Car Culture / Events / People

Eduardo Venegas: A Passion for Porsche

porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_thumbnail

As I was walking around the Porsche Parade in Keystone, CO this year, I was asked by a kindly gentleman to take a peek at the 911E he would be presenting at the concours the next day. Little did I know I was meeting an enthusiast who has the attitude and passion to reignite anyone’s love of automobilia.

Eduardo Venegas is a soft-spoken, quick-witted Porsche owner with a smooth-as-silk latin accent and a passion for his hobby that runs very, very deep. His 911 E was a unique color, Crystal Blue. Only 14 cars were painted such from the factory that year. It had to look perfect to do the color justice. The car had some white streaks and Eduardo was devastated at their presence. I agreed to take a look, and fix a few spots that would make the car present a little better on the lawn. After removing the few swirl marks (and the dreaded silicone haze left by so-called “cleaning wax”), I applied a few coats of Best of Show Wax and sat down to chat with Eduardo while it cured.

porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_detailing porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_admiring

IMG: Let’s start with an easy question. Where are you from originally, because you have a very cool accent and I doubt it came from living in Colorado.

EV: Cuba. I came to the country in 1961 when I was 11. I didn’t get my license until I was 21 because there was no way I could afford a car, so no reason to get a license!

IMG: When did you join PCA?

EV: I joined the PCA in 1977

IMG: What drew you to the 911?

EV: It was the first Porsche that I owned, actually a 912. It was a ’68 Targa with a soft rear, which is very collectible now, but at the time I was always trying to replace it with glass! It’s just the opposite of collectibility now. That was in ’73, the first year I got out of college and that’s what I purchased.

IMG: What made you decide to join the club?

EV: Right after school I went overseas, and when I got back and got involved in my career I found quite a book called “Excellent is Expected”. It became an escape for me, and I decided as soon as I could afford it, I would buy a 911T. And I did in 1978. Joining the club went hand-in-hand with being an enthusiast/owner.

porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_collection1 porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_collection2

IMG: What is your favorite thing about being an owner?

EV: Quite frankly, it’s not being alone. It’s an incredible club and it’s the people that are brought together by the cars. I had a Fiat Topolino and it just wasn’t the same. With the Porsches and PCA, you have people you can talk to and people that share the same interests. It’s the biggest club in the world for a reason!

IMG: We’ve all got our proverbial white whale. What is the Porsche you are always chasing?

EV: When I got involved with my first Porsche, it was always the brand new model. In 1973 it was the 911T sunroof coupe that I couldn’t afford. The best I could do was the 912, which still cost me about half my salary at $8000! What I like today is the low mileage original cars. It’s not always about the new models anymore. It’s finding the best original example I can. Being in the right place at the right time, doing the due diligence, and finding that “right” car. It’s not so much affording, it’s about finding.

There is nothing to me quite like an original and perfect car. Anyone with money can restore a car… it’s a question of how big is your bank account. With a preserved car, it’s a whole new game. You have to be lucky to find the original car and then you have to be dedicated enough to preserve its beauty and maintain it for future enthusiasts to enjoy down the line.

IMG: I’m a Toyota junkie but have been known to enjoy a Porsche or Corvette here and there. If it was any other car but a Porsche what would it be?

EV: Well, right now I am interested in big Mercedes. I have a 2007 CL600 V12 right now and it’s a fantastic car. Superb comfort, but you press the pedal and you get warp speed! It’s not as good as my Porsches with handling but over the years I’ve gotten a little older and enjoy the luxury along with the speed.

porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_collection3 porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_collection4

IMG: What is something that has kept you going as a car guy?

EV: For me, it’s the car aesthetics. I pay a lot of attention to the lines and silhouettes and the form. It brings a lot of satisfaction when you look at a car like a 911, which is beautiful. It’s a great thing to have seen the [911] evolve over the years, and know it hasn’t been able to surpass the original lines of a 1963. Let’s admit it… a lot of us who collect cars can’t or won’t drive them. I like the atmosphere of the garage. Mine is set up as a memorabilia garage with displays for the car to compliment and accentuate it. It’s a way to enjoy the cars and really display them as they should be displayed and taken care of.

IMG: With some guys it’s the cars. Others it’s the very space itself. How do you have fun in your garage?

EV: To me it’s the display aspect of it. It has been an evolving, well, you could call it art form. When I first started out, it was my preoccupation to store my cars and rare parts. I had two lifts and 4 cars and it became a warehouse. There was hardly any way for people to look at what I had and enjoy or distinguish it.

I decided to make a change and got rid of the lifts. I scaled back the number of cars I owned and went in a different direction. I wanted to appeal to the non-enthusiast and impress the hell out of the enthusiast. One of my favorite collections are my rally plates from the golden age of rally. I have ones from Monte Carlo, and all the other major European rallies. I also started a large collection of vintage trophies. I have the 2nd place from the first Carerra Pan Americana won by Tommy Deal driving a 1949 Cadillac May, 1950. I’m so proud to have that trophy. It’s actually taller than me!

These are very important, but the presentation is the most important thing. I also love my collection of badges. I see them as art that has yet to be discovered. If you look at my collection of badges, I have some incredible ones including early Porsche events, European events. Back in the day, everyone who could afford a car had room for a badge. It’s something not being done anymore and its beautiful artwork. Enamel signs also grace my collection. Some even pre-date modern automotive Germany, and I have one from the time of the Kaiser.

All of it combined creates a colorful art and style that I find quite unique.

IMG: I knew I was a car guy when I got a book as a kid about supercars. It was a very adult book with lots of words and a lot of pictures. It became my field guide to identifying cars. When did you know you were a car guy?

EV: It was something of a discovery that I was a car guy. Most of the friends I have in Cuba and here had early contact with cars that led them to be a car guys. I am kind of an exception as I am a technical neophyte and I have no idea how an engine runs! I had no idea that I had a passion for cars until I graduated college and I started paying attention to cars around me and I decided I enjoyed them. My first car was a VW. Going to Porsche, at least I knew where to look for the engine!!!!!!!!!

IMG: Thank you so much for your time today and good luck in the concours!

porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_concours porsche-parade_eduardo-venegas_awards

After I finished asking the silly questions that compose an interview for *ahem* the best blog on the web today, I had the good fortune to just let the conversation take its own turns and twists and spend some excellent time getting to know Eduardo better. It fueled me up as an enthusiast. It was certainly a joy to be around such intense passion for one’s hobby.

Oh and if you were wondering, Eduardo’s drop dead gorgeous 911E took not only 1st place in his class but 1st in his division as well. Very fitting for not only the car but the owner as well.


3 Comments

  1. Great interview Dustin! I’m jealous I couldn’t be there to meet Eduardo and eavesdrop on your conversation…

    • I feel like I need to add just a little more by responding to you Dell. I had been on the road for awhile by the time I got to Porsche Parade. I love what I do, but sometimes it gets a little weary out there! I was really run down and pooped until I met Eduardo. His passion and enthusiasm not only brought me back up that week, but really got me excited and passionate about being