Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


“PORSCHE BY Design: Seducing Speed” is taking place right now, until January 20, 2014, at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina. See for a glimpse of this exhibition curated by automotive authority Ken Gross and the museum’s Barbara Wiedemann.


Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed, edited by Ken Gross with Barbara Wiedemann, North Carolina Museum of Art, 2013. Shown on the cover, Porsche’s 1938 Type 64 Berlin-Rom Racer.

The exhibit’s catalog, hardbound large format at 12 1/4 x 10 1/2 in., is available at the museum or online for $50. It is a bibliophile’s delight as well as an excellent resource on Porsches written by highly regarded specialists. Fourteen articles are by the likes of Karl Ludvigsen, Denise McCluggage, Pete Lyons and Derek Bell.


Historic photos are part of the book’s attraction. Here, the exhibit’s Type 908K Prototype heads the pack at Spa-Francorchamps in May 1968. This and other images from Porsche by Design.

The museum’s exhibit consists of 22 cars shared by owners as well as Porsche AG. Road, race and concept cars are represented, among them the Type 804 Grand Prix car, Type 908K sports racer and the Panamera Concept car.


Type 804 F1 Grand Prix car, 1962.

The exhibit’s Type 804, one of only three extant, was driven to victory by Dan Gurney in the 1962 French Grand Prix. This was the factory team’s first and only win in F1 (not to disparage its highly successful engine-supplier role, 1983-1987, 1991).


Type 356C Cabriolet, 1965 and its owner, Janis Joplin.

Janis Joplin sang, “Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz? My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.” Truth is, she drove a Porsche too.

A friend and group roadie, Dave Richards, was given the job of spiffing up Janis’s 356C Cabriolet. The result is a psychedelic statement of the era. The car, still owned by the Joplin family, ordinarily resides in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


An iconic design: the Type 901 Prototype, 1963.

The name 901, Porsche’s internal designation for its 1963 replacement of the 356 sports car, conflicted with French carmaker Peugeot’s claiming to own the X0X moniker. Porsche’s response: the 911. See for this website’s 911 celebration at its 50th anniversary.

A vast continent separates me from Raleigh, North Carolina. But this artful catalog and its excellent commentary are almost as good as being there. Almost. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2013

One comment on “SEDUCING SPEED

  1. carmacarcounselor
    October 25, 2013

    If you had been to the Rodeo Drive Concours (and for a brief week when it appeared on display in the Petersen Automotive Museum), you could have seen the Petersen’s 901. The explanatory sign says it’s one of only 5 known to survive.

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