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This Dream House In Bangkok Is Built Around The Garage

Photography by Tenn

When Tenn Xoomsai Na Ayudhya went to renovate his house in central Bangkok, he did exactly what we’ve all dreamt of doing: he brought the garage indoors. I had the pleasure of tearing around Thailand for a few days with him in his batmobile RWB, sadly I never got to see this place in person as it was heavily under construction. Clearly we kept in touch, and just this week he dropped a handsome folder of shots in his newly-finished home.

The only thing missing? His Alfa Romeo, which will be making a return shortly. Here’s what Tenn, aka @tennster, had to say about his space.

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Ted Gushue: What motivated you to make your living space revolve around your car collection?

Tenn Xoomsai Na Ayudhya: Cars are my inspiration for everything I do, whether it is my work, my hobby, or my personal life. I wanted it to be the centerpiece of the house so that I can constantly study and be inspired by them, even if I’m not driving that day. I worked very closely with the architect Korn Thongtour, whose firm is called BHX Architects. We chose to design it around a lift that takes the car to the second floor. This allows me to switch the car every few days, completely transforming the look, feel and mood of my house. It’s amazing how much a different color, make, and model can change the emotion in the space.

TG: How long were you working on this project?

Tenn: It took about 1.5 years from start to finish, including a full renovation of the house that’s attached to it. Every inch of my home was updated with the central focus on the car.

TG: Are your friends insanely jealous?

Tenn: Of course not, they love it! My friends and I share so much of our automotive passion, we each have our own spaces that are like shrines to all things 4 wheeled. We each take turns enjoying each other’s homes.

Read about Tenn’s friends and the Bangkok classic car and Porsche community here and @GTPorscheThailand. Follow his automotive life on Instagram @Tennster.

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Porsche Factory Driver Patrick Long On What It Takes To Win, Start An Aircooled Revolution, And More

At 35 years old, Pat Long has achieved more in racing than most will ever dream of. He’s had 5 class podiums on behalf of Porsche at Le Mans. Yeah, five. Not to mention the fact that he and his dear pal Howie Idelson have created one of the most beloved events brands in the world, Luftgekühlt, centered around Southern California’s 60 year love affair with everything aircooled.

He’s a humble man who I’m proud to call a friend of Petrolicious, and even more proud that he was able to find time to sit down for this interview.

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Photos Courtesy of Porsche & Nevin Pontius of Deus Customs

Ted Gushue: Patrick, what is the first car that you ever remember driving?

Patrick Long: It was probably a ’78 Suburban out on a back road in Iowa driving through the corn fields. I was 9 years old. We were racing in Marshalltown, Iowa.

TG: Racing karts?

PL: Yeah, and it was so hot that they basically canceled the afternoon runs and said, “We’ll start when the sun starts going down,” so we were out killing time looking for trouble when my dad threw me the keys.

TG: When did you start racing karts?

PL: I was 8 years old, which was the minimum age. I had a $75 garage sale special go kart that my dad and uncle found and gave to me when I was 6. I started driving that in backyards of unfinished homes that my dad was installing stairs into. On a weekend he’d lay out three cones and I would just drive literally a hole into the ground going in circles. It was total independence for me and was something that never got old.

TG: When did you start winning?

PL: Right away, actually. I found some good success my 1st year. Picked up a sponsor by my 3rd race which was a local chassis maker in Simi Valley, California. We went to the nationals on a whim as a rookie. I can’t remember where I finished. I think I finished 9th. It happened to be in California. It was a traveling circus. It was all that mattered from a very early age. Probably the lust of it is high from the beginning as it ever has been.

TG: Did you have an advantage at that age? I imagine if you weighed 20 pounds less than most of the kids or something you would have a significant advantage.

PL: Yeah, there was a minimum weight. No issues there. The only way that that hurt you is if you were a really big kid and you couldn’t make minimum weight. My advantages from a young age were that I was smooth and I was able to find the speed through feel, and where I was weak was in racecraft, aggression, fighting my way to the front. I wasn’t a fighter. I was a craftsman. I had to learn the art of actual sparring, if you will.

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TG: You went from karts to?

PL: Next step was entry-level formula cars. I spent a lot of time with Bob Bondurant out in his facility. He was importing the go kart that I was racing for, that company. He was very gracious to not only give me time in his cars, but to run with me wheel to wheel, share a car, go wheel to wheel in the Formula Ford. My first race season was in Europe, I won a scholarship from Elf Fuels to live in Le Mans, study full-time while racing on the weekends.

TG: This is at what age?

PL: This was 16.

TG: You’d just legally been allowed to drive in America and you get an invitation to live at Le Mans…

PL: Not even close to being able to legally drive in Europe. There were a lot of scholarships in the late ’90s for karting kids. It was finally a boom where karting kids were being recognized as the talent of the future. You had a lot of main level Formula 1 drivers, especially European IndyCar drivers who had a huge background in karting. Before that there were some guys who were SCCA Autocrossers or short track sprint car guys. It wasn’t clear cut karting, but in the ’90s it became clear to a lot of companies and so they started to invest.

TG: That’s not crazy to think about though, because Senna was a kart racer. It wasn’t unheard of.

PL: No, it wasn’t unheard of, but for the U.S. to stand behind karting as one of the or only way to be there. That was a big deal. Karting was all around, but it hadn’t received that token “Gong Show” scholarship that allowed kids like me, who didn’t have the money, to otherwise fund a jump to car racing and would have otherwise just stayed in karting unless they were able to pick up a private investor.

TG: Then in 2003 you were scouted by Porsche, but before that you were in a Red Bull competition? Did I miss a step?

PL: No, not really. There was another five years of racing in Europe, cutting my teeth against the melting pot of kids who were all trying to get to the Formula 1 top. Three years in England, year in Italy, and a year in France. I didn’t have the funding to make it to Formula 3, which was really the last step.

TG: How often is that the case for some of the kids that show promise that don’t necessarily have the financial backing?

PL: 99%. I was at a talk the other night with a motorsport hero of mine, and he used one word to describe a racing driver, and that was “determination,” and it was really because of having to find your way to the pros when there’s so much funding needed takes determination. Yeah, there’s more cases than not of guys who didn’t make it because they didn’t have the funding.

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TG: Famously, again not to mention Senna, but his parents were industrialists from Brazil. They were able to fund basically carte blanche his entire childhood racing career.

PL: Lots of wealthy, very talented and deserving racing drivers end up in the majors. Even if you go back further, that history of having to have the means in order to compete at a level and get picked up is very clear. For me I had a carpenter and a surfer as a dad, and he took me as far as he could, but then it was about finding people who were willing to give me a shot, Red Bull being one of them. They decided they were going to find an American for Formula 1. We had a grand prix in Indianapolis and we had no American hero. Red Bull, an Austrian company, ironically stood up and said, « We’re going to go scout all of North America and we’re going to bring 16 of what we consider the best drivers from short track racing all the way up to Toyota Atlantic, » which was the feeder for IndyCar.

I was lucky to be in that first group, which received easily the most amount of attention. Through that, I met the Porsche guys. They had always wanted an American in their team. The last one probably being Hurley Haywood. David Murray and Randy Popes had short stays, but they hadn’t found their American guy and they thought this might be a chance.

TG: If you had gotten a nod for Formula 1 would you have taken it?

PL: At that point, yes. The Red Bull scholarship didn’t promise you Formula 1, but it was probably the only shot I had at it. In hindsight, I don’t think I would have survived their program, so it probably would have been the end of the road for me if I did win that scholarship. The reality was I didn’t, and Porsche saw something in me that they didn’t and it just all worked out in a fairy tale strange way.

TG: How did the programs differentiate in a way that maybe 50 years ago they didn’t differentiate? 50 years ago you could be someone who raced Formula 1 on a Sunday, race the Baja on a Wednesday, and then…

PL: Yeah, Formula 1 still is a discipline that is very, very unique. You’re in such different equipment team to team that it’s you versus your teammate, and among many other challenges before that point.

My style of driving that I’ve learned over the last 14 years of being with Porsche is that I’m a guy who likes the low grip technical, moving target type driving, that seat of the pants, more of an old school effect. The new age, high down force, one way in, one way out is not my strength. Therefore, other than the temperament of the program that Red Bull had, I don’t think the style of driver I am would have got me far enough. I was very, very fortunate to have that crossroad and luckily it’s worked out.

The way that Porsche grooms their drivers versus a single seater program like Red Bull is black and white, night and day and the temperament worked for me. Porsche was a family. They took you under their wing. They tried to let you grow in their culture. At Red Bull it’s one thing: It’s be the fastest guy or get pushed to the side.

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TG: Is there a funnel within Porsche that drives people down into the LMP class? Do you guys stop off along the way in the GT2, GT3 class? How does that structure work?

