Ever since its conception in 1931, Porsche’s everchanging catalog has helped to shape, mold, and influence the world of four-wheeled design — embedding itself deep within the annals of automotive history. Boasting what is, perhaps, one of the most historically significant rosters out of any vehicle manufacturer the world over, Germany’s legendary Stuttgart-based outfit has spent the majority of its almost 90-year tenure flourishing into the gargantuan organization we know today.
While the company’s historical significance often overshadows its incredulous designs, any true automotive aficionado would scoff at the commoner’s rudimentary understanding of the Porsche catalog. To the proponents of the air-cooled aristocracy, each iconic chassis number bares its own significance. Whether it be a design impediment, the implementation of the brand’s revolutionary technologies, or a prestigious win at one of Europe’s most famed circuits — the Porsche name, as well as the platforms that have served under the manufacturer’s umbrella, all have their own part to play. So each year — to show respect for the company’s most valued variants — owners, drivers, devotees, and enthusiasts from every corner of the world head to Southern California hoping to catch a glimpse of the past, present, and future of Porsche.
As winter’s melancholy mornings begin to shy away, the sun-filled streets of Los Angeles jostle to life. The roar of air-cooled flat-fours and boxer-imbued, six-cylinder engines resonates through the city’s closely-cropped alleyways, offering a pleasing audible note that’s distinctly Stuttgart — marking the re-emergence of the world’s finest Porsches. With a vast community of shops, tuners, and purists, this city provides the perfect breeding ground for Germany’s historic sports car. And where these variants live and thrive, a perfect venue for their adoration also exists in the form of an annual meetup involving everything Porsche: Luftgekühlt.
Each year, the celebration of the brand’s most iconic air-cooled platforms takes place in aesthetically relevant areas of the city, providing viewers, builders, and enthusiasts with the perfect venue to relish in the company’s historic past. For nearly half a decade, Luftgekühlt has given the Porsche community a place to meet, interact, and admire one another’s metaphysical machines — and, in typical Luft fashion, the sixth iteration was quite the spectacle.
Tucked within the nostalgic movie sets of Hollywood’s Universal Studios Backlot, period-correct restorations of the legendary 911, 964, 993, and 356 were plentiful — and for every historic recreation, a modernized platform was readily available only steps away. Among Luftgekühlt’s finest were revered examples like the 1981 936 81, which holds historical relevance as Porsche’s 1981 24 Hours of Le Mans winner; the legendary 1979 935 factory car, which was the last to carry the 930 VIN number; and the 1969 Porsche 917K, one of the manufacturer’s original 25 homologation cars — all within arms reach. Scenic backdrops ranging from tightly-cropped avenues of an old-western town embellished with saloons, hitching posts, and cacti alongside an immaculate representation of Manhattan’s well-worn brick establishments towering above gave the impression of a not-so-distorted reality — one where history and modernity were primed to collide.
Lines of impeccably-kept Porsches perched beneath the Californian sun, leaks of dazzling light pouring through concrete alleyways, and perfectly-crafted feats of German engineering basking in the backlot’s historic set pieces — it goes without saying that the entire essence of founder Patrick Long’s Luftgekühlt 6 was, essentially, surreal. With many years and many new vehicles slated for exposure, there’s no doubt in our minds that next year’s air-cooled event will further blur the boundaries between the German manufacturer’s past, present, and future.
The Stories Behind 20 Iconic Car Model Names
What’s in a name? When it comes to some cars, the answer is: a whole lot. We dive deep to find the stories behind how some of the most iconic cars got their names.