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PorscheFest 2010

Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Porsche is a world-famous brand and their customers are fiercely loyal to it. It is not because the cars are trouble-free. We would call them …finicky. What’s more, the parts are costly and can be hard to find, and the are repairs difficult to perform. So why the enduring popularity? Regardless of vintage, Porsche autos all have a similar look. Within any given model, there are no radical redesigns, abrupt u-turns, or strange departures year over year. This is obvious especially whenever there is a bunch of them in one place. Design cues from one model to another are clearly evident. Changes are subtle, evolutionary, and logical. This, above all else, may be the secret to Porsche’s enduring brand loyalty…they LOOK like they are part of the same family. If you own one, you are part of the “family.”

The Boston branch of the “Porsche family” gets together every year in September at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum for a lawn event called PorscheFest. We have been attending this fun gathering for the past few years. The crowd seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year. It may have been the crystal-clear day and the comfortable top-down temperature, but it seems like everyone in the area with a Porsche turned out for the event.

We had seen the Porsche Spyder at the NYIAS back in April. Still, it was a thrill to see it out in the wild. This trimmed down (176 lbs lighter than the S) and more powerful (320 hp @ 7200 rpm) Boxster is not for everybody. It is for someone who is willing to trade practicality for performance. Is this a car for New England? Maybe not everyday, but it was for a day like the day of the PorscheFest 🙂

Inspired by the 2011 Spyder, we decided to focus our attention this year on Porsches modified for performance, specifically racing. The two which caught our eye were the 928 and the Boxster. The Boxster we could understand, but the 928 was a surprise. We are the first to admit that we know NOTHING about modifying cars for racing, so we didn’t really have the specific appreciation of the changes in either of the cars. However, one would assume that the car should be as light, as fast, and as maneuverable as possible.

Judging from what we saw in the two Porsches modified for racing, we would say those assumptions were correct. The interior of both were gutted to accommodate exactly what was needed for their type of racing and nothing more. There was no monster sound system in the trunk, no luxury interior, no air conditioning. Instead, there was a beefed-up oil pump, a roll cage, and a fire-suppression system. Everything in the car had a purpose and that purpose was to help win the race, be it a hill-climbing rally or laps around the track.

Seeing these racing mods reminded us of the fusion-powered Delorean in the movie Back To The Future. While we probably won’t see a time-traveling Porsche with a flux-capacitor any time soon, what would be REALLY cool would be a Porsche converted to run on some kind of alternative energy source. Maybe a solar-powered Boxster running on Li-ion rechargeable batteries like those in the Tesla?

It is never too early to start cultivating the next generation of Porsche enthusiasts.   Larz Anderson Auto Museum hosts lawn events all the time. Check their site for the most up-to-date info on lectures, lawn events, and gatherings. The next event is in October. We would recommend getting there early. If the weather is going to be nice, we suggest you pack a picnic basket, bring a blanket, and make a day of it.

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