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© 2017 Driven to America

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Porsche passion in Gatsby style

By MARKUS KLIMESCH 10/22/2018

Porsche passion in Gatsby style. That’s what you might call the event on October 14 in Long Island. Under the motto “Driven to America“, the primarily air-cooled Porsche Community on the east coast of the USA celebrated a very special man in Porsche history: Maximilian Hoffman. The man who was initially responsible for the unbelievable success of the Porsche brand in the USA.


A tribute to Maximilian Hoffman

To pay tribute to this success story and, in particular, Maximilian Hoffman, numerous Porsche owners, racing drivers, collectors and fans met on 14 October 2018 for a very special event at the De Seversky Mansion in Long Island, New York. In addition to numerous wonderful specimens of various series also some of the most important and special road and racing cars were issued. The air-cooled car culture also lives and thrives on the east coast of the USA. We from Elferspot magazine were there and have brought you some impressions. We would also like to thank the organizer and congratulate for a very successful event.

 

Maximilian Hoffmann – a courageous and visionary man


It is the year 1951. Born in Austria, Maximilian Edwin Hoffmann signs a contract with Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche for the import of sports cars from Zuffenhausen to the USA. Max Hoffman was a visionary and thought big. When Ferry Porsche remarked in the course of the talks that he would be happy if Hoffman could sell five cars in a year, Max Hoffman replied with determination: “If I do not sell five of these cars a week, I am not interested in this business. ”

 

“If I do not sell five of these cars a week, I’m not interested in this business.” Max Hoffman


It completely worked out. The Americans revealed an unimagined passion for European sports cars. In the same year, the Porsche 356 won the prize for the most interesting car at the “Concours d’Elegance at Watkins Glen.

 

Hoffman was also a racing driver

Another push for the Porsche brand was a clever move. Hoffman himself took part in various races in a Porsche. The agility and excellent driving characteristics of German sports cars inspired the Americans. In the first year already 32 cars were imported. Three years later, almost 600 Americans bought a Porsche.


The Porsche Crest

What probably only the fewest know: Also the so well-known Porsche crest was the idea of Max Hoffman. He convinced Ferry Porsche during a lunch that Porsche absolutely needed a suitable emblem and designed the crest on a napkin. As early as 1953, the world-famous emblem graced the steering wheels of the Porsche models. Max Hoffmann and Porsche, a true picture book story. The importance of the American market for Porsche as a whole was far from being foreseeable at the time. The rest is history. The Maximilian Hoffman died in 1981.

Steve McQueen, Janis Joplin And The Mystique Of The Porsche 356—And One Woman's Quest To Find One That Got Away

Chuck Tannert Forbes Staff,10/19/2018


Longtime Chicago resident Pamela Brundage is not your average vintage sports car owner. There are mainly two types: hoarders and drivers.


Brundage is the latter. “I understand the reasoning behind never driving a vintage car,” says the fashionable American Airlines flight attendant. “That type of owner is doing the world a favor by preserving the car in its most pristine state for future generations. However, they aren’t enjoying it. They aren’t using the car for what it was made for—to drive. It’s sad.”


To the dismay of many collectors, this lady pilots her vintage sports car, a 1962 Porsche 356B Super 90 coupe, as often as possible. “Not every day,” she admits. “But as often as the harsh Chicago weather will allow.” If it gets dirty, she cleans it. If it gets wet, she dries it off. But she doesn’t want it to rust and fade away.

 

Though Brundage has only been collecting for a few years, her love affair with the 356 dates back more than four decades, ever since her mother, Jean, bought a used 1961 356B Coupe in the late 1960s. However, unlike most collectors who wait a lifetime to find that one car, that Holy Grail that elevates their collection, Brundage found hers just over a month ago. That very same 356B her mother owned all those years ago. The car in which she actually learned to drive.


Brundage’s most recent road trip brought her from Chicago to Long Island this month for “Driven to America 2,” an annual celebration of air-cooled Porsches built between 1948 and 1998 (of which the 356 is one), and the man responsible for introducing the Porsche marque to America in 1951, Max Hoffman. Making the journey meant driving her silver 1962 356B Super 90 more than 800 miles, and each time behind the wheel reminds her of the inspiration for her Porsche passion—her mother.


