Even though the sun light was threatened by intermittent clouds and an early morning rain, it did its best to contribute to the mystique of some of the rarest and most unique Porsches in existence.
What is Luftgekühlt? Picture every historically significant air-cooled car from the German manufacturer, even the ones you don’t know about, in and around a harbor warehouse in southern California. Luftgekühlt is, quite simply, a gathering of the Porsche faithful.
This past weekend was the fourth event in as many years and Porsche enthusiasts turned out in droves. And, we the devoted, have Patrick Long and Howie Idelson to thank. Their dedication to classic Porsches is obvious and contagious. So much so that Luftgekühlt, in a few short years, has attracted the attention of every Porsche fan on the planet. Even if they weren’t among the many that showed up Sunday morning, they watched their Instagram and Twitter feeds for the latest before, during and after the event. With Luftgekühlt we can be confident in knowing air-cooled Porsches aren’t going anywhere.
Anyone traveling to Southern California the day before like I did was not encouraged by the weather. High winds and rain would have anyone worried. But my Sunday morning, the winds subsided, with a light rain dusting the cars. And as the morning went on, the weather continued to improve with the sun peaking out occasionally to help dry the cars outside and support the reverie going on inside.
And the inside was spectacular. Truly mythical race cars from Porsche’s past were scattered throughout the warehouse, mixed in with a historically significant evolutionary line of 911 RS models. A flat-12 powered 1969 917K in Gulf blue dominated, credited as the first 917 to go a full race distance. Not to be outdone was the green Canepa Motorsports ‘Generation-III’ 959, the model any Porschephile might argue was the cornerstone to launch the brand as a technological leader.
Outside, bright green, blue, orange and red 911’s were dotted among some truly pristine silver and gray 356’s. An added treat was the neighboring air-cooled lot, so named for the exclusive use of Porsche owners to park their prize possessions for visitors to walk among and talk about.
To the Porsche faithful, Luftgekühlt simply represents all the cars powered by air-cooled engines. From a historical perspective, it covers everything from the pre-A series 356 to the 993, where production ended in 1998 and represents the last air-cooled car.
But Luftgekühlt represents far more than the cars. Long and Idelson look for it to be as much about the experience as it is the cars. The car culture, the Porsche culture, is very strong and the Luftgekühlt events feed on it, providing fans a venue to walk among some of the greatest Porsches to ever exist. For those that attended, Luftgekühlt 4 will not be soon forgotten.