A renowned vintage Porsche shop in Southern California isn’t letting a tragic fire burn out its spirits as the company is vowing to rebuild itself to its former glory, despite a massive loss.
Benton Performance out of Anaheim suffered from a fire last week that burned down one of its own warehouses. Sadly, that blaze also took with it a huge inventory of rare, used, and new-old-stock vintage Porsche parts valued at over $3 million.
The company is known for its work in restoring air-cooled four-cylinder Porsches, like the 912 and 356.
According to several reports, the fire originated in a neighboring building where a Ford F-150 randomly burst into flames late Wednesday evening. It quickly spread to a series of diesel tanks next to the truck, which then leaked fuel across the lot, spreading to the warehouse adjacent to the one belonging to Benton Performance. What didn’t help were the tumultuous winds that have been plaguing the entire state as of recent, which also have been responsible for spreading devastating wildfires.
In addition to the stock of valuable parts, the company claimed to have also lost other irreplaceable items such as original Porsche memorabilia, special tools, matching-number drivetrains, and even a couple of complete cars.
The parts ranged from complete engine blocks to reusable engine heads and a collection of lightweight magnesium wheels (which didn’t help as magnesium is highly combustible). One of the cars lost was an apparent museum-quality 912E.
Luckily, nobody was injured in the entire incident, but Benton Performance immediately took to their social media to report the sad news. Thankfully, Benton Performance’s main shop down the street was unaffected and the business remains open for work.
“The shop is open, but we’re a wounded beast,” John Benton, the company’s owner, told Road and Track in a phone interview. “You watch a Godzilla movie and he’s kicking everybody’s ass, but then he just gets totally fried, well that’s where we’re at right now. We’re trying to get back to the point where Godzilla emerges from the ocean again and just lays down the law.”
This hasn’t been a great year for the vintage Porsche community as this is the second major loss of vintage Stuttgart metal. Earlier this year in April, America’s largest collection of vintage Porsches went up in flames after a nearby gas explosion consumed over 80 rare examples in a nearby warehouse.
If you’d like to help support Benton Performance in lieu of its recent loss, a GoFundMe has been set up in their honor while the company also has a stock full of wearable swag that you can purchase at its online store.