Car Cultured: The Beauty Of Luftgekühlt

Chapter One: A Different Type Of Car Show

When I first started shooting car shows, the people who attended would pay $25 to have a photo taken with their arms around a scantily clad import model. I would also have to wear ear protection because of how loud some of the stereos were.

What I just explained could have very well been a past SEMA Show, or any other import car show that toured around the Southern California area for that matter. While I didn’t dislike the scene, I never really understood it.

In the time since, it seems like the taste of the car community at large has changed drastically.

Now your average Cars & Coffee Sunday morning meet-ups have turned into family-friendly events.

Has car culture matured? Events like Luftgekühlt have definitely help. This was even more evident as I brought my family along to check out all the cool Porsches.

No burnout competitions, no stereo show-offs – just the occasional mega-dollar ride rolling in at a snail’s place.

And the best part? All of the cars drove in under their own power, and most of them were not trailered to the event location itself. Even some of the race cars were driven all the way from their Los Angeles homes.

To non car people these cars all look the same – so what’s the big deal?

Well truth be told, I’d seen many of these rides before.

But because this was only the third ever Luftgekühlt event, there were still new and old builds that showed up which were totally new to me.

Then again, it’s not all about the cars anymore. It’s a social event. There’s good music, good food, and most of all good people.

Chapter Two: Capturing The Moment

So what’s the secret to photographing these events? My advice: go very early or go late.

Sure, you won’t be able to see everything, but that’s not the point. In this case I went very late, which was awesome because I had the chance to shoot many of the cars on the street as they were rolling out.

Plus, you don’t have to battle the crowds to get the good shots.

The event itself was held at Modernica near downtown Los Angeles.

If you are a big modern furniture buff like I am, then you’ll recognize Modernica as the company that purchased the original equipment to make fiberglass shell ‘Eames Style’ chairs after Herman Miller discontinued them.

Since 1989, Modernica has been producing its own modern furniture with a Californian design twist. The guys even made a few special edition chairs for Luftgekühlt.

While it’s definitely not the first car show/meet to utilise such an amazing space, founders Patrick Long and Southern California creative director Howie Idelson did an awesome job curating the cars showcased in and around the facility.

On top of that, there were plenty of spaces for regular attendee cars. You could park your patina-covered air-cooled Porsche next to Jerry Seinfeld’s like-new 959 if you really wanted to.

I’m really sold on these type of events. It makes me wonder what’s next for Southern California’s car show scene.

I’ll leave you guys with one awesome machine. My good buddy Joey Seely built this 1985 911 Carrera rally car which was auctioned off at the event for charity.

It sold for $275,000, which is great because the proceeds went towards pancreatic cancer research.

If there’s one thing an event like Luftgekühlt isn’t good for, it’s the air-cooled Porsche bubble. It seems like it’s forever expanding and it won’t be popping anytime soon. Or will it?

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto

Bonus Chapter: Cutting Room Floor