THE PORSCHE EFFECT: After 70 Years, It’s Still Going Strong

by | Mar,2018

 

THE PORSCHE EFFECT

After 70 Years, It’s Still Going Strong

Written by Randy Wells

Photos by Randy Wells

 

Whether you live in L.A. or are contemplating a visit, there’s a special exhibit there that’s not to be missed. “The Porsche Effect” at the Petersen Automotive Museum along the city’s Miracle Mile will knock your socks off.

 

Back in 2016, Petersen Vice Chairman Bruce Meyer suggested a comprehensive Porsche show to Wolfgang Porsche, the son of Ferry Porsche. Meyer remembers it this way: “Wolfgang was touring the museum, and we went through the Bugatti exhibit, and I said, ‘This could all be Porsches. What a great way to celebrate your 70th anniversary.’”

 

 

The result was “The Porsche Effect”, a quintessential show designed to capture the innovative and iconic spirit of Porsche. To ensure every visitor feels the excitement of this undertaking, the Petersen invited the best road and race cars from private collections around the globe. They also built a special setting in their Mullin Family Grand Salon to optimize the effect.

 

Of course, there will always be an element of excitement when it comes to Porsche and its sport cars – whether it’s a 356 Speedster, a 911 Turbo, or the latest 918 hybrid. Fortunately, each of these iconic Porsches, and 47 more, is available to view now until January 27, 2019. Themes for the exhibit include “Elements of Style”, “Zuffenhausen and Beyond”, “Extended Families”, “Innovation through Competition”, and “Word/Image/Object”.

 

The show co-curator Brittanie Kinch explains elements of the exhibit to invited media. At right, Dave Engelman, PCNA Media Relations Manager – Motorsports and Brand Heritage, listens attentively.

 

Co-curator Brittanie Kinch of the Scenic Route design firm describes “The Porsche Effect” and the thematically displayed “Word/Image/Object” section this way: “There is a phenomenon where you can go up to people who have only a distant relationship with cars, and ask them to draw a sports car. They always come up with something that looks very much like a Porsche.”

 

Kinch believes that Porsche’s popularity in America was energized in nearby Hollywood, where Johnny von Neumann of Competition Motors sold Porsches to actors and racers including James Dean and Steve McQueen. More entertainers followed like Paul Newman, the Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, and David Crosby. This star quality helped transform Porsche into an automotive symbol in Southern California.

 

Actor/Porsche racer Patrick Dempsey compares notes with Porsche Museum director Achim Stejskal (with beard).

 

On February 1st, Petersen’s grand opening of “The Porsche Effect” celebrated this SoCal sensation. The garage that evening was bustling, and the cars being parked merely hinted at the importance of this event. Once inside, it was clear this was a worldwide gathering for Porsche. Luminaries arrived from the Porsche Museum, PCNA, and PMNA. Surrounding them were Le Mans winners, rally champions, collectors, designers, and long-time enthusiasts. The atmosphere was festive and relaxed, especially in the museum’s Penthouse Lounge, where many great stories and friendships were rekindled.

 

The panel captivated the audience. From left, moderator Tommy Kendall, Chad McQueen, Hurley Haywood, Patrick Dempsey, Jeff Zwart (with microphone), Spike Feresten, and PCNA CEO Klaus Zellmer.

 

The panel discussion was held on the second floor. There, famed racer Tommy Kendall introduced the panelists: Chad McQueen, Hurley Haywood, Patrick Dempsey, Jeff Zwart, and Spike Feresten. Klaus Zellmer, CEO of PCNA, was keynote speaker and a panelist. He announced, to much applause, that California accounts for one fourth of the Porsches sold in the USA – making it their fifth largest market in the world.

 

Perhaps the highlight of the discussion was a trip down memory lane where each panelist talked about their “first Porsche” experience. For McQueen it was his father’s Porsches. He recalled thinking “This isn’t Mom’s Cadillac,” when riding in Steve McQueen’s Black Speedster and Slate Gray 911S. Amazingly, Chad still has those cars. Five-time Daytona winner Haywood remembered a dark green 356 that his uncle had brought to the U.S. early on. Patrick Dempsey revealed he initially wanted to be a ski racer, then found acting to be his passion, and ultimately spent his first big paycheck on a Speedster that was used for the audio track in the movie “Top Gun”. He still owns it today.

 

 

Racer and filmmaker Jeff Zwart recalled his first driving lesson in his father’s Porsche 901 #35 in the mid-‘60s. It was selected because it had more torque than the family Beetle. He’s still searching for that car today. Seinfeld show writer Feresten was introduced to Porsches not through Jerry but David Letterman. After a brief fling with Italian sports cars, he bought a Porsche 1980 911 SC, like the one in Letterman’s collection.  For PCNA’s Klaus Zellmer it was a red 959 parked near Stuttgart that started his Porsche love affair.

 

Enlivened by these personal narratives, the L.A. gathering walked to a ribbon cutting ceremony and then descended a spiral staircase to the special exhibit in the Mullin Grand Salon on the main floor. The first car visible from the balcony was an inky black shape that represented Porsche’s beginnings. This 1939 “Berlin-Rome” Type 64 was Porsche’s first sports car, and it remains an exceptional and mesmerizingly elegant design. For reference, it is one of three built very early in Porsche’s history. The first Porsche built road car was 356 #1, registered in 1948.

 

 

A little further down the stairs, Zwart’s charming 1949 Porsche 356-2 Gmünd Coupe in light gray was visible. Just beyond there’s a dark gray 356 Continental Cabriolet built for the U.S. market. Around the corner is a rare 1987 928, the seldom-seen H50 Study. It’s a four-door, hatchback prototype on loan from the Porsche Museum.

