In the very first episode of “Seinfeld” — the pilot when it was still billed as “The Seinfeld Chronicles” — a rare and iconic poster adorns Jerry’s apartment wall. It shows a Porsche 911, from the rear, flying down a road with all four wheels off the ground. Porsche’s recognizable red letters, instead of horizontal, are stacked to the left of the thrilling image.
For the duration of the TV series a rotation of Porsche posters appears in the star’s living room. One can Google “Porsche poster on Seinfeld” to see scene shots of Jerry, George and others caught before a variety of German sports car imagery.
Porsche owners and aficionados are a rare breed themselves. For driving such an iconoclastic brand, they do a great job of flocking. Seeing a line of Porsches on the highway or parked together at a desirable destination is akin to seeing a tree full of bald eagles. Porsche people know how to have fun. And they are organized.
There may be a more buttoned down, carefully mapped and tightly structured federation of car clubs in the U.S. than the Porsche Club of America, but I haven’t found it yet. Visit pca.org to be treated to the most logical and easy-to-navigate car club website ever.
While driving between Red Bluff and Susanville, California, in May we came upon a covey of Carreras and more at the Highlands Ranch Inn near Mill Creek. Our drive-by peek at the gleaming Boxsters, 911s and Panameras drew the interest of those milling about the million-dollar collection, and our brief interaction went like so:
“Where ya from?”
And we drove on. Later I checked the above-referenced website to see what I could learn about the Auburn (California) Porsche Club, but to no avail. Arranged into 14 zones, there are 145 local Porsche car club regions across the United States and Canada, and the Golden State breakdown includes Sacramento Valley, Shasta, Sequoia, Sierra Nevada and Yosemite as regions, but no Auburn. Could be e renegade group that charts their own course. We may never know.
What we do know is that few car brands evoke a more visceral reaction than does Porsche, which is correctly pronounced POR-shuh and often pronounced PORSH. In Arizona, two of the 145 PCA local clubs exist as the Arizona and Arizona Mountain Regions. The Mountain Region website boasts as follows: “Where you can drive your Porsche from high plains, to red rocks, to pine forests and mountain peaks — all before lunch. Come join our region for great tours through spectacular scenery on some of the curviest roads in the West, the chance to share your Porsche experience with new friends, tech days, car shows, camaraderie, fun and food!”
By contrast, the 2016 “National PCA Region of the Year” Arizona group website tells its story with pictures. There is a great big nine-slide show that boasts of an off-road Porsche Macan/Cayenne event, requisite group photos on trips to Bagdad and Durango, a southern California museum trip, road rallies and even a jaunt to that great little pie restaurant at Rock Springs on I-17.
Such enthusiasm for the brand emanates from Porsche Cars North America headquarters in Atlanta, a gleaming multistory building that opened in 2015 and features the Porsche Experience Center, which includes a module-based, 1.6-mile driver development track, a driving simulator lab, Porsche store, café, fine-dining restaurant, gym, classic car gallery and restoration center, not to mention a personal design studio where you can custom-order your own Porsche.
When the PCNA headquarters was located in Reno in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to visit a few times. It was a nice enough rental office building but nothing like the purpose-built campus in Georgia, where Porsche tries to instill a creed of being that they call the “Shared Principles,” to wit: “Our company believes that the employees have to be as enthusiastic about their jobs as Porsche owners are about their cars. This enthusiastic work ethic is displayed through three main shared principles: we are dedicated to our customers, we respect each other and we are loyal to Porsche, the heritage and the brand.”
Clifford Fewel’s AutoFewel column appears each week in the Tri-Valley Dispatch, as well as online at pinalcentral.com/opinion/columns.