Luftgekühlt 4 was a flying success, not that anyone had any doubts otherwise. This year was the fourth running of the event that is now become a global sensation in the Porsche community. To get to know more about what and how it all started, I got on the phone with Howie Idelson, who along with 2-time Le-Mans class winner Patrick Long laid the foundations of Luftgekühlt back in 2014.
Bhuvan Chowdhary: Tell us more about yourself.
Howie Idelson: I am a Californian Native from Santa Monica. My fascination around cars is almost as old as I am, but it got more focused since the time I decided to take up Industrial Design. It was here when I started to explore automobile design, graphics design, art, and culture. I further explored events, art direction, and experimental creatives.
BC: How did you and Patrick meet?
Patrick and I go long back. I met Patrick 30-years ago at a go-kart circuit at a time when Patrick didn’t even have a driver’s licence.
BC: How did the idea of luftgekühlt spark?
Patrick and I were working on a project for Oakley where I was the freelance designer. Patrick was the Porsche athlete with whom I was designing the new racing boots and driver suit. We used to meet up at Deus Ex Machina in Venice, California to discuss design. We discussed a lot of things, talked about cars and car culture, penning down our ideas on napkins, one conversation at a time.
Patrick and I were quite disappointed by the fact that while we had such a big Porsche community around us, there was absolutely no scene where people could meet up and have a great time. The idea sparked and immediately we asked Deus if they would like to host a party for guys who enjoy air cooled Porsches.
BC: What was the first event like?
We didn’t have a lot of expectations from the first Luftgekühlt that took place at Deus. It was more a gathering of 40-or-so friends who came together to hang out. We were ok with that, but the real question was what’s next? Do we even think of a second event?
Luftgekühlt 1 in Pictures. ©Nevin Pontious.
After the event was over, Patrick and I started getting calls from more of our friends spread across the country that they loved the idea, giving us the first sense of what we had achieved. It was then, we knew that we needed to do this again and started looking for the venue for the next event. That’s when we met Bandito Brothers. Luftgekühlt 2 was event bigger, leading us to Luftgekühlt 3 at Modernica. And here we are now, 800+ cars shimmering in the golden morning light of Luftgekühlt 4.
BC: What Porsche do you own? Or owned
HI: I haven’t owned a Porsche till date, but I have my eyes set on a few beauties that I would like to pick up one day.
BC: How’s the Porsche scene in LA?
HI: It’s absolutely fantastic! People here love cars and car culture. LA is Porsche’s biggest market and also car culture central in United States. This makes it absolutely ideal breeding grounds for an event like Luftgekühlt to thrive in LA.
BC: Why Porsche?
It’s simple. People love to drive their Porsche. There is no other make of car that has the kind of dedicated enthusiasts like Porsche. Be it higher end brands or equals, the Porsche community is the most active one who has interesting people from all walks of life. According to me, if it’s real on-ground car culture, it has to be Porsche.
BC: How was Luftgekühlt 4?
After Luftgekühlt 3 last year at Modernica, we realised that the event was heading towards something too big and a bit out of hand. So when it came to Luftgekühlt 4, we decided to go back to our roots; which is curating the best air cooled Porsches that are out there. It would be fewer but selected cars that Porsche owners would love to see and be with first hand.
BC: What were you expecting and how did it turn out?
It was raining the night before and we were a bit nervous. Patrick and I had camped at the venue the night before, looking up every now and then to see if the rain would stop. The next morning the sun came out and so did the cars, one after the other, till we lost count. I think it went well!
Photo Gallery: Luftgehühlt 4 from above
BC: What’s the plan ahead?
We plan to get deeper into curation of special air cooled Porsches for the event. Tie up with more people out there and continue exploring more. For us, the quality of the event comes first, so any way ahead would be keeping that in mind.
We will now get to work to identify the location for Luftgekühlt 5 for next year, for which we plan to build a story around art, mid-century furniture and of course, curated air cooled Porsches.
BC: Have you thought of taking the event overseas? Europe, Japan?
We have. In fact, there are quite a few people who have been requesting us to bring Luftgekühlt to Europe and also to other parts of America, specially towards the East Coast. We have a plan to start with smaller events, like the one that started Luftgekühlt in the first place. There are plans for more events in 2017 and 2018. Yes, there will be more to come in 2017.
BC: Tell us about some of the people who came to Luftgekühlt 4