Luft 8

PORT OF LOS ANGELES, LOS ANGELES
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2022 

Luft 8
Luft 8 photography
Luft 8
Mother and child at Luft 8
Luft 8 indoors
Luft 8 photography
Luft 8 indoors

Luftgekühlt 8 Storyline

1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

Specifications
1,966 CC DOHC Type 587/3 Flat 4-Cylinder Engine
Twin Weber 46 IDM Carburetors
180 BHP at 7,000 RPM
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel ATE-Dunlop Disc Brakes
4-Wheel Independent Wishbone Suspension with Coil-Over Shock Absorbers


904 chassis 044 was completed in April 1964 finished in the classic color scheme of Silver Metallic with blue velour upholstery. This car was one of three 904s ordered by Ernesto Prinoth, an Italian racing driver and manufacturer of snow grooming vehicles. The three 904s were delivered through well-known Porsche dealer Paul Ernst Strahle; Prinoth kept 044 for his own use, while the other two cars were purchased on behalf of Paolo Colombo and Giacomo Maioli.

Prinoth, who had owned and raced a variety of sports and Formula One cars since the late 1950s, entered 044 at the Bolzano Hillclimb in Northern Italy and later sold it to a gentleman named Berger. In 1968, the 904 was exported to the US and ended up in Southern California. That August, Leslie Gunnarson, a Porsche enthusiast, collector, and one-time president of the PCA Orange Coast Region, purchased 904-044 from its then owner Joseph Pfister.


Mr. Gunnarson then performed a typical “California restoration” – repainting the Porsche red and trimming the interior to make it more comfortable for road use. He debuted his freshly restored 904 at the 1969 Porsche Parade, took home a First in Class prize, and then drove it regularly over the next two decades. Remarkably, it remained a fixture in his collection for over fifty years, during which time it made occasional outings at local shows, including at the LA premier of Steve McQueen’s famous racing film, Le Mans.
Significantly, and unlike the majority of four-cam Porsches, this 904 retains its original, matching-numbers engine and transaxle.
Following Mr. Gunnarson’s death, Gooding and Company offered the car for private sale. Tim Pappas immediately became interested in 044 and contacted Rod Emory to discuss the car and his thoughts on a sympathetic, yet thorough recommissioning. As it turns out, 904-044 spent many summers, during fire season, at Parts Obsolete, the Orange Country Porsche parts business owned by Rod’ father, Gary Emory. As a young boy, Rod had sat in 044, imagining himself piloting this machine on the racetrack one day.

Rod and Tim agreed to fully restore the car’s mechanical systems while preserving the well patinated, 50-year-old red paint. Emory’s team (including his son Zayne), proceeded to handle the restoration of the interior, suspension, fuel system, oil system and electrical parts. Ed Pink Racing Engines rebuilt the four cam, Type 587/3 engine and Black Swan Performance overhauled the transaxle. After two years of work by many other outside vendors assisting the core team at Emory, the build was finally completed in time for a public debut at Luftgekuhlt in Los Angeles.

 

Luftgekühlt 8 Storyline

Dorian Valenzeula’s 914-6

One of our favorite Porsches from Luft 8, was also one of the most unsuspecting in attendance. If you saw the “rough around the edges” Orange 914-6 with flat tires sitting outside near the venue entrance, you may have walked right past the car or wondered why it was on display. Sometimes, and most definitely the case here, the story runs deeper than the obvious aesthetics of a car.
This story below, shared by Luftgekühlt's family member and friend, Dorian Valenzeula, showcases his love for not only his cars but even more so his family and his loving father who inspired his love for all things automotive.
Pierre Rogelio Valenzuela (3/12/1943-2/10/21) was born and raised in Zacatecas, Mexico. From a young age, he was fascinated with mechanical things and though he was from a very poor family and town he always had a knack for mechanical things. My aunts and uncles told stories of him being quite the inventor and even making his own motorized bikes from used parts he'd find in town. His fascination for automobiles solidified when as a young kid he heard that an international race called the "Carrera Panamericana" was coming through town. It's difficult for me as his son to state for sure, but I believe my father was able to witness the race come through town at least once. This absolutely solidified his fascination for European sports cars, something which was completely unattainable to even look at for a Mexican rancher boy in the early 1950s. Perhaps it was witnessing Ferraris, Maseratis, and Mercedes in person that set the stage for the rest of his life because as a young adult he started migrating towards Tijuana where he'd cross the border to San Diego during the workweek to work a dishwashing job. 

 

In the mid 1960's he migrated to Los Angeles, became a citizen and volunteered for the US Army where he served a full tour in Vietnam. After being discharged and being awarded with a Purple Heart he took advantage of the GI program and got a degree at Trade Technical university in DTLA. After finishing his Engineering Technology degree he took a job at the Aerospace corporation in El Segundo, CA, where he worked his entire life. He drove a beige 1967 VW Beetle to and from work every day and he'd often tell me stories of visiting the local Porsche dealer after work and window shopping for Porsches.
About a year into his position at Aerospace Corp he had saved enough to put a down payment on one of the most significant purchases of his life...a 1971 Porsche-VW 914-4 (he dreamed of a 914-6 but it was out of his budget). When the day finally came, his brother gave him a ride to a small Porsche dealer in Redondo Beach, likely Vasek Polak, where he intended to purchase a silver 914-4...that is until the salesperson informed him that if he was interested in a 914-6, he could give him a "great deal" on a lightly used 1970 Tangerine Orange 914-6 that someone had purchased just a few weeks prior but immediately traded in for a 911. After a "permission/advice call" to his girlfriend at the time (my mom now), he was able to purchase this car for $4500.
He drove and loved the car very much. It was always his baby so he reserved it for weekends and continued to drive his daily-driven VW Beetle. A few years later he married his girlfriend (now my momma) and they'd occasionally stick me in the middle between them for drives. He did some light modifications to the car such as machining American Racing mags from a 911 to fit it and modifying the shift linkage to shift better. At one point he acquired a 911S carb'd engine for it which never made its way into it. As the family grew, the car was driven less and less and in approximately 1979, the car was taken on its last drive before being parked in the corner of our garage for the rest of its life to this day...
I personally remember this car always being the backdrop to my dad's hobby life. Though his automotive interests gradually shifted to Sunbeams, Fiats, Alfas and Maserati Biturbos, the 914-6 was always his favorite baby. I think it represented the American dream for him. He worked incredibly hard for it and always held it in very high regard. As a kid I clearly remember coming home from school and tip-toeing between the wall of the garage and the Porsche to sneak into it and just take it all in....the car had that distinct smell and feel. I remember staring at the big tachometer in front of me, feeling the shifter and hearing the ping sound that the door would make when I'd shut the door behind me.....I fantasized of being able to drive and race the car and maybe even driving it to school one day. The car was a big part of my fascination for the brand and sports cars. 

My pops, unfortunately, passed away on Feb 10, 2021, from a stroke. He is survived by his wife Maria Rosario Valenzuela, and his 4 sons and 7 grandchildren. It was very special and emotional to be able to display this car at Luft. My mom who has nearly no interest in car shows was in attendance along with my youngest brother Marco. We couldn't help but feel somewhat vulnerable to display something that is so different from my usual shiny "display" cars. To me, the car is more valuable in its current condition than if it would be fully restored. I give a lot of thought to dedicating a small block of my life to making this car run, heaven knows I have the skill and knowledge...but then I go back to keeping it exactly the way it is now, which is really the only way I've ever known this car.