The Coral Special

"My name is Tom Manning and I arrived in CA in 1963 fresh out of the army from NY.  I went to work at a small shop on San Pablo Ave. in Albany named Luke's and Shorman Porsche and except for a 8 year stint at a Porsche dealer I remained there until 1995."

More from Tom: "Me and a guy named Sandy Parsons rebuilt a Porsche Special named the Coral; it was named after the small snake of the same name, kind of a tongue in cheek thing to the Bryant's. The car was built by a guy in the city of Colma and was originally all VW running gear."
"During that time the original intent was to autocross the car but that very quickly changed and the car went thru several changes right from the start.  First Porsche A brakes, then a B transmission, then a 356 Luke's and Shorman E Production motor and at that point I went thru the RDC drivers school with it."
"Then Eldon Beagle wrecked the ex-Don Wester RS61 at Laguna and we purchased the entire car except for the transmission which had been sold before we were able to make the deal.  We assessed the wreck and decided that it was too badly damaged to be salvaged so we decided to use all the usable parts to upgrade the Coral (looking back now boy did we make a mistake!).  We used the (Homer Worth) 1700cc. Carrera engine and the instruments and the brand new Linear disk brakes,and some of the wheels  (the rest of the parts were given to Sandy Parsons for his expert help in installing all the Carrera parts), as Sandy had been running a Carrera motor in a mid-engine VW convertible in the San Francisco region. "
"The car continued to evolve right from the start: frame, running gear, and body, and had several newer improvements already partly fabricated for the next upgrade.  Anyway, I have remained friends with a lot of the Berkeley motorheads (most of whom have evolved into vintage racers) and I have been approached to try and find the Coral.  As far as I can remember it  was sold to somebody from some southern state and left Luke's and Shorman in 1967.

If you can help Tom locate the Coral Special:  Please email me!

(5-31-10  From Tam McPartland:

"Tom doesn't remember this (and he should know!) but I have a memory from 1964 of the Coral appearing at Vaca Valley Raceway in April, 1964 with Walt Maas driving and a Lycoming flat-4 aircraft engine for power.  There was another Lycoming-powered car entered that weekend, a red mid-engined Special with a 4700cc flat-8 engine. The owner/ driver of that car was listed in the program as Ron Kessinger.

If you have info on these Lycoming-powered cars in NorCal in 1964: Please email me!

(5-31-10)  From Tom Manning:

"Continental and Lycoming have both produced flat-8 aircraft engines. The Lycoming IO-720 and Continental series of engines have been in production for several decades."

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