Close Ad

Air-cool Porsche history: Pre-A 356 through the Model 993

Dean Powers March 14, 2023 Feature Stories

Luftgekühlt is a German term meaning air-cooled. Luftgekühlt celebrates all the air-cooled cars in Porsche’s history, from the Pre-A 356 through the 993 which ceased production in 1998.

The Luftgekühlt brand is the brainchild of Le Mans winner Patrick Long, and noted creative director Howie Idelson. Each year this happening presents historically significant or interesting cars (both street and race) on display at a unique Southern California venue. This year’s event took place at Ganahl Lumber in Torrance California. Previous locations have included Modernica, a modern furniture designer and manufacturer in Los Angeles and Brouwerij West, a brewery in San Pedro, California. While these may sound like odd locations for displaying cars, it really makes for an awesome environment!

… an interesting connection between lumber and Porsche’s early history.

Jerry Seinfeld’s 1949 Porsche 356/2 Gmund

Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

Notably, with Luftgekühlt 5 taking place at Ganahl Lumber, there is an interesting connection between lumber and Porsche’s early history. Due to increased allied bombing during 1943 the company decided to relocate from Zuffenhausen, Germany to Gmund, Austria. This is where – at an old sawmill – the initial series of aluminum bodied 356 models were constructed.

The layout of this show has cars displayed all around the massive Ganahl lumber yard. The indoor part of the lumber yard has catwalks where you can get some pretty unique views of the cars on display. There was also parking within the lumber yard for those who drove their air-cooled Porsches to the event.

One of the first cars you see upon entering the show is Jerry Seinfeld’s 1949 Porsche 356/2 Gmund, showing a beautiful patina and presented simply on top of a small stage made from planks of Ganahl lumber. This car appeared to be in original unrestored condition. The simplicity of this car and its originality made it a real crowd favorite.

This car really ignited the crowd when the engine was fired up.

Porsche 908 chassis 010

The sometimes maligned Porsche 914 debuted with a win in its class at the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans.

One of the highlights of the show was the Porsche 804 Formula 1 car chassis 03 which was driven to victory by Dan     Gurney at the Solitude-Rennen on July 15, 1962. This was Porsche’s home race held at the challenging Solitude circuit in the hills above Stuttgart. Dan was able to bring the car home in 1st place in front of a crowd estimated at 350,000. This car is powered by a 1.5 liter air-cooled flat 8 with gear-driven cams and produces 185HP.

Another star attraction at the show was a rare short-tail coupe, the Porsche 908 chassis 010. Power comes from a 3 liter engine featuring twin-spark ignition, dry-sump lubrication and Bosch mechanical fuel injection with slide valve throttle bodies. The engine produces 350BHP at 8450RPM. This Porsche 908 was first raced at the Spa circuit in Belgium in May of 1968 by the team of Vic Elford and Jochen Neerpasch. It was eliminated from the race when Neerpasch crashed the car at Malmedy corner on the 34th lap. The car was then returned to Zuffenhausen where it was dismantled and repaired. The car changed hands several times and underwent an extensive restoration. The car is now due to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s.

Viper Green 1972 Porsche 911ST Kremer r
1972 Can-Am Champion Porsche 917-10 Spyder

1978 Porsche 911 SC ‘Safari’

The car that must have garnered the most attention was the 1972 Can-Am Champion Porsche 917-10 Spyder looking absolutely fabulous in its L&M livery. This car really ignited the crowd when the engine was fired up. Everyone in the area had their phones out trying to capture the “music” coming from the exhaust of this beast.

There were many other notable cars including a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, the 1967 911R-R4 Prototype and the Schuppan Porsche 962CR, the 959SC of Bruce Canapa, the Le Mans winning 356 Gmund SL Coupe, the 1973 911 RSR 2.8 Penske Sunoco, and many more.

Being able to see these cars displayed in this environment made one feel as if they were on a professional photo shoot. I have never seen cars staged like this before, anywhere. It truly made for a remarkable visual experience. I can’t wait to see what location is in store for us at Luftgekühlt 6.

I have never seen cars staged like this before, anywhere.

1973 911 RSR 2.8 Penske Sunoco

Dan Gurney ‘s champion Porsche 804 Formula 1 car chassis 03
Le Mans winning 356 Gmund SL Coupe
The catwalks overhead provided unique bird’s eye views

Schuppan Porsche 962CR

1967 911R-R4 Prototype
Porsche 930/73 F6 Turbo



  • Mar 02

    The Wharf

    Orange Beach Invasion

  • Mar 14


    Easter Jeep Safari

  • Mar 17

    Daytona International Speedway

    Jeep Beach

  • Mar 26

    Las Vegas Motor speedway

    LS Fest West