Air-cooled: the ninth time is the charm

Air-cooled: the ninth time is the charm
No no no

We’ve been covering Luftgekült on Speedhunters for a long time now, and the show has been on my radar since before I was a contributor here.

The first time I got a digital taste of the show was in 2016. The fourth show was more artistic and inspiring than ever, but alas, I wasn’t there. I can’t remember what held me back from Luft 5, but for some reason I couldn’t make it to that one either.

At least I have a decent excuse not to attend the ongoing shows in the UK and Germany, but again I’m coming back empty-handed as to why I missed the epic display at Universal Studios which was Luft 6. I don’t know what happened to shows 7 or 8 but each time some catastrophic life event or non-negotiable pre-commitment kept me from going .


I promise that every time a Luftgekühlt show went on, I had the best intentions, and yet I was zero for eight. Not a great track record.


But, last weekend, the stars aligned. I finally got my long-awaited Porsche overdose.


I was far from the only one, however – the organizers sold nearly 15,000 tickets for Luft 9, but luckily I was able to gain access to the show before general admission for some of these photos. If you weren’t one of the lucky thousands who made it to Mare Island across from San Francisco then hopefully this helps you get by until you can get by yourself.


Don’t wait for nine shows to pass in the meantime; you are going to regret it.

secret sauce


So what is Luft? Even if you’re not very familiar with the show, I’m sure you already understand the basic concept: air-cooled Porsches and a nice location. It’s a simple recipe, right?


In theory, of course, but I can assure you that in practice, it is anything but. Simply take the photos you see of each event. They always look better than those at other shows, and it’s not just because of the cars or the location – or the photographer, for that matter.


After all, a photographer can only capture what is in front of him. When we’re lucky, we can choose and position the subject, but that’s just not possible at a car show. That’s partly why, in many ways, I don’t enjoy filming so-called static events as much as possible. I find myself wondering why the wheels on this car aren’t straight, or this car would look so much better five feet further to the right, or swapped with this other car, or any number of things.


At Luftgekühlt you don’t have this problem, and that’s no coincidence. I met Jeff Zwart – Luft’s creative director and, of course, a well-known car photographer, videographer and director – at the show, and he explained in simple terms that Luft is a car show for Instagram. He continued, sharing how excited he was to set up the framing of the main show cars in their surroundings, knowing that’s how he’d want to film them himself.


As he arranges the cars in their spaces, Jeff constantly thinks about what would make the best photograph. Only, it’s not for him, it’s for the thousands of people who show up with a camera in their pocket. The show is specifically set up so that people create beautiful images, regardless of their gear or experience.


That’s why Luftgekühlt always looks good, and it’s not so easy to achieve. In fact, without the right people in place, it would be impossible to replicate.



Porsche fanatics are like no other, and we need more shows like Luft. Mature and thoughtful shows. Shows that look fun. Shows to watch. The fact that this single brand is able to encompass so much variety is truly remarkable. And all without showing any of Sunday’s additional and entirely new shows, Air | Water, which Naveed will soon share on Speedhunters.


On that note, there’s really no Luftgekühlt “competitor” that comes to mind. Sure, there are other shows that tick the boxes in the above paragraph, but I’d much rather go back to Luft than stroll through another golf course filled with million-dollar relics. Or visit another convention center packed with as many products per square foot as possible.


Not to hit other events, but Luftgekühlt was fresh. Yet even in the idyllic setting, like any other show, the engaging challenge of pushing myself as a photographer was presented. It’s always cool to see what other people bring back from the same set. Looking at some of the amazing pictures my friends have shared, I feel like I missed the mark.


There’s so much work you can do, and I feel like I should have done more. But the thing is, I was really hanging out with my friends all day. It was the first time that I came to the show, and I liked it, I took part in it. Finding that balance is key, and it’s a balance that Luftgekült has struck perfectly.


However, the show left me hungry for everything that’s next for Luft and everything that’s next for me. It’s not often that I find myself on the other end of a long day of filming wanting to use my camera a bit more.


It’s a good feeling to have, and I can’t wait for Luftgekühlt’s 10th rendition. I better see you there.

Trevor Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan




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