PL: It always evolves. In 2005, we announced as Porsche that we were coming back to prototype racing with Roger Penske. Fortunately, I got that gig as one of the GT members. Actually, all the drivers full-time were graduated through the GT system into the LMP. The second time around, which is the current 919 crop, there was only one driver from GT, and the rest came from single seater disciplines mostly, the Formula 1 type guys, Brendon Hartley, Neel Jani, Mark Webber. This program is different.

I’m just content as a 911 guy. That’s kind of my specialty, whether it’s a GT3R or a cup car, an RSR, whatever we deliver these days race-ready, I have to keep a discipline that I could be able to be thrown into any version of a current-day 911, and put it right on the edge in any type of tire or rules category. Then my newfound love is to be able to drive any 911 that’s ever been created, from the beginning. The vintage craft is something that I work on in my spare time.

TG: How would you compare driving a GT car to a LMP car?

PL: It’s back to that discipline of a bit more seat of the pants instinctive, more weight moving around, more of a reactionary type of driving, compared to LMP which is razor sharp, at the very edge of aerodynamics, and now even more technical with hybrid systems, autoboosting etc. It’s very, very, very cutting edge, the most technically advanced racing in the world, I would say even above Formula 1.

GT racing is certainly moving in that direction. I would say that GT racing, from downforce, power-to-weight, and technology is at an LMP level from 10 years ago. It’s quickly narrowing, and if you look at the modern spec GTE car that runs at Le Mans, it’s almost a prototype 911.

TG: Have you driven the 917K or any of the other beasts of yore?

PL: I have, yeah. I drove this last year the 917 Gulf, I think it was the ’70 or ’71 Spa winner, just restored by Porsche and drove it hard. Loved every bit of it, just a completely unexpected experience.

TG: Could you have been a competitive driver back then?

PL: I think my chances of being a competitive driver back then would have probably been better than they are now. It’s more my style, again, of driving every lap a little bit differently. Certainly having that mixture between speed and being easy on the equipment because so much of it was getting those cars to the end, but doing it quickly. Those are the types of things that I love.

That’s why I play with vintage cars and collect vintage cars. I love the interaction that a driver has. At the same time, I think that day and age there was one other really important part of that, and that was huge, brass nuts because those cars killed a lot of people. I could never imagine what that feeling was like to line up on the grid amongst guys you’d raced against your whole career and know that there was a good chance one of them wasn’t coming back from that race. That part of that era I can’t even comment on.

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TG: What was the first vintage car that you drove?

PL: Strangely, it was the Fletcher Aviation 550 Spider, the iconic Porsche family-owned car. I was a junior. I was back at that time where I just had signed in 2003. We went to the Mercedes museum opening in Stuttgart where they had invited BMW, Audi, and Porsche to bring some of their cars and run through a makeshift race track in the parking lot and on some of the city streets. I just showed up there. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a 356 and a 912. I was completely naive.

Klaus Bischoff, who’s still a huge piece of the rolling museum, threw me the keys, and I said, “Mr. Bischoff, how many RPM? Where do I need to shift? » He said, « The engine will tell you. You rev that thing as hard as you can and shift when it doesn’t pull anymore, and win the race.” My opponent was Jochen Mass in a Gullwing. It was just surreal. People lined the streets. They were off the curb standing between you and the curb and we were sliding those cars around the streets. Something I wouldn’t do these days for sure. It’s been downhill since then [laughs].

TG: When did you buy your first classic?

PL: I waited. I guess I wasn’t sure what I wanted and I wanted to be sure. I was able to drive a lot of really cool stuff. I started studying motorsport history of Porsche, but I didn’t have the street car sense at that point. I quickly realized when I started researching a car to buy that the crossover between nationally-recognized race team owners and crew chiefs and mechanics were guys who were the cream of the crop of shop owners, car hunters, tuners, builders. The people like Rod Emory and Joey Seely, these guys that we just built LuftAuto with are guys that I worked with 10 years ago in motorsport.

It was so easy to pick up the phone and ask Kevin Roush, or Mark Hergesheimer or anybody, “Hey, what do you think of this car? Do you know this car? Do you know this guy? Can you check this car out for me?” Back East, it was just so many people that helped out. That made it easy, but it also is the reason I’ve ended up with more cars than I have time to play with because every time a car comes across the desk and it’s this word of mouth deal and they’re like, “You have to grab this,” I’ve been naive enough to grab a few too many.

TG: What’s in your collection now?

PL: Right now I’m working through the ’60s to the ’90s, a ’66 912 and a ’61 356 is what I have in the ’60s. Both bought them from the original owners and they just have a complete history and a lot of little things I’m working through. They’re by far the most perfect cars. In the ’70s I have a narrow-body 73E that’s pretty hot underneath the hood and the rest of it looks stock. From the outside it’s light ivory. That’s my regular go-to car because it’s sort of a dress up, dress down. 72E is a hot rod flared project car and then ’81 930 car which is another one that’s a very low mile car that’s working through some bugs. Then a ’91 C2 that’s just a low mileage, pristine car that’s really fun to take my wife to dinner in.

TG: When did you first meet the guys that now make up Luftgekühlt?

PL: Howie Idleson, my partner, we go back to 25 years ago at the go kart track.

TG: His kids are now huge kart racers as well?

PL: Yes.

TG: Runs deep in his family.

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PL: Very deep. Howie was a pioneer. I couldn’t say it any differently. He was not only one of the first Americans to go over to Europe on a regular basis, but he was a design pioneer. He pushed the boundaries in karting in the late ’90s from an aesthetic side, from team building side, from bringing in companies like Nike to go karting that no one had ever dreamt of. I looked up to him. My dad and him were more friends than I was. I was 8, 9 years old, but I knew he was the guy that we all wanted to be.

After I left karting, we just stayed in touch as friends and we started collaborating on design projects together, me from the practical side of being a driver, him from the designer/driver racing shoes or team clothing or transporter design. He does all types of stuff like that. It was him and I. I wanted a fresh vision, certainly a creative vision, because I don’t consider myself to have one cell of artistic ability in my body. He wasn’t from the vintage Porsche world or from the sports car world in any of that sense, but he had a great vision and he had a great network of people in this area, the west LA area, that helped get Luft going. Again, it was just supposed to be a fun, one time event on a Sunday morning and it’s kind of taken a direction itself.

TG: What goes into the production of something like that? Is it purely a Rolodex game? Is it networking, what is it?

PL: It’s different than a lot of car experiences, we’re as focused on the non-automotive side as we are on the car side. From the car side it’s clear that we want Porsche product, vintage, air-cooled product, but we want to recognize all different types of genres and owners. For that reason, there’s not a huge criteria there other than trying to have a few special cars that are recognized as our flagships for each event. Then, from the organizational standpoint away from the automotive, it’s about the venue. It’s about telling a story of a different world and of a different brand. That part has been the most fun and the most eye-opening.

The goal was always to cater to the non-automotive enthusiasts as much as it was the car guys. I think as car guys we’re all a little bit sick. If there’s great cars around or like minded people, we’re content, but to sell the non-automotive people on a car experience is not always easy. We’ve had to be eyes wide open. That’s where the creative, non-vintage Porsche side of that cross pollination fits in.

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TG: The Deus Ex Machina guys.

PL: Yes, Bandito Brothers, which is a film production company, Modernica, a mid-century modern furniture company. Worlds that are very close to the vintage car world, but in some ways very far. That’s been the actually the low hanging fruit and the fun side. It’s not been a challenge to find people in that world.

TG: If you hadn’t had the race success you’ve had, do you think it would be as easy to pull off something like that?

PL: I don’t know. I certainly think that the network has helped us more than anything. I think the relationships of people I’ve known more than 10 years are really the influencers who have helped get our name out there. Without that network, without my racing network, who are also vintage car legends, no, I don’t think we could have done what we’ve done in this amount of time. That’s where we owe all of our appreciation.

TG: To go back to racing for a minute, what was it like when you first stood on the podium at Le Mans?

PL: First year at Le Mans on the podium, it all happened in one year and that was overwhelming. There’s people that have raced Le Mans 25 times and never been on that podium. There are so many variables beside the driver. It’s an amazing test of car and team. A trio of drivers to stay out of trouble for that long, so many stars have to align. For me, in the beginning of 2004, I only had hoped that I could one day take part in that race. I had been there 3 times before as a fan, as a aspiring driver. I got a really late call up to be on that team and it ended up being the favorite team for the championship that year.

TG: Who makes the call? Is there a team manager? Walk me through that architecture.

PL: Actually, in that sense, which is a lot with a Porsche factory driver, I’m one of 10 drivers underneath an umbrella as a representative of Porsche who is plugged into different programs around the world. It’s a little bit of a spreadsheet. You’re sort of placing your soldiers where you need them. I don’t know why or how there was a 3rd seat in the favored and most experienced car.

This is Petersen White Lightning, a team out of Las Vegas. They didn’t really know me. I think that Porsche put the trust in me to not fuck it up. I was certainly the liability and the rookie on the team, but my teammates, Jörg Bergmeister who went on to be a teammate of mine, I was a teammate of his for 8 years and Sascha Maassen, who is now one of the legends of Porsche and looks after all of their young drivers. I had two very good mentors sharing a seat with it.

