The Luggage Collector – One Man’s Obsession with Porsche’s Early Travel Gear
“In 1982, my father purchased a new Weissach Edition Porsche 928, the 44th of 215 made. It came with a special 3-piece factory luggage set produced by ‘Seeger’ of Verl, Germany,” says Chris Stavros of San Diego, California. “When he sold the car two years later the new owner didn’t want the bags, so my father gave them to me. I wrapped everything in bed sheets and put it away. That was the start of my Porsche luggage collection,” he explains.
As Chris soon discovered, Europeans have a long fascination with automotive luggage. As early as 1954, they loaded their Porsches with custom factory bags and drove to places like Lake Constance for the weekend. Most bought a large piece and a medium-sized piece. Very few bought two large pieces. And even fewer bought the duffle bag that went up front in the trunk. By comparison, Americans rarely bought any luggage with their new 356.
According to Chris, Seeger was the first company to make Porsche authorized luggage. This tradition started in 1954 with the 356 and continued through the early seventies with the new 911. A company called Volz then took over production until the start of 1979 when Seeger returned as Porsche’s luggage supplier.
With this knowledge in place, Chris added another set of Porsche luggage to his collection in 1984 – a full, new old stock set of five pieces made for the 911 series from 1980 to 1993 (please see #5, marked on the key photo below). He was able to purchase this from Alan Johnson’s local Porsche dealership, which was going out of business.
Not long after that Chris purchased his third set. This time it was a vintage red tartan plaid trio (please see #20, marked on the key photo below). He got this assortment of beautiful-condition small, medium, and large pieces at the Pomona Swap Meet from Tom Woodford. Porsche had delivered it new with a 1963 356B T6 coupe.
Next came a 4-piece Porsche luggage outfit, part of which he found at the Ski Roundtop event in Pennsylvania. It’s what Chris calls a “Series 1” early 356A assemblage made of tan Asian Buffalo skin (Please see #14, marked on the key photo below). Chris exclaims, “I paid Prescott Kelly more than I wanted to at the time, but I’m happy to have it now! The other pieces for that set I bought in Europe. It’s probably the most money I’ve ever spent on luggage, but it’s irreplaceable to me.”
From that point on, it became an all out search for Porsche luggage.
What followed was a gorgeous 3-piece grouping of “Series 2” 356 luggage in tan pigskin leather (please see #15 in the key photo below.) These came directly from the original owner of a 1959 Super sunroof coupe.
A somewhat later group came in black (please see #21 in the key photo below.) “The cool thing about this set,” Chris reports, “is that it’s for a 356C, which would have been late ’63-65. This style, with the exception of a few latch details, was carried over into the early 911 series. So you can display it in your 901 and feel that you’re being fairly accurate.”
The rarest item Chris has acquired is a “Series 1” bag that goes behind the back seat of a 1954 to 1957 356 coupe (please see #12 in the key photo below.) It’s also one of the oldest pieces he’s discovered. There are three metal hangers fitted inside with two leather straps to hold down the garments. He’s been looking for another, but has yet to find one – and he’s been collecting now for more than 30 years.
Another item Chris would love to own is a trunk produced by Mudde Koffers in Den Haag, Netherlands. It was made specifically to fit the 356 luggage rack, but was never advertised by Porsche as a factory item. The blue one shown here was made available from a close friend specifically for our photo shoot.
Chris purchased the remainder of his collection from swap meets, Porsche Club classifieds, Internet forums, eBay, and by word of mouth. The assortment of important pieces grew in size over the decades but remained hidden in closets until Chris added a second floor to his garage that began to function as a small museum. His luggage collection now spans five decades from 1954 to 2004 and includes nearly 60 pieces that come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
“On occasion I’ll receive an email or phone call from someone who has heard about my ‘luggage museum’ and wants to see it,” Chris says. “They come from all over the world, and their visits are not only memorable but have developed into lasting friendships.”
Recently, Chris has begun searching for mid-seventies G series 911 pieces (Volz brand) to complete his collection – and to use for touring in his Mexico Blue 1975 MFI Carrera. He’s also on the hunt for vintage brochures printed by Porsche featuring luggage for various years and models. And then there’s his collection of rare Porsche memorabilia and period correct factory items that were carried in the luggage for a picnic, including clothing, plates, glasses, salt/pepper shakers, placemats, and napkins.
“I’m not sure what will happen when my desire to collect Porsche luggage comes to an end,” Chris states. “I may reach out to the Porsche factory to see if they would enjoy having this collection to put on display for all to see. It’s definitely been an obsession. I sometimes think maybe I should have collected butterfly wings, as I wouldn’t have needed so much space. But then again, it wouldn’t have been as much fun, and it wouldn’t have been part of my passion for Porsche!”
Story and photos © 2016 Randy Wells All Rights Reserved.
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