2019 Driven To America
2019 Driven To America
For the third year in a row, Long Island, NY played host to one of the most significant gatherings of Porsches on the East Coast. Driven to America (DTA), the creation of David Jacobson, brought to fruition by his talented team, was more than just a celebration of Stuttgart’s most elegant, but also of the man who introduced the marque to the US audience, Max Hoffman.
While Hoffman’s legacy goes far beyond the praise of a few paragraphs, he had a part in bringing the forebears of many of today’s cars to the US. Additionally, his influence was credited in the creation of such icons as the Mercedes-Benz 300SL, the Porsche 356 Speedster, BMW 507 and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. It’s a fitting tribute to celebrate Hoffman in the same region where he made his mark.
This year, more than 340 Porsches gathered from near and far assembled at Fort Hill Estate, a brick and limestone Tudor Revival-style summer home originally built in 1879. The sprawling property, covering nearly 23 acres, contains numerous buildings and enormous trees — the perfect place to sprinkle little German cars.
I arrived early, which granted me the opportunity to capture the sun cresting above the horizon, blanketing the cars already on display under a warm technicolor sky. And while that was the only time the burning ball of gas stuck around to admire the machinery, the weather remained pleasant all day. Who knows, it must have been a domestic fan.
To the casual observer, DTA might have seemed like a garden party for the Porsche Club of America. But it was much more than that. It was a true celebration of the marque as a whole rather than singling out a handful of exceptional models. As a result, judging was absent, and awards were nonexistent. For everyone’s delight, there were rows of extremely distinguished cars on display.
In all honesty, picking a winner from the pack would have been a Herculean task, although the 1960 718 RS 60 Werks (chassis 718-044) would have been a strong contender based on provenance alone. Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Graham Hill, Hans Hermann, Jo Bonnier and Bob Holbert were just some of the legendary drivers to lay their hands on the delicate racer’s steering wheel. Keep in mind, this piece of Porsche history was parked on the grass without any velvet rope, giving attendees the ability to absorb the nostalgia it emanated directly.
The property’s distinct divisions allowed for the cohesive staging of similar models.
“The 356 gallery was stunning to me,” said Jacobson. “It was little pieces of art, making one giant piece of art.”
The variety of 356s — including a Speedster heavily raced (and owned) by Lake Underwood Sr. and currently driven by his son, Lake Underwood II — was only enhanced by the sandy driveway and the castle-like architecture of the detached garage. I was almost expecting knights to emerge in the courtyard to trumpet fanfare.
“It was the second time out [for the Speedster],” says Underwood, after being repaired from a previous accident with a distracted driver. “It was very well received. In fact, David had me put it in the garage with the other race cars.”
Those other race cars included a 908/2 raced by Joe Buzzetta and Richard Attwood, and a 910 similar to the one Buzzetta drove to win the 1967 Nürburgring 1000KM. The actual race winner is currently in The Miles Collier Collections at Revs Institute. Buzzetta, a former factory driver for Porsche and founder of the Competition Automotive Group on Long Island, was in attendance along with his sons, Joe Jr. and James. A 1967 Porsche 911 T/A, believed to be just one of three built by the factory with Trans Am racing options, shouted out its purpose-built intentions with its race livery.
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A handful of air-cooled greats came from Collector Car Showcase, Jacobson’s museum and retail business located in Oyster Bay. One that stood out was a European model 1992 Carrera RS, resplendent in Rubystone red. Unfortunately, Jacobson was not keen to trade for my lowly Golf R. Another 964 gem, a 1993 Carrera RS 3.8, was one of only 55 built and exuded a racer’s vibe, even while stationary.
Another noteworthy Porsche was a never-been-raced Japanese-market car imported by Jerry Seinfeld in 2015. This 1997 993 Cup 3.8 RSR featured vinyl DTA3 graphics and was also featured at last year’s affair.
A recently commissioned Singer Targa made an appearance, its paintwork and interior an advocate of the #makegreengreatagain movement. Another fresh release into the wild was a deep black Emory Outlaw 356, devoid of bumpers, with a snarling 2600 outback, and added details throughout the model.
James Serafino waited two years to take delivery of his 2018 GT2 RS in Urban Bamboo Chromaflair paint, and after its recent arrival, he proudly displayed it in all its special order goodness. The striking paint was just the beginning, as Serafino went to town on the spec sheet, selecting everything to make his ‘Sonderwunsch’ stand out. The best part was that all the custom surfaces, the exotic material and the expertly crafted interior worked so well together. This car will still look modern and classy 50 years from now at DTA53.
Most of my day was spent wandering about like an honor student left unsupervised at the library. I wanted to learn every story from every car. I was both enchanted and grateful for the selection on display. With a half dozen Slantnose 930s, tribute cars and real deal RSs, GTs and outlaws, it was an overload of the senses. Among the cars, people were conversing and smiling. This event certainly brought everyone together and removed the boundaries between owners and enthusiasts.
While there were no awards, there were a few unique features to aid DTA in raising money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Gatsby Girls were selling tickets for a 50/50 raffle in period costume, and a G body 911 was once again the Signature Car. Donations could be given to apply your John Hancock, or an Instagram handle, to its patina paint. Sponsors for the event included Hagerty Insurance, Porsche Classic, PCARMARKET and Chase. On-site eats were provided by Farm To Truck and the Red Tomato Pizzamobile. I can confirm the former was delicious. This year’s poster, an artistic rendering of 718-044, was available to anyone interested in sprucing up their wall. Artist Bruce Goldsmith fell into the position by chance.
“[He] stopped into PCARMARKET to see his nephew, who worked for me, and we got to talking about his art,” Jacobson said. Good things happen when conversations are sparked.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, in this instance, the child is the main event and the village is the army of volunteers.
“We have a great team at PCARMARKET who outdid themselves on game day,” said Jacobson. “They ran around and made the set-up period [from] 5:30-8 a.m. seamless. That sets the tone of the day. We had great volunteers from the local PCA as well. We had a great team of true Porsche enthusiasts involved all over the event.”
Looking forward to the future, it’s clear Driven to America is going to continue to grow.
“It has become one of the most significant Porsche events in the US,” said Jacobson. “There’s a point when these things take on a life of their own. DTA has definitely reached that stage. This has grabbed the attention of the world. We had people from Canada, Europe and all over the US.”
While no dates are set for the fourth installment, you can guarantee it will be held somewhere on Long Island, and it will be spectacular.
Bryan is an automotive photographer who occasionally uses the keyboard to supplement his work. He has had the pleasure and privilege of shooting events such as Greenwich, Amelia Island, Cavallino Classic, Lime Rock Historic Festival, Radnor Hunt, Turtle Invitational, the Elegance at Hershey, and many other gatherings of wonderful wheels. He is a life-long car enthusiast and has been photographing car events since first attending the New York Auto Show in 1995, Kodak disposables in hand.