How one man is living the dream by restoring classic Porsche sportscars
Travelling between past and present, building a community
White 1969 Porsche 911T parked up, sunset sky behind
In a workshop in northern Germany, Stefan Bräutigam breathes new life into classic Porsche cars, turning his automotive passion into reality
Stefan Bräutigam has become something of a local Porsche legend in Hamburg, Germany. Back in 2008 Stefan – who runs the branding agency BR*Studio with his business partner – started connecting with car enthusiasts from all over the world in his adopted city. Initially, the community formed over Instagram, but quickly went analogue when Stefan and his fellow Porsche fans decided they wanted more – to meet and drive together in the real world.
Men inspecting engine bay of white 1969 Porsche 911T
Stefan Bräutigam (top right) loves exploring under the bonnet of a Porsche. He and his friends travel around the world in their classic Porsche 911 cars
Forming a classic Porsche owners’ communityStefan, who is 43, is married with two children – a five-year-old son and a ten-year-old daughter who’s now also caught the “car virus”, the nickname he gives to his fierce passion for motoring. A love of cars has been the catalyst for the many friends that Stefan and his wife have made in and around Hamburg, and the couple often head out on Porsche road trips with other members of the community. “We call our group the Heck Crew,” says Stefan. “The name is based on the German word Heckmotorsportwagen, which means rear-mounted sportscar. And Crew sounds a bit Nordic – something like a crew on a ship – which is pretty cool. We found each other in Hamburg and now we travel the world together.”
Three classic Porsche 911 sportscars on road in evening sunlight
Stefan and his fellow Porsche-owning friends have formed a group called the Heck Crew
In 2021, the Heck Crew embarked on an epic journey across the Alps, descending from its snow-capped peaks by car-train. Last year, they hit the wind-swept roads of Norway together. “The number of Porsche enthusiasts we meet on our travels is truly incredible,” says Stefan. “It’s wonderful to have this shared interest that somehow goes beyond just the cars. Over time, it has blossomed into many deep and meaningful friendships.”Learning how to restore a carStefan got involved with cars at an early age. His father, a self-taught mechanic, loved to spend hours in his garage, unscrewing car parts just for fun, then reassembling them later. “My father worked for a company that managed the local bus and transport services and they let us use their garage,” says Stefan. “We would often go there on weekends and mess around with my dad’s car, and later my own, changing the brakes, adjusting the suspension or any other part we could get our hands on.” His father passed away recently, but Stefan has many fond memories of their time together, bonding over screws and gauges in the petrol-scented haze of their DIY workshop.
White 1969 Porsche 911T on car lift in private garage
In his private workshop, Stefan tinkers with his beloved 1969 Porsche 911T, replacing parts and polishing it up until it looks like a collector’s fantasy
How to build a classic Porsche collectionStefan bought his first Porsche – a red 944 – in 2010. “It was one of the very first 944 models from 1982 and I bought it as a winter car – as a ‘fun car’, actually – because back then they were still very affordable.” Stefan restored the 944 and kept it in a workshop on his parents-in-law’s farm in the western German state of Hessen. Every holiday he would drive there with his wife’s cousin, a paintwork expert, inspecting every part before fitting it back into place. The restoration project took six months. In the end, Stefan sold the 944 to a Porsche employee in Stuttgart, where the car was, of course, originally born. “I guess that’s what you call the Porsche circle of life,” Stefan grins. “Everything always goes back to the roots.”The second Porsche in Stefan’s collection was a 911 (type 964), which he bought in 2014. He had originally been looking for a 911 G series, but couldn’t find anything worthwhile, so he extended his search to the 964. Glancing in our direction, Stefan confessed that he fell in love with the 964 as soon as he saw it, wowed by its eye-catching shape, driveability and – for its time – modern technology. “Back then, around 10 years ago, the 964 wasn’t quite as popular, but now I feel that it’s one of the most sought-after air-cooled Porsche sportscars around,” says Stefan.
Man, arms folded, in front of a black Porsche 964
Net gains: restoring and customising cars like his 964 have been a major factor in Stefan’s integration into the wider Porsche community
After that came a 1969 Porsche 911T, intended as a purist, raw counterpart to the 964. “I got it from a farmer in 2021, who had a large hall, full of colourful Targa convertibles. The 911T was white and didn’t quite fit in, so the owner was happy to sell it to me,” says Stefan. As luck would have it, the original engine was still lying around and Stefan scooped it up, along with the car. “The 911T was imported from Sicily, which is great because there’s never much snow or rain there, so it was in fantastic condition,” he adds. The car needed a lot of work and Stefan took on the project with a passion that’s particular to him. His ambition was to make the 911T look more like a ‘Gentlemen’s Racer’, inspired by the 2.0L Cup SWB series. Stefan started with a new suspension, added a different exhaust and roll bar, and then completed the look with some fresh sports seats in the classic Porsche black and white Pepita pattern.“It's such a small, nimble car that doesn’t weigh much. It’s really, really fun to drive,” says Stefan, throwing shapes with his hand in the air as he imitates the way he shifts gears. “We were in the Harz highland this year and the newer 964 and 993 models had to work extra hard to keep up with me. I was grinning the whole time because I saw all my work paying off!” For Stefan, there’s really nothing better than a pure and unadulterated Porsche driving experience of his own making.The Porsche community: bringing people together About a year ago, Stefan’s wife picked up a pastel yellow Porsche Boxster, which she now drives to and from her dentist’s office during the summer months. “Every time she comes back, she has a big smile on her face,” says Stefan. “She was sceptical at first – having watched my perhaps slightly unhealthy obsession with cars over the years – but now I think she really enjoys the driving experience.”On the first Thursday of every month, Stefan invites other members of the Porsche community to spend an evening in his garage. This is where he keeps not only his cars, but also the cars of some of his friends. The get-together is relaxed and homely – never a must, always a pleasure for the guests. “We barbecue and talk about all sorts of things. We have so many interests in common and Porsche has become a common link.” Indeed, Stefan has plenty of Porsche events lined up in his diary. From Petro-Surf in Sylt to Onassis – which started as a tunnel run with 30 drivers but has quickly grown into a 300-vehicle powerhouse and one of Germany’s best Porsche events – Stefan is right in the thick of the Porsche action.
Close-up of front headlamp of pastel yellow Porsche Boxster
Stefan’s wife is now also a proud classic Porsche owner – a pastel yellow Boxster
In his spare time, Stefan likes to take his cars out for a spin. It’s a chance to clear his head after a hard day’s work or simply to enjoy the twinkling lights of Hamburg’s harbour. “I have a small workshop in my garage that I built myself. Sometimes in the evening I’ll just drive over there for an hour and work on something small. I think it’s great to do something with your hands after sitting in front of a laptop all day. It’s incredibly satisfying.”One of Stefan’s favourite things about classic Porsche cars is that there is so much you can do with them. They seem to come alive as soon as he picks up his tools and pops open the bonnet. For the time being, he doesn’t plan to add any more Porsche cars to his collection, but that may change in time. As Stefan's children grow up, he’s sure that they’ll catch on to his hobby and, perhaps, will one day find a classic Porsche of their own to love.
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