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
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.