The French photographer Vince Perraud first made a name for himself in the BMX and streetwear scene – including winning the prestigious Red Bull Illume Image Quest in 2013. But since then, Vince has swapped two wheels for four. Now, cars and car culture are his passion. And one brand in particular – Porsche. It’s a journey that has even allowed Vince to fuel his dream of buying his own. Today, he is the proud owner of a Porsche 944 Turbo as well as a 1968 912 that he’s currently in the process of restoring.
A passion for Porsche
An obsession with cars has followed Vince into adulthood. “I wanted to be a car designer,” he says. “I eventually went to design school, but then discovered the BMX world and ended up spending most of my time outside. I decided I didn’t want to spend my life in an office, so I quit school. My parents weren’t pleased about that!” But nine years ago, on a US roadtrip, a chance encounter persuaded him to move away from BMX photography and into cars. “There was this grey Porsche 911 (912) on the street, and it stopped me in my tracks because I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I spent the day snapping the car as I was so captivated by it,” he recalls.
Photographing Porsche for a living
At this point, Vince had spent a decade in the BMX and skateboard scene, but most of his friends were moving on to motorbikes and cars. Many of the BMXers in LA he worked with were purchasing their own sportscars. “I think it was a slow but natural evolution to being surrounded by car culture. Plus, I realised that driving cool cars is also fun – and it meant that I still got to be on the streets, which is what I like best,” he says. “It’s the same kind of same people, just different toys!”
Vince set about photographing cars as much as he could and soon he was on the fast track to becoming an automotive photographer. He cites the BMX and car blog, Defgrip, as an important part of his introduction into the Porsche universe. Mike Ardelean – a former pro BMXer who was involved with the website – was driving a number of German sportscars at the time, including a Porsche. “I saw him in Los Angeles on Canyon Drive and thought, I want this to be me,” Vince explains. “So, I reached out and asked if I could join him.” Six months later, he was doing just that, sitting alongside Mike in a Porsche 911, taking photographs of this evocative LA landscape and its sunsets. For Vince, one of the great things in life is being out on the road.
Buying his first Porsche
When it comes to driving Porsche cars, Vince has had an enviably short ride from first getting behind the wheel of one to eventually owning a Porsche itself. “The first one I drove was a right-hand drive Porsche 912 in South Africa,” he says. “The fact that I was driving on the left-hand side of the road and was in control of a Porsche was pretty scary.” The second time? It was his very own. “I bought my 944 Turbo eight years ago. I still love driving it as much today.” But he still needed to scratch that 911 itch.
“I really adore the early 911 cars, pre-1973. They are the perfect shape. They breathe a different era,” says Vince. “You feel everything when you drive them.”
“When I see the shape of a classic 911, that’s what excites me,” he adds. “I don’t know how to explain it other than they all have a lovely face. They’re happy cars!” And, he says, the good vibes are not just reserved for when you’re driving one. “You always get positive feedback when it comes to a classic Porsche 911. When you’re at the petrol station, people want to talk to you. And when you’re driving it, all eyes are on the car.”
It’s already my dream car. I like to work on it, spend time with it, and add my own touches. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine
A classic Porsche restoration
More recently, Vince has welcomed another precious Porsche into his life. A 912 piqued his attention, close to his parents’ place in France’s Burgundy region – famed, of course, for its wine. Appropriately enough, its original exterior colour was a Burgundy Red. Although he has since painted it Safari Green, Vince takes great satisfaction in knowing its original hue and the connection it gave him to an area close to his heart. He bought the car with the intention to turn it into his own epic restoration story and now spends as much time as possible with it. It’s everything he imagined it would be. “It’s already my dream car. I just like to work on it, spend time with it, and add my own touches. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine. I don’t see a finish line with it. I’ll aways be thinking of the next thing. One day it’s the seats, the next I’ll want to change the wheels.”
While Vince admits to having very little free time, what he does have he puts in to working on his 912. “It’s a constant project, but it allows me to remove myself from the pressures of the day-to-day. Being a photographer – which I love – sometimes means sitting on the computer all day, or constant travel. When you’re working on the car, you don’t think about anything else.”
And Vince admits that making mistakes along the way are an enjoyable part of the process. In fact, he’s not looking to create a pristine take on the original vehicle. “I don’t aim for perfection – I want it to look old,” Vince says. “Sometimes, a brand-new car can look perfect but doesn’t have a personality. In old cars you can see the history right there – the scratches, the patina.”
The spirit of the 911, says Vince, follows him on every step in his restoration journey. “In a way I feel like I’m already achieving my 911 goal,” he says of working on the 912. “I had this in mind when I bought it. It already has the same body as a 911, and over time I’m going to replace the 912 engine with a 911 one to make it sportier. It’s something that several of my German friends have done, including Daniel Schaefer at Classic Boxers.”
The perfect Porsche photography locations
For Vince, cars mean freedom. And when it comes to photographing the cars he loves, there’s one type of landscape that crops up time and time again across his work. “I love shooting in deserts because they are empty,” says Vince. “If I try to shoot in Paris, there’s traffic, tourists, construction work and security everywhere. Being in the desert gives you a sense of freedom. My vibe is right there.” The singular colours, the unique light and sheer vastness of the surroundings evoke simplicity, and yet something rather awe-inspiring – especially when juxtaposed with a Porsche 911, he suggests.
“I love the emptiness. You feel like you’re by yourself,” Vince explains. “I’ve shot in the Bardenas Reales desert in Spain many times, including for a TAG Heuer campaign featuring a beautiful white Porsche Targa from a friend of mine, Jérome.” There are many sandy dreamscapes he still hopes to conquer, preferably with a Porsche or two as an accompaniment. “My dream would be to take classic Porsche cars to Palm Springs. The ultimate would be the super narrow, compact and sporty 1967 Porsche 911 R. Only 20 were ever made. It’s an epic racecar.” As far as Vince is concerned, when it comes to Porsche, you should never stop dreaming.