that time. My life revolved around those cars. All my good friends came through Porsches. That's how I met my wife. And right now, my girlfriend is someone I met 30 years ago. She was also into Porsches. Currently, I'm active with the 356 group.

Sonne Porsche: Tell me about your all-time favorite Porsche?

Chung: My favorite car was my first car. It was a 356, 1955 1300 coupe. It was my first love. During the early years my dream car was the Abarth Carrera. I tried to get it and I was successful. It was a full year after writing to someone in the mainland before I actually got the car. Just one of my life's experiences. I kept the Abarth for a couple of years. It was my family car; our only car at the time. My wife drove it. She took it to the beach. When the car was going down the street it made a lot of noise, like a sewing machine, with all those cams going.

Sonne Porsche: What direction would you like to see Porsche go in the future?

Chung: Porsche cars are too developed. Instead of making a more sophisticated Boxter, they should make another car like the RS 60. Small engine, less than a Mazda Miata, a real simple car. Current retro-stuff, they don't go all the way. Porsche should make something with just the basics.

Mr. Chung and I talked more about Porsches. We looked through photo albums that contained family, friends and his cars. Later, we went outside to his shop where he showed me his 1966 911 coupe in storage, and his 1957 Speedster which he is currently working on. We continued to talk about cars and engines. It was now evening and a few hours had passed since I first arrived. Mr. Chung had been very intuitive earlier in the day, as he felt and shared with me that Porsche cars bring people together. I thought to myself as I finally left--yes they do, yes they do.