Few things are more inspiring than seeing a team of creative people getting together to complete a one-of-a-kind project for a noble cause. Luftgekühlt is a brand founded by two-time Le Mans class winner Patrick Long and creative director Howie Idelson. The company’s name may be a mouthful, but it is instantly familiar to any automotive aficionado, as it alludes to Porsche’s air-cooled cars which start at the Pre-A 356 and go all the way to the 993 range. Luftgekühlt organizes automotive-themed events featuring iconic or intriguing car models, whether they’re race or street cars, but on the 10th of April 2016 the brand unveiled LUFTAUTO, a special car designed for a special purpose. The vehicle was the main attraction at the RM Sotheby’s auction for the Autumn Leaves Project, which is a charity dedicated to pancreatic cancer research.
The event was held at Modernica, the original manufacturer of the iconic Eames fiberglass chair. Getting the car to its final form was a huge collaborative project that included several companies and dedicated teams. The base car is a 1985 911 Carrera Coupe, a rally-style car designed to suit both city streets and rougher terrain, and it was chosen because it maintains the spirit of Californian desert races alive. The original was upgraded with a series of features, including a rebuilt 3.2-liter engine, a sports exhaust, and lightweight Recaro bucket seats. Brand new Pirelli P-Zero Rally tires, custom fog lamps with headlight grills, and custom powder coated front and rear bumpers were added on the exterior; an American walnut / maple shift knob and walnut veneer sub-floors, both made by Modernica, complete the redesign process. The LUFTAUTO was expected to raise around $100,000, but the winning bid reached $275,000. Not surprising, considering the car is truly unique and manages to perfectly blend history and creativity in a stylish design. And all for a good cause. Images courtesy of Luftgekühlt.