Scenes from the Finest Air-Cooled Porsche Show in the World

Take a look inside Luftgekühlt 5

Kevin McCauley

This year was the fifth annual Luftgekühlt, an air-cooled Porsche show put on by Porsche racer Pat Long and Howie Idelson. In 2018, the show was at a lumberyard. Why? Why not? Friend of R&T Kevin McCauley was on site and took some photos. Those photos, and his captions, appear on the next slides. Enjoy! - Ed.

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Kevin McCauley

Ahead of my third year attending Luftgekühlt, I felt I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. So how is it that after experiencing Sunday’s Luftgekühlt 5 at Ganahl Lumber in Torrence, California, I was completely blown away?

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Kevin McCauley

Luftgekühlt (German for ‘air-cooled’) is an annual gathering of air-cooled Porsches in southern California. It isn’t a car meet, or a Cars & Coffee, or a pop-up automotive museum, although any of these could describe some aspects of the event. Somehow it becomes something new, an “experiential car culture event” as Luftgekühlt creators, Le Mans class winner Patrick Long and creative director Howie Idelson describe it.

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Kevin McCauley

The visuals of the carefully chosen venues, the narrow-focus of the cars, and the enthusiastic fanbase all contribute to making Luftgekühlt feel like The Cool Place to Be. And, on the subject of visuals, the Ganahl Lumber venue really delivered.

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Kevin McCauley

Cars were arranged in rows between pallets of lumber, towers of 40-foot lumber shelving, and inside warehouse-like storerooms. The atmosphere broke up the space visually and made it feel smaller, purposeful, and layered.

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Kevin McCauley

There are no placards, nothing is roped off. Some of the cars were staged ahead of time on makeshift lumber pedestals, but everything looks approachable, and casual, and almost effortless — even though it was clearly anything but.

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Kevin McCauley

The mix of air-cooled Porsche models ranges from the 356, the mid-engined 914, the 912, and, of course, 911 models produced through 1998.

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Kevin McCauley

Co-creator and racing driver Patrick Long seemed both exhausted and exhilarated when I spoke with him. “It’s a balance between producing an event that we personally want to attend but also trying to be inclusive. Theres so much passion behind the brand, and the vintage movement of the brand that it’s a really big task to try and keep up with it. I see it as my undergrad of a little bit of everything — sourcing cotton to writing disaster relief plans — I’ve made my living as a racing driver and I’ve only ever done one thing, so this has introduced me to a whole different world. The irony is that racing drivers show up and everything’s built and set up, and they get to leave and everything’s still built and set up, and this is certainly not that! I live this every day. Every minute of my free time — well, it feels like every minute — many minutes of my free time are spent learning about the brand and learning about events and communicating with the community."

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Kevin McCauley

The scale of the event is the most challenging part of the preparation, Long added. “We really try to deliver a nice Sunday for families, and dogs, and children, and wives, and girlfriends, and husbands, but raising the bar creatively is the easy part. There are so many passionate collectors and so many amazing cars that we really try to tell a new story every single year. Eventually we’ll have to find different examples of the same car but so far, we have a long list to get through of stories we want to tell. It’s not just about the legends of Le Mans and Daytona and Sebring and Spa, but the internet heroes, there kids that have so much style and so much bravery to take their car and do what they want with it. And that part of it is fun because it’s as much about that as it is about telling the past."

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Kevin McCauley

The rich wood tones served as a perfect backdrop for the brightly painted cars and polished chrome.

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Kevin McCauley

At Luft, customization is celebrated just as much as pedigree.

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Kevin McCauley

Porsche 908 chassis 010 — a short-tail coupe — wowed attendees.

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Kevin McCauley

Woofgekühlt.

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Kevin McCauley

The layering of rows broke up the large space into aisles of cars and you could isolate individual cars easier.

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Kevin McCauley

As the day went on and the sun rose across the sky, aisles that were in shadow became illuminated, and areas that were in direct sun earlier.

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Kevin McCauley

The ever-changing highlights and shadows cast by the rafters of lumbers created interesting situations — and did away with the tired ‘cars in a parking lot’ look.

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Kevin McCauley

This Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera had 60 miles on the odometer.

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Kevin McCauley

This Gmünd 356 Coupe was an unfinished factory test car — and its likely to be the oldest unrestored Porsche in the world.

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Kevin McCauley

A clean 3.2 Carrera in the queue to park.

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Kevin McCauley

The 1949 Porsche Gmünd SL 063 Le Mans Class Winner, restored by Rod Emory, has been a star of Pebble Beach, Rennsport Reunion, and Luftgekühlt last year. The earliest successful Porsche at Le Mans, it just might be the most valuable Porsche in the world.

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Kevin McCauley

Early Porsche 911s produced through 1973 are known as “longhoods,” and have a front trunk hood that curves down and is flanked by signals and horn grilles on either side of the opening.

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Kevin McCauley

They’re old cars, so some assistance on standby always helps.

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Kevin McCauley

This wild RS-inspired build is the 993 “CupSport 3.8,” created by 311RS.

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Kevin McCauley

A Singer 911 usually stands out in any crowd, but this white one slipped in pretty discretely.

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Kevin McCauley

In the 1990s, several enterprising enthusiasts thought the dominant Porsche 962 endurance racer would make a great supercar for the street. The Schuppan 962CR is one such creation – a carbon fiber, 962-based race car for the road, dreamed up by racing driver Vern Schuppan. Six were built before the company ran out of money, and four are believed to have survived.

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Kevin McCauley

When surrounded by such rare and obscure Porsches, the natural temptation is to ask “is it real?” But it’s the wrong question. Porsche never officially built a 993-based Speedster. Two were built for special wishes customers, but neither of those were Arena Red, like this car. So it’s irrelevant if it’s “real,” it’s a an incredible customization created at an OEM-like level, which to me is more interesting than seeing a rare “real” one.

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Kevin McCauley

The 1993 Le Mans class-winning Larbre Competition 964 Carrera 3.8 RSR driven by Jurgen Barth, Joel Gouhier and Dominique Dupuy was celebrated and featured on the 25th anniversary of its achievement.

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Kevin McCauley

Does anything look as good with Patina as a Porsche 356 coupe?

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Kevin McCauley

Colors, curves, and coupes. The parking at Luft is somewhat grouped, leading to some interesting juxtapositions and mesmerizing repetition.

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Kevin McCauley

A particularly inviting 356 interior.

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Kevin McCauley

When I see a ton of special Porsches in one place, I pretty much digress to just geeking out over colors. This one is Tangerine.

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