Is this the most ideal location for a car show?
This is a question I’ve been chewing on since this incredible event on Saturday. I’ve been to my fair share of car shows, over 130 shows last year alone. Many of these are in car parks, much like the same situation where Luft started, in the car park of Deus Ex Machina in Venice. Others end up in grassy parks or golf courses, but rarely do you find a location as considered as the content.
Luftgekuhlt prides itself on this very thing, providing amazing backdrops for their highly curated displays, like the Modernica’s designer furniture factory, Brouwerij West’s brewery in San Pedro, and last year’s location at the Ganhal Lumber yard in Torrance. This year, they managed to convince Universal Studios to open up access to its backlot filming area usually only seen by production staff or briefly via a bus as part of the studio tour.
If you’ve ever seen a Hollywood film, it is likely that you are familiar with this location. The lot itself is split into several different themed areas including, New York brownstone, the Courtyard, Mexican street, Western town, and perhaps most famously, the Back To The Future clock tower square. Howie Idelson and Patrick Long, along with Jeff Schwartz’s photographic eye, were able to gain access to most parts of the backlot, a feat I can’t imagine being easy to broker.
The trajectory of Luftgekuhlt is staggering. The initial purpose was to lift a car show from it’s typical car park locations, now it is an international effort that is leading the way on what the ideal car show could be. Luft is now in Germany and the UK too, but Los Angeles will alway be its spiritual home. This leaves that burning question, how is it possible to top this location for Luft 7?
Let’s talk about the special cars on display and how the cars were posed. For the moment, lets try to ignore the 300+ additional cars that participated and instead, let’s focus on the star cars. These were placed well in advance at specific locations making it easy to frame incredible shots. Singer took over the first corner you see when stepping off the shuttle bus. Take a couple more steps and a 1969 Gulf liveried 917 K catches your eye to the left. Glance right to see Rod Emory’s latest outlaw build, a freshly completed twin turbo’ed 356, a vision of what a RSR version of the car might look like.
On the same corner as the 917 K, a 935 that Paul Newman raced in Le Mans sits pretty (now owned by Adam Carolla). I’m already overwhelmed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of colossal content. Other cars included an all original unmolested 550 Spyder (valued at $55 million USD), Several more 917’s included a super rare 1973 Porsche 917/30, a red Can Am version and the Vasek Polak 1969 Porsche 917 P/A car.
Some of these key cars provided an anchoring point for a theme, take the 914 area. The most successful pairing of cars, and backgrounds were perhaps the Safari and other off-road Porsche in Mexican Town. Matt Farah’s (from the Smoking Tire fame) Safari’ed 911SC was appropriately covered in dust visually validating its abilities. Just across from that, two rally spec’ed 911s were placed on the wood displays first spotted at the lumberyard. This is the visual indicator of a special display car. A wild Targa with tank track rear wheels and ski’s for front wheels was perhaps the craziest car there, the orange aerodynamic faired tractor definitely the most unusual.
I’m not a people spotter, but there were plenty of notable folks wondering around including Seinfeld, Jason Statham, and automotive legends like Steve McQueen’s son, Bruce Canepa, and a long list of others with the except one of LA’s greatest Porsche representatives, Magnus Walker. Would I miss this show for the Mille Miglia? Sounds like the next question for me to chew on.