“My mother worked for Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation in Sunnyvale, California, during the space race,” Brundage recalls. Hailing from the Bay Area, Jean was a secretary in the reception area of the budding aerospace company. Part of her job was to greet astronauts and other VIPs from the space program.


As it happened, most of the engineers at Lockheed owned Porsche 356s. They were so easy to wrench on, so easy to tweak into a race car. The engineers couldn’t resist.


The first 356s first rolled off the “assembly line” in 1948 and immediately set the bar for every Porsche that followed. It made the German automaker synonymous with top-notch craftsmanship, outstanding road manners, and minimalist aesthetic.


Designed by “Ferry” Porsche, the son of company founder Ferdinand Porsche, the 356 is actually quite a simple car. Though it is the first roadster to bear the Porsche name, the 356 was essentially a souped-up Volkswagen Beetle. Ferry’s father had designed and built the iconic “People’s Car” at the behest of Adolf Hitler, before World War II, and had always wanted to make a small sports car out of it. So did Ferry, and he made it happen.


Using many VW parts—suspension, brakes, and a rather anemic 40-horsepower, four-cylinder engine—the first 356s made were aluminum-bodied two-door coupes. After hand-building a run of these cars at its wartime factory in Gmund, Austria, the Porsche engineering company moved back to Stuttgart, Germany. Once there, it started building the diminutive sports car using less expensive steel rather than aluminum so the savings could be passed on to potential buyers.


The air-cooled, rear-wheel-drive two-seater wasn’t exactly fast, especially compared with Alfa Romeo or Jaguar sports cars of the day. Nor was it as affordable, costing nearly $4,000 (or about $42,000 today) or twice as much as the inexpensive British roadsters from Austin-Healy and MG. But the 356 was nimble and responsive and, thus, a hoot to drive. A few tweaks were all you needed to turn a stock 356 into a legitimate race-worthy automobile.


Although the basic design was never altered during the vehicles 18-year run, a few functional enhancements were made through the generations, such as better aerodynamics, curved windshields, and several interior additions. The car was also made available in a variety of body styles, including the extremely rare split roof, the cabriolet, the convertible and the roadster. Even so, Porsche always managed to maintain the car’s minimalist design, elegant and comfortable, and sporty demeanor. Characteristics also found on the 356’s replacement, the legendary Porsche 911.


The 356 was popular in the 1960s with the in crowd. Actor Steve McQueen owned one. So did singer Janis Joplin. Hers recently sold at auction for $1.76 million. Today they’re still prized by celebrities. Patrick Dempsey purchased a 1963 Porsche 356 with his first real paycheck as an actor. In 2016, Jerry Seinfeld sold several of his Porsches, including a 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster that went for $1.5 million at auction. Hagerty values a 1961 356B, similar to Jean Brundage’s, at around $113,000 in Concours condition and the 1962 356B Super 90 at $159,000 in the same condition.


“Mom said the Lockheed parking lot was like a sea of them,” recalls Brundage. “All different types, too.” So Jean got it in her head that she needed to buy one and did, just before leaving Lockheed to go work as the executive secretary for casino magnate William Harrah in Reno, Nevada.


In addition to founding Harrah’s Hotel and Casinos, William Harrah was an avid car collector, owning about 1,400 vehicles of all makes and models before his death in 1978. “Not one Porsche in the whole collection when my mom worked for him, though,” Brundage jokes. “I used to hang out at [Harrah’s] restoration facility when I was young. It was so clean and beautiful.”


When Brundage got her driver’s permit in the early 1970s, that sporty little 356 was the family’s only vehicle. “So, that’s the car I learned to drive in,” she says with a laugh. “Mom took me out to the Centennial Coliseum parking lot in Reno when it was empty and taught me to work the clutch, the gas, and the brake. I can’t believe how hard I was on that gearbox.”


When other teenagers were driving Mustangs, Thunderbirds and other American-made muscle to school, Pamela would drop her mom off at Harrah’s and roll up to high school in the 356. “The kids were, like, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ It was a hit—especially with the boys.” 


When her mother announced that she was going to sell the car, Pamela was heartbroken: “Not this car!’ I love this car. Absolutely love it.” It wasn’t until 40 years after her mother sold the 356 to a classmate that Pamela considered buying it.


