When choosing a name for his shop, Marlon Goldberg wanted to be discrete. He chose Workshop 5001 to disguise exactly what his shop specialized in. Passersby would wonder was it a wood working shop? Was it a metal shop? They would only know that there was work being done, but not know what kind. The truth – Workshop 5001 is a premier automotive restoration shop with a heavy focus on classic/vintage Porsches. The 5001 is an ode to the street the shop is located on in the Los Angeles area.
The world Goldberg has created at is one of Porsche wet dreams. Workshop 5001’s builds are completed as bare tub restorations, including Mil-Spec wiring, full interiors, motorsport suspension, custom components, and top-notch engine work. As such, Workshop 5001 has been named Engine Builder’s 2021 America’s Best Vintage Shop, sponsored by Autolite.
“Seven years ago, I bought this building and restored it,” Goldberg says. “It’s a cool, mid-century modern warehouse that we restored the same way that we would restore cars, and it looks great. We didn’t want anyone to know what we were doing in the building, so all the windows are an obscure glass so you can’t see in, but you still get light. To the outside it looks like this abandoned building with a lot of cameras around it and no one knows what we do here, but when you come inside it’s a different world.”
The shop is 3,500 sq.-ft. and has six full-time employees. Many of the full hot rods built at the shop start at $500,000, and some are more than $1 million!
“Everything in our cars is next level crazy – the motors are the same thing,” Goldberg says. “We’re typically quoting 12 to 18 months for a full restoration on a 911. The clients really appreciate our attention to detail. We’re really lucky to have these clients who allow us to build such extravagant hot rods that are in this realm somewhere between art and car or functional artwork.”
Growing up, Goldberg was infatuated with Porsche and he credits his dad, who always drove a Porsche, for fueling his passion. Marlon got apprenticeships in high school, and when he was in college at The New School in New York he interned at Manhattan Motorcars, a Porsche dealer in New York City.
“Their shop foreman was this guy Bobby who I became friendly with,” he says. “He used to stay late and build motors at night. That’s where I first got exposed to building the air-cooled Porsche motors. I knew immediately that was what I really wanted to do.
“I love air-cooled Porsches. There are other cars I like, but I can say with a lot of confidence that old 911s are probably the best car ever built. There’s just something really unique, special and capable about them. These cars are infinitely serviceable and restorable. We can resurrect them no matter how bad they are through our restoration process. Beyond that, it’s just this unexplainable fascination with 911s specifically. They just make sense and the engines are a further extension of that. I think the air-cooled flat six Porsche motor is one of the best engines and it’s a key element to making a 911 the great car that it is.”
Throughout his career, Goldberg has worked for Porsche dealerships, as a Ferrari pit crew member and at Singer Vehicle Design – a Porsche restoration company. However, he really got motivated to do his own thing when he met Dieter Inzenhofer, one of three partners who founded Andial, which was effectively Porsche Motorsport North America for a time.
“When I came to California, I wanted to work at Andial,” Goldberg says. “They were well known for their Porsche engines. I had actually interviewed with them during college and they were going to hire me, but they were about to retire and Porsche Motorsport was taking over the whole building. That opportunity fizzled, but I remained in contact with Dieter – he was the main engine builder and head mechanic. I got these varied experiences learning from a few guys who really knew the motors inside and out. That’s what got me going on it.”
At Workshop 5001, all engine assembly and some machine work is done in-house, but head work and dyno sessions are done at Randy Aase’s shop, Aasco. Goldberg also works closely with well over 100 vendors who are intimately involved in each build to make them all come together, especially in a short period of time.
Although Marlon’s experience with Porsche is rich, he’s still a young guy at 39, which is a stark contrast to much of the Porsche market being white-haired and headed out the door to retirement. No matter the age, the Porsche market has always been made up of a diehard group of purists and enthusiasts who love to bask in the glory of one of the most iconic brands in sports car history.
The air-cooled market has been hot in recent years, and the prices for old 911s have shot through the roof. However, Goldberg says that he would do it even if the market weren’t going nuts because it’s what he enjoys.
“I’ve built my business and reputation around the old stuff because it’s what I like,” he says. “A lot of these cars are tired and need to be redone. If we can redo them and implement some modern motorsport technology into the vintage stuff, then you have something that is badass to drive and appeals to younger people who like modern cars. It may look like a vintage car, but it hauls ass like a modern GT3. To me, that’s very cool.”
Goldberg admits there are plenty of purists who want a totally stock engine and everything to be just like it was originally, but not everyone wants that. Part of Goldberg’s formula for building Porsche engines and cars is to be purposely understated but still give it the performance his customers expect.
“With all the engines I do for these air-cooled 911s, we easily get another 100 horsepower,” he says. “In some situations, we’re doubling the amount of power without compromising the car in a way that most people wouldn’t even know we made changes.”
Workshop 5001 can build the most extreme custom Porsche, full of new electronics, but still make it seem analog. Goldberg says a lot of people want that because it makes them more drivable.
No matter the customer expectation, Workshop 5001 delivers, and then some, and that’s what makes the shop our 2021 America’s Best Vintage Shop, sponsored by Autolite.
“It’s a huge honor to receive an award like this,” Goldberg says. “Engine building is obviously something I take very seriously – I’m borderline OCD with preparation of the parts and how things are cleaned and how they go together.
“To work on cars, there’s not always a very clear path. People take all different roads to get in, and certainly to do something like engine building, I had to go and seek out the people who I knew were the best and I wanted to learn from. This honor is validation that I did the right thing and that I went and I learned from the right people and made the right contacts. It’s one of those things where you feel hard work pays off. It’s a big deal to know that you took the right path to figure it out and become good at something like this.”