I’ll be honest, prior to last weekend I hadn’t been to a brand-specific car show since the pre-pandemic ages.
It’s not that I have anything against them, actually quite the opposite of that. I find these events to be rather interesting as they’re a great source of encouragement, inspiration and approach for myself as well as many other enthusiasts looking to modify or restore their cars. And If you’re reading this post, it’s likely that you’ve seen or heard of something obscure, interesting or artsy from the Luftgekühlt name in previous years. All of this is totally fair mind you, because that’s literally the point of the Luft show and why I love it so much.
From a photographer’s perspective, Luftgekühlt is basically a recipe for Porsche heaven as you’ll see throughout the course of this story. I also have no doubt that the owners’ feelings are mutual too. After all, this is the type of place where the best of the best come out to soak in a little bit of fame.
Speaking of which, let’s jump right into some of the curated epicness on display at Luft 8.
Rolling into the Port of Los Angeles Warehouse No.9 and 10 venue was a treat in itself, but walking into the indoor section at the Brouwerij West brewery was where all of the really special cars were staged. Each and everyone of them was carefully placed in a precise location to further emphasize the quality and attention to detail. All of that paired with a beautiful wooden backdrop and warm lighting really set the scene.
With several variants of the RS models scattered around, it became quite clear of the theme they were trying to showcase this year. The theme also happened to follow me outside.
While making way to the picnic area, I was captivated by a pair of condiment-colored 993 RSs parked back-to-back way above the ground in the loading dock area. They were impossible to miss while indulging in craft beer and esoteric food trucks. This had to have been planned, right? Ketchup… mustard… picnic area? Maybe I’m misjudging, but if that wasn’t intentional, I’d have to say it was the best coincidence of any car show I’ve been to.
I curiously continued making my way around to the more general area and crossed paths with a few safari-inspired 911s, one of which looked to have been used appropriately not too long ago.
And across from that, a first look at a naked-carbon-specced Singer DLS in the wild. I’ve seen a few pictures of this thing online, but I don’t think I’ll ever skip over any Singer that I get to inspect in person. These cars are genuinely the benchmark of the automotive restoration and modifying scene as a whole, so it only makes sense to get as much close-up time as possible when one presents itself.
The vibrance continued throughout the rest of the venue as well. There was a nice little selection of stanced ’90s 911s, various colorful long-hoods along with what looked to be matching palm trees in the distance, and even a couple of ‘unboxed’ legends that became the focal points for the two outside areas of the show. Oh, and I can’t forget this interesting 930-based Rinspeed 969, which looked like it had just come out of an episode of Miami Vice.
But even the pixelated taillights and wide wheels of the ’80s couldn’t compare to my favorite car at Luft 8.
The ‘Luft Rat’ was hands down the coolest project I’ve seen in a long time. Air-cooled 911s on bags aren’t anything new, but what makes this unique is that it’s not using a 964 or 993 as the base. They actually used a short-wheel-base 912, meaning this thing is very early, likely a 1967 or 1968 car. And being that old means that it does not use the traditional suspension setup that most cars do. In fact, all production 911s pre-964 used torsion suspension, similar to what you find in a classic VW Beetle. This resulted in the builders having to custom fabricate everything to make the 912 lay frame, and all while preserving its original patina too. What a unique approach when compared to what we normally see from the modified air-cooled 911 world.
It’s safe to say that this year was another success for the Luftgekühlt team. With vivid showcases of cars from all corners of the spectrum, Luft 8 had a little bit of something for everyone no matter what your preferred flavor of air-cooled Porsche might be.