A dissenting opinion from someone who’s never owned a Porsche
By Joe Hagel
Photos by Joe Hagel and Lane SKelton
Luftgekult 4 is finally over. Yes, finally. And by now your instagram feed is filled with a bunch of teardrop shaped cars from a little place the Germans refer to as Stuggy. If you’re getting FOMO (that’s fear of missing out for you non-millennials) from the explosion of air cooled hashtags on your IG… don’t. I’m here to tell you that it wasn’t that great.
It seems as though Luftbaloons jumped the shark. In just four years from its inception it went from a niche cool thing that no one knew about and everyone was invited to, to a curated douche fest where you had could go look at all the cars you’ve been looking at in your Instagram feed. And to make sure you remembered it all, you could spend $150 for a book where the pages are as uniform as the show was. The monotony of it all only salvaged by the area of cars that actually got driven. The Patina Pasture, as coined by Sean Custer. But even those started to feel trite when parked, not driven, by those cars that were trying to bite the aesthetic and not the lifestyle… Looking at you R-gruppe spray-paint patina car.
In all honesty, it felt like a frenzy. Feeding the masses with a content rich environment for their feeds. A place where followers would fight over shots and leave with nothing special. Where everyone asked everyone else if they’d seen Jerry. It felt, I felt, like everyone was constantly rushing to see everything and not enjoying anything. Just trying to “cap all the snaps” so as to not be scrolling through the oncoming onslaught and realize they missed something. Missed something they would’ve liked to see, or worse… missed something that would’ve made them look cool.
And in doing so, what most people did miss out on, what made it special, were the people who are involved in it. I honestly don’t really remember a single car. And that includes the ones I took pictures of. Or the ones my better half took pictures of me taking pictures of.
What I do remember was the people. The personalities behind each piece of metal. Those drivers (and navigators) whose personas were genuinely reflected in their automobiles. The Grumman G93. A roof rack filled with diapers and beers. A rear lid you can stick your hands through. A car parked in the bushes. These were the symbols of the people you got to meet. The people I will remember long after the polished paints have faded in my memory.
For me, it was really about was reconnecting with all those people, whether planned or not. It was about seeing all those who made the trek from NorCAL. Excitedly embracing those people we got to dice it up with on the Coastal Range Rally last February, and seeing those few LA friends who finally found an event worth leaving the west side for. And it was seeing those people that let me leave with a smile on my face.
So when you’re scrolling and tapping through your feed, fearing like you missed something cool... don’t. Because it was the people you know that made it cool. Your phone’s already in your hand and they’re just a phone call, a comment… one sexy DM away.