Air-cooled Porsche meet Luftgekühlt has been expanding its horizons this year. Only months after a first European trip earlier, it's now gone 'home' to Germany
Munich's Werksviertel Mitte has a distinct vibe to itself. The former home to Pfanni, one of Germany’s largest food producers, this area now bustles with character. Since Pfanni's departure, its former headquarters were converted to open ground for creative thinking, taken over by a younger generation who reshaped the locality into a vibrant working district of art, culture, nightlife and leisure sports. There couldn’t be a better venue to host Germany’s first Luftgekühlt than this.
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For founders Patrick Long and Howie Edelsen, Luftgekühlt Munich hasn’t been an easy journey. It all started back in 2014 on Venice beach California as a small gathering of Porsche friends. But the concept struck a chord and the event has been growing bigger and better every year. The 2017 gathering at Modernica, Los Angeles featured more than 800 cars and, come 2018, Luftgekühlt finally stepped outside American soil. Moving eastward from the Southern California lumber yard which hosted Luftgekühlt 5, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and co-founder Howie Idelson headed across the Atlantic to Bicester Heritage in Britain on July 29. But, at last, Luftgekühlt has come 'home' to Germany.
Some found the decision to hold Luftgekühlt in Munich rather controversial, given Hamburg has the highest density of Porsche cars in the country. But observing the air-cooled gems against the backdrop of colourful buildings and graffiti painted walls, there was little to complain about.
More than 150 air-cooled Porsches from all over joined the celebrations, mostly from Europe and even some all the way from the United States. Amongst a sea of Porsches that came in almost every colour imaginable, there were some special examples that grabbed the attention of the young and elderly, scrambling in front of the exhibits to capture them for their future memories.
Onlookers couldn't help but linger at the sight of the Porsche Berlin-Rome replica, built as a homage to the iconic Type 60K10 from 1939. A labour of love, Porsche servicing expert Michael Barbach spent more than 9000 hours shaping the aluminium bodywork. Tony Vos’ Porsche 911 S/T restomod sat nearby, created from a 1972 'ölklappe' body shell and an upgraded 2.7-litre flat six.
Diagonally opposite both ideologically and physically within Werksviertel Mitte sat a Porsche 914/6. Even the 'entry-level' cars were a sight to behold with enviable provenance, this 914/6 scoring a podium finish at the 1970 Marathon de la Route, an 86-hour long race where three of them secured a famous 1-2-3 finish.
The engines are flat but the venue was stacked across multiple levels. As crowds on the ground started flocking around a typically gorgeous 911 reimagined by Singer Vehicle Design, the pièce de résistance was tucked away on the fifth floor, huge glass walls housing Luftgekühlt Munich's centrepiece. To the right, one was greeted by the legendary Porsche 935 GT2 car, flanked by Steve McQueen’s Porsche 908 which he raced at the 12 hours of Sebring. Looking the other way, a Porsche 993 GT2 Evo sat alongside an original example of the Porsche 911 S/T.
Most importantly though, it still felt like Luftgekühlt. Despite being hosted in the heart of a bustling German city, a relaxing Sunday atmosphere, the cars and the people, perfectly translated Luftgekühlt's trademark Californian vibe.
Photography by Bhuvan Chowdhary