Ironically, she had the chance thanks to a run-in she had with a random Porsche 356 owner three years ago. The encounter rekindled her love for the 356. “I was walking through my neighborhood and came across a local car show, and all of these feelings came rushing back,” she explains. “Then, I came across this guy with a 356, and I was hooked. Mom owned a lot of cool cars back then. A Lincoln Continental with the suicide doors, a Karmann Ghia, even a Porsche 912. However, there was something special about the 356.”


After listening to her story of love and loss, the stranger urged Pamela to go looking for her mother’s car. “Not being in a vintage car circle, I thought, ‘What a crazy idea,’” say Brundage. Then she figured why not. It turned out her mother still had much paperwork from the old car, giving her a place to start.


Three years and lots of internet sleuthing later, her grail quest ended. “Some guy on Porsche 356 Registry ran the VIN we had for my mom’s car about a month ago and found it in California,” says Brundage, still stunned that she actually found the car, which was delivered to Chicago just before Brundage left for Long Island.


“Mom’s car,” as Brundage calls it, currently sits at Classic Remedy autos in Addison, just outside of Chicago. The shop specializes in iconic Porsche restorations. “I had the work done on my 356 there,” says Brundage. The previous owner did the paint, interior and changed the brakes from drum to disc for safety reasons. She had the engine rebuilt in winter 2018, changed the wiring harness and connections, and changed the electrical system back to the original six-volt. “I’ve put 7,000 miles on the car since May,” boasts Brundage. And she hasn’t had a single oil leak.


Brundage has no idea what to do with her mother’s 1961 356B: “I need to get my head wrapped around it. I am in no rush. But like mine, this car has some original components missing. My gut tells me to take it back to the original like when my mom had [first owned it]. A full-body restoration. I’d be happy to drive it as is for a while, though.”


Unfortunately, her mother won’t be around to see the car achieve former glory. “She passed away five weeks before I was contacted about the car,” Brundage says, noting that it hasn’t diminished her love for the Porsche. “After my son passed away in 2015, I realized if you want to do something, don’t stand around and talk about it. If you can do it, do what you want to do. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow.”

So, what’s her next car? “My mom had this Porsche 912,” says Brundage coyly. “It would be fun.”

Reach Chuck Tannert at ctannert@forbes.com.

How To Pay Proper Tribute To The Importer Who Helped Bring Porsche To America...

By Jake Salyers, 10/18/2018


As fall weather finally descended on Long Island after a muggy summer, the air-cooled Porsches had good reason to enjoy the cooler temperatures. This past Sunday was the second annual Driven to America celebration, and the collection of air-cooled cars paying tribute to the man instrumental in their arrival in the States didn’t disappoint. As I walked up to the de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury, New York, the site of this year’s event, I could hear the whirring fans of the first Porsches arriving for the afternoon. 356s, 911s from 901 to 993, Turbos, Carreras, GTs, and a few genuine and replica race cars to boot, all lined up next to each other in the welcome autumn sun.


The cold air highlighted their exhaust notes and trails of steam could be traced across the venue to their sources when it was time to leave. Though I didn’t go about checking off each box, it felt like a significant piece of Porsche’s history had gathered on the lawn. Patina’d ex-competitors positioned next to pristine restorations, the parade of Porsche was a diverse one, and a few Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs from Hoffman’s time made an appearance.


Besides basking the in wealth of German engineering on display, the day was also setup to celebrate the life of Max Hoffman. Hoffman played an integral role in the post-war history of European sports cars (and specifically Porsche) in North America. Born in Vienna, Austria right after the turn of the century, Hoffman raced and worked with cars in his home country before he was forced to flee across Europe in the 1930s as Nazism spread.


Eventually making his way to New York, Hoffman started a costume jewelry business, but quickly switched his focus back to what he loved, and soon set about bringing some of Europe’s most popular marques to American shores. He started with Jaguar and Volkswagen predominantly, but his reach grew to importing cars from Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Aston Martin, and others. His significance in the market reached such a level of success that he was able to commission Frank Lloyd Wright to design his famous Park Avenue showroom.


