Luftgekühlt: The R Type of Cars and Shows – The Lohdown

Opinion


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As we sat in his office, working through the blurbs for this month’s cover, creative director Alan Muir took stock of my enthusiasm and noted with raised eyebrow and clipped Highland brogue, “I know why you’re so excited about this cover. Takes you back, doesn’t it?”

Indeed it does. Before I joined the Motor Trend team in 2007, I was editor-in-chief of Sport Compact Car. In its heyday, SCC was the magazine of record for the serious business of high-performance compact cars. It is with great pleasure that we can bring some of that back in Christian Seabaugh’s fantastic cover story on “R Type” of freakishly fun four-cylinder compacts. During peak SCC, when the scene was ablaze with Neon SRT-4s, Mitsubishi Evo MRs, and all the aftermarket go-fast bits that went with them, I doubt anyone could have imagined that only about a decade later, 150+ hp/liter and “drift mode” would be available right out of the showroom and with a factory warranty. Times sure have changed.

Or have they? Early in the cycle for the August issue, I did something I haven’t done since those SCC days: I showed a personal car at a car show. And not just any show, but the fifth installment of the celebration of air-cooled Porsches that is Luftgekühlt. Doing so required significant help from my friends, as the quality of vehicles on display at all previous Lufts has been beyond just kühl; stepping out with a subpar 1987 911 Turbo wouldn’t do. So after expert training on a Meguiar’s MT300 Dual Action polisher, a fresh set of Pirelli P Zeros (sized by Magnus Walker and installed at the flagship P Zero World near Beverly Hills), and a period-correct Thule 300 rack (for holding my Walden longboard, naturally), I thought I was ready for Luftgekühlt 5.

I was not. Show organizers Howie Idelson, Patrick Long, and Jeff Zwart take special pride not only in assembling the most astonishing collection of classic Porsches but also in displaying them in the most perfect—and increasingly nontraditional—venues. This year, that location happened to be in our backyard, at the enormous and strikingly appropriate Ganahl Lumber yard in Torrance, California. But don’t take my word for it; here are some from several Motor Trend staffers who spent their Sunday at the sold-out event:

Everything from the placement of the cars to where the light was hitting them—perfect. It was rad to see all the kids at the event with cameras shooting all the cars! Everyone was there solely for one reason: their passion for air-cooled Porsches!—Carol Ngo, social media editor

The image of the Vic Elford’s 908K, parked on a wood pallet all by its lonesome, just as the sun clipped the top of the lumber gantries, gave new meaning to “golden hour.”—Mark Rechtin, executive editor

The catwalks in the main building and the ability to see cars through gaps in the lumber was something that really made the show for me visually.—Jade Nelson, photographer

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