Cliff And Carolyn Berryman — Porsche Proud

  • story by David M. Brown
  • posted on 09/2011
  • posted in: Great Garages

Cliff Berryman was born a San Diego gearhead, and today he’s a Scottsdale gearhead.

Both he and wife Carolyn are proud of that passion and their collection of cars and motorcycles, centering on classic Porsches.

Cliff purchased his first car at 14. He and his grandfather spent two years restoring a 1950 Chevy. His grandfather opened a charge account at the local auto parts store and made weekly payments, and Cliff earned money as a paperboy.

For his 16th birthday, his parents, Chuck and Marion, paid his $150 insurance premium, and he was on the road.

Growing up in San Diego, Cliff became an electrical contractor, following his dad’s career. He is today a partner in Copper King Electric of Scottsdale.

“My primary love is for Porsches,” Cliff says. “I love the history, the performance, the panache.” He purchased his first one in 1968 — a 1961 Karmann coupe for $2,200. Since then, he has owned 150-plus Porsches, from Speedsters to a Carrera GT. His oldest car, however, is a 1913 Model T that he inherited from his father. 

His favorite? “The next one,” he says. In the early 1970s, after three years of racing on the West coast with the Porsche Club of America, he sold his business and bought a motorhome/trailer. In it, he placed a 1958 Porsche race car purchased from Alan Johnson and spent the next year racing PCA and SCCA in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

In 2005, Cliff met the love of his life and automobiles “soul mate,” Carolyn Nelson. Originally from New York, she’s lived in Scottsdale since 1976. An Arizona State University business graduate, she currently owns a detailing company, Time For Sale, emphasizing autos and aviation. “My grandfather was a major influence in my life and made me ‘car crazy,’” she says. “He was a mechanic who owned his own garage in Connecticut. Cadillacs were his passion.”

In 2011, the Berrymans married in Portovenere, Italy. “Besides our passion for four wheels, we love motorcycles and enjoy traveling, great food and great wine,” Carolyn says.

In addition to their Porsches, they have a 1959 VW crew cab, a 1964 El Camino, a 1954 Chevy wagon, Harley-Davidson Sportsters, a 1966 Vespa, a Maico Macolette, a Bella Zundapp and others.

And more: “Our garage is filled with personal memorabilia — more than 1,000 Porsche models, vintage posters, collectibles, and even a cardboard cutout of Dr. Porsche! It has to be seen to really be appreciated.”

Here’s a quick look inside at some of their cars, described by Cliff:

1960 T5 Porsche Roadster — “The second Porsche I owned in 1968 was a ’60 Roadster. They only made this model for two years; it was the refinement of the ’54 to ’58 Speedster, now with roll-up windows and a real convertible top and a windshield that extended above eye level.

“Fewer than 3,000 were made, while 6,000 Speedsters were made. We upgraded the Roadster to a Super 90 with a full restoration that took 18 months and $40,000. It has the original tool kit, owner’s manual and factory luggage.

“It’s close to being a nice driver, as every car we own can be driven at any time.”

1967 911 S — “This is a one-year-only model, introduced in late 1965 to replace the aging 356 that had been manufactured for 15 years. The S model was the first attempt to sell high performance to the average driver. The car weighs less than 2,000 pounds and has 165 horsepower and could get up to 200 horsepower with very little work.

“The car was first shown to me by the third owner, who came to me for advice to repair some body damage. He had towed the car for the previous three years and his job changed locations. After a year, he lost interest and asked if I would buy it.

“About $30,000 later, we had a show-winning ’67 911S, with two sets of seats and two sets of wheels. It’s a perfect car for open-road rallies. The engine has been detailed but has never been apart.”

“We’re the fourth owner. It has 65,000 original miles. Only 982 were made. This is an all-original-numbers car. The engine and transmission have never been apart.”

1971 Porsche 914-6 — “This is the best-balanced Porsche, allowing you to compete equally with a 911 that has 50 horsepower more. It was priced only $800 less than a 911 when it first appeared.

“We are the fourth owner of this all-matching numbers car. The original dealer was the Sewickley Car Store in Sewickley, Pa.

“Fewer than 3,400 total were made from 1970 to 1972. The car was originally green, but we knew it had to be black. During the bodywork phase, the engine, transmission, suspension and interior were upgraded to a car built in the 2000s. It’s kind of a retro-rod.

“The car has factory sport exhaust and the rare 15×7-inch factory wheels.”

1962 Woodie Austin Mini Traveler Woodie — “This was one of those impulse buys when the wife says, ‘Oh, so cute.’ It was on display at a woodies-only show at Moonlight Beach, Calif.

“It had been a race car for years and has a very sound body and mechanicals with all the ‘S’ options including disc brakes. The seller had his mechanic with him, and he agreed to make a variety of ‘back-to-street’ changes for a couple thousand dollars.

“Well, six months later and $7,000 spent, we got our woodie in Arizona. It is our third car and has never missed a beat. After three years, we decided to finish the car with a full paint job, rechroming and more wood panels. It has Cooper S brakes, special suspension and Cosmic wheels.

“You know what? It’s still cute and the most photographed car in our collection.”

1964 Fiat 500 — “This car was spotted at a garage party we had for the 356 Club Outlaws, which we belong to. This was his trade-in on a 356C I had.

“We did a total repaint, interior work, new sun roof and engine work. We now have a fully restored car, only $5,000 spent — more than the car is worth. This was the last year of the suicide doors and has the convertible top option.

“It’s a two cylinder, air cooled with 28 horsepower. It has the honor of being our slowest car, with a top speed of 45 mph — downhill!”

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