Sunday, October 13, 2013

Four-wheel objects of desire

When I first heard that the N.C. Museum of Art was hosting a Porsche exhibit, I knew I wanted to go. I had to lusted after Porsches for years, admired them from afar, dreamed of what it would be like to drive one, but never got my hands on one.

Now I've been to the exhibit and have seen the remarkable collection of beautiful automobiles from the 1930s to today. Of course, I still haven't gotten my hands on one — touching the exhibits is not allowed at museums. And I haven't satiated my desire for a Porsche. If anything, it the desire has grown.
 Racers like this one dominate the exhibit.

Ferdinand Porsche designed beautiful cars with advanced aerodynamic styling and compact engines with exceptional power. The Museum of Art exhibit makes all that clear, and the show is a great attraction well worth the time to walk through the array of vehicles. If I had a disappointment about the show, it was that the exhibit concentrated on race cars rather than production cars that you or I could (theoretically, at least) buy and drive. There are "famous" cars, like Steve McQueen's 356 Speedster, and the original Porsche design, which had to be hand-made. There was also the 2014 Porsche Carrera that the museum is raffling off — just $100 per ticket. Since I couldn't afford the taxes if I won, I didn't bother.

                                    That is Steve McQueen's 356 Speedster (below).

 The 914 gets no respect in the museum show.

I was also a bit surprised that there was no mention in the exhibit of the Porsche 914, a model that I once thought I might be able to afford. It was the "baby Porsche" with a small engine and cheaper production from the 1970s that attempted to make the Porsche name affordable. I suspect that the omission was deliberate in an exhibit titled "Porsche By Design," the boxy 914 didn't quite fit in with the swooping aerodynamic designs of the 356, 911, 904 and others. Ultimately, this was an art exhibit, a design exhibit, not a car show.

This Carrera is being raffled off.
It's still worth your time. Go here for details.

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