Gear: Book Review: Porsche Unexpected

Book Review: Porsche Unexpected

By Benjamin Shahrabani
November 12, 2014
22 comments

The book: Porsche Unexpected

Author: Randy Leffingwell, Cameron Ingram (Authors), Miles Collier (Intro), Michael Furman (Photographer)

Pages: 416, hardcover

Purchase: Click here

Yet another impeccably produced book from award-winning photographer Michael Furman’s Coachbuilt Press, Porsche Unexpected: Discoveries in Collecting introduces the reader to former pharmaceutical salesman Robert Ingram and his family, and takes us through their journey into building a world class collection of the marque. The title is derived from the sometimes meandering journey the family took in their quest to build a treasure trove of Stuttgart’s finest. It all began with a ride in a 1971 911S owned by Robert’s boss and mentor at the time. Though the ride convinced him “how special a Porsche was”, it would be another twenty years before Robert would follow through on the purchase of his first Porsche, a 964 Carrera 4 convertible, in 1992. It would be a fateful purchase that would lead Robert and his family to assemble, at the time of this book’s publication, almost three-dozen road-legal cars and race cars, including, amongst others, an early Gmünd Coupe, a 550 Spyder, Speedsters, 356 Carreras, almost every iteration of 911, a 959, a Carrera GT, and the latest 918.

Porsche Unexpected is written by both noted Porsche historian Randy Leffingwell, and Robert’s son, Cameron Ingram, now the second generation of Ingram Porschephiles, and co-founder of Road Scholars a very highly respected Porsche restoration shop in North Carolina. The first section of the book delves into the numerous hows and whys of collecting which is this book’s raison d’être – to help other potential collectors avoid some of the Ingram family’s pitfalls and missteps while building their collection. In essence, by reading this tome, you’re getting the benefit of the thousands of hours that the family has put into their achievement of building a collection, and the knowledge and advice that can be derived from that. Topics such as quantifying what is a collectable, finding an expert, buying, selling, focusing, usage, storage, and preservation vs. restoration are discussed in eight, well-organized sections. Every part of the “plot” as it were contains a summary point, neatly summing up what you’ve just read into an easily digestible nugget, but make no mistake – whilst this book is weighty, it is not hard to comprehend. You will find every word from the authors, and through interviews with other historians, collectors, and experts, to be fascinating and useful even if you have no intention of building a collection.

The second part of the book chronologically presents the cars in the collection, from the 1949 Gmünd to the 2015 918 Spyder, and every car in between. Each car in the Ingram collection is explained – origins, development, production, and what makes it special. Again, the text is laced with interviews from marque experts, historians, as well as the people that drove them in period – and capped off with a “Collector’s Notes” from Robert. The text is supported with photos in period from the Porsche Archiv, as well as Michael Furman’s first class studio photography. The man knows how to take a photograph, and captures some uncommon details.

This book will be entertaining to Porsche fans, collectors, as well as car fans in general. It’s an engrossing read on the art of collecting, and one family’s methodology in that art, because after reading this, you will believe that collecting cars is an art form. This book is highly recommended!

Purchase Porsche Unexpected: Discoveries in Collecting.

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Nate
Nate
7 years ago

First part doesn’t sound interesting to me but I would probably enjoy the second half. Photos look fantastic. You should do a book on Duesenbergs. You shouldn’t let TJ’s comments bother you, his simple mind gets enjoyment from trolling this website and criticizing other peoples hard work.

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa
7 years ago

It’s funny to see an author defend himself from the critics directly. Now i’m waiting to read from TJ Martin again.

Michael Furman
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel Costa

As a photographer, author and publisher I have learned that our efforts do not land on everyone. Its possible their expectations were different than what we created. With that said, it is still valuable to hear thoughtful criticism.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
7 years ago

Vanity project through a bad publisher – and as a sometimes published photographer myself, I can attest you take what you can get sometimes – or not; who cares? That one photograph of the Aetna Blau Continental has to be worth the price of entry alone. Its gorgeous! I’ve been around 356, restored, owned, driven, and photographed many, and for someone to be able to produce something new and fresh is a GOOD THING. Many of the other photographs presented here too appear similar… That alone makes it a worthy effort. Neko.

Michael Furman
7 years ago
Reply to  Kuroneko

Kuroneko,

I am not sure if you are being critical or not, but let me tell you about the approach we took on Porsche Unexpected. Our goal was to present the 356 and 911 chronology through the Ingram collection. I doing so, we took every opportunity to directly compare the variations. This would allow the reader to see how Porsche’s road cars developed over the years – the similarity of the 356 and the 911, and how the racing effort directly influenced future road cars.

Kuroneko
Kuroneko
7 years ago
Reply to  Michael Furman

Critical? Certainly not! Merely opining on the useless hyperbole of ‘vanity’ and ‘bad publisher’. No way suggesting this project was either! Far from it, as I hope the rest of my comment shows… A significant effort, something fresh, and something not worthy of anything like the feeble criticism leveled. Neko.

michael furman
7 years ago
Reply to  Kuroneko

Thank you Kuroneko…sorry that I misread your post. We always try to do something worthwhile, aiming for the most knowledgeable audience. If we can reach them, then we’ve accomplished our goal.

Paul Geudon
7 years ago

A very special collection, being shared through Michael Furman’s images. What’s not to like? I ordered my copy already (before seeing this review) and can’t wait to receive it. I have a few nice Porsches that I’m always trying to expand whenever possible – and books like this help me to take a peak in to other people’s collection. It’s the voyeur in me that ordered the book – will the content in terms of ‘helping collectors’ be worthwhile? Don’t know. But I’m happy the book exists and I can’t wait to add it to my book collection!

