I’m a photographer. And I, like many photographers, enjoy using old school film cameras. But why would anyone want to use technology as outdated as a film camera when the latest digital technology allows users to have 102400 ISO speed, 10 frames per second, and 61 autofocus points? Why would anyone want to give all of those astonishing features up in order to wind the film, focus manually, and develop the photos through chemical processes while not even knowing if you got a single good shot until long after the snap of the shutter? Because I absolutely love it.
It’s much of the same for cars. I love cars. I love cars far more than I like photography. And I, like many car lovers, enjoy older and less technologically advanced examples of vehicles. But why would anyone pass on navigation systems and heated leather seats and instead want a clutch pedal and manual window rollers? The reason is the same for cars and cameras: because the older versions give us a specific pleasure that the modern examples can’t.
Now I’m not saying that I don’t like digital cameras with 61 autofocus points or cars with butt warmers. I do, I really do. But by including the features that make new cameras and cars so great, the manufacturers have lost the pleasure that can now only be found by looking to the past. So when I heard that the North Carolina Museum of Art was having an exhibition that could fulfill my desire for these outdated pleasures, I had to go and I had to bring my b&w film camera.
The exhibition was called Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed
The exhibition features cars dating from the very beginning of Porsche’s history. From drop top road goers to Le Mans racers like the 1990 962C above.
The cars were owned by Ralph Lauren, Steve McQueen, Janis Joplin, and one from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Needless to say, the collection was fantastic.
In addition to the life size cars, there were a few model cars on display. The details on these were amazing. If you were to show me a photo of these and tell me that they were real, I would certainly believe you.
Although almost all of the cars were early models, there were a few modern cars on display. Like this 911 GT3 R Hybrid prototype racer.
There aren’t many car companies that could have their vehicles presented this way. As art. That’s because few have been able to do what Porsche has done from the beginning: make art fast.
From their inception Porsche has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible from a car. And at the same time have defined how beautiful a car can be.
This 1961 type 356B is a perfect example of Porsche’s engineering excellence. Based off of the company’s first production car, the 356, this car was built for racing. With an aluminum body, dual overhead cams, and an aerodynamic design, the 356B was very competitive and is a pure race car.
My favorite car on display was this 1962 type 804. The design is in many ways the basic idea of nearly every Porsche to date: look simple and be fast.
The 804 was one of Porsche’s earliest F1 racers. This was the only F1 car on display.
The Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed exhibition was great. It was almost always packed with visitors, most of which had no passion for cars at all. By far the best part of the exhibition was how it was able to get the general Camry or Accord driving public to appreciate vehicles and see them as much more than an appliance.
The exhibition will be open until February second at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you live anywhere near Raleigh, I strongly encourage you to go see it.