Now that the dust has settled on Luftgekühlt 6, it’s time to head behind the scenes of one of the most well-curated and people-focused car shows of our generation.
One can only imagine how much preparation work the Luft team put in, in the months leading up to their sixth event, but now, with just 24 hours to go, the last pieces of the puzzle were finally being put in place.
With the concept and pre-production work mostly filed away, the day before the show was all about set-up.Rain or Shine
When I checked the weather forecast the week prior to the show, things were looking promising. However, we all know how that goes.
Arriving at Universal Studios on Friday morning, it was dreary to say the least. And with more of the same in the forecast, I could only imagine the level of stress that the Luft team was going through.
But regardless of the bleak weather, the set-up crew were kept hard at work as the stars of the show began arriving.Roll Call
While many the of cars would be driven into the amazing Universal Studios backlot venue on the morning of the show, Luftgekühlt 6’s main feature cars and race cars were trailered in, some arriving from across country in full-size haulers.
Despite the weather continuing to be a hassle, it provided for a number of picturesque moments.
One of my favourite cars at the event was this 1986 Porsche 962. Built by Bayside Disposal owner and entrepreneur Bruce Leven, the Porsche fought its way through numerous races with many hotshots like a young Scott Pruet behind the wheel.
Some of its most notable accolades were a fourth place overall finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona, followed by a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
What felt like thousands of cars showing up only happened to be a few dozen as the Luft team calmly directed each car to its rightful spot.Set Dressing
As the rain subsided and the sun began to show its warm rays, the event curation team led by Jeff Zwart was in full swing, double-checking each placement and re-marking car positions that the rain had earlier washed away.
Luftgekühlt is able to retain much of its magic due to the immense thought that the organizers put into it. For example, Jeff spent all day cycling around and positioning cars for the best possible photo angles, and matching cars that suited different areas of the Universal Studios sets.
Other members of the team were touching up the last bits of paint and installing light poles. You know, usual car show things…Scouting Outing
One thing that weeks after the event still astounds me, is the absolute sheer size and scale of the location.
Each set, which included some of those used in blockbusters like Back to the Future and Pirates of the Caribbean, provided a unique backdrop and vibe.
As the morning rolled on, fellow Luftgekühlt photographer Camden Thrasher and I decided to take a quick tour of the sights, smells, and sounds that would engulf us at the show.
If you aren’t familiar with Camden’s work, you must be living in a dark void that is in desperate need of some light, and I strongly suggest you take a look.
Once we’d exhausted our efforts on the ground, Camden and I looked for roof access that would allow us to get a different perspective of the show set-up.
We were in luck; many of the doors to the buildings were unlocked, which provided access to stairs that took us to the upper levels of the buildings.
After climbing what felt like an Eiffel Tower height, it was time for a quick bite before checking out the car storage and the logistical heart of Luftgekühlt 6.Sound Check
Due to the event being held in what is normally used as a movie set was the ability to utilize a soundstage as a sort of Luft HQ. This is where many of the cars were stored overnight out of the elements.
The rest of the Luft team was busy signing cars in and organizing parking, ticket sales and merchandise for what had shaped to be a massive event.
Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and as I climbed up the four-story staircase that leads to the top of the soundstage, I hoped I’d at least be able to sneak a few shots of the cars from above before any Universal Studios folks got too health and safety on me.
Needless to say, I didn’t get in any trouble. Was it worth the burning legs and aching glutes though? I’ll let you be the judge of that.The Show Must Go On
Set-up day winded down as some of the feature cars were placed in their respective spots. And then the rain started back up again.
However, the unfavorable weather couldn’t deter the Luft crew as they buttoned up the show’s final details.
With the pre-event work done, it was time to call it a day. After 12 months of planning, Luftgekühlt 6 was now only a few hours away.