‘Porsche Effect’ Draws Legendary Drivers & Hollywood Elite
Spyders, Singers, Speedsters…Petersen’s newest exhibit brings the famous & curious to L.A. to experience once-in-a-lifetime collection.
Petersen Automotive Museum‘s newest exhibit, “The Porsche Effect,” brings to L.A. a great mix of street machines and race cars that prove these iconic machines look just as good standing still as they do when crossing race track finish lines at Le Mans or turning heads on Rodeo Drive. The year-long showcase opened Feb. 3 and kicked off on Feb. 1 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony that drew an interesting mix of notable Porsche enthusiasts and car collectors. Actor-racer Patrick Dempsey, track legend Hurley Haywood, Porsche Cars North America president Klaus Zellmer, and sports star-turned-Porsche dealership owner C.J. Wilson were spotted among the crowd at the VIP reception.
The Petersen notes that “The Porsche Effect” is the “most comprehensive Porsche display outside of Stuttgart.” And as we took in the preview night festivities, we unequivocally agreed with the general consensus in the room: This showcase spans Porsche’s 70-year history in a way that must be experienced firsthand to truly appreciate the full impact of this once-in-a-lifetime collection.
Before opening up the exhibit to the invited media, the Petersen hosted an infinitely interesting panel discussion that included Dempsey, Haywood and fellow Porsche enthusiasts like racer and broadcaster Tommy Kendall and Chad McQueen, son of Hollywood icon and Le Mans star Steve McQueen, whose 1958 356A 1600 Super Speedster is part of the exhibit.
The standing room only panel discussion event focused on the panel’s personal stories of how their fascination with and respect for one of the world’s fastest sports cars developed. Actor and Porsche racer Dempsey recalled heading to his nearest Porsche dealer as soon as he wrapped his first big Hollywood film, 1987’s Can’t Buy Me Love, and plunking down all of his earnings for his first Porsche. It was a personal story that virtually everyone in the room shares, or dreams of sharing someday. McQueen’s reflections were equally compelling, with stories about coming-of-age alongside a father whose passion for Porsches immediately struck a chord and gave him entry to some of the most iconic race tracks in the world.
Although the panel of famous Porsche owners easily enraptured their audience with an hour-long discussion on a topic that we all could have listened to for another few hours, the real star of the evening was, of course, the Porsches.
‘We are thrilled to share this incredible history with the public in an experience that both passionate enthusiasts and casual fans will surely appreciate and enjoy.’
— Peter Mullin, Petersen Automotive Museum Chairman
Organized in partnership with Porsche Cars North America, “The Porsche Effect” presents every type of Porsche design, from prototypes to the legendary Le Mans-winning Porsche 935 K3 owned by the Petersen Automotive Museum’s vice-chairman, Bruce Meyer. Other jaw-dropping vehicles in the showcase include a 1938 Berlin-Rome Type 64 race car, which was almost overshadowed by a rare-model “X83” Turbo S Flachbau 964. The most exclusive gem we spotted, however, was a four-door prototype of the Porsche 928.
Adding to the excitement was the wide variety of gorgeous colors of Porsches all set under one roof, in the Petersen’s Mullin Grand Salon. Eclectic displays highlighting virtually every aspect of Porsche vehicles and their history — from flat six engines and vintage ads to eclectic artifacts and even a spot-on kids-car replica of a Carrera — are also featured throughout the exhibit.
Gathering 50 rare and exotic Porsches from around the world and bringing them all to Southern California for such a unique project was obviously no small feat. According to one of the exhibit’s main organizers, Petersen Chairman Peter Mullin, “The Porsche Effect” was over a year in the making. And capturing the full effect that Porsche has had on automotive engineering and motorsports for seven decades was successfully constructed by equal parts passion and respect for the brand. “We are thrilled to share this incredible history with the public in an experience that both passionate enthusiasts and casual fans will surely appreciate and enjoy,” says Mullin, whose ambitious Porsche project received some help from Zellmer, who was eager to be part of such an historic exhibit.
“Within my responsibility at Porsche, none is greater than the commitment of looking after our great brand,” says Zellmer. “With that, of course, comes the compulsion to support and honor our rich heritage. When the Peteresen Museum first suggested we work together on what has become ‘The Porsche Effect,’ I immediately saw the mutual benefits to both.
“The Porsche Effect” exhibit runs through January 27, 2019. Get more details here.