Some traditions fade away but others seem to get stronger over the years. As the automotive community continues to grow rapidly in every direction, the Porsche brand as been able to build on its historic roots while looking forward to a seemingly limitless future. As the value of 356 and 911 bodied-cars has exploded, the Porsche market in general has grown by leaps and bounds. Although “Air Cooled” is king, the market is driving values of all-things-Porsche through the roof. Have you seen the suggested list price of a base 911 Carrera 992 lately? Crazy!
A large part of the Porsche tradition in Los Angeles takes place every year in March at the LA LIT Meet (otherwise known as the Porsche and Vintage VW Literature, Toy & Memorabilia Meet). This year marked the 37th anniversary for the event which has been held at the LAX Hilton for the past 27 years.
For years, Porsche enthusiasts came to Los Angeles just for the LIT Meet with a few get-togethers of Porsche-related businesses, but that trend has grown into a series of open houses, parties and gatherings for several days before and after the Meet. To fulfill the needs of out of towners and to make it more convenient for more attendees, in 2018 the organizers expanded bus tours to many of the events that are spread out across the greater Los Angeles area. The Petersen Automotive Museum has become one of the destinations with a tour of The Vault among other activities. Other stops on the bus tours include John Esposito’s in North Hollywood, LA Dismantler in Sun Valley, Sierra Madre Collection and Beverly Hills Car Club, both in L.A. The Southern route on Thursday started at Magnaflow in Oceanside, continued to Autos International in Escondido, visited CPR Classic in Fallbrook and ended at Benton Performance in Anaheim.
Friday’s bus tour from the Hilton included Callas Rennsport, Klasse 356 and Hunziker, all in Torrance, Porsche South Bay in neighboring Hawthorne, Wilhoit Auto Restorations in Long Beach, Pelican Parts in nearby Harbor City and Porsche Motorsports North America Workshop in Carson, CA. Saturday was no less demanding but a little more centralized, with Carparc USA, Liberty Motorsports and European Collectibles, all in Costa Mesa. A separate bus tour was planned to include only Emory Motorsports and The Petersen Museum.
Capping off the weekend was The So-Cal all-Porsche Swap & Car Display at The Phoenix Club in Anaheim and SoCal Diecast Cars & Coffee at the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, both on Sunday. For those still around on Monday, the Justice Private Automotive Collection continued their Open House from 8am to 5pm in Duarte, California.
I was personally able to attend six of the events and saw a great cross-section of cars, swag, materials, enthusiasts and classic scenes that I’m (luckily) able to share with you. Starting out right with a visit to Klasse 356, I was able to see some amazing examples of original 356 Porsches and the shop where everyone in the know goes for parts and repairs. Nicolas Hunziker’s retail operation happens to be in the same complex, so besides his art gallery/store, I was able to see his unique take on a 911 “art car”. Nic’s automotive artwork in inspiring and much of it revolves around the Porsche brand. His “wearable art” is a favorite of mine, especially his licensed driving shoes.
While Klasse and Hunziker were pretty low key open houses, there was a huge crowd of Porsche enthusiasts as I drove up to the Callas Rennsport facility. They had multiple Porsches of every description in all states of repair and display, on the racks and parked in the adjacent spaces. The spread of classic models was awesome and ranged pretty evenly between 911’s, 356, 914 and 928’s.
For me, Saturday was LIT day, so after checking out what was parked in the LAX Hilton Hotel valet area (there’s always some unique Porsche examples out front) I braved the two grand ballrooms and, as usual, went up and down every single aisle! I’ve learned that you never know what you missed unless you see every item from every vendor. I ran into a few friends including Magnus Walker and his wife Karen plus racing legend John Morton of Shelby American and BRE fame. In the past, I’ve seen Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld shopping and schmoozing.
When I heard Rod Emory was holding a “private” open house, I knew I had to go. Emery Motorsports is somewhat of a Holy Grail of the Porsche world, and I wasn’t disappointed. For one, they had free tacos! For another, I got to see the 1949 Porsche LeMans winner in person. Between that and the room FULL of 356 bodies waiting to be turned into different Outlaw variations, it was definitely a high point of the LIT week.
Saving some of the best for last, on Sunday I ventured to Anaheim for The Phoenix Club So-Cal All-Porsche Swap & Car Display. As an indication to the size of the event, parking was very had to find. Members of the hosting 356 Club of Southern California greeted everyone warmly at the entrance and ushered us into a wonderland of all-things Porsche. There were three large areas for vendors of every description; several display areas throughout the massive grounds and on the perimeters, car display (car show) areas. Phoenix Club was also serving their famous German Food and beer.
All in all, thousands of Porsche enthusiasts seemed to be pretty happy all weekend and I know they’re already looking forward in anticipation to next year, the 38th Anniversary of the LA LIT Meet.