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Patrick Long and Luftgekühlt: where car passion meets art

For the second year, Pirelli has partnered with Luftgekühlt, the event dedicated to air-cooled Porsche's, to highlight Pirelli Collezione as well as the Italian tire company’s long tradition of artistic expression

Home road Patrick Long and Luftgekühlt: where car passion meets art
Patrick Long and Luftgekühlt: where car passion meets art

Patrick Long, racing driver and co-founder of Luftgekühlt, talks about the show and his passion for cars.

“I was motivated by the Ferry Porsche quote,” he began. “I looked around and could not quite find the car I dreamed of, so I decided to build it myself.”

Rewind a few years and Patrick discovered the need for a particular kind of Porsche show following the purchase of his own 1986 Porsche 911. “I started looking for events to attend and hang-out with fellow vintage enthusiasts to share my enthusiasm. But I found it challenging to become engaged with the existing events. I also struggled to get my wife or friends to accompany me as most shows were too auto-centric, often taking place in remote parking lots at 6am,” he recalled.

“At the same time, many of my peers were fascinated by the beauty and purity of classic Porsches and always had a lot of questions about the scene. After attending car events all my life, I figured why not combine these three points – enthusiasm, style and purity – to create a unique show that celebrated the early cars.

In partnership with Howie Idelson, they took Ferry Porsche’s advice and embarked on a new adventure, creating an automotive phenomenon that is helping to redefine what a car show can be.

What started as a small event in a Los Angeles parking lot blossomed into an international gathering that attracts visitors and attendees from around the globe. The first show was a small collection of air-cooled Porsches drawn from local enthusiasts, while Luftgekühlt 4 drew more than 600 display vehicles, with thousands more in the sprawling parking lots outside the exhibition area. 

Each show is carefully curated, with the display cars selected by Pat and Howie. “The initial goal was to be able to walk somebody around the parking lot and tell the diverse story of air-cooled Porsches,” he recalled. “It was intended to be like a reference source, with rare, abused, preserved, racing, street, stock, modified, hot rods and concours cars representing the 356, 914, 912 and 911 – I wanted the show to be diverse and eclectic while telling a story and educating people,” Patrick explained.

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“Among the 45 cars at Luft 1, we almost had one of everything. And a variety of quirky, eccentric owners stood around with a beer in hand telling stories about their cars. It was beautiful in its simplicity, although there are a few more ingredients that go into each show, but we can’t give away the family recipe!” he laughed. “In the end, the success of Luftgekühlt is about the people who support us.”

From the very beginning, Patrick and Howie selected event partners as carefully as the cars. “We look for likeminded partners who meet at the intersection of everything we aspire to be,” Pat explained. 

“One of those partners is Pirelli. The company has always been about art and design woven with engineering and performance. We collaborated last year to celebrate the Pirelli Collezione, which has revived the originality, fit and aesthetic of the tires these cars were designed to use. However, Pirelli has added a plot twist by incorporating advanced construction and tread compounds to bring safety and performance up to date.

“If it was purely about tires, the partnership wouldn’t work as well. But sprinkle in Pirelli’s intersection of racing, art and classic authenticity, and it’s a win for everybody. Most importantly, it adds value to the event by allowing visitors to learn about the Pirelli Collezione and what it can do for their cars, as well as enjoying classic Italian creativity in the period artwork that is exhibited at the show.”

“In short, Pirelli Collezione shares many of the attributes we strive to nurture in Luftgekühlt,” Patrick concluded. “Both brands are about heritage, story-telling, emotion, performance, engagement and education.”

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