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TG: What are the personalities like of the guys that you race with in that class?

PL: Motorsport, auto racing drivers are just a mixed bag of very extreme personalities from all different sides. I would say that if I could just focus on one thing, you have to have a pretty strong ego to put a car on the edge time and time again for a few reasons. 1, you have to have a willingness to show your ability to anybody who will pay attention over and over again. You have to be that little kid that goes and circles in his driveway and just wants dad to watch him jump over a piece of wood 100 times.

TG: Is there some sort of god complex involved where you’re not afraid to die?

PL: I don’t know if it’s that as much as it’s something else that’s a bigger focus. I think there is always a risk management side of motorsport, but when your helmet’s on and you’re elbow to elbow, you could use any parallel in life, when you’re in a process where you’re not really assessing risk, you’re not really assessing much at all. You’re in a moment of road rage or you’re in a fist fight or you’re jumping off a high dive. You basically shut that out to do what you’re set out to do.

I believe drivers are fueled by many things, but I think you have to have a bit of ego. Drivers wear ego differently. Some are extremely good at keeping that under their hat, but that’s, to me, one of the parallels of the many championship drivers I’ve been able to share a seat with.

TG: Do some people have bigger egos than others?

PL: Certainly. I think I would even say people have a better way of utilizing their egos for success.

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TG: I’m also putting that question the framework of 30 or 40 years later, we still talk about Hans Stuck. We still talk about Derek Bell. We still talk about James Hunt. A lot of these guys that had larger than life personalities. Who are those people that we’re going to be talking about in 40 years time?

PL: I think in many ways, what makes a Stuck or a Bell or a Hunt legendary is not only did they get it done on the race track, but they had a personality off the race track that made them memorable in whatever direction that was, that is somewhat stripped away from today’s racing driver.

TG: It’s more homogenized, more professional, more corporate. The amount of money that you have to be associated with comes with a huge risk management team.

PL: I think there are also more eligible drivers to pick from. With technology and with science and with the art of understanding physical fitness simulation, all the things that drivers utilize these days—and where you’ve taken pro sports and pushed it to the very pinnacle. If you look at a Tour de France rider of 30 years ago compared to today, when you had someone who was “the man,” it might have been that he could stand to be a little bit more himself off the race track, because the teams were still going to go with him because he had that edge.

TG: Right, like you can’t get caught in a hotel room with two supermodels at 4am these days.

PL: There are plenty of drivers capable on track who are waiting in the wings as an alternative plan, so you have to be a little more careful, but if you look at a Lewis Hamilton: Lewis is getting it done no matter who wants to argue with him, he’s getting it done on the race track. Off the race track he’s pushing boundaries, so it’s still possible, but I think better be…

TG: I wouldn’t say he’s pushing too many boundaries. He’s doing a lot of hashtag blessed and praise the lord kind of thing. That’s the biggest message that comes out of his outside the track life.

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PL: If you look at his social media, he’s not afraid to be posting photos in the Bahamas this weekend in a tank top, partying hard in the race season. I don’t think there’s another guy on the grid that’s posting that or doing it. I guess my point is, if you’re going to be on it off the race track, as long as you’re getting it done on the race track, it’s hard to hold it against you. I think that’s the only parallel I can pull from 20, 30 years ago till today is if you have an edge you can probably get away with it.

I think there also is a page turning right now. With social media there’s a new sense of ROI for people who advertise in motorsport. I think that that’s actually going a little more retro in that kind of playboy mentality, because there’s a new set of eyes watching what you’re doing. It’s not just wearing a label, now it’s following that « reality show ».

TG: It’s brand placement for a watch on a wrist kind of thing.

PL: For sure, and look, we’re tracking everything through impressions and likes and tags verses Joyce Julius reports. I think we’re just starting to see the start of it.

TG: Have you already started working on next year’s Luftgekühlt?

PL: No, right now we’re sort of in a transition phase. The last Luft got to a size where we had to decide whether we let this continue to grow at the rate it’s growing or do we mix it up for a couple years and change the format a little bit? We’re sort of in a lucky place where we can afford to take a few months off and just let the emotion die a little bit and review. Big aspirations to visit some new markets, but always stay true to our roots.

TG: How do you syndicate something like that that is so Southern Californian by nature?

PL: It’s pretty clear in my mind that when we do finally accept an invitation from some of these cities that we’ve aspired to even travel to, let alone throw a show at, that it will have to be pretty much split right down the middle. The DNA will be half the Luft you know, which is a West LA car culture mixed with the I guess originality of Porsche, which is a huge central focus for us, to kind of keep that original state there as well.

TG: What cities have approached you?

PL: You know the air-cooled world. It’s a small world. There’s people all over who are like, “This is what we want. This is what we want. Come and let’s do this where we live.”

TG: How do you feel about the knock off events like all those other things that are not necessarily trying to copy you, but aren’t not trying to copy you?

PL: I think that it’s flattering that people might follow a few of the things that we’ve done. By no means do we see ourselves as pioneers. We’ve taken pages out of other people’s books. It just motivates us to keep it fresh and keep the next shows unique and different. I think all along we’ve been guilty and celebrated for leaving a little bit of the show a mystery.

There has to be some part of the show that is a surprise. That’s fun and it also takes a little bit of pressure off of us, cause we’re kind of making it up as we go.

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Pikes Peak Legend Jeff Zwart On Rallying, Racing And Everything In Between

Photography by Ted Gushue & Rupert Berrington

You know that smile someone has when they’re humbly living life to its absolute fullest? That confident, comfortable grin that says everything in their life is dialed in, and every day is sweeter than the last. When you first meet Jeff Zwart, that’s the smile he’s wearing on his face.

After you shake his hand and get through a bit of small talk catching up and you flick a recorder on, the next thing you notice about Jeff Zwart is that you have absolutely no idea where to start asking him questions about his larger than life story. He graduated from Art Center, has photographed nearly every major motorsport event in history, for nearly every major motorsport outlet in history. He’s won Pikes Peak 8 times. His first car was a Porsche 901. He owns a freaking 959. His book about the history of the 917 is sold out.

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So I had no choice but to start at the beginning.

Ted Gushue: Jeff, what was the first car that you ever remember driving?

Jeff Zwart: The first car that I ever drove was on my grandparents farm, which was a 1955 International Harvester pickup truck. I remember that because my grandparents were farmers, and there was a constant end of the summer event where you cut the hay and move the hay to the barn and you work back and forth between the barn and the fields. I remember one day my grandfather said I needed to go back to the house and get something. The only thing there that wasn’t being used was the old pickup truck. He let me drive the pickup truck back there. I was probably 11 or 12 years old.

TG: What do you remember about that feeling?

JZ: I just remember I was a long ways away from the pedals. Having ridden in that car a lot, it was…I just remember it was an entirely different experience to actually drive it. It was pretty special. It was a one time deal, and it didn’t really equate to suddenly driving consistently. The real notable first time I drove a car was, you know, you’re 15 years old. You’re getting geared up to get your learner’s permit at 15 and a half out here in California. I remember clearly. It was a Sunday morning. My parents had two cars. They had a Volkswagen Beetle and a 911.

My father said to me that we were going to go learn to drive on early Sunday morning. We were going to the Los Alamitos Race Track parking lot, which was a horse racing track, which still exists today. We went few blocks from our house in Cypress and showed up at this big old empty parking lot. The most surprising part of it was I figured when we went downstairs that we would get in the Volkswagen to get there. My father, instead, got the 911 out for me to drive.

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First off, my dad said, “We’re going to take the 911, because it has more power and you won’t stall it so much.” I’m like, “Yee-haw. This is the best news I’ve had!” The interesting thing and the part that is kind of irreplaceable in considering my life as it is today, that was chassis number 35. That was a 901. It was built in September of ’64. Basically, my father had bought it as a second hand 911. We just knew it was a very early car.

We didn’t really understand, obviously, the significance of it, because it was all my dad could afford at the time. It was basically an old 911. Well, it was truly an old 911. It was truly a 901. It was in the 35th-ever 911 built. That’s the car I learned to drive in. That’s the car I drove in and out of high school at times. It was in our family till well out of high school for me.

TG: How did that car end up in California?

JZ: There were some early cars out here. I remember, in the day, of going to a Porsche Owner’s Club track day at Riverside. I just remember that there was a guy there who said he had chassis number 19 or 14 or something like that. At that point, we were aware of chassis numbers, and it was really interesting that somebody had an earlier car than us. The other funny thing that happened with that car is that, as you would in those days, it felt old. It had chrome trim. It had skinny tires, steel wheels, it had all this stuff. Along the way my dad kind of…we went to Vasek Polak to get it serviced. If there was something for sale in the showroom or the parts department for it, he’d buy it. So he got a set of alloy wheels. They weren’t just alloy wheels. They were 911R 7-inch wheels. My dad had 911R wheels on it, and because he had such big wheels and tires on it, he put mud flaps on it. He changed the engine when it had a problem. He couldn’t afford to fix the old one, so he just bought another used one with more power.

