Thankfully, the weather did little to dampen spirits and I think it may have even helped the event – not just from a photography point of view, but also from the general camaraderie from all being wet. Well, you know how we Brits like to talk about the weather, don’t you?
We started our air-cooled Porsche pilgrimage at 06:30 from Chislehurst, Kent. Me driving my water-cooled 911 and Toby in his 993 and on the way we picked up more friends at Cobham services, Stuart and his ’66 912 and James in his ’72 911T. To say the drive up to Bicester was wet would be an understatement, but we’ve driven through worse.
Bicester Heritage is an old RAF site, first used by the Royal Flying Corps in 1916. Later it became part of the newly formed Royal Air Force on 1st April 1918 when RAF Bicester, as it now was, became a Training Depot. From 1925, the airfield was transformed into a state-of-the-art Bomber Station which continued operating throughout WWII. From 1953 it became known as Number 71 Maintenance Unit, assisting in crash investigations and finally closed in 2004. Fast-forward to 2013 and its War Department buildings have been restored and updated as the home of the UK’s first centre for historic motoring.
The mix of freshly restored and decaying buildings interspersed by tree-lined roads make for a labyrinth of discovery and excellent photographic opportunities. The Luftgekühlt crew used the venue to maximum advantage. There were no neat rows or cars, thankfully, but a refreshing, finely curated selection of air-cooled Porsches dotted in and around the various buildings. There was a new discovery around every corner. From a room of 2.7 Carrera’s to the trio of black 911’s sat against the unrestored, decaying hanger doors. Each car had been placed with art director precision. Most of which was handled on the fly as various Porsches turned up.
Scattered in amongst visitors air-cooled Porsche’s were many rarities. From full-on race cars, such as the Jägermeister 934 3.0 RS to the Singer DLS development car. Which, I must admit, I walked past a number of times before being made aware of its significance. I’m still relatively new to Porsche’s and don’t have the knowledge to fully recognise the historical significance of some of the vehicles, viewing them with an aesthete’s appreciation and a photographers eye. But even if you were a total Porsche newbie, there’s no way that you couldn’t be enthralled by the machinery on display.
A less than tidy 964, looking like a leftover from the 90’s Max-power scene. Little did I know this was Singer’s test mule for their collaboration project with Williams Advanced Engineering, part of Williams Grand Prix Engineering Group. The result of which is the fantastic Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS) – debuted only a fortnight earlier at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The rough with the smooth. Weathered hanger doors make a great backdrop for this sleek 964RS.
This subtle little 911 was probably my favourite of the show. It’s a car that’s ‘just right’ – what do I mean by that? Well, I think that’s a whole post in itself.