What makes some real estate so valuable? Many things, but the iconic nature of buildings and other assets in any community add to the allure, and the value of property. So, early on Sunday morning I set about in a vintage 1973 Porsche 911 to make my case. Along the way I took some pictures of her and the fantastic real estate that makes up the Balboa Peninsula and Balboa Island in Newport Beach.
It was an overcast morning making it ideal for photography, which was great since my camera is simply an IPhone. I headed out to Blackies to check the surf and grab some pics at the waterline. The waves were only about knee to waist high, but being 6:30 on a Saturday morning, there were plenty of surfers out and the parking lot was reaching capacity. There were quite a few fisherman on the Newport Pier and the boardwalk was hustling and bustling with walkers and bikers. The Beach Ball Bar already had some patrons (They open at 6:00AM!).
A little about the car you are taking the tour in… If you like iconic images it is hard not to appreciate the early 911’s, also known as the long hoods. The classic 911 shape was basically the same from 1964 through 1998, but the long hoods were phased out of production in late 1973. This particular 911E has had 5 caretakers. In the 80’s the car was faithfully updated to Carrera RS specifications including a 2.7 liter MFI (mechanical fuel injection) engine. Suspension, tires and a roll bar were tuned to track duty, but the car remains street legal. She has about 250,000 miles on her and most of the paint is original, and has a wonderful patina. Sure, there are a few dings, including a nice dent in the roof caused by a bullet dropping from the sky on a 4th of July in the 90’s, but they add to the overall history of the car. The rare olive color was a option offered by the factory and is polarizing. It definitely has the 70’s look.
My next stop was the Fun Zone, which at 7:00 AM was pretty dead. I swung around to grab a picture of the Balboa Pavillion on my way to the ferry. It has always been one of my favorite buildings. Finished in 1906 it is instantly recognizable from any angle due to the iconic Victorian Cupola that constantly flies the American flag. It is a great asset to the community housing Harborside Restaurant and a dance hall upstairs. The public fishing and sightseeing fleet use it as a departure point so there is always a buzz about the place with people coming and going at all hours. It was once the southern terminus for the Pacific Electric Railway connecting the beach with downtown Los Angeles.
I drove by the Balboa Saloon (Sorry, not open til 11:00) and got in line for the Balboa Island Ferry to Balboa Island. I was the only one in line and there was only one car on the only ferry running. There is something I have always loved about riding the Ferry. Time seems to stop during the ride across the harbor. The anxiety of waiting in line or being at a stop light with some place to go just doesn’t exist when transiting a car across the water. And the views of the Balboa Pavillion, the stunning houses on the waterfront, The Ferris Wheel and all the boats is just timeless.
As my journey was coming to an end I knew that I had one last stop. I exited the ferry and headed towards the Balboa Island Bridge. As I drove through the sleepy Island with my exhaust crackling and burbling I realized how loud these old flat six engines can be (damn they sound good!). Balboa Island, and particularly Marine Street, is a great place to hang out any time of day, so I just parked and walked along the street amid all the great shops and restaurants. There is literally something for everyone.
The last stop was one I never miss while on Balboa Island, the iconic Dad’s Donut Shop and Bakery. It was about 7:15 and a group of locals were hovering outside getting their coffee and sugar fix. I popped inside and ordered up my usual cappuccino and apple fritter. As a walked outside to enjoy my healthy (for the soul) breakfast I was staring right at the 911. Looking at one icon from just outside another.