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I mean, I always jokingly say he was the first R Gruppe member. Here he had an early short wheelbase 911 and everything that he got for it was sport purpose, which Vasek helped him out on and things like that. That car evolved, and basically I went in a slightly different direction. I got out of high school and I bought my 914-6. That was my first car. That 911 was behind the scenes then.

TG: You were destined to be a Porsche guy.

JZ: Yeah. You’re talking about the memories. There was that sitting kind of low in a car, your feet are offset. You reach out to this wooden steering wheel. I just remember all the tactical experiences and my father saying you don’t grab ahold of the shift knob. You push it like it was an egg and be really careful with it. It was those kind of things where we really being gentle on this sports car. Ultimately, in the world we live in today, that 901 would be very, very valuable, but my father sold it though.

TG: I’ve only seen one, and it’s at the Peterson.

JZ: Yep, at the Peterson.

TG: So you go through high school, graduate, use your paper route money that you had saved up and your father forced you to invest in the stock market to buy a 914-6. Why the 914-6, not 914 then?

JZ: You can imagine, if you learn to drive in a car that had a flat 6-cylinder motor… that was such a unique sound at the time. There was nothing quite like it. Yeah, there were Corvairs and things like that, but there was this sharp crackle, and pop. I remember somebody described being at the Monte Carlo Rally and the 911s go by. It was like dried peas in a can kind of sound. I remember that so clearly. That was the distinctive sound to it. My recollections of, obviously, learning to drive in my dad’s car, going to races early on, were so influential to me wanting a 6-cylinder.

The 914-6, in that day, they were still sitting at the port trying to sell them. What had come in at a price point, they were only like $600 less than a 911T, at the time, and everybody wanted a 911T. They didn’t want a 914 with a 6-cylinder motor. It was a little bit of a black sheep, and I think I liked that part of it. At the time, Alan Johnson and Richie Ginther and Milt Minter, they were all running these 914-6s and doing very well in C production and SSC racing. All those things were very influential to me.

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TG: So you’d been keeping an eye on racing at this point.

JZ: Yeah. You asked about my first drives, but the pivotal moment that links everything to me today is that in 1964, my father came home with the only new 356 Porsche that he ever bought. That new Porsche, I lived in Delaware, and you can imagine, you’re a little kid, like 9 years old … I was 8 years old. He drives up in this car, slate gray, red interior, it’s brand new. I don’t think we’d even had a brand new car at that point.

TG: What did your father do for a living?

JZ: He was a mechanical engineer. He specialized in plastics at that time. It was a very growing business. That’s part of the reason why I lived in so many different places growing up. He changed his jobs a lot to move forward in this much in demand field, because of plastics. So he drove home in this 1964 356C. It’s in the driveway. It’s so cool to have a brand new car, let alone a Porsche 356. I think this was in April when he got it. Then a few weeks later, he said, “You know, for your birthday we’re going to go on a little trip.” For my birthday in 1964, they took me to the Indy 500. You can imagine a little kid, 8 years old getting ready to have his 9th birthday, in the back of a 356 going halfway across the country, or a quarter of the way across the country, to go to the Indy 500, which was the largest race in the world. It was the greatest spectacle in racing. There were 400,000 people there.

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TG: Especially back then. It was an international event, not just an American event.

JZ: It was truly the biggest spectator event in the world, at the time. Going to that and I remember climbing the stairs and coming up into the top of the grandstand in turn 3 and looking out over the sea of people and cars and everything, and going there in a 356.

TG: You were thinking, “I can get behind this.”

JZ: I was completely sold on Porsches. I was completely sold on racing. I had a great moment.

TG: You were like a jelly doughnut without the jelly in it. Porsche and the Indy 500 came along and just squeezed the jelly in there.

JZ: That brought everything together. Obviously, you didn’t have to go far in that time to see that Porsche had a great connection with racing, too. This was my first race. I hadn’t been to a race at that point. Later in my growing up, we went to different races and stuff. When you went to the races, you saw Porsches racing and all that, and then obviously the 917 era came along. Then a movie like Le Mans hits the big screen and movie like Grand Prix by John Frankenheimer, it was playing at the Cinedome in LA. You drive up there to see it.

All these great moments not only from a racing standpoint, from a film standpoint, from combining the brand of Porsche into these things. It really came together for me. However, I had no interest in having anything to do with it from a professional side, or studying side. I was studying to be a veterinarian. That came along later. That’s my introduction to racing and how the brand and everything worked together.

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TG: When did you first get behind the wheel of a race car?

JZ: My career decision happened living in Germany. I was waiting to get in the veterinary school in Germany, working for a large animal veterinarian. As you can, which is really nice, in Europe, on Friday evening, I could go to the train station in Munich, get on a train and wake up at Zandvoort, Holland for the Dutch Grand Prix, or go to Le Mans.

Every weekend, I could go to a race somewhere in Europe. I started doing that quite a bit while I lived there. As I was there, I just thought, “I just love racing.” Here I am, Monday through Friday, working for a large animal veterinarian, planning on being a veterinarian. It still was a little distant. As I looked around the scene and I was at the Dutch Grand Prix, when I looked around the scene I thought, I’m not mechanically inclined. I’d love to be a driver but I know nothing about being a driver. There’s these people on the other side of the fence from where I am that are really close to all the action. Those were the photographers. I decided I better find out about this thing, about photography. That was the life changer. It was my means of being close to racing, was to be a photographer.

TG: What was the first camera you picked up?

JZ: That’s my dad’s camera there, which is an old Zeiss Icon Contessa, I think it is also made in Stuttgart. My parents, when I went on my first field trip in 4th grade, gave me a Kodak Instamatic 100. Then when I started into my professional world I was shooting with Canon cameras. I think my first Canon was probably the Canon FT. It wasn’t any professional level. Basically, that’s where that came from. When you ask about what the first race car was, in the beginnings of my career I did a lot of editorial work. I worked for all sorts of different magazines, Road & Track, Sports Car magazine, On Track magazine, different publications and covered different things, obviously, but a lot of times racing was the focus. Well, along came this assignment to shoot the different racing schools in the United States, which meant I went to the Bondurant School and the Jim Russell School and the British School of Motor Racing.

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Along the way in these stories with the writer, we enrolled ourselves in the classes. We went to the classes, and I photographed them and he wrote about them. Every class that I went through, I would get the same story at the end of going, “You really should go about racing. You’re the fastest guy in the class and fastest guy we’ve seen in awhile,” and all that stuff. I don’t know whether it’s a bunch of hype, but whatever it was, I came away always enthused about racing.

As part of this time in the world, they also had this thing called Media Challenge, which each magazine sent a driver to go run Formula Fords together at Laguna Seca one year and at Riverside one year. I drove for different magazines in the Media Challenge and did very, very well. I was hooked to it, but I didn’t have the means or the connections to do anything else. I did the PR things, but ultimately I got the chance to run more than I had…the magazine connections helped me to run more. I ran the Pro Formula Ford Series here early on, which was Sears Point, Riverside and Laguna Seca, I think, were the three that I did. Actually, Ontario Motor Speedway, too. Formula Fords were the beginning. That was first cars I drove.

TG: When did Porsche start to re-enter the conversation in your life?

JZ: Being in the business I was in, which was at the time directing television commercials and shooting print and doing all that, you always were hiring drivers to do this for you.

TG: You were getting commissioned by major manufacturers at this time.

JZ: Yeah. What I did is I started gravitating towards a number of the drivers I was hiring. One of those drivers was Rod Millen, who was under contract with Mazda, so he drove on all the Mazda things I shot. We got to be really good friends. As you do on jobs in far away places, you go screw around in rental cars. We’d take our lunch times and find some gravel road and hammer our rental car. Him being my passenger, me being his passenger, we’d try to scare each other all day long. Out of that came Rod saying, “You know, you’re really good. I should build you a rally car.” I said, “Well…” At that point, Rod had been a multiple US ProRally Champion. He had his good connections with Mazda. Finally, I had enough money that I could do that. I entered into the US ProRally Championships with a car that Rod built.

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TG: What was the car?

JZ: A Mazda 323 GTX. I ran in production GT the first year. We won our class in a couple places. Then in 1990, I ran a full season at open class. I ended up tying for the overall National Championship that year and lost the championship based on the other car, the other driver, had won one more win than I did.

I actually ended up tying for the overall National Championship that year and lost the championship based on the other car, the other driver, had one more win than I did. I actually ended up winning the Open Class Championship because it was a weird scoring thing. Basically, for the overall National Championship they scored 9 out of the 12 races. In that, we ended up tying for the championship. For the class, they counted all the races, and I actually won open class that year.

It was a big moment. After doing this for a few years, I just thought, “Oh, it would be so cool if I could do this in something really worthwhile,” which to me, was doing it in a Porsche.

