Book Review: Porsche Unexpected
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!