Hoffman wasn’t just a dealer though, but an innovator of sorts too. He understood the American audience like few else could, and the cars he successfully shepherded across the Atlantic stand as a testament to that ability, even if all of his ideas weren’t the most fortuitous in practice. A few 300SLs were on display at Driven to America, a car he famously imported and which helped establish Mercedes-Benz as a luxury automobile brand in the states, and as the story goes, it was Max Hoffman who proposed a crest design to Dr. Ferry Porsche.


I appreciated the visual history lesson in Porsche cars and the homages to Hoffman’s role in bringing them over, but as a photographer first and foremost I had enough fun just shooting the objects in front of me. The rounded Teutonic styling of Porsche’s always make them easily identifiable in a crowd, but seeing them all present made the evolution of the cars so much more cohesive when you could see it playing out in front of you in a neat row. From the bubble lights and leather hood straps to the various spoilers nicknamed after aquatic animals, the progress of the Porsche brand is one of the smoothest out there, especially considering the length of this timeline.

Driven To America Air-Cooled Porsche Celebration and Tribute to Max Hoffman

Announces expert industry panel discussion on Hoffman’s Influence added

September 18, 2018 (Long Island, New York)—Driven To America, the premier East Coast event for air-cooled Porsches has placed the finishing touches on the October 14th event. The Porsche world’s passion will once again be ignited at the 2nd annual celebration and tribute to Max Hoffman, the man responsible from bringing the iconic marque to America.

 

The Porsche world is coming together October 14, 2018, from 8 AM to 3 PM, on the majestic grounds of the de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury, New York. Over 2000 attendees experienced the inaugural event in 2017 with hundreds of Porsches from all over the U.S. gracing the beautiful landscape. Streetcars along with factory and custom racecars will be driven and trailered in from owners, collectors, and racecar drivers.

 

New this year is a panel discussion featuring industry experts, called “Porsche—The Hoffman Era Thru Today.” This lively forum will be moderated by Larry Webster, VP of Content for Hagerty, a renowned insurance provider for classic and collector automobiles as well as the former editor-in-chief of Road & Track, and editor of leading auto publications such as Car and Driver and Popular Mechanics, he is also a former stunt car driver. Joining Webster’s panel will be industry expert Prescott Kelly, contributing editor and columnist of Sports Car Market and 356 Magazine; Ray Schaffer, a leading expert in Porsche restorations at Porsche Classic Center, Manager for Factory Restoration & Heritage Center, Atlanta; and Cam Ingram, known for his restoration of significant autos, acquisition of rare autos and management of Porsche collections for private clients. Learn more about the forum here: FORUM.

 

Another exciting item added to the venue; is the Hoffman Circle of Legends, a special showcase of the iconic automobiles that Hoffman played a significant role in creating and importing into the US.

 

“The excitement is building as drivers and their Porsches are coming from across the country to participate. The Forum Discussion and the Hoffman Circle of Legends, will bring the Porsche’s past to life as we delve deeper into these vehicle’s historical importance. Participants are in for a real treat. Our panel of experts will take us on a journey in time as we look at the indelible mark, Max Hoffman has had on its history in America,” states David Jacobson, Executive Director of Driven To America and owner of Collector Car Showcase, Oyster Bay, New York.

 

In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Porsche Marque, DTA2 will feature a special VIP parking display of water-cooled Porsches within the mansion grounds; this is in addition to the main showcase attraction of air-cooled Porsches.

 

Driven To America signifies the moment in history when Maximilian Edwin Hoffman made a deal with Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche to import the air-cooled sports cars to America in 1951. The manufacturing of the air-cooled Porsche ended with the model 993 in 1998. Driven To America celebrates the history of the air-cooled Porsche along with the man responsible for introducing the Marque to America.

 

The day’s events include the gallery of air-cooled Porsches, Hoffman Circle of Legends, 70th Anniversary display, Live DJ, Historic Hoffman photo gallery and life size Hoffman Motors showroom backdrop, specialty gourmet food and desert selections throughout the day, beer, wine and more. The inaugural event received lots of praise and attention in 2017. The 2018 exhibition has already pre-sold many of the spots. This year’s sponsors include: RM Sotheby’s, Stoddard, Chopard, Hagerty and Plycon Transportation Group.