TG: Had you already been shooting for Porsche, commercials and ads?

JZ: Yes.

TG: So you had a relationship with them.

JZ: My relationship in shooting Porsche’s advertising starts probably in 1983. It goes back a long time. 1990, Carrera 4 came along. It was all of a sudden an all-wheel-drive 911. I thought, well, I should try to rally that. In ’91, I sold my Mazda rally car. It took me essentially 2 years to put together a program with Porsche. All of a sudden, it had gotten very expensive to run a Porsche.

I needed all the good bits from the Paris Dakar program for the Carrera 4. I needed to be allocated that by them. There were a lot of things to put together. In late ’92, we started building a Carrera 4 with all the Paris Dakar parts from Porsche. The Carrera 4 had the Paris Dakar transmission, the differentials, adjustable torque, split front and rear. You can make it more a front wheel drive, a more rear wheel drive because it adjusts the torque split side to side. Short gearbox, 125 mile an hour top speed gearbox. All the trick stuff that literally came out of the Paris Dakar program. We ran that car in 1993. Like I said earlier, in ’93 we had a couple wins, but we really struggled with the car. The car was not handling very well. The suspension really needed to be looked after. In ’93, we finished 4th in the championship.

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TG: This is the Valvoline Livery car?

JZ: Yeah. The Carrera 4. In the winter of ’93, we took all the suspension off the car, had somebody else kind of redesign it for us who had a great off-road background.

TG: Who was doing the suspension design on the car?

JZ: Before, it was Koni. It was just shocks and springs. It was lifted out of the road racing programs because nobody was really off-roading a 911 at the time. We would literally bend a couple sets of struts every race. It was very expensive just on that. We just needed to get the rear end of the car under control, which was the big problem in the handling, is that the shocks would overheat and basically boil themselves and be of no use at all by halfway through the rally. In winter of ’93, we redid the entire suspension, came back to more of an off-roading style suspension with reservoirs and all the cool stuff.

This is standard material now, but it was in its infancy, especially for a Porsche in those days. In ’94, I came back. I started winning rallies. We had a great season in ’94. I ended up finishing 2nd in the national championships. I think we had 4 overall wins that year. Everything was very good, but like I said, the writing was on the wall. Subarus were coming along, Mitsubishis were coming along. We weren’t going to win a championship with that car.

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The interesting thing that happened in ’94 is Porsche suggested to me that Pikes Peak would be very interesting to run. Rod Millen was also running Pikes Peak, so I knew a little bit about it. What I had said is, “I have a normally aspirated motor in this. It’s not going to do very well at Pikes Peak.” Porsche said, “We’re thinking we’ll run the single turbo motor we run in the IMSA series.” Between Andial and the help of Porsche Motorsport, which Andial ultimately became Porsche Motorsport, those two worked together from Germany and Andial being here, to build this Pikes Peak car, which I showed up in a car I’d been driving all season that only had 300 horsepower.

I show up, get in exactly the same car, sit down in that, go up Shannon Street, which is the street Andial’s on, in this car that suddenly had 550 horsepower. I don’t even think I’d driven a turbocharged car at that….well, the Mazda was turbocharged. I hadn’t driven a turbocharged Porsche, I don’t think, at that point. It was just amazing to jump into that car.

TG: Feeling that turbo kick come in.

JZ: Yeah. It almost doubled the horsepower that I experienced in that particular car. I loved it and everything. The funny thing is, that motor wasn’t legal for the ProRally Championship. A week after we won Pikes Peak in the open class with that car, Porsche took that motor out, put the old 3.8 RSR motor in it, and went and ran a rally the very next weekend.

TG: When you did Pikes Peak for the first time, was there any trepidation around the dangerous history of the hill climb?

JZ: No. I’d rallied heavily at that point, and been through a lot rallying. I was very comfortable at Pikes Peak. I also had filmed it a couple times for different commercials. I was very familiar with the surface of the road. It’s funny because of the commercials I did, which one of them was very heavy in the helicopter work, I still visualize Pikes Peak from the air and see the way corners are linked and everything.

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TG: Does that give you some sort of edge that most others don’t have?

JZ: I think the biggest edge is that I’ve run it 16 times now, so there’s no question where the road goes or anything about it.

TG: You know every pebble.

JZ: Yeah. I do really know the place very well. At the time, to jump in that first time for my first year in a Porsche there, it helped to have had that experience.

TG: What’s the career path from there? You just keep going back every year and that becomes your signature move and then you are also rallying in between?

JZ: Interesting thing happened at the end of ’94. I’d finished 2nd in the US ProRally Championship, I raced on Pikes Peak. Valvoline, who I was working with at the time, said, “You know, we got more press out of you running Pikes Peak than we did out of the whole season of rallying.” As you can imagine, I was having trouble balancing a dozen races a year with filming all over the world as I was doing television commercials and making it all work schedule-wise and do the best I could.

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TG: Were you married at this point?

JZ: Yeah. I was married, everything. Trying to balance doing a good job at racing and doing a good job at filming and also the fact that the US ProRally Championship wasn’t like you went to New York City. You were going to Wellsboro, Pennsylvania or something. It was always not easy to get to or anything. It was a lot of effort. I thought, I’ve run the rallying as much as I could in the Porsche. It wasn’t going to be competitive with the Mitsubishis and the Subarus from here on. Valvoline just wants to do Pikes Peak. We said, “Okay. What could be the new plan?”

The new plan worked out well because it was essentially, I got in a pattern with Porsche, where we ran the latest, greatest car they had to offer. I had sponsorship to do that. It was a very simple way to go racing. I really enjoyed it. Suddenly, I didn’t have a pressure of doing so many races. We just did the best with Porsche. Along that way, the 993 Twin Turbo came along in 1995. Coming off the ’94 season in a turbo-powered Carrera 4, which didn’t really exist in stock form, I ran a showroom stock car, basically. It was the New York Auto Show car, the red turbo that had been in the New York Auto Show. Ran it at Pikes Peak. We won our class. That became a consistent situation to run the latest and greatest from Porsche.

I think it was probably ’97, ’96 or ’97, Porsche said to me, “We have a hard time marketing your success at Pikes Peak, because you’re sponsored by Valvoline. It would be great if you could get on board with one of our original equipment sponsorships. It’d be a better partnership from a marketing sense.” I said to Porsche at the time, “Well, that’s great, but I have a great relationship with Valvoline. If you can open the doors at Mobil One, that would be great.” They made the call to Mobil One. From that point on, I had Mobil One. That started a series of sponsorship until 2002, where I ran the latest, greatest from Porsche, whatever that might be. We ran the first turbo 996 the next year. We ran the GT2.

We were running things, in some cases, almost before the public had the car. Certainly the 996 turbo was very early on in our hands, to build for that.

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TG: Along the way, what was going on in your personal car collection? What was changing there?

JZ: Not really much. I had the 906. I bought the 906 early on. I think I got it in 1995 or ’96.

TG: What was the story around that car?

JZ: I had built a model as a kid of a 906. I always thought it was super cool. The thing that I really liked about it was it had the ability to be street-licensed even though it was a race car. For me and my schedule, and I’ve owned a lot of really great cars, I’ve had a 962, I’ve had different things along the way, road racing based cars, the problem is if you own a 962, you need to keep it prepped. When you go to the track, you have to prep it sincerely for that and then you have to choose a date and you have to trailer it. You go up to the track and then you hope it runs right.

TG: It’s a whole production.

JZ: You do a shakedown and they do all that stuff. I just needed things that for my lifestyle of traveling all over the world doing what I did in my film world, I needed something that I could on a Saturday, go down in my own garage and start it up and go down PCH and have a little bit of a Le Mans Mulsanne Straight experience at night or something. That’s where the 906 worked really well. Like I said, I built a model of it as a kid. It was just very, very cool.

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TG: How many people get to say they own a 906?

JZ: 56. There’s some other versions and all that push it up to the 60s, but there’s about 56.

TG: How many commercials are you doing a year at that point?

JZ: Oh, a lot. In those days, I would do 30 or 40 commercials a year sometimes. We’re talking about a 5 spot package and things like that. I was doing a lot of commercials. You’d have fairly regularly 18 to 20 jobs a year.

TG: This is in the heyday of the big ad budgets as well, right?

JZ: Yeah. It was in a time where I was the high performance director and we were growing up in a turbocharged era. Companies were wanting to show performance and performance all over the world. I was somebody who was comfortable of shooting anywhere in the world, literally tomorrow. That’s what I did. I worked all over the world. Fortunately, Radical Media had offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, all over the world. I worked out of all those offices and still do, but I was very…one of those people that was as comfortable shooting in the outback in Australia one weekend and in Japan the next weekend.

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TG: Explain the structure of Radical Media.

JZ: It’s a long story of getting to the point, but I basically was a still photographer. The single person who created Radical Media was producer for a very well-known director in New York. They did a lot of work on the West Coast, as a lot of the New York people did. They needed to have an office out here to service Henry Sandbank’s work when he came to the West Coast. That was purely what they were looking to do. They asked me to come on and be the director in the West Coast office of Sandbank.

