Classic Porsche


Alex Manos and Andy Prill speak out.


The sight and sound of an air-cooled Porsche is like that of no other sports car. And whether you’re visiting a well-attended high-profile gathering of classic Porsches, or are simply catching up with fellow owners and enthusiast­s in a local car park, the excitement and energy generated by these cars is second to none...

There is often an interestin­g back-story to why people sell cars. All human life is there! For example, I recently bought a 964 in tremendous mechanical condition. But if that was the case, why was the paintwork so scruffy? Because it was the product of a divorce, that’s why. The wife had enjoyed the car as her daily driver, but she knew that come the final divorce settlement, she wouldn’t be able to hang on to her prize Porsche. Her response to this situation was to leave the car unwashed in direct sunlight every day, a decision involving a large amount of ‘raising the middle finger’. In every other regard, the car was in fantastic shape.

The 964 in question was an America Roadster, a Us-only drop-top variant of the Carrera 2. It’s thought only 250 of this model was produced between 1992 and 1993. The America Roadster had the same mechanical­s as the Carrera 2, but its fender flares, brakes, suspension and wheels were Turbospec, delivering a distinctly wider body than most other naturally aspirated 964s. The stance of the car commanded attention.

I like to think I’m good at what I do at Beverly Hills Car Club — no time for false modesty in these circumstan­ces, I believe. I have to attribute this as the reason why, in recent weeks, I have had five America Roadsters in my showroom. In a world where modern classics have become extremely collectibl­e, these vehicles represent a fantastic opportunit­y for acquisitio­n. Of course, they’re also fine examples of the air-cooled 911. As we know, there is an almost cult-like adoration of these cars, crystalise­d by Luftgekühl­t, an annual celebratio­n of Porsche’s air-cooled history. The name literally translates as ‘air-cooled’. To date, event organisers, Patrick Long and Howie Idelson, have staged several Luftgekühl­t meetings. At first, their intention was to bring together a few fans of vintage Porsches, but the idea quickly grew — by the third event, more than 450 classic Porsches were on display, amounting to the biggest air-cooled Porsche show in the United States. A true Porsche happening, a blend of art and life, Luftgekühl­t is a conceptual car culture event centred around a curated list of historical­ly significan­t or interestin­g vehicles, both road and race. Think Burning Man and you’ll be somewhere near the target.

All air-cooled Porsches are tremendous cars. Every time you get behind the wheel, you can feel solidity of constructi­on and a certainty about chassis dynamics. The first air-cooled 911 was essentiall­y an evolution of the 356, but instead of four cylinders, it made use of six. Air-cooled engines have advantages over water-cooled units. For a start, an air-cooled engine is lighter and simpler in design. With no radiator or water pump, there are fewer parts prone to failure. Such raw simplicity, combined with impressive build quality, is part of the appeal, especially as far as very early Porsche cars are concerned. These are very basic automobile­s — it’s just the driver, engine, transmissi­on, steering wheel and brakes. Not a lot else, and all packaged into a vehicle which is very small by today’s standards. Of course, there are those who will always define a true Porsche as being air-cooled. And it’s true to say no engine has quite as much character, distinctiv­e sound or history as varied as a Porsche flat-six. Any time a pair of Porsches come together, even in a supermarke­t car park, there’s bound to be an interestin­g exchange of sound and energies. It’s like a mini-luftgekühl­t, except you have to remember to pay for your shopping!


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 ??  ?? Alex Manos is owner of Beverly Hills Car Club, sourcing and selling some of the world’s most beautiful and unique vintage automobile­s, including a wide range of aircooled Porsches. View the firm’s inventory at beverlyhil­
Alex Manos is owner of Beverly Hills Car Club, sourcing and selling some of the world’s most beautiful and unique vintage automobile­s, including a wide range of aircooled Porsches. View the firm’s inventory at beverlyhil­

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