“We’re like brothers who know each other through Instagram and our love for Porsche.” So speaks ‘The Professor’ – a slim-built but larger-than-life character who’s just spent the past few hours swapping stories with pals from a sun-kissed layby overlooking Los Angeles.
If it wasn’t for social media, the small gathering probably wouldn’t have met. One is an English teacher, another an 80s rock star – their ages and backgrounds as varied as one can imagine. But the web has spun a silent bond between these individuals, drawn together by hashtags – and a healthy obsession for Porsche.
A question has led to this group meeting on this small patch of land off the Angeles Crest Highway. How easy is it to land in a city nearly 6,000 miles from Stuttgart and find fellow enthusiasts? In the age of Instagram, it turns out it’s simple.
The variety of cars that has turned up is wonderful – and the stories just as fascinating. Some love tinkering with their Porsche, others delight in keeping theirs as stock as possible, but the interest in and appreciation of each man’s pride and joy is genuinely heart-warming.
The Professor (@theprofessorrun) and Kevin Hunter (@motorco.us) are discussing what type of seats would go well in Kevin’s 1968 912. The Professor’s stock 1981 911 SC gloriously showcases decades of patina, so he favours something more in keeping with the original, but Kevin is wondering about more modern, one-piece seats. The real joy of this conversation, and of L.A. car culture in general, is that there’s no right or wrong opinion. Honest thoughts are genuinely sought out. Eyebrows raise a touch. Heads nod. Minds carefully turn over suggestions and new ideas spark.
Len Higa (@sleepersspeedshop) arrives in a beautiful 1965 912 with an extra dose of attitude. Len is one of the geniuses at Sleepers Speed Shop, an L.A.-based company that specialises in performance-based, subtle tinkering. He’s machined his own wheel adaptors on the 912 so that he could fit his preferred 356/VW wheel on the car, but also so that it pushes out the wheels, adding to the slightly more aggressive stance.
As soon as Len arrives, the others gather round to pick his brains about his alteration. For these enthusiasts, detail is key. No tweak goes unnoticed, no matter how slight.
At the other end of the scale is Derek Whitacre (@the_derek_whitacre): a man who has made wholesale changes to his 1982 911 SC.
“Everything’s a hot rod in LA,” he says, patting his car’s 3.4 Turbo. His modifications have given him roughly 420 bhp at the wheels, with 993 Turbo front brakes and 996 Carrera rear brakes. He’s particularly proud of the amount of flame he can fire out of the exhaust. This is not a car that arrives anywhere unnoticed.
A screech of tyres signals the final arrival. Known to his followers as @joshyrobots, he has driven for four hours to see his pals, despite his 1969 911 T not even having an engine in it earlier in the day.
His story encapsulates the essence of the Porsche community like no other. A regular on the various Porsche rallies in this part of the world, Joshy and his car are both so full of character and stories that it soon becomes clear one sun-baked afternoon of anecdotes won’t scratch the surface. A guy on a motorbike even pulls in to say hi after recognising Joshy’s car from his social media feed.
As the sun starts to set on the Angeles Crest Highway, the group begins to say its goodbyes. Josh and The Professor are still chatting, discovering things in common about each other and firing each other up about the drive they’re both about to enjoy. After an exchange of handshakes and back slaps, they’re off up the road, two friends who would never have met without the help of a car company based 6,000 miles away.
718 Boxster GTS: Fuel consumption combined 9.0 – 8.2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 205 – 186 g/km