Coming Together For The Love Of The Air-Cooled 911
Photography by SSSZ Photo
“Porsche has been building the same car for more than 50 years.” Of course, this is nonsense. The badge on the back hasn’t changed much since the beginning (though much of the alphabet has been tacked on; namely S and R and the rare combination of the two), they’ve always been powered by flat-sixes located where most put their groceries, and the basic geometry of their bodies is easily identifiable, but just take a look at one of the early short-wheelbase examples and then a late-model GT2 RS and tell me what else they have in common. Not much in the material sense.
However, while the horsepower has multiplied many times over and the ceramic composite front brake rotors on the latter are larger than the first Fuchs alloys that appeared on the former, there is a less tangible element that links all 911s through the ages. One that is more or less undefinable without resorting to making statements resembling generic corporate copy that touts vague qualities like “dynamism.”
It’s not that Porsche 911s don’t fit that word’s dictionary definition, but it leaves a lot to be desired if that’s the route we choose in explaining what makes the Porsche experience a unique one. Instead, and like most pieces of salient pop culture, the only way to gain an understanding is to immerse yourself in it—if you know, you know, that kind of thing. In doing so you inevitably take the journey with somebody else, or it turns out to not be the right one for you after all. Be it a good or a new friend, your trusted mechanic, a family member, or even a chance encounter with a stranger at a stoplight, if you really fall in love with a marque there’s no escaping the community, for better or worse. Sometimes this can fall into the “worse” side of the cliché, but in the world of Porsche it seems that friends far outweigh the rare foes.
The Porsche Sportscar Together campaign that’s been a part of the manufacturer’s 70th anniversary celebrations is one of those rare instances where “verbing” a noun might actually make sense. There isn’t a solitary right way to enjoy a sportscar, so why not use the word itself to describe what you can do with one? No, this isn’t an ad, it’s just an acknowledgement. Indeed, if you were the last person on earth you could certainly have a good time tearing up a deserted city in a 911 sans traction control, but wouldn’t it be even better if your best friend was there too? Excellent engineering can be appreciated in the vacuum of a single bay garage with nobody around but yourself, but even the most hermetic among us still attend a few car shows right?
The cars you see in this gallery are good representations of what it means to enjoy 911s—specifically air-cooled versions in this case, the first and the last of them—what it means to move the cars into the background while the real joys come from the shared interests that build friendships. The black 1994 993 is owned by our longtime pal Karsten (he purchased it from his father), and the rare 1972 Gemini Blue “Ölklappe” (the German name for the models with the external oil fill flap) belongs to someone that Karsten’s called his friend for the past 30 years. Both are pretty much Porsche-obsessed—Karsten owns four, his friend three—so while we were ostensibly in this scrapyard for a photoshoot of mechanical beings, it turned into a much more human hangout. That’s the power of a Porsche.