Seth Ruden

Recognition in the Value of Diversity

Rennwerks Reunion 2016, held in Carmel, California on August 19, featured the “water-cooled cars that started a revolution”. Wait, what? Porsche Club of America’s signature West Coast Summer event is focused on transaxles? 
Nah, there’s no way that PCA has finally and fully detached itself from the stereotype of the air-cooled-or-die, dotcom  CEOs who run dildo empires vibe… or has it? Some still suggest the transaxle cars “offer the opportunity to enjoy the Porsche experience at a lower price point”, as was suggested to me more than once at the event (um, hello 996). Could the greater forces in and around the P-car community at large finally have shifted the core demographic away from homogeneous purity of air-cooled ideology to embracing the wider and richer assortment of models with a more diverse heritage?

1989 Turbo, unrestored; multiple concours Winner:
Let’s first talk about the current cars pushed by Zuffenhausen. If you look at the present models the marque is pushing, you find the most diversified product line up in Porsche’s history, ever. Two distinct SUVs, rebooted entry-level models, turbochargers everywhere and 16 distinct flavors of the 911.  Presently, the most wide-ranging powertrain options ever: diesels, hybrids, 4,6,8 cylinders… all of course are water-cooled.  It’s hard to hate on any one car, with this many options on the table. None are beyond reproach; all have their place. You can now have a fleet of these cars in your garage, each serving a different purpose and all with a unique and capable dignity for their respective use case.

So, are all of the side-glances, judgments and disparagement now a thing of the past? Well, yes and no… The water-cooled models are mainstream for the alternative crowd now. You have to be a bit avant-garde to want a 928S, a bit of an eccentric to maintain a 931, something of a bohemian to run a 951. These qualities are now a part of the official Porsche DNA and it’s something celebrated and recognized, that these cars actually saved the company during dark days when the 911 wasn’t holding sales up (again). At the respective 40th anniversary of the 924, the car that kicked off the water cooled revolution, the Porsche Club of America did it right, borrowing from the factory’s lead, by embracing the transaxles this year. However, here in no particular order are some notable featured cars at Rennwerks 2016:

944 Turbo Cup: Holy shit, this is the car I came to see (750 miles one way), and there are two of them! This car made Porsche single model racing popular!

Canadian Spec (See #11 in the background? More on it later)

American Counterpart

1981 924 Carrera GT: seeing this car in person was like one of those moments when you are unexpectedly looking at a celebrity and you say to yourself, so obviously… “That’s Danny Fucking Devito”: 

924 Turbo GTS Club Sport: an evolution of the Carrera GT, now pumping 280hp in a limited series — this is a rainbow farting unicorn.

928 “RWB inspired” S4 wide-body cabrio sport lightweight and other adjective-producing machine. This is how you make $350,000 into 700 horsepower of Gulf liveried, 944-fendered, calculus-equational and Michael Jackson lyric’d “Celebration of Originality”. You can hate it if you’d like, but this was really a show-stopper, and only recently completed.

’84 928S in Chrome: This car is a tribute to the only 928 that was factory race prepared and actually ran the 24 hours of Daytona, finishing 4th in class! Driven by the legendary Vic Elford, requested by Bob Snodgrass of Brumos, this car was built to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the historic event. 

Sweet Jesus, the 924 GTS #4: Customer built racer with a driver pedigree of every big name out there. 

Then there was this… a 1986 944 Turbo GTR, a Trans-Am racer, one of the rarest Porsche race cars. Perhaps you’ve seen this FACTORY poster?  Feast your eyes: 
This car is for sale too… asking $1MM —
The transaxle models are now widely credited to have rescued the firm when 911 sales faltered and there is clearly a space for them in the echelon of the company. The factory is now celebrating the transaxle at the factory museum this year… and considering the wide market mix of present models offered, air-cooled purists are now on uneven footing; not accepting Porsche means many things to many enthusiasts. This includes those who believe the pedigree of Porsche is most legitimately earned through competition.

Unfortunately for this bunch, it’s now impossible to fail to recognize the value of diversity in the ownership base; we custodians of the once lesser-appreciated models are now an integral part of the brand's legacy. At this point, the integration of all characters in the heritage of the marque is core to the identity of the brand… so fuck off, halfhearted pocketbook purists. In this modern era, there isn’t room left for you to sell your wares; every model from 1948 to 2016 is every bit a Porsche as ever was a Porsche. 924 to Panamera.

You can have a Cayenne, a vintage air-cooled 911 and a 968 turbo tribute, and all have a very respectable place in the strata, as recognized by the Porsche Club of America (alright, so that’s my present fleet).  We don’t accept any slights from anyone on these models any longer… at this point, if you are an enthusiast, there is more value in your appreciation of the models than in your ability to buy the latest and greatest one. 

You are a custodian of the legacy of the brand and it’s about time we got our priorities straight. Thanks for the recognition, PCA!


Below are a few random shots...including my 968 
with the collection of 1500 miles of dead arthropods. 



Michel dupuis
09/11/2016 06:36

As a proud owner of a 951 This article on transaxle porker rings true with my experience at large here in the great white north enough with the (fresh air) pure porsches...i used to sniff 951 fumes at the Wheels of my old carrera 3.2.....and yes the speedometer was blood red !!!

11/01/2016 17:41

I too made the trek to Rennwerks and all I can say after reading your write-up is "dead freaking on". You nailed it.

Love the Turbo GTS Club description!

michel dupuis
11/02/2016 07:08

glad to hear this ,thanks Mark !!!

Noah W
04/12/2017 12:37

Another wicked article. Thank you for sharing unique photos of the race cars.


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