Porsche Unexpected: Discoveries in Collecting

by Randy Leffingwell, Cameron Ingram, and Michael Furman

When our review copy of Porsche Unexpected – Discoveries in Collecting arrived in the post, we weren’t sure if photographer, Michael Furman, hadn’t sent us, by accident, a spare 935 Porsche brake rotor.

Porsche Unexpected - Discoveries in Collecting

What we discovered, upon careful inspection, was an over 400 page, lavishly illustrated book weighing in at approximately five pounds! Being fledgling photographers ourselves and fans of Michael’s great images, we tore into the book and became enthralled by the (feel free to insert your favorite positive adjective here) photographs.

Furman, arguably the automotive photography world’s master of lighting and composition, has filled hundreds of pages with pictures of the rare and beautiful cars from Zuffenhausen. Noted Porsche historian, Randy Leffingwell, along with Cameron Ingram, son of the collection’s owner, provide noteworthy historic facts about each car. 

After each of Leffingwell’s and Cameron’s car bios, Bob Ingram, the owner of these cars, provides a concise paragraph or two about the ins and outs of car collecting. Sometimes he mentions how he found and acquired that specific car or, more fascinating, why the car was selected for his collection.

Porsche Unexpected Michael Furman photography

We also like how Ingram describes how he uses the car. For example, when describing a rare soft-window 912 Porsche Targa he writes, It is a car we can truly drive and enjoy in almost any weather, and particularly on a sunny day. It is a wonderful car in which to take one of your grandchildren out for a drive. Insights like this help illuminate the often dark and dusty world of exotic car collecting. Knowing that there are owners who routinely enjoy driving their cars is refreshing.

Porsche Unexpected Michael Furman photography

You could make the case that this is another wonderful automotive coffee table book—a perfect gift for that special Porsche-crazed person on your holiday shopping list. And, for the most part, you would be correct. Furman’s pictures and Cameron Ingram’s and Randy Leffingwell’s text read like short stories, consumable in quick bites when the urge to find out about a particular car that he or she saw at a concours or in a magazine.

Porsche Unexpected Michael Furman photography

However, if all that readers get from this volume is the joy of Porsche imagery and historically correct description, then they would be missing the most entertaining and valuable segment of the book. Co-author Cameron Ingram’s father, Bob, began his interest in collecting Porsches in the early 1970s after a visit to the Monterey Historic races. He has, over the decades, acquired much valuable information about the hobby and he generously provides his insights on collecting in the first part of the book. Covering approximately seventy pages, his master class on every aspect of car collecting covers the motivations that inspire collecting in general (peppered with insightful historic references) to knowing what to buy. He discusses building a collection, how to develop a theme, and finding a mentor to help you. This shared wisdom alone is worth the price of the book.

Porsche Unexpected Michael Furman photography

Ingram explains with sound examples (including, of all things, the Beatles), the importance of what he calls deliberate practice. He carries that thought through to why an expert or mentor—someone who has already invested the thousands of hours needed to be called a true professional—is worth his or her weight in gold when deciding how to start, add to, modify, or dispose of a single car or an entire collection. 

And he shares the admonition—buyer beware—stating, Even the kindly grandfather can be a shark. And don’t believe in miracles! If the story seems too good to be true, it is not true.

Porsche Unexpected Michael Furman photography

If you have an interest in Porsches, want to learn more about collecting cars or just love great photography, Porsche Unexpected – Discoveries in Collecting deserves to be on your bookshelf.