Miguel
Miguel
7 years ago

Thank you Petrolicious for bringing up this book! I for one never, just never, get tired of looking at pictures of vintage Porsches, and any individual who is willing to show his collection with the world (via driving them, in car shows, or in this case a book), gets a thumbs up in my book. Kudos to the owners for putting this together, instead of having the cars locked up in private storage and out of the purview of the public eye (I think which would be truly selfish).

Experience has taught me that any person that has a strong opinion about trivial matters (in this case, just a book) has larger, pre-existing issues with an underlying topic of the subject matter, or with life in general. Martin, they own nice cars and I sense you don’t–deal with it and accept it, or start working to change that for yourself. Having and spreading negative feelings gets no one nowhere.

Guido
Guido
7 years ago

Personally I enjoy TJ’s comments. I certainly don’t agree with a lot of his comments, but I do defend his right to a differing opinion. He makes me look at a subject from a different point of view and I find that stimulating.
In this case I disagree with him in that some of us do like to live vicariously through others. I’d like to have this book just for the photos. I also collect books about guitars even though I don’t play at all. In the end, to each their own.

Guy

Wayne Mattson
Wayne Mattson
7 years ago

Surprise surprise, TJ Martin graces us with his far superior evaluation! Mr. Martin, if you find this site so far beneath you, why don’t you spare all of us the aggravation and move on to another site that is more to your liking.

Kazi Rekab
Kazi Rekab
7 years ago

edit…

I think this book would make a great addition to the coffee table.

Kazi Rekab
Kazi Rekab
7 years ago

Yeah, I have to agree. Mr Martin, you sir are a butthole!! :p

Brian
Brian
7 years ago

TJ Martin, you must live a very pathetic life to be this miserable. Hope things get better for you.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

Ugh ! Yet another ‘ Vanity ‘ book promoting some MMtB individual or another’s personal collection as if it were the end all to end all in the vain attempt to bring significance to the inane while using a 2nd rate ‘ historian’s ‘ words in order to validate the existence of the book as well as to promote sales that otherwise would be non- existent . Done by a publisher who’s reputation is errr … somewhat less than … how shall we say this .. reputable when it comes to accurate versus revisionist history . Fact is … who in the ___ really cares what this or any other families ‘ methodology ‘ might entail ? I sure as ___ don’t .. and truth be known … neither should you … unless one lives ones life vicariously through the lives of others .

Collectors . The absolute bain of the classic car world . The only thing worse than MMtB collectors are in fact the waste of good paper books that a few wingnut wanna be authors lacking in talent and/or original ideas write about them in order to boost their own fragile and flagging egos as well as to pad their bank accounts .

And err … shame on you Petrolicious for promoting completely irrelevant and utter dreck such as this .. err .. 416 page ream of bound paper . Words cannot express my disappointment

Some Guy Who H8s S*lingers
Some Guy Who H8s S*lingers
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

TJ, please get off the interwebs. You are a waste of skin.

Kleppy
Kleppy
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Dear TJ,

These fine folks at petrolicious work hard to provide articles, photos and videos for those of us on the web to enjoy.

Please take your over-opinionated kill-joy attitude elsewhere on the web. There’s plenty of other places you can unhappily voice yourself.

If you will not, them please take to time to procure a “better version” of whatever it is you are putting down. So in this case I would love to hear a glowing book review of one of your favorite books.

Thank you and have a day.

Michael Furman
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Mr. Martin,

I am not sure why you chose to vent your spleen on this book, collectors in general and Petrolicious. You speak as if you are knowledgeable on cars and publishing, but you have not demonstrated that in your comments. In fact, I’d be curious to see if you have seen a copy of Porsche Unexpected, let a one read it.

I’d like to know if you have read any other Coachbuilt titles. Your dismissing this effort and making a blanket statement about our work is your opinion and you are entitled to it. The fact that your commentary is not shared by our audience around the world should give you some sense of the quality and effort that we put forth.

By the way, what do you do for a living? I would love to go on an appropriate website and trash your life’s work, and the work of your associates. But alas, I won’t stoop to your awful level.

p,s, – thank you to the others who have replied to your rant with similar distain.

Randy Leffingwell
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

Dear Mr. Martin, Thank you for taking the time to look over this review and to comment. I appreciate your remarks. As a a historian and writer who does sincerely try to rise above my station, I would like to speak with you by private e-mail to learn what about this book disappointed you and how I might do a more relevant and interesting book next time. If you have not seen a copy of this book yet, I can send you one and if you are willing, we can go – section by section or page by page – through what has let you down. While all of us authors cherish rave reviews, I believe it is the well-reasoned and thoughtful disappointed reviewers who have even more to offer me. Thanks again for your comments. You can reach me at randy@rleffingwell.com.
Sincerely,

Randy Leffingwell

B Bop
B Bop
7 years ago

Randy, please take heart that TJ Martins comments will in no way reduce or damage the sale of your fine book. In fact, probably the opposite. If you are not familiar with his previous posts, he is a rather tragic character that exhibits many of the signs of a typical sociopath and seems obsessed with raining on everyones parade. He is truly annoying and obnoxious to say the least, and regular readers don’t take his comments seriously. Best of luck with the book !

Al
Al
7 years ago
Reply to  TJ Martin

TJ Martin, Cheer up buddy!