If you’re a Porschephile or just an admirer of the marque and happen to live or visiting the Greater Los Angeles area, the Petersen Automotive Museum has a very special exhibit for you. The Porsche Effect, which opened to the public on February 3, 2018, features the most comprehensive collection of historic and significant Porsche automobiles being displayed in the U.S. It consists of 50 of their iconic sports and race cars, ranging from early production models, prototypes and popular examples, along with record-breaking, race proven and winning examples.
This year will mark the 70th anniversary of the first 356 being produced by the Austrian company Porsche Konstruktionen GesmbH (1948 – 1949). The Petersen’s Porsche Effect exhibit will help mark this milestone and showcase the engineering, design, art and racing history of the storied Stuttgart brand from its inception to present day.
“We are looking forward to sharing the story of Porsche through rare and seldom-seen artifacts and display elements, in addition to some of the most iconic cars of all time,” said Klaus Zellmer, president, and CEO of Porsche Cars of North America.
The history and the success of Porsche in America can be attributed to three visionaries: Dr. Ferry Porsche, East Coast Porsche dealer, Max Hoffman, and West Coast dealer Johnny von Neumann.
Porsche was founded because Dr. Ferry felt a proper sports car wasn’t being offered to him or the public. He once stated, “I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself.” His sports cars would become highly sought after and coveted throughout the world for being fast, light and nimble.
European car importer, Max Hoffman, began to market and sell Porsches in New York, during the fall of 1950. By 1954, he was selling about 30 percent of Porsche’s production. The famed Porsche Crest came about on Hoffman’s suggestion to Dr. Ferry in 1952 while dining at a New York restaurant. On a napkin, Ferry drew the famous crest, with its curved stag horns and black prancing horse from Stuttgart’s coat of arms with the word PORSCHE across the top.
Southern California has a special and unique relationship with the German sports car manufacturer. The exhibit’s co-curator, Brittanie Kinch, feels that Porsche was saved by Hollywood and its famous clientele, which helped fuel Porsche’s popularity. During the 1950s and ’60s, many of these celebrities bought their Porsches from Competition Motors in North Hollywood and its owner, legendary sports car racer, Johnny Von Neumann. His shop was Porsche’s West Coast foothold and was instrumental in establishing them here. California would eventually become Porsche’s single largest market.
Porsche Cars of North America and the Petersen Automotive Museum have been working on putting together all the cars for this exhibit for over a year. It took this long to track down the most important cars and to ask their respective owners to have them on exhibit at the Petersen for the next year.
Among some of the unique and rare cars on display will be Ferdinand Porsche’s first sports car — the 1938 Berlin-Rome Type 64; Petersen Vice Chairman Bruce Meyer’s legendary Porsche 935 K3 Le Mans winner; Steve McQueen’s 1958 Porsche 356A 1600 Super Speedster; 1987 Formula 1 McLaren MP4/3/1 TAG-Porsche; a Gulf-liveried 917K Daytona winner; 1955 Continental Cabriolet; 1994 Model X83 Turbo S Flachbau 964; 1949 356-2 Gmünd Coupe; 1964 Porsche 901; 1955 550/1500 RS Spyder; 1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6; 1964 356 ‘Emory Special’ and several 356 and 911 examples.
The Porsche Effect exhibit will run through January 27, 2019. This special collection of Porsches will be on display in the Petersen museum’s lobby, the Mullin Grand salon and in a separate area of the Petersen “Vault” located in the building’s basement. For more information on this event or about the Petersen Automotive Museum, visit Petersen.org.
This report and images are dedicated to the memory of Luis Armando Lopez, a Porsche enthusiast and all around car enthusiast and gearhead. He left this world far short of his intended finish line. Godspeed, Luis.
Porsche Effect Exhibition at Petersen Museum – Photo Gallery (photo: Victor Varela)
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