MUSEUMS ARE, by their nature, intriguing places. It’s not so much the buildings themselves, of course, unless you’re talking the Guggenheim, as the content housed within. Yet every now and then, someone strikes the perfect marriage of content and container. Or, in this case, Hangar and Banger.
While much of the car world waits patiently for manufacturers and local representatives to host events like Ferrari Racing days or Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion, there are more impatient and determined people who take it upon themselves to organise get-togethers. The first Hangar Banger was a unique and imaginative combination of a soon-to-be-demolished World War II hangar in Geelong, Victoria, and some of Australia’s most beautiful Porsches. It began in January 2018 and was the creation of the team at Porsche Forum Australia (PFA).
A relatively impromptu group of P-Car aficionados and their suitably disparate array of interesting Porsches gathered as a final send-off for the building, which should have made it a one-off event. But the idea was too good to let die, and the name stuck. The ethos behind the Hangar Banger passion project was to provide an inclusive (and unique) environment for owners and admirers alike.
“We weren’t expecting a whole lot from the initial event, but it was designed as a swansong for the building before it was developed into a hotel, and it was such a success we thought ‘this has to be an annual thing’,” says event organiser John Orchard.
“I don’t expect to have events more frequently than that, because planning takes a long time, but I’d like to see Hangar Banger move around to other unique buildings to give each year a different flavour.”
This year the team really knuckled down to plan an even bigger and better version for Hangar Banger II.
Teaming with Cororooke-based Porsche workshop Skunk Werks, PFA ended up hosting more than 300 Porsches in a recently acquired former dairy factory, now used as Skunk Werks’ base of operations.
Never one to miss a good car hangout, Wheels was in attendance and was graciously supplied with a 2009 Porsche 911 GT2 (997) and a 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder (987) in which to unobtrusively blend in, thanks to Porsche specialist ThePorschaDen Classic.
While a derelict factory isn’t the first location you might think of to host such a storied collection of cars (this one is mainly used to store vast amounts of wine and cars awaiting panel work), its ‘abandoned’ charm lending a careworn industrial contrast to the exhibits.
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From early 356s all the way to the current 991 GT2 RS, a kaleidoscope of Porsches is dotted randomly throughout a dozen factory buildings. Around every corner lurks another rare 911, including a genuine one-of-three slantnosed Ruf BTR 930 Turbo. Developing between 370kW and 520kW depending on low or high boost, the story is that the Ruf factory actually lost track of this car and only became aware of its location when the new owner wrote to the factory late last year.
Walking the grounds we found Porsches in every nook and cranny, some hidden among factory equipment in darkened rooms. Tucked away in the corner of a shadowy boiler room was a sinister-looking 356 Outlaw with a matte black paint job and contrasting red interior.
The quality of some of the builds on show was top drawer. And even when they weren’t quite period correct, concours-restored or factory-fresh examples, no one was turning their noses up.
Take Roland Paterson’s labour-of-love 1968 912 for example. It’s a hot rod by Porsche standards, and the build took five years, all of it by his own hand. His decision to fit the 3.2-litre six-cylinder from a 1985 Carrera means the short-wheelbase classic now goes “an awful lot quicker than Zuffenhausen ever intended.”
“I restored and sold a 356 before I bought the 912 without an engine,” he says. “I love the sleeper aspect of the 912 – it canbe quiet and unassuming but with the exhaust open it sounds properly mean.”
Outlaw metal not your taste? How about an immaculately presented, multi-million-dollar silver 356A Carrera GT owned by Porsche HQ itself? Porsche Australia brought this stunner along as a way of spruiking the fact that its Melbourne dealership has been awarded Porsche Classic accreditation, which allows it to officially restore classic Porsches.
After hearing whispers of two 964 3.6 Turbos hiding somewhere, we hunted down various alleys and corridors, finally finding the metallic blue and purple examples parked among crates of wine.
The owner of the purple rarity, Simon Ansell, snapped up his 1994 Turbo from Sydney. “It was modified when I bought it so I returned it to 90 percent factory spec,” Simon says. “I took it down to the first Hangar Banger that John organised at his old building in Geelong, which was really a great event for Porsche owners.”
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After a day of finding hidden gems in dark corners, there really wasn’t much more a Porsche enthusiast could ask for. Hats off, then, to the dedicated few who’ve created an inclusive event. The laidback nature of Hangar Banger, and its quirky choices of venue, add up to a stroke of genius. Sometimes the best exhibitions don’t involve museums at all.