 

Videos, giant illustrations and rare posters decorate the walls. Displays of significant memorabilia, factory archival drawings, and unusual products from Porsche Design fit between the cars.

 

 

That evening included a tour of “The Vault” in the Petersen basement. There, visitors have the opportunity to experience even more Porsches. Some are one-of-a-kind models that were brought to the museum specifically for this exhibit.

 

In all, there are more than 20 racing Porsches on display, including a 550 Spyder, Porsche’s 906 and 910, a Gulf 917K, the Sunoco 917-30 Can-Am Spyder, Bruce Meyer’s Le Mans winning 935 K3, a Jägermeister 962C, one of the 1985 Paris-Dakar 959s, a pair of Porsche 911 GT1s (one for the street and one for the track), a more recent RS Spyder, and a very recent Le Mans winner – the 919 LMP1 Hybrid. Porsche’s unsurpassed racing history is their ace-in-the-hole and one of the reasons for their enduring success.

 

 

Certainly there were whispers of the electric Mission-E Porsche and driverless cars. But, the main focus and reasons for the palpable excitement were iconic vehicles representing Porsche’s innovation over the past seven decades. “The most comprehensive gathering of historic Porsche cars ever assembled outside of Germany” is how the museum describes it. It’s a show guaranteed to instill “The Porsche Effect” in every fan who visits.

 

 

For tickets go here: https://petersen.org/portfolio-item/the-porsche-effect/

 

 

 

My special thanks to Brittanie Kinch and the entire Petersen team for their support.   –RW

 

 


 

Here’s a list of the 50 Porsches currently on exhibit at the Petersen Automotive Museum:

 

1939 Porsche Type 64 60K10

1949 Porsche 356-2 Gmünd Coupe / Zwart

 

 

1951 Sauter Porsche 356 Roadster

1955 Porsche 356 Continental Cabriolet

1956 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder

1956 Porsche 356 Speedster

1958 Porsche 356A Super Speedster / McQueen

1958 356 Speedster

1956 Porsche 550/1500 RS Spyder, Chassis 0073

1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

1964 Porsche 356 “Emory Special”

1964 Porsche 901

1965 Porsche 911

1965 Porsche 912

1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6, Chassis 134

1967 Porsche 911R

1967 Porsche 910

 

 

1968 911 S Softwindow Targa Sportomatic

1969 Porsche 911E “Brown Bomber” / Singer

1969 Porsche 917K, Chassis 015

1970 Porsche 914-6 GT

1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Lightweight

1973 Porsche 917-30 Can-Am Spyder

1974 Porsche 911 “Number 2”

1976 Porsche 911 Turbo Carrera

1976 Porsche 934 Turbo RSR

1979 Porsche 928 “Risky Business”

1979 Porsche 935 K3, Chassis 009 0015 / Meyer

1979 Porsche 911 Turbo

1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTS Club Sport

1983 Porsche 956, Chassis 105

1985 Porsche 959 “Paris-Dakar”, Chassis 010014

1985 Porsche 911 Junior

1986 Porsche “Jagermeister 962C

1987 Porsche 928 H50 Study

1987 McLaren TAG Porsche

1988 March-Porsche 88C Indy Car

1991 Porsche 944 S2 CS

1992 Porsche 968 Turbo RS

1994 911 (964) Turbo S “X83”

1996 Porsche 993 RS

1997 Porsche 911 GT1

1998 Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion

2000 Porsche Carrera GT Prototype

2003 Porsche Gravity Racer “Soapboard”

 

 

2008 Porsche RS Spyder, Chassis 802

2009 Porsche 997 RSR Art Car

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder LMP1

2015 Porsche 919 Hybrid, Chassis 1506

 

 

2016 Porsche 991 GTS Club Coupe

and Sally Carrera

 

Article and Photos Copyright 2018 Randy Wells. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Issue: March 2018

Editors Note: March 2018

I hope that by the time you see this March issue, a number of you who came to Los Angeles for the annual literature and swap meet – or Trash & Trinkets as a good friend calls it – you also will recognize the structure shown at the top of the page in this photo Randy Wells made on opening night. This is the Petersen Automotive Museum and it is home to The Porsche Effect. You’ll read about this exhibition inside this issue.

Hero 912

When Porsche’s all-new 911 came on the scene, it was not just a replacement for the 356. It was a whole new car. The 911 was larger, more comfortable, more powerful, and way more money. At $5,500 it was a whopping $1,500 jump over a 356SC. Many 356 owners were not ready to take that jump. How was Porsche going to keep its customers happy until they wrapped their minds around the price on a new 911?

THE PORSCHE EFFECT: After 70 Years, It’s Still Going Strong

Whether you live in L.A. or are contemplating a visit, there’s a special exhibit there that’s not to be missed. “The Porsche Effect” at the Petersen Automotive Museum along the city’s Miracle Mile will knock your socks off. Back in 2016, Petersen Vice Chairman Bruce Meyer suggested a comprehensive Porsche show to Wolfgang Porsche, the son of Ferry Porsche.

Auction Previews and Results : March 2018

Auctioneers around the Western Hemisphere continue to renew their faith in Porsche cars as a viable element for their auction catalogs. This list, comprising three auctions at Amelia Island, Florida, in early March, and three auctions in Paris, France, in early February, list 106 automobiles offered for sale at auction in the past 45 days, 73 at Amelia coming up, and 33 in Paris.