The word grom (short for grommet) is a surf culture slang term that originated in California and is used most often to describe any young kid who’s a surfer, despite their level of skill.
“What’s a grom,” I thought to myself months ago.
Some time passed. But a week or so ago, with today’s event just days away, I got curious and visited their site again.
The invitation to this year’s Luftgekühlt:
- We are a grom [emphasis added] and dog-friendly bunch
Again: “What the heck is a grom!?”
I did eventually figure out what a grom is, but as far as Luftgekült is concerned, this is all you need to know: a grom is a SoCal kid whose parent (likely father) is into Porsche’s and Rennsport culture.
I know this true because there were quite a few surfer-looking children at Luftgekühlt III, the annual gathering of Southern California Porschephiles, put on by Porsche factory driver Patrick Long.
This was my first experience at such an event. I have never seen so many Porsche’s in one place. I have never seen so many celebrities. It was amazing. Modernica was a great venue. I’m going back as many times as I can.
We parked in a parking lot about a block from Modernica, because we didn’t register ahead of time, and because we don’t have an air-cooled Porsche which we could park inside the event. But from about two seconds into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a good day.
As far as I could tell, the cars were arranged by generation. (The only exception to this generalization was at the entrance: Cars there seemed to have been chosen due to rarity. There was a 959, as well as an RS America, and a 906 in racing livery.)
There were a couple short-wheelbase cars in the Classic 911 area, but most of the cars in that section were pre-impact bumper (long-wheelbase) cars. I saw what appeared to be a non-authentic 2.7 RS, but who knows—maybe it was legit?
After taking it all in, Allison and I moseyed past a few Emory Outlaw’s to the 964 section. There, I met a nice guy named Bruce, who introduced me to several other founding members of the Southern California Chapter of the 964 Owner’s Club.
I spent some time there. Bruce had Cup 1 wheels (his Cup 2 wheels were chromed by the previous owner, so he was having them sandblasted and refinished). The car next door was one of a few 964 Carrera 2’s—most were 4’s.
I also saw a UK-spec RS in the 964 section. Rare indeed. I eavesdropped on what appeared to be a 20-something blonde boy who was talking to his mother about all the trouble he had to go through, having the car imported (first world problems).
Speaking of 964’s, we finished with the 964’s and walked around a bit, only to find three Singer 911’s on display (even the 4.0 L car!).
Luftgekühlt was a great event. The Porsches were cool. The celebrities were cool. The gift shop was cool (and expensive).
This was my first “cars and coffee” type of thing.
I always thought I’d be the type of person who would frequent such things (once I had a car to bring). But I think Luftgekühlt III might have spoiled me. Every car there was cool. There were no ricey Honda Civics. There were no fake M3’s. There were no Teslas (I like Teslas—they’re just not “cars and coffee” cars).
Until next time, Luftgekühlt—I’ll be back.
I hate to say it, but I hope you don’t come to next year’s. You see, the bigger this thing gets, the less cool it will be. Right now, only Porsche nerds know about it. It’s our little secret. I don’t want to share. I know how selfish that is. In some small way, I can finally relate to extreme conservatives who hate immigrants.
Really though, you should come. It’s breathtaking. ↩
I actually knew this before turning onto the street, because, as I was turning, I saw a 991 GT3 parked in the very corner parking spot.