9 months ago

Slipstream - April 2018

The monthly newsletter of the Maverick Region of the Porsche Club of America

The Porsche Effect: A

The Porsche Effect: A Taste of the Petersen Museum By Michael McGrath images courtesy of Author Founded on June 11, 1994, by magazine publisher Robert E. Petersen and his wife Margie, the $40 million Petersen Automotive Museum, on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles, CA, is owned and operated by the Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation. diagrams of the model evolution through the years. Photographs also adorn the walls illustrating the history of the Porsche family, the leaders of the organization over time, and the evolution of the factories and special projects. In 2015, the museum underwent an extensive $125 million renovation. The building’s façade was redesigned by the architectural firm Kohn Peterson Fox, and features a stainless steel ribbon assembly made of 100 tons of 14-gauge type 304 steel in 308 sections, 25 supports, and 140,000 custom stainlesssteel screws. In February 2018 the museum launched a new exhibit known as “The Porsche Effect.” The exhibit runs through January of 2019. This is one of the largest collections of Porsche automobiles and artifacts in one location outside of Stuttgart, Germany. It is designed to tell the story of Porsche through the years and the company’s influence on culture, as well as illustrate the passion that exists for the cars and the brand. As soon as you enter the museum you are surrounded by amazing Porsche history. I stopped in my tracks to gaze at the 904 Carrera GTS and the 910 racing car. This is followed by no less than two GT1s. Then as you wander past the ticket stand you find a deep blue 918 Hybrid, a 1956 550 RS Spyder, and the one car that I stopped and stared at for a very long time admiring its beauty: a 1951 Sauter Porsche 356 Roadster. Once you have your entry ticket, you are free to enter the main exhibit of 28 vehicles in the Mullin Family Grand Salon. Upon entry you are greeted by a sleek 1939 Porsche Type 64 60K10 in gloss black. The aerodynamic styling of this vehicle must have made it appear as it was from out of the future in 1939! This two seat compact coupe was conceived for a planned race from Berlin to Rome in late 1939. This smooth aerodynamic styling influenced the next model to come -- the 356. From the Type 64 you are escorted through time and the history of Porsche, as you are treated to original scale models for product development, original drawings, schematics, and other historic documents. The walls of the museum are full of interesting information about the company history, as well as full scale As you snake past the artifacts and around the perforated dividers, you are greeted by a pristine example of the 1955 356 Cabriolet, briefly referred to as the “Continental.” The Continental was conceived by influential New York importer Max Hoffman, who believed that the American market would be more likely to embrace a vehicle with an evocative name, rather than a mere number designation. Porsche was forced to re-badge the Continental when Ford informed them that they had already trademarked that name. As a result, few Continentals were produced and the name briefly changed to “European,” then back to 356. 18 April

The center area of the exhibit is dedicated to The Porsche Club of America. Large graphic images of Panorama cover pages adorn the walls, and there is a large display of historic artifacts from the club. Many years’ worth of historic radiator badges are displayed. The Also displayed in this area is the very limited 2016 991 GTS Club Coupe. The very existence of this vehicle demonstrates the close relationship between Porsche and the Porsche Club of America (PCA). This car was produced in honor of PCA’s 60th anniversary. The next section was my personal favorite: a collection of Porsche racing cars. The first vehicle in the display is the 1955 550/1500 RS Spyder, Chassis 0073. The mid-engine Spyder was the first production Porsche specially developed for racing. The aluminum body and tubeframe chassis reduced weight, while the 110 horsepower fourcam flat-4 engine gave racewinning performance. Porsche also utilized wind tunnel testing to perfect the shape of the Spyder and improve the airflow. The 550 was an overall success on the track, including this example which finished second in points in its SCCA class for the 1956 season. Other race cars on display include the 1966 Carrera 6, 2008 RS Spyder, 1983 956, and a 1985 959 “Paris Dakar.” Two iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning models are also included: a Gulf-livery 917K, and the more recent 2015 919 Hybrid that was part of the team that kicked off the most recent “Hat Trick” of successive wins at Le Mans in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Power in the 919 comes from a 500-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine and a 400+ horsepower electric motor that derives power from a combination of reclaimed braking and exhaust energy. This chassis came in second in the 2015 Le Mans race and won the 6 hour events at COTA, the Nürburgring, and Fuji. Clockwise from oppostite page: 550 Spyder 1500, 2016 991 GTS Club Coupe, 917 in Gulf Livery, 1955 356 Continental. View the entire catalog: 120,000-member-strong club (over 144 regions) makes this club unique among fans of automobile marques in both size and complexity. The “Porsche Parade,” an annual national convention of PCA members, is often staged in smaller American cities where the dramatic influx of members and their vehicles creates the maximum “Porsche Effect.” The exhibit also includes several interesting prototypes, historic advertising, Porsche Design products, and company contributions to other pursuits such as cycling and snow sledding. The Petersen Automotive Museum exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to examine a purposefully selected array of Porsche vehicles whose designs both celebrate and challenge the firm’s engineering tradition. Together they provide a means to understand how so small a company has come to wield so large an influence, an influence that can only be described as “The Porsche Effect” 19

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