Universal Appeal: Nine Favorite Porsches from Luftgekühlt 6
The most hyped automotive show of the year comes to Universal Studios backlot.
For some Porsche diehards, Luftgekühlt is the most anticipated show of the year. A sort of Coachella of the automotive world, the event attracts some of the greatest air-cooled Porsches and the fanatics that love them from around the world. Regardless whether you buy into the hype or not, it's undeniably one of the most aesthetic automotive events around, thanks to careful curation and planning from the show organizers.
This year's event was the sixth running and was held on the incredible Universal Studios backlot, an active film set comprised of fake brick-and-mortar building facades. Historically significant Porsches lined faux street corners, hid in alleyways, and sat in the dust of the adjoining "Mexico" film stage, a permanent set mocked up like a dusty desert town. We were there to see it all, and captured some of our favorites—next year be sure to come see for yourself.
1981 Porsche 936
Back in 1976, this low-slung barchetta (pictured at the top) had the unenviable task of following up the mighty Porsche 917, a car which many consider to be the greatest race car of all time. It used some of the 917's structural bits and it was plenty fast, powered by a 2.1-liter turbocharged flat-six pushing out 540 horsepower. Porsche did something right, as the 936 went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright three separate times. This is the 1981 example, the last open-top prototype to take the overall win and driven in-period by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell.
Race Service's Porsche 935X Concept
Venice, California-based Race Service has become a bit of a social-media darling over the past few years for its work on various high-visibility drift cars, and thanks to this phantasmagoric 935X concept, we're sure it will only get more popular. With graphical art from Ornamental Conifer, power from Bisimoto, and a trick suspension from KW, this is peak Luft.
A Cluster of 914s
It wasn't all 911s, 917s, and 356s. The Porsche 914 continues its climb from beleaguered also-ran into a quirky choice for Luft-heads who prefer to march to their own beat. All manner of 914s were in attendance, from the basic air-cooled flat-four model to the rarified race-bred 914-6 GT.
Nothing too outrageous here. This just illustrates how many Porsches were packed into every nook and cranny of the faux city block. If you didn't peek down every alleyway, you'd probably miss something, like this simple and very, very pretty silver 356 coupe.
Porsche 917K in Gulf Livery
This is it: The definitive Porsche competition car. Whatever Porsche show, event, race, or museum you visit, the Gulf 917K stands as one of the most striking and jaw-dropping race cars to ever turn a wheel in anger. It doesn't hurt that it also outright dominated the circuit in its day. Iconic car, iconic livery.
Porsche 993 GT2
As far as special 993s go, it doesn't really get better than the GT2. Developed and released as a homologation special, the GT2's twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter flat-six developed a then-incredible 450 horsepower, sent just to the rear wheels. This particular example was restored back to concours-level by the masterminds at Canepa, with engine work carried out as a collaboration between Canepa, Black Swan Racing, and Randy Aase. The result of all this work is an engine punched out to 3.8 liters and producing a spectacular 900 horsepower.
Gunther Werks 400R in Bare Carbon
As if the regular 400R weren't special enough, Gunther Werks brought one of its examples finished entirely in naked carbon fiber. The body alone allegedly takes 800 man hours to complete, and requires a 10-stage UV-resistant lacquer to give it a deep, liquid shine. Beyond the fabulous aesthetics and jaw-dropping carbon, it's probably a hoot to drive, thanks to 431 naturally aspirated horsepower from the 4.0-liter flat-six pushing around only 2,677 pounds. Sign us up.
Joshy Robot's 1969 Porsche 911 T
We're longtime fans of Josh Kobrin (a.k.a. @JoshyRobots) and his motley '69 911 T, so when we saw it parked on the streets of "Mexico," we had to put it on the list. Kobrin's Porsche passion spills over into his online shop, where he sells weird and offbeat Porsche-themed products that reflect the attitude of his mismatched 911.
Porsche 911 Targa from Gambler 500
Of all the cars at all the annual Lufts, this has to be the weirdest and most "out-there" Porsche we've seen. With a set of tracks in the back and a pair of skis up front, this dusty and beat-up Targa is apparently a regular participant in the rough-and-tumble Gambler 500. Contestants are encouraged (but not required) to spend more than $500, but we have a feeling this ran the owner a bit more than that.