Ultimately, that created something that was a big world of directing and production so that it spun off and became Radical Media eventually. I’m essentially the first director in Radical Media. Radical Media grew on to being…there’s 30 directors, at least, in it. There’s offices. The current situation of offices are LA, New York, Berlin, Shanghai, London. We’re still a global company. In the days where you were referring to, I was really working out of all the offices all over the world. Did a lot of work out of Sydney too, which we don’t have an office in right now.

TG: How many commercials are you doing a year now?

JZ: Oh, I do…That’s where things have really changed in terms of…We do so much content. I do TV shows. I do commercials. It really varies. The projects are changing. You do a TV show and you’re 6 weeks on it, or you do a television commercial, you’re 2 weeks on there, you do a contest project and 3 weeks on it. It really varies. I’m fortunate to be plenty busy in a constantly changing advertising world.

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TG: When are you going to start slowing down?

JZ: The nature of what I do is basically a high speed form of location scouting and rallying. It’s really like rallying to me because I fly into a city, like I just was in Vancouver shooting. You get in a car and you start blasting down all these roads looking for locations, and you’ve never been there before. Do that. Then the job comes along, and I’m sitting in a Porsche Cayenne articulated arm camera car, so the Porsche’s my office. I’m chasing cars as fast as I go.

Chevy commercial with Jimmy Johnson and I’m on Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Panamera camera car going as fast as the Panamera will go, with Jimmy Johnson chasing me. It’s those kind of moments. My life is very much on the move, very high performance oriented. Therefore, it’s not boring and it’s certainly never redundant. The nice nature of what I do is every project’s different. You become a little bit of a quasi-expert on each subject, or each theme, of each commercial every time. I was just shooting with bees on bee farms, and I learned all about bee keeping. Yet, I was hauling ass between the beekeeper farm and the house filming.

It’s that kind of life that doesn’t really mean I have to slow down…I’m fit enough and I still race. There’s no interest in slowing down. I don’t know why I would.

The nice thing about my particular job is that when I go shoot at 14,000 feet, I’m living at 14,000 feet. When I’m needing to do something from a helicopter, I’m in the helicopter and I’m chasing things all over the place. It’s a very physical job, so it’s nice from the physical nature that you’re always out in the elements and weather and going against time and the clock and all that to beat the sunset and do those things.

That part of it, because of the nature of what I shoot, I mean, I would not be interested in this business if I was locked in a studio. Nothing wrong with that and there’s plenty of people that make a great career and living out of shooting in the studio, but my life is truly on the road, chasing high action. I have been extraordinarily fortunate to be surrounded by great people in work and life that have allowed me to live that way.

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This Ex-Singer Vehicle Design Mechanic Has Struck Out On His Own

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Photography by Ted Gushue

Remember a few years ago when everyone was first discovering Singer Vehicle Design? Jalopnik did a big post on it, including just about everyone else. They all were basically the same piece: “OMG LOOK AT WHAT THESE GUYS ARE DOING”. Well, one of those original guys at Singer was Marlon Goldberg, who ran the 964 builds for two years under Rob Dickinson. Like our dear friend Dorian Valenzuela whose garage we recently profiled, Marlon’s left the Singer nest and struck out on his own with Workshop 5001, and we’re glad he did. He recently opened his doors to us and walked us through what he’s been up to over the last few years.

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TG: Tell me about the first car that you remember driving.

MG: The first car I ever drove [laughs] My grandfather had a Saturn. That was the first car I ever drove.

TG: A Saturn…?

MG: The second car was my dad’s Porsche 964. That was the first stick-shift car I drove.

TG: What do you remember about that car?

MG: Actually, the thing I remember the most was when my dad got the car. I was away at summer camp, and I basically got thrown out of summer camp on purpose so that my dad would have to come take me home, and I could see the car. I didn’t want to wait till the end of the summer. He was really pissed at me, that he had to drive up to Pennsylvania from New York and come get me, but then he took me for a ride in that car and I just remember it being so much faster than his 944. He was turning out of our neighborhood onto a main street, and he gunned it and fishtailed, and I’m like, “Oh my God. This is the coolest thing.”

TG: So you came from a Porsche family?

MG: Yeah.

TG: What cars were before the 964?

MG: We had an 1987 944S. Before that, my dad had a Saab 900S. My first word was “Saab,” or so my parents say.

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TG: When did you start playing around with cars?

MG: In high school. My dad and I were really nutty together. He’s a doctor and always wanted everything precise. We weren’t happy with the quality of work we were getting done on our cars at different shops. We always had the mentality that we can figure out how to do something ourselves, and buy the tools to do it. We would rather do that, that way we know we’ve done it the right way. I started tinkering with him, and then started doing formal apprenticeships by my senior year of high school.

TG: Your apprenticeship, was that with a certified Porsche mechanic, or was that with a small shop?

MG: The first shop I apprenticed for, it’s a well-known shop on the East Coast. It’s called Auto Sport Design. They do Porsche, Aston, and Ferrari. I apprenticed there, and then when I was in college I interned and apprenticed for Manhattan Motorcars, which is the Porsche, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini dealer.

TG: What was that like?

MG: That was cool. I was actually supposed to be Brian Miller’s intern, who is the owner of the dealership, to start learning the sales side. What ended up happening was I spent all my time in the shop. Their shop foreman at the time was a guy named Bobby. He kind of took me under his wing. He would stay there all night, building motors, and building hot rods. During the day, he would just oversee the shop and the other guys. He became like my big brother. To this day, he is my closest friend.

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TG: What were you exposed to there besides building motors? Did you get to drive all the cars that they had, and just kick it?

MG: Yeah. Everyone who I always worked for was very lenient about letting me drive stuff. There was one summer during college, I did an apprenticeship for a guy named Tony Dutton. His shop is called Northumberland Engineering, in Southampton New York. Him and his partner had moved from England to take care of a 100-plus Rolls Royce collection. The guy they went to work for died within a year, so they were left in America, and they opened their own shop doing old British race cars and different stuff. He said, “If you don’t drive everything and know how they’re supposed to drive, you can never fix them.” He let me drive everything. It was cool, getting to drive a lot of different stuff.

TG: Where did you head from there?

MG: I then worked for Ferrari North America as one of their two staff mechanics.

TG: One of two?

MG: Yeah. They have one for the Ferrari side, and one for the Maserati side, at their headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, taking care of the cars that are driven by the executives; press cars as well. I was there for six months filling in for one of the guys who had gotten hurt on the Maserati side. I did well. They got me a job; they placed me at the dealer on Long Island. I worked for Ferrari Long Island, and then I decided to move out here, because my wife grew up out here.

TG: Do you miss working on Ferraris?

MG: Not really. We still do now and again, even though right now there’s no Ferraris in the shop. We still do a little bit, because, it’s funny, a lot of guys my age, my friends, are starting to make money, and they want a Ferrari but they can’t really afford to take care of them. I call it the “Ferrari charity work,” because you can’t make any money on the parts. They all need a lot of work to keep them going, especially cars like 355s. One of my friends has that car. It is more money to take care of a 355 than a 250 GTO. We try to avoid that, but I like those cars too.

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TG: So, you move out here with your wife, then what?

MG: I had free time on my hands because I came out here without a job. My wife and I both quit our jobs in New York. I started doing pit crew for a team that took care of Ferrari Beverly Hills Challenge cars. I had always wanted to work for Andial. While I was in college, I had been coming out, and I interviewed with them twice. They liked me. The thing that was cool about the guys at Andial is that they were a big deal to everyone else in the Porsche world, but they weren’t a big deal to themselves. I think they thought it was fascinating that this kid from New York wanted to come work for them so badly. Most of their staff had been local, Southern California people, or on the Motorsport side, they had guys from Germany. They basically told me, “Look. We’re going to retire, and Porsche Motorsport is taking over the whole building.”

Dieter, who was the main technical guy of the three partners; he ended up taking a smaller shop to do work for some of his clients. I approached him, and I said, “Look. I would still like to learn from you guys. My dad’s 964 is leaking oil everywhere it can leak oil. Can I bring it out and we’ll do the motor?” I spent six months with Dieter doing the motor on that car, so I got to do my apprenticeship with them. I’m really the only non-employee that ever trained there, which I thought was kind of cool; and then I went to work for Beverly Hills Porsche, because I live around the corner.

I kept going to BH Porsche and saying, “Hey, I want a job.” This is when…2009, ’10, the economy was still not great. They said, “No. We have too many guys in the shop. You’ll be taking the food out of their mouths.” I just kept coming around. I finally said, “Look. If you’re not going to give me a job in the shop, give me a job in sales.” Most of the sales departments are like a revolving door. They said, “Oh, a mechanic can’t sell cars.” I said, “Okay. Watch.”

