If you have a penchant for passively cooled porkers, you will be well aware of the California-born Luftgekühlt events. Brainchild of Patrick Long and Howie Idelson, Luftgekühlt is a cross between cars & coffee and an art exhibition, where the exhibits are all air-cooled Porsche specimens ranging from Pre-A 365s to 993s from the ‘90s. For the past five years the event has been rooted in California, with its beautiful locations and more than clement weather. However, this time around Patrick and Howie decided to export the Luft vibe across the pond to the heart of England. We sent our resident British Gent along to report back.
I have never experienced weather like it. This summer has been the hottest in 400 years in the U.K., and the weeks leading up to the much anticipated Luft-GB have been officially classified as a heat wave for us pale Brits. However, for the morning of the inaugural British Luftgekühlt, the heavens opened in classic British style. Undeterred, I venture on to Bicester Heritage, the location for Luft-GB. Once a Royal Air Force air base serving WW2 bombers, the airfield, and surrounding buildings are now a classic car haven located around one hour’s drive North of London. Historically, the occupants of the base would shudder in distain for anything starting with “Luft”, but for this dreary Sunday, they were excited.
Pulling in to the parking lot I am met with a sea of modern Stuttgart metal, from humble 996s to pristine GT3 RSs, and these are just the paying public and are banned from the event due to their water-cooled nature. The entrance to the main event area feeds you between hangars and out-houses until the path opens up to the first exhibits on display. To my left is a very Orange 934 race car, complete in Jägermeister livery which is attracting much attention. The rain made for relatively low numbers at the Luft GB, but the cars on display still looked fantastic. Throughout the event, there were strategically placed exhibit cars—such as the Jäger 934—but owners of anything without a coolant bottle were allowed to park in and around the base.
The first gathering of Porsche that I stumble across are a group of ‘60’s era 911s in a circle. Some were almost concours levels of upkeep, but nestled in-between them was well and truly weathered 911. The oxidation around the Porsche badge a testament to England’s record of rainy climate, and very fitting for the day.
With so much metal on display, it’s difficult to stay in one spot (and remain dry). However, the stars of the show for me were both the immaculate Singer DLS car, and the poster boy for the event, the 1964 904 GTS—the latter representing historic Porsche and the success of such vehicles, and the former a nod to the past, but with modern levels of performance.
Inside the old hangers were choice selections of Porsche from ‘60s to ‘90s, and offered a much need break from the weather, giving me an opportunity to shake myself dry and ogle at more vintage vehicles. One of the standout cars here is a 550RS with a huge wing—the wing that changed racing for good thanks to its down force gains, but was banned for having an unfair advantage over the rest of the field.
Was the event a success? The weather damped numbers, and saw many people leaving the event well before the allocated 1 pm finish; but overall I think it went down well. Never before have I seen so much vintage, rare, and expensive Porsche history in one place.
My only advice to the organizers would be: next time, please bring the weather with you.