 

For vehicle display, tickets and all other information, please visit: www.driventoamerica.com 

 

All access admission for the day’s events is $20 for adults, children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.  Driven to America supports the efforts of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During the event, attendees will be provided the opportunity to sign a vintage air-cooled Porsche. Monies collected will be given directly to St. Jude. The Porsche with all its signatures, will be driven to St. Jude where a check will be presented. The event is helping to draw attention to the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as they help children and their families fighting cancer by seeking cures and treatments.

Driven to America Celebrates the 70th Anniversary of Porsche

Air-Cooled Porsche Celebration and Tribute to Max Hoffman on October 14th

Driven To America, the premier East Coast event for air-cooled Porsches will be hosting its 2nd Annual celebration and tribute to Max Hoffman, the man responsible from bringing the iconic marque to America. The event will be held on October 14, at the de Seversky Mansion in Old Westbury, New York.  Over two thousand attendees experienced the inaugural event in 2017 with Hundreds of Porsches from all over the US gracing the beautiful landscape. Streetcars along with factory and custom racecars were driven and trailered in from owners, collectors, and racecar drivers.

 

“The air-cooled Porsche car culture is thriving and will be on full display at the second annual Driven To America event which is expected to draw an even larger crowd of attendees and Porsche exhibitors from around the nation,” states David Jacobson, Executive Director of Driven To America and owner of Collector Car Showcase, Oyster Bay, New York.

 

In honor of the 70th Anniversary of the Porsche Marque, DTA2 will feature a special VIP parking display of water-cooled Porsches within the mansion grounds; this is in addition to the main showcase attraction of air-cooled Porsches.

 

Driven To America signifies the moment in history when Maximilian Edwin Hoffman made a deal with Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche to import the air-cooled sports cars to America in 1951. The manufacturing of the air-cooled Porsche ended with the model 993 in 1998. Driven To America celebrates the history of the air-cooled Porsche along with the man responsible for introducing the Marque to America.

 

New to the event this year is the Hoffman Circle of Legends, a special showcase of the iconic automobiles that Hoffman played a significant role in creating and importing into the US.

 

The day’s events include the gallery of air-cooled Porsches, Hoffman Circle of Legends, 70th Anniversary display, Live DJ, Historic Hoffman photo gallery and life size Hoffman Motors showroom backdrop, specialty gourmet food and desert selections throughout the day, beer, wine and more. The inaugural event received lots of praise and attention in 2017. The 2018 exhibition has already pre-sold many of the spots. This year’s sponsors include: RM Sotheby’s, Stoddard, Chopard, Hagerty and Plycon Transportation Group.

 

For vehicle display, tickets and all other information, please visit: www.driventoamerica.com 

 

All access admission for the day’s events is $20 for adults, children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult.  Driven to America supports the efforts of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. During the event, attendees will be provided the opportunity to sign a vintage air-cooled Porsche. Monies collected will be given directly to St. Jude. The Porsche with all its signatures, will be driven to St. Jude where a check will be presented. The event is helping to draw attention to the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as they help children and their families fighting cancer by seeking cures and treatments.

 

David Jacobson founded Driven to America in 2015.  David is also the owner and curator of Collector Car Showcase, a Porsche museum/event center (founded in 2008) located in the historic village of Oyster Bay, New York.  Driven to America celebrates the life and legacy of Max Hoffman, and his incredible contribution in creating and importing some of the most important cars in automotive history. The organization’s goal is to continue Hoffman’s dream of keeping alive the legacy of the air-cooled Porsche for generations to learn about and enjoy.

 

Media Contacts:

David Jacobson

Founding Executive Director

Driven to America

Collector Car Showcase

85 Pine Hollow Road

Oyster Bay, New York 11771

Email: info@driventoamerica.com

(516) 802-5297

www.driventoamerica.com

or

Karen Johnson

Johnson Media Services

Cell: 631-617-4109

Office: 631-271-1499

Johnsonkr9@aol.com

 

*ATTENTION PRESS: Pre-registration is recommended, but not required, by contacting: Fran Zuniga, Event Director at: (516) 802-5297 X311 email: Fran@collectorcs.com

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