GALLERY: Air-Cooled Porsches Gather In Germany For Luftgekühlt In Munich
Photography by Rosario Liberti
Luftgekühlt is not just the hottest ticket in the Porsche scene; this celebration of the air-cooled P-car is something that every car show from here on out should take note of, such is the success of the format created by works racer Patrick Long and designer Howie Idelson. The vehicular element of every edition of “Luft” is spectacular, and there was no exception to that rule last weekend—for the first iteration of the show held in Munich, the manufacturer itself was providing cars and organizational support—but the Porsches are just a single piece of the puzzle, even if they are JLP 935s and mint 904s. The people set the tone of the day for any gathering of any marque, and, for photographers like myself especially so, the location can bolster or take away from even the most curated groups of sports cars. Here both the crowd and their surroundings were perfectly suited to the atmosphere that the organizers were aiming for.
The past six shows (five of them in LA, plus the inaugural overseas show held at Britain’s Bicester Heritage earlier this year) have cemented the event’s status as the most popular example of the modern car show done right: laid-back, but high-quality. Priceless cars, in an inclusive atmosphere that doesn’t resort top open fields or sprawling boring parking lots. Hand-picked centerpieces, plus local flavor from the cars of the area. For the Munich show, over 150 air-cooled cars assembled from across Europe and beyond (a few US cars had followed the event across the Atlantic it seems), and arrayed carefully in the Werksviertel Mitte among the casually-dressed crowd comprised of teenagers and octogenarians alike it was plain to see why this event just seems to “work.”
It’s proof that there is room—a literal common ground—for both purists and hot-rodders, and it reminds us that the Porsche story is an ongoing one; one that shifts as new generations take part; one that benefits equally and uniquely from big-money racing icons and garage-built restomods.
The venue for the first Luftgekühlt held in the cars’ home country was a wonderful mix of urban industrial scenery, and I just cannot stress enough how important venues are to the making of a memorable car show. You can put the best stuff in the world in one place, but if every photo of said collective is marred by unsightly elements like tarps, pop-up tents, folding chairs, garish sponsor logos, a sea of asphalt—you know what I’m talking about.
Here though, you have more opportunities for pretty pictures than your memory card can handle. The layout is thought out, not just arranged as the cars come in through the gate on the day-of haphazardly. No, at any event put on by the Luftgekühlt crew you can expect everything from the merchandise to the ticket stubs to look good, and while they haven’t yet found a way to choose the weather, the skies cooperated last Sunday to make it all that much better. Here’s to the next one, wherever it may be.