The feeling was one that I'd inadvertently avoided for quite some time. Not altogether unfamiliar but certainly surprising as my head hit the pillow the night before Lüftgekuhlt 5—an event that seems to carry as much folklore as it does absolute respect from air-cooled Porsche fanatics worldwide. And as I arrived at the designated off-site parking lot I finally realized it wasn't so much the two-hour car ride with a belly full of Pete's coffee that had me doing the "seat wiggle," but rather genuine excitement to get my first crack at photographing an event I'd heard and read quite a bit about. In addition, it was a group of vehicles well outside of my usual bubble, and that certainly made things more interesting.
Truth be told, I'm not in any way, shape, or form an avid Porsche enthusiast. I do, however, have a penchant for just about anything automotive related. Having served as a fulltime freelancer over the span of about six years working with various automotive print publications before taking the helm as in import magazine editor, I eventually landed my current role that involves nerdy metrics and analytics, budget bending, plenty of babysitting, and general ulcer-inducing fun. With that said, I still love dusting off my camera every once in awhile to snap a few photos.
Once parked, spectators lined up for a short bus ride to Ganahl Lumber's new massive 18-acre facility in Torrance, Calif. There's a bit of history with Porsche that makes this wood and metal collaboration crystal clear, and writer Greg Emmerson explained it beautifully in our Part I coverage.
Once inside the gates I got right to work, and as I finished shooting the perimeter of the first warehouse that I encountered, I entered to find multiple rows of well-placed cars that included some very special classics atop makeshift wooden stages that added flair to some pristine history pieces. Each time I completed a set of rows I realized there were two more waiting for me, as well as some additional cars just outside in a section I hadn't visited yet.
Once I'd finished off that section, I foolishly thought I'd come to the end of the show but eventually stumbled across row upon row of air-cooled street, track, and show-level cars precisely lined up amongst Ganahl's sky-high outdoor lumber racks. By the time I reached the end of those neatly formed lines, a lot full of cars that shadowed an additional lot with even more display vehicles awaited. Beyond that, waist-high lumber stacks partially hid yet another group of Porsche attendees and it was safe to say that I grossly underestimated just how big Lüftgekuhlt has become.
By the end of my day with far too many pictures settled on my camera's media card, I headed back to the transport busses for a lift back to my car. The short trip granted just a few minutes to sift through some of the shots fired over the last few hours and think about a few takeaways. The first of which was the overall organization—from the set up to the displays and the spectator access, and as an individual who helps put together a yearly, manufacturer-specific car event, I was extremely impressed by the Lüftgekuhlt staff effort. Though this was their first time at this location, other than a lack of available bathrooms (it was a long line and the guy behind me reminded me of that fact at least a dozen times), there was nothing to complain about.
Second was the crowd vibe. While I was crouching down, getting in everyone's way while waiting for a shot, I regularly heard fans praising the layout, the vehicles, and the feel of the event. A good sign as Lüftgekuhlt continues to draw in more interest, and year 6 is all but guaranteed. My only questions are what unique location will they come up with next year and more importantly, where do I sign up?
The unmistakably smooth, sculpted lines of the classic 904/Carrera GTS placed gently between two massive rows of stacked, raw lumber doesn't really make that much sense on paper. At least, not to a Porsche amateur, but in person it's a combination that any car fanatic would be forced to appreciate.
Serving as the first Porsche model to incorporate a fiberglass body over a ladder chassis, the sleek, low-slung profile proved to be one of the most admired throughout the day.
Emotion Engineering's "Project Nasty" is an interesting one not only to the Porsche community who, unofficially and collectively agree it's extremely easy on the eyes, but also to the average car enthusiast, regardless of brand loyalty.
Taking a favorite chassis, stripping it down to its bare necessities, and upgrading bits and pieces that make it perform, look, and feel better to its captain is nothing new, but it's rarely done as well as this example. I'm hoping to get more photos and info on this gorgeous, ever progressing '85 911 in the very near future.
I stumbled upon Erin and Chris Andrews' RS as I was closing out my day. Placed upon a few wooden planks, it sat curiously all alone, separated from the show's general population. Its isolation, whether planned or a result of space constraints, only helped pique my interest. Masterfully painted by Ornamental Conifer, this proved to be one of my favorites of the entire show.
How would one go about stealing the spotlight at an event that caters to a very specific type of vehicle? Well, one way might be to show up in a 1 of 6, street-legal Schuppan 962CR with absolutely no miles on it.
As you might expect, getting a closer look wasn't easy. The number of guesses as to the car's value were only outshined by the number of smiles plastered across the faces of every attendee lucky enough to rub shoulders with a piece of history.