By Steve Heeb
here for article -
Car--The Specialty Car Magazine
By Steve Temple
Day of the Dolphin in San Leandro, California
Something Special Surfaces at the San Leandro Show
Occasionally the best vehicle at a kit car show isn't available
as a kit. Sometimes it's a handcrafted custom, a conveyance
so unusual, so rarefied, that it's simply not possible to offer
it in component form. This was the case at the Northern California
Kit Car Club's (NCKCC) annual mid-September show in San Leandro,
What was the non-kit-car show winner mentioned at the outset?
We'd seen it partially assembled at the Knott's show, but that
preview didn't prepare us at all for the completed car. The
Dolphin, aptly named for its flowing flanks, features a body
lovingly crafted out of redwood--yes redwood, all sealed with
epoxy resin and S-glass cloth. Wooden bodies were used on some
of the great early racing cars, but such old-world craftsmanship
is just too rare nowadays.
Peter Portugal has the talented pair of hands that rendered
this work of art. Reproductions of the vehicle are available.
Not only did Portugal capture Kit Car's Best of Show Trophy,
he also received the same award from the NCKCC. We don't expect
to see wooden kits popping up in great numbers, but such exclusivity
actually adds to the Dolphin's appeal.
Monterey County Herald
Saturday, August 19, 1995
By Laura Counts
The leaders of the Monterey Bay Rolling Concours last night sounded
like a den of dangerous animals: vipers, cobras, stingrays and
jaguars. . . .
"It would be nice to say once you've seen one red Ferrari
you've seen them all, but here's another one going by," said
Miller as a Testarossa passed the reviewing stand. . . .
Perhaps the most exotic car in the parade was a creation by Peter
Portugal of Eureka, which he calls the Dolphin. He attracted an
admiring crowd as he lifted the polished wooden hood of the car,
which took him six years to build.
"It's made from a 250-year-old redwood that came down in
a windstorm in 1981," he said. "It landed about 80 feet
from my shop."
Portugal, an architect and artist, tapered strips of wood to create
a rich brown body for the car. It has a hardwood luggage rack,
brass and bronze trim and wicker-backed seats. Despite its elegant
appearance, he said he drives it on dirt roads in Eureka.
"I hope to take orders for more," he said. "They
shouldn't take that long to build now that I have the design."
For more press clippings and artist's statements, see Peter's