Classic aircooled night on the town

Flat four air-cooled relatives

Porsche and VW automotive history have been closely intertwined right from inception. Classic early Porsches even have a very similar flat-four air-cooled engine in the back just like all VW Buses, Beetles etc. Even when they went all flat 6 with their engines, they still remained air-cooled up to the late 1990s!

a Porsche engine bolts straight in – available in a range of colours
a Porsche engine bolts straight in – available in a range of colours

It’s fairly common to see a variety of air-cooled Porsches in attendance at VW shows such as Ninove in Belgium, Luftgekühlt (German for ‘air-cooled’) and the show that is one of my favourites, Hessisch Oldendorf in Germany.

cool Porsche 911… all part of the aircooled family
cool Porsche 911… all part of the air-cooled family

A Porsche engine bolts straight in

It’s a bit like having a fancy relative in the family I suppose. I guess that’s why there is a fair amount of crossover that goes on within the VW air-cooled scene. All the kool kids seem to have plundered Porsche Fuchs wheels, brakes and even the odd engine (no they don’t just bolt straight in!) to upgrade their old VW Bus or Beetle! The DNA might be similar, but they are very different animals!

classic air-cooled Porsche style never gets old
classic air-cooled Porsche style never gets old

The poor man’s Porsche

That was naive me originally! My old 23 Window Samba was to be running on a set of original Porsche Gasburner Alloys with Porsche 944 vented disc brakes all-round with a big Type 4 2.4 litre engine in the back. Seemed a good idea at the time! My wallet learnt many lessons through that experience! Now I admire them from a much safer distance!

more dials than I’m used to in an air-cooled vehicle!
more dials than I’m used to in an air-cooled vehicle!

Porsche passenger, please…

That was until tonight. I had never actually been in a Porsche before. So when a friend asked if I wanted to head up to London to a classic Porsche meeting at the famous Ace Cafe, I jumped at the opportunity! He’d recently got his Porsche 912 on the road after a mini restoration. Now it was a case of getting out and about using it! It was cold. The heating wasn’t working properly, but hey, what the hell, let’s go!

nicely aged Amco accessory gear knob
nicely aged Amco accessory gear knob

Ace Cafe, London

It was my first experience of a ride in a classic air-cooled Porsche. It felt strangely familiar to when I had a vintage VW Beetle. Just a bit upgraded of course being a Porsche air-cooled sports car!

However, it had that traditional old car smell, the odd rattle here and there, and of course, the distinctive sound of the flat-four air-cooled engine in the back!

I must be going a bit soft in my old age, as I missed the working heating of my camper mind you! I really have spoilt myself with that working addition to the bus!

decent attendance for a cold winters evening
decent attendance for a cold winter’s evening

Petrolhead Paradise

We made decent time to arrive at the iconic and world-famous Ace Cafe in London. Ace Cafe London welcomes all who share their passion for the rich traditions of motorcycles, cars and rock n’ roll. Established in 1938, today the Ace has become ‘the home’ for petrol heads and is known as the world’s most famous motor cafe.

air and water mix… sort of
air and water mix… sort of

Cool, but not a camper

We parked up in prime position at the front of the cafe, and headed inside to warm up a bit! This was winter after all and the Porsche was ‘cool’ in more ways than one! It definitely lacked the thermal insulation my bus had!

a welcome cuppa after the drive up
a welcome cuppa after the drive up

See this is where a camper wins hands down. You have a kettle and stove with you to make a brew when you stop. Here we had to act like savages and buy food and drinks inside the cafe like regular Joes! The shame of it! That said, Ace Cafe do a decent brew and great food, so it was well worth it in this instance!

getting into the Halloween vibe
getting into the Halloween vibe

Porsche air and water mix

After our drinks, we went for a look around the car park. Aircooled classic Porsches were (unfortunately) in the minority. Maybe they are more fair-weathered drivers? It was good to see a couple of other hardy souls had made the effort to bring their air-cooled classic out for the night.

nice to see another air-cooled classic in attendance
nice to see another air-cooled classic in attendance

Top technology

Don’t get me wrong, water-cooled Porsches are amazing in their own right. They are just a totally different breed of Porsche to their earlier counterparts. The tech that goes into the current crop of Porsches is simply mind-blowing! Coupled with out of this world performance to match I’ve no doubt. I bet that the Porsche GT3 that had turned up that evening was a proper weapon on four wheels!

a mix of mostly water and some air-cooled Porsches
a mix of mostly water and some air-cooled Porsches

Porsche stock rocks

Not being a fully-fledged Porsche aficionado, a lot was probably wasted on me, but I did spy a rather nice set of original detailed Porsche Fuchs on the back seat of one of the cars. I wonder what they will be destined for?

nice set of original detailed Porsche Fuches
nice set of original detailed Porsche Fuches

Loved the classic Porsche emblem detailing on these 356 original factory steel wheels. Not sure if in the Porsche world ‘stock rocks’, but they looked great to me! Another major difference to most VW shows was the lack of original paint/survivor looking cars? I guess that’s maybe not such a ‘thing’ in these circles, must be more about the level of shine! Maintaining that new-look car for as long as possible I guess?

classic vintage stock Porsche wheel detailing
classic vintage stock Porsche wheel detailing

A quick bit of Porschography

On the drive back through London, we decided to take a more scenic way home. Any excuse for a bit of a drive. I love travelling in the city at night. I love seeing the lights and colours of the urban landscape!

some urban Porschography
some urban Porschography

We even had time to briefly stop off en-route home to grab a quick photo opportunity. A memory-making moment from a fun evening out!

fun with coloured lights on the journey
fun with coloured lights on the journey

It’s the journey, not the destination

Enjoy a quick video from the drive up to the Ace Cafe and through the streets of London back home to Hastings again…

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‘In the beginning I looked around and could not find the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself’ - Ferdinand Porsche
‘In the beginning, I looked around and could not find the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself’ – Ferdinand Porsche

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