Here’s How You Pay A Fitting Tribute To Porsche Icon Max Hoffman
Photography by Dominick Chiuchiolo for Driven to America
Fall has hit the northeastern United States, and despite the recent heat the season for car shows is coming to a close. Though reddening maple and oak leaves signal the coming nastiness of winter and snow and worse yet, salt, the transition period is the sweet spot of the year for automotive activity, as the crisp air makes for happier motors and the bright burst of autumn compels more than a few for-the-sake-of-it drives. There are also some great shows to attend that are far more enjoyable than sweating it out in a heat-hazed parking lot meet up. At the beginning of this month for instance, the first Driven to America event took place at the renowned former Porsche and European car importer Max Hoffman’s estate in New York, and in just its inaugural year the organizer—David Jacobson, president and CEO of Collector Car Showcase—managed to assemble a stellar roster of the marque’s road and race cars. With the history of Hoffman underpinning the celebrations, it was bound to draw a nice collection of metal, but the turnout in reality exceeded these expectations. There were a few new 911s still on their lease plans in the spectator parking lot, but seeing as the event space itself was an air-cooled-only affair, the vintage side, as usual, was the reason to be here.
Hundreds of Porsches attended Driven to America, with more than a few in their ranks having been purchased brand new from Max Hoffman’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed showroom on Park Avenue in the 1960s. Now many decades later, the story of Hoffman bringing the brand to America is still being told, and at Driven to America more than a thousand people tagged along with the corral of cars in support, including some notable figures in the contemporary Porsche community like Magnus Walker, as well as special guest Joe Buzzetta, the former Porsche works driver who won the 1967 Nurburgring 1000km along with his co-driver Udo Schütz. There was of course a Porsche 910 in attendance for Mr. Buzzetta to reacquaint himself with, along with a 908/2 bearing his and Richard Attwood’s name on its diminutive door.
Another notable guest was 79-year-old Karin Hancock. She wasn’t a factory driver or a racing success story, but when you’re enthusiastic enough to hop in your 356 that you purchased over half a century ago to drive it to the event honoring the man you bought it from, that deserves some credit for loyalty alone, especially when you’re coming up on your 80th birthday. Indeed, there were quite a few other cars in the crowd that original came from the Hoffman showroom as Karin’s did (the red 356 cabriolet below), as well as a few remarkable Porsches from the later generations. The 911 contingent was very well-represented for instance, with a quintet of ’73 RSes on the lawn in view of a first-generation GT2. There were plenty of four-cam 356s if you preferred earlier factory hot rods though.
In all, the turnout was better than anyone guessed despite the strong historical link to the brand, and air-cooled Porsches made the trek from all over the area, representing nine states. Next year’s event will likely top this one, as starting out a new show on this strong of a note is bound to draw attention from Porsche fans with an interest in preserving the brand’s history. I look forward to the 2018 edition, and after you take a look through this year’s, I think you’ll see why.