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70 Candles for Porsche at the Canadian International AutoShow

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Above: A Porsche 356 Carrera.

Article by Michel Lamoureux
Photos by Chantal Charbonneau

When Jason Campbell was headhunted four years ago for the General Manager position to give new impetus to the Canadian International AutoShow, the man had a plan. It included jazzing up the annual Toronto carfest with exciting features like automotive firsts and historic anniversaries, all aimed at further internationalizing Canada’s largest such event. 

For example, last year’s edition of the AutoShow offered a momentous 50th anniversary retrospective of Canada’s Formula One Grand Prix, chock full of rarely seen race cars and a gallery of the F1 stars representing all five decades — the only celebration of such scope to be held across the country during 2017.

Above: Porsche 912.

Again this year, in that very same room now equipped with its historically charged aura, visitors could marvel at Ferry Porsche’s seventy-year legacy where the past met poignantly with the future. As the first 70th anniversary display of its kind in Canada — another coup de théâtre by Jason, thanks to a cool partnership with Porsche — several powerful specimens of the marque were elegantly showcased for the thousands of admiring tifosi and the uninitiated alike passing through.

Above: Porsche 911 Turbo (930).

To be seen among the collection: the 356, the first Porsche and one of the most sought after classics on the market; the 912, the entry level model that buoyed sales during the mid to late ’60s; the 911 Turbo (930), one of the fastest production cars in the mid-’70s with a 155 miles per hour top speed; the Carrera GT, a blend of modern technology and old-school manual drive controls; and the 918 Spyder, a technological marvel pointing Porsche the way forward.

Above: Porsche Carrera GT.

On the media opening day of February 14, love, as befits Valentine’s Day, was in the air. A number of company notables graced the inaugural celebrations with their presence and apropos comments. Among them, Porsche Cars Canada’s incoming President and CEO freshly arrived from France, Marc Ouayoun, expressed delight about the serendipitous quality of the moment. As a vintage car aficionado, he felt right at home in this exhibition room capturing the company’s distinctive DNA through time.

Above: Porsche 918 Spyder with Weissach package.

Achim Stejskal, Director of Germany’s Porsche Museum, came all the way from Stuttgart for the occasion and spoke (in impeccable English) of Porsche’s deeper values, those of passion, art, and excellence, which continue to underlie the spirit of the organization. He proudly explained the mission he has given himself at the helm of one of Europe’s finest automotive museums, home to an impressive collection, and how the distinctive Porsche tradition nurtures forward-looking innovations.

Above: Incoming Canadian President and CEO Marc Ouayoun (left) next to Porsche Museum Director Achim Stejskal, behind the 912.

All who visited the Canadian International AutoShow and this year’s inspiring Porsche exhibit were able to savor first-hand a seven-decade soupçon of the illustrious marque. In the micro-museum environment thus offered, the educational experience included a subtle yet thoughtful tribute to the narrative’s grand master himself, Ferry Porsche, who passed away twenty years ago in March of 1998. 

One can only imagine that the enduring spirit of this genial rebel who couldn’t find the car he was dreaming of and decided to build it himself, was smiling over Toronto’s massive Convention Center where, for twelve consecutive days, his memory was honored with countless expressions of affection and admiration. There was even a feeling in what people called “the Porsche Room” that the seventy-year-young story — still a family-owned company to this day — will be around for many more generations to come.

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