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Porsche's 70th anniversary — 'Sportscar Together Day'

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Article by PCA Staff
Photos by Vu Nguyen unless noted

Above: A 1948 356 and the forthcoming Taycan electric sedan concept represent 70 years of Porsche.

Porsche AG was faced with a tough decision around its 70th anniversary. It could have easily let the milestone go by with just token recognition (the three-quarters of a century mark is just five years down the road). Instead, it launched a largely social media-driven worldwide campaign entitled “Sportscar Together Day” and hosted drives and events June 8-10 in Germany for a significant portion of the membership of the 650 Porsche clubs around the world in 85 countries.

PCA was fortunate to have drawn the “North Route,” which included a tour of Porsche Leipzig, the location of the factory where every Cayenne, Macan, and Panamera is built. The footprint of the ultra-modern facility stands in stark contrast to Porsche in Zuffenhausen, which is squeezed into the urban core of the northernmost part of Stuttgart. Leipzig, four hours to the east, occupies ground in what was the heart of the old DDR (better known to most as East Germany), and it’s on the outskirts of town where there seems to be unlimited room for expansion.

Above: The city of Leipzig. Photos by Rob Sass.

Logistics are a breeze as well. There’s a railhead at the factory where cars are loaded directly onto train cars for shipment to ports, as opposed to Zuffenhausen, which sees a constant parade of less-efficient transport trucks leaving with brand-new Boxsters, Caymans, and 911s. In Leipzig, only the heavily graffitied Deutsche Bahn double-decker freight cars detracted from the impressive layout, architecture, and overall spotlessness of the facility.

Above: Porsche Leipzig had on display a 962C (front), followed by a 911 GT1, RS Spyder, and 919 Hybrid. Photo by Rob Sass.

The city of Leipzig itself also bears calling out. Not exactly well known to Americans, it proved to be an absolute gem. Like most German cities, it was the target of the Royal Air Force and American bombing campaigns during World War II, but much of its landmark baroque and renaissance-style architecture survived or was expertly restored. It’s the city of Bach and the site of the peaceful “Monday Demonstrations” in 1989 that signaled the downfall of communism in Germany, yet it retains an eastern European look and feel, in part due to the juxtaposition of blocks of Soviet-era concrete apartment buildings and the aforementioned baroque architecture that looks not unlike what you’d see in Prague or Budapest.

Above, clockwise from top left: Porsche SE Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Porsche speaks at the 70th Anniversary dinner. Porsche Taycan concept. A view from above of the dinner. PCA was represented at the dinner with a nod to the Porsche 911 GTS Club Coupe, which was made for the club's 60th anniversary in 2015. 

Oddly enough, plenty of East German Wartburgs and Trabants were still seen on the streets, and the Leipzig airport also seems to be a maintenance hub for Soviet-built Antonov cargo planes. Signs on the A9 Autobahn mark the 1945-1990 inner-German border, which not that long ago was protected by minefields and guard towers.

Above: Porsche Clubs from around the world were present for the celebrations, including this man and his 356. He drove it to Germany from Japan (with a boat ride mixed in, of course)!

Saturday night saw a gala in the hip Ludwigsburg warehouse Urbanharbor, which is the home to Porsche Club Coordination and Porsche Digital. Among the special guests was Gijs van Lennep, 917 ace and the co-winner of the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans, with now Red Bull F1 head Hulmut Marko. 90-year-old Porsche competition legend Herbert Linge was there along with Porsche SE Chairman Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Porsche AG CEO Oliver Blume, and Porsche AG Sales and Marketing Board Member Detlev von Platen. The weekend also saw the announcement of the 991-based 500-horsepower Speedster concept and the new name for the Mission E, Porsche’s forthcoming all-electric sports car. It’s going to be called the Taycan.

Above: The Sportscar Together 70th Anniversary festival was packed with Porsches and Porsche enthusiasts.

The event also provided a welcome opportunity for cross-pollination within the global clubs, and the realization that we all face some of the same challenges: the changing demographics of Porsche ownership, and the challenge of consistently engaging four-door owners and demonstrating the value proposition of club membership to them.

Above: Children enjoy slot-car racing at the 70th Anniversary festival.

Celebrations continued on Sunday with a festival at Cannstatter Wasen, the big festival area in Stuttgart. It was open to the public. The sheer volume of Porsches and Porsche enthusiasts in attendance was mind-boggling — there were easily thousands of each. The long lines to enter the parking area were somewhat mitigated by the diversity of Porsches one could admire before even entering the festival.

Above: Parking at the festival.

Once inside the festival grounds, there were parking corrals by model; historic displays; a concert stage with a full program including our dear friend, designer Anthony Hatter; and of course, Patrick Dempsey. Overall, it was a family atmosphere with an extensive kids program. The little future Porsche owners could race in pedal cars, navigate slot cars, ride the Porsche 70th branded Ferris wheel, or simply build Lego models. 

Above, clockwise from top left: A 935 race car tribute. Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. Porsche 356. Two 944 Cabriolets (S2 or Turbo).

The festival was also a great place to catch up with some Porsche VIPs. PCA had the opportunity to speak with the likes of Porsche GT Project Director Andreas Preuninger, Cayman GT4 Clubsport Project Director Matthias Scholz, Porsche Exclusive Project Leader Christian Heck, Porsche Club Presidents, and many others. The real stars of the festival were, of course, the cars. Highlights included 918 Spyder, Taycan, Carrera GT, Porsche Number 2, the 959 prototype, and all of the owners’ cars that were on display to impress the crowd.

Above: Porsche Taycan concept on display at the 70th Anniversary festival.

The bar has been set pretty high and we’re looking forward to see what Porsche has in store for its 75th celebration.

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