For the first two weeks I was there, they wanted me to do training, because I had never technically sold cars. I had to shadow one of the other guys. Finally, it was a Saturday, and it was busy, and there were people not being helped. I said, “You know what? I’m just going to start helping customers. If they don’t like it, they can fire me.” In the last two weeks of the month, I sold six cars. My second month, I was top salesperson. It continued at that pace. I stayed there for a little over a year.

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TG: It makes sense. You’re able to talk about the way that the cars deliver on what they promise.

MG: Yeah. I don’t know that I could sell other cars. I think that Porsche is something that I really believe in the quality, and it has been such a big part of my life that it makes it easy for me to sell the cars, because I believe in them. I think even the modern Porsches are the best cars on the road, and obviously air-cooled Porsches I think are the best cars ever built, so it was natural for me to sell them.

TG: You’re there for a year, you’re a top salesman, and then you’re like, “All right, now what?”

MG: That was when I went to Singer Vehicle Design. Rob actually came into Beverly Hills Porsche one day, driving the second car that they had done.

TG: The ’69R?

MG: No. That’s his personal car. That’s a ’69. This was built for the guy that owns Porsche of Omaha. That was an ’88 G-Body car. I had seen a piece on them in Robb Report, so I immediately recognized the car, and I started talking with him, and also a friend of his, a guy named Maz, who is also heavily involved at Singer. He was with him. I started talking with them for a couple months, and then I came to work there, to start doing the 964s. I was hired as operations director, to basically run all the day-to-day business, and then to be head mechanic. At that point, John was there, who was a fabricator, and he had almost single-handedly built the first two cars, the first two G-Body cars. It was him and myself, and we had a small support staff, and started building the 964s.

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TG: You were there for how long?

MG: Just about two years. I stayed on for about seven cars.

TG: Why did you leave?

MG: I just…I had enough. It wasn’t for me. Rob and I were fighting too much.

TG: Were you having disagreements around his design principles, or the way that he wanted to construct the cars?

MG: Some of it I really don’t want to get into. I do like Rob. I like what they’re doing. I believe in what we were doing there. It just wasn’t for me. Sometimes you do and say things, or the people around you do and say things, that just push you in a different direction, and it’s what is meant to be. I walked out unexpectedly, and I called up the guys at Auto Gallery, who was the other big Porsche dealer in LA. One of the owners is from New York, and I knew the guys there. Two days later, I was selling cars again at Auto Gallery, and I was top salesperson every month for a year and a half. During that period of time I was there, I was working seven days a week. The dealerships are all open seven days a week here, from eight in the morning until eight at night.

TG: Your wife must have loved you.

MG: Yeah. I’ll tell you, after I left and I had weekends off, it was almost hard for us to transition back into spending time together.

MG: She knew I was driven, and anything I’m going to do I want to do it as well as I can. During that period of time, I bought this building and spent nine months renovating it while I was at Auto Gallery. Originally, I wanted to do both, but I quickly figured out that I couldn’t do both well. I had invested so much personally in doing this project that I had to do it. I could always go back to working at the Porsche dealer. It is one of my career goals to own a Porsche dealer.

TG: Really?

MG: Yeah. It’s kind of what I’ve always wanted to do. I think right now there is still too much of a gap between taking care of the old cars and servicing those clients and their cars, and then what goes on at the dealer. I think that gap needs to be bridged more. Porsche is getting better at it, with this Porsche Classic program, but right now the Porsche Classic program is more marketing than anything else. I don’t want to take anything away from them. They’re going in the right direction, but they need the people and the infrastructure to be able to follow through.

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TG: If they ever knock on your door and ask you to come help run their program, would you say Yes?

MG: Yeah. I would definitely be interested in helping. I have a few friends who are Porsche dealer principals, who own dealers and are heavily involved in the classic stuff. At Manhattan, they’ve always serviced a lot of the classic cars because the guys in New York have the old air-cooled cars either tucked away in New York City garages or they keep them out in the Hamptons. They’ve always kind of been a ‘Porsche Classics’ center. I have said to the guys, I said, “Look. You need to put a Classic program in place before Porsche comes to you and says, ‘This is how we want you to do it’.”

I think I have pretty strong opinions of how the program needs to be structured for it to do well, but we’ll see how it evolves. I’m doing it the way I think it needs to be be done here, and then we’ll see how we can incorporate it.

TG: Clearly, people respect the way that you want things to be done, to the point where they are coming to you as customers. Walk me through the type of customers that you’re dealing?

MG: We’re dealing primarily with the people who are fanatical about these cars. Not just about the cars, but the way that the cars are taken care of. We have created a secure facility where everything is kept inside. I’m the only person who drives anything. I take care of their cars the same way I would take care of my own cars, or even better, in a lot of situations. Those are the kind of clients that we’re getting. They want more attention, not just for the cars, but I guess themselves.

TG: Any projects that you’re working on now that really stand out? The ’73 looks pretty cool.

MG: The ’73 is important because it’s the first full-build in the new shop.

TG: Walk me through, top to bottom.

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MG: The car started life as a ’73 911T. It was originally Royal Purple, but the client decided he wanted Audi Nardo Gray. He wanted this battleship or primer gray, very simple and clean looking. It had already been a bit of a hot rod and had a 3.2L motor from an ’86 911, and I took that motor and brought it to the next level with a GT-3 oil pump, CP pistons, Mahle cylinders, twin-plugged the heads, Motec EFI, MilSpec wiring; every trick that you could possibly throw at that motor, and then the chassis as well: KW 3-Way Motorsport Coilovers, hand-built by KW Motorsport in Germany; eliminating the torsion bars, RSR sway bars; [the 00:17:08] fully adjustable, all-spherical bearing.

All the plating on the car has been done in a finish that we call Crystalite Chrome; sort of this satin finish. All the things that we did on it, the average person would walk by and the car wouldn’t stand out to them. That was the intent. Guys that are Porsche geeks would see the car, and see underneath it, and they would understand that all the detail stuff is over the top.

TG: What is it like to drive?

MG: It’s very fast. The first night I took it out…I was nervous to drive it during the day, when there’s traffic. It’s pretty congested around here. My test run is the 10, to the 405, to Mulholland, and then back down Laurel Canyon and Crescent Heights. A guy in a brand-new Turbo-S Cab, a 991 Turbo-S, pulled up to me on the 405. He’s kind of looking at the car, and takes off, and I hung with him, and then he slowed back down to look at the car again, and just couldn’t believe that this little, skinny-body car was keeping up with his brand-new Turbo.

It’s a little over the top, but it’s what the customer wanted. If you drive these cars, you know how they felt balanced originally, or even a little slow by modern standards? We wanted something that looked vintage, but you could still get in and scare the shit out of yourself.

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TG: How many other orders has this car generated for other builds like this? Are there any in the works?

MG: It generated the ’74 build. That car is at paint right now. That’s the one that I told you is going to be a little more street-racer, club-sport focused; so, a gutted-out and painted interior; it doesn’t have a full-on race cage, but it’s got the club-sport bar in the back, with roof bars, and then down-bars by the A-pillar. Actually, both cars were on our Celette bench, and stitch-welded and strengthened everywhere so that for the next car, the ’74, the cage was all done on the bench. It generated that build, and then we have a 914 that we’re doing as well, that I think is partially related to this car. The client with that; I think him seeing and driving the ’73 car gave him the confidence to have us do that 914 for him.

TG: As someone who wants to build a business, and wants their work to be marketed, it is very powerful to have a car like that as a marketing tool. What happens when you’re a small shop that builds an amazing car that’s owned by someone who doesn’t want exposure?

MG: This particular client wants the car to get exposure. I think when things are done in series, or a shop builds a reputation for doing one after the other, it helps the value of all the cars. He wants that. The client we’re building the ’74 for, that guy actually lives local, in West Hollywood, and he said we would have complete access to the car whenever we need it. I think the process makes these clients our friends. They want other people to see the cars and to give them exposure. I have yet to have a client with one of these built that wants it tucked away and no one ever to see it.

TG: How long until you outgrow your space?

MG: There are days that we feel like we’ve outgrown it. It’s funny. One of the hardest things about managing a shop, or maybe managing lots of types of businesses, is controlling the workflow. Sometimes we’re jammed and there’s nowhere to stick the cars, and other days everything is cleared out, and certain cars are at paint, and then we’ve got plenty of space. That’s hard to gauge, but I think we’ll outgrow the space when I feel we are using this space as efficiently as possible. I think a lot of shops, once they’re jammed with cars, they’re like, “Okay, we need more space.” Just because you’re jammed doesn’t mean you’re using the space as efficiently as possible.

Thanks to Marlon Goldberg for taking the time to speak with us at Workshop 5001.

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This 1968 Porsche 911L Is A Solid Gold Rockstar ($150,000)

 

At a Glance

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Seller: Jeff Suhy (co-owned by Troy Snyder) | @pynhead
  • Price: $150,000
  • Chassis: 1180533
  • Engine: Original Type 901/06 2.0-liter flat-six
  • Mileage: 74,154
  • Transmission: Original Five-speed manual
  • Color: Gold Metallic (2006)
  • Cabin: Original with dealer optional Sport Recaro Seats
  • Sympathetically restored in 2006
  • Follow the cars travel and social media history #gold911L

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AN LA ICON

The 60s – Sex. Drugs. Rock ‘n Roll.

And most importantly, cars.

The decade which saw the birth of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix simultaneously introduced some of the greatest automobiles of all time.  We can all agree, this was quite the time to be alive.  Naturally, sports cars and Rock ‘n Roll go hand in hand, which is the case for this special 1968 Porsche 911L.  

This car’s story begins in the ever bohemian Laurel Canyon of Los Angeles – the epicenter for psychedelic rock experimentation.

At the forefront of this movement was Paul Rothchild, the original owner of this 911L, and the famous studio producer for The Doors, among other artist like Janis Joplin (a fellow Porsche owner) and Joni Mitchell. In ‘66, Paul Rothchild was working at Sunset Studies and tasked with producing a recent Elektra Records signed then-unknown four-man group called The Doors.  Rothchild’s recording talents and ability to work seamlessly with Jim Morrison and the rest earned him the nickname “The Fifth Door” – quite the testament to his craft.

 

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Shortly after the release of The Doors second album, titled Strange Days, Rothchild bought this (originally) Dark Green Metallic 911L new in August of 1968. Through the industry, Rothchild became good friends with fellow-big-time-producer David Anderle—who famously signed Frank Zappa and cofounded Brother Records with Brian Wilson, the ‘architect’ behind the Beach Boys.  The Sixties were wild times, which might explain why Rothchild gifted his beloved one-year-old 911 to David Anderle in 1969–perhaps he felt the car, like the gift of music, should be be shared?  In any case, David Anderle became the proud new caretaker of Rothchild’s Porsche, a great honor he held for more than 25 years.

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(David with Rita Coolidge | Recording with Kris Kristofferson | Studio with Bonnie and Delaney)

In 1989, a novice Jeff Suhy joined A&M Studios under the wing of the by-then-iconic David Anderle. Over many years of mentorship, Jeff and David formed a strong friendship.  A bond so great that in 1995, David tossed Jeff his Porsche key and said he reminded him of his younger self and that if he wanted to accurately follow in his footsteps, Jeff needed to be the next custodian of Rothchild’s Porsche—a day that forever changed Jeff’s life.  Again, a gifted transaction – what is it with these musicians?

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Jeff worked hand in hand with David as the VP of Artists & Repertoire at A&M Records until 1999.  In that time he was responsible for the rise of artists like Sheryl Crow and Soundgarden.  After leaving the music industry, the 911 remained a keepsake of his roots in LA music.  Some of you may recognize Jeff from his participation in the LA car enthusiast scene, most recently showing the 911 at Luftgekuhlt but also as a previous feature of Petrolicious in his beloved Citroen DS.

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(Jeff Suhy with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers | Jeff and Soundgarden)

THE CAR

Despite their premium MSRP compared to cheaper competitors, it’s no secret the Porsche 911 has been a smashing hit since its debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. With current demand for all-things-air-cooled, the desire for early longhood 911 is growing. The 911L was the most expensive 911 offered for the American market at the time since the 911S did not comply with emissions regulations at the time.  In effect, the car is essentially a base 911 featuring the 130 hp 2.0-liter engine but came standard with the superior 911S suspension and brakes—only 449 L models were made in 1968.

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CONDITION

The 2006 restoration was well done and still holding strong nearly 10 years later.  Jeff’s Porsche is simply in great condition and been well cared for since its sympathetic restoration.  

We’ve broken the car pros and cons of the car down in the following sections.

Exterior Highlights

The gold is a unique change from the typical Porsche color palette and its depth works wonders with the contrasting black Fuchs.  

  • The body is straight and the chassis is strong
  • Rust free thanks to its dry life in California, with only a few years recently spent in Oregon
  • Extremely high quality respray

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Exterior Blemishes

The exterior has a few minor blemishes primarily incurred from the car’s recent excursion from Portland to Los Angeles. The car was involved in a minor accident in early 70’s, but the unibody was not compromised by the collision. 

  • Two paint nicks near antenna
  • One paint nick near driver side door handle

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Interior Highlights

  • Dash and headliner are immaculate
  • Carpets, though not original, are in very good condition
  • All interior electronics and buttons are functional

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Interior Blemishes

  • Slight patina on center of steering wheel and lip surrounding instrument gauges 

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Mechanical Highlights

  • Engine restored @ 47k miles, meticulously maintained since (all records available)
  • Flat-six motor and five-speed are numbers matching (Porsche Certificate of Authenticity)
  • A recent pre-sale inspection by Dorian Valenzuela at DV Mechanic’s confirmed a clean bill of health
  • Car completed drive from Portland to Los Angeles without issue in June 2015

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Mechanical Blemishes

  • While well maintained, the engine is not polished cosmetically

Underside

  • The underside is all original, freshened and in great condition
  • No surface or structural rust

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ORIGINALITY

Shortly into his tenure, David Anderle, perhaps unsurprising considering his line of work, installed an AM/FM radio—which is still equipped. In June 1970, while dining at the Continental Restaurant, a valet damaged the paintwork on the left door and rear quarter panel. Upon taking the car in for repair, Porsche informed David the car’s factory green paint was no longer available. By August of that year, David had the car completely resprayed in “Laguna Grey.” In August 1970, the car returned to the dealership for upgraded Sports Recaro Seats—a rather rare option. According to records, David had the side markers shaved and, again, had the car repainted in 1977.

With the exception of the stereo, new carpet, and dealer installed Recaro buckets, the interior is in great condition and was restored using OEM materials.

Although not the original to the car, the OE special order metallic finish is not something you typically see on Porsches. 

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Vehicle Color History

Circa 2000, Jeff had the heater box removed and a performance exhaust installed for a little more grunt and mechanical audio. Speaking of, Jeff also added speakers in the door cards and a hidden amplifier—after all, this car should probably have a decent stereo.  

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In 2005, Troy Snyder (co-owner) proposed splitting restoration expenses in exchange for partial ownership of the car, to which Jeff agreed. With tired, near 30-year-old paint, the body was in need of re-freshening, so it went back to the paint booth. This time around, Jeff and Troy went with a factory Metallic Gold, which was an OEM special order color in 1968. 

Non-Original Items Recap

  • Upgraded Sports Recaro Seats
  • Gold Metallic color (period correct)
  • Sports exhaust headers
  • Speakers in doors

Documentation

The car’s history is fully documented including Paul’s initial invoice and window sticker from Siegfried Motors in New Jersey and David’s maintenance and repairs at Bob Smith Porsche in Hollywood.

  • Initial Invoice
  • Window Sticker
  • Original Owners Manual
  • Original Toolkit
  • Service Records
  • Restoration Receipts
  • Porsche Certificate of Authenticity 

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Ownership Timeline

  •  Paul Rothschild | new-1969 | Los Angeles, CA
  •  David Anderle | 1969-1995 | Los Angeles, CA
  •  Jeff Suhy | 1995-present | Los Angeles, CA
  •  Bob Suhy + Jeff Suhy | 1998-2005 | Chicago, IL
  •  Troy Snyder + Jeff Suhy | 2005-present | Portland OR + Los Angeles, CA

2005 Restoration

The car was completely disassembled and the body was taken down to bare metal for a complete respray and ground up restoration.  After the metallic gold was applied and sealed with ample layers of clear coat, the car was painstakingly reconstructed with all new rubber components throughout, to include window seals and squeegees, suspension bushings, and engine mounts. 

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The collaborated restoration between Troy and Jeff was completed in 2006 and has since only been driven on occasion. The suspension was overhauled in 2006 and Jeff notes the car drives as close to a factory fresh ‘68 911 possible—the suspension has only seen a few thousand miles since the rebuild with $5k in additional mechanicals refreshed in 2012.

 After completing the restoration, Troy and Jeff briefly returned the freshly rebuilt 911 to David Anderle for old time’s sake before he passed away.

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Our Thoughts

If you are looking for an early 911 to win an originality trophy at a concours, this is the wrong car for you – this car has had way too much fun in its life for that.  This is, however, a low mileage turnkey car you can enjoy immediately.  Aside from its musical ties, each owner has loved this car and it shows.  We all remember when these cars were worth next to nothing, but here it is sitting proud and ready for its next chapter.

Jim Morrison once said “A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”  We think the same applies to cars. Our fire is lit, is yours?

Meet The Seller

This car is for sale by Jeff Suhy (IG: @pynhead).  You can learn more about him in this previous episode on Petrolicious.

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The soundtrack in this film in tribute to David Anderle and was crafted by Adam Franklin, of the band Swervedriver, and an artist signed and managed collectively by Jeff Suhy and David Anderle.

Written by Andrew Golseth

 

Photography by Nima Salimi

Drive Tastefully

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