The brainchild of Patrick Long and Howie Idelson debuts in the motherland of Porsche
In 2014, two-time Le Mans winner Patrick Long and one of California's most renowned Creative Director's Howie Idelson came together in a parking lot in Venice, California, to celebrate air-cooled Porsches like never before. As niche as this may have sounded at the time, Luftgekühlt (which translates into air-cooled) has turned into an international gathering of people dedicated to loving these iconic Porsche models. The Luftgekühlt brand made its first appearance in Germany this late September, the car manufacturer’s motherland, treating a Munich-crowd to over 120 rare Porsches.
Legendary Porsche engineers, race drivers, designers, and families came together in a cult-like manner at the Werksviertel Mitte in Munich to experience a unique day of Porsche heritage and discover the heritage of their air-cooled boxer engine layout. Taking place at the old premise of traditional food manufacturer “Pfanni” which strikes a similar chord to the industrial landscape of Venice, California, where the franchise Luftgekühlt was born, spectators gained access into a world of Porsche models such as the 356, 993, and the very early Gmünd 356, and even a Berlin-Rome replica.
Long and Idelson first met over 30-years-ago at a go-karting circuit when Long didn’t even have a driving license. They were working on a project together for Oakley, where Long was the Porsche athlete and Idelson was designing new racing boots and a driver suit on a freelance basis. They use to meet up at Deus Ex Machina in Venice, California to discuss the Oakley collaboration. Over time they grew frustrated by the area’s nonexistent scene despite there being an active Porsche community in Southern California, so Luftgekühlt was born. They have also worked on several other projects together, but this particular collaboration has built them an international reputation.
The first edition of Luftgekühlt brought 100 cars together in a parking lot next to the Deus Ex Machina storefront in Venice, California, creating what some referred to as a ‘Porsche Love-In at Deus’. Luftgekühlt approached Deus because that’s where Long and Idelson’s idea was originally sparked. Together they collaborated on merchandise and artwork, plus helping to develop Luftgekühlt's brand identity with Deus Co-Founder and Creative Director Carby Tuckwell.
Long and Idelson have grown the vision and franchise of their brand at a lightning speed, over 120 cars were showcased in Munich, many brought in from France, Switzerland, Belgium, America, and the UK, with only particular models being selected for the event.
It took hosts Patrick Long, who also works for Porsche as a professional race driver, and his partner in crime Howie Idelson, who has worked for the likes Audi, Red Bull, and NIKE, just over 4 years to take their franchise outside of America. The first event in Europe was held back in July at the Bicester Heritage site in the UK, with Munich following hot off the press after success in the UK.
Luftgekühlt goes beyond the realm of petrolheads in car parks, the franchise has built a reputation for creating a safe space for everyone to enjoy the heritage and history of Porsche.
"We wanted it (Luftgekühlt) to be a casual car meet that you could take your family along to", said Co-founder Patrick Long about the event. He was drawn in Porsche's lust to be different, that's what made the brand stand out in America and built them a cult following over decades. Long and Idelson along with Jeff Zwart, race driver, photographer, and filmmaker worked on the curation of their Munich event together to echo their feelings of Porsche's to the enthusiastic crowd with perfection. Some of the air-cooled models on display made the journey across the Atlantic Ocean by ship for the event specifically; including acclaimed Swedish-born and New York-based industrial designer Carl Gustav Magnusson's 912 model. His appearance at Luftgekühlt is an indication of how much the event has progressed over the years and become a prominent part of the Porsche circuit.
Other highlights of the event include a 908/02 Spyder Flunder that Steve McQueen and Peter Revson drove to 2nd overall at the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring. This race was one to remember as many believe the car would have won the race if not for McQueen breaking his foot two weeks earlier from a motorcycle accident. The very same car later became even more famous as it was selected as the camera car for the 1971 film 'Le Mans', where it was fitted with three cameras and covered 282 laps finishing 9th in total at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The atmosphere was laidback and unpretentious–something most people haven't experienced at car showcase in Germany before. Porsche fanatics of all ages and demographics basked in California-like weather in Munich, the graffiti murals and shipping containers added to the industrial aesthetic of the brand. The upper floors of the nearby rooftop bar 'München Hoch 5' were used to display some of the event's most sought-after models, including a 911 ST 2.3 Repsol by Eladio Doncel and a 935 from JLP Racing.
Ferdinand Porsche was a revolutionary in many ways, he altered the definition of a sports car and designed culturally iconic cars that still hypnotize car fanatics and pedestrians on the street alike. Luftgekühlt was a classy and yet welcoming homage to his legacy that has enraptured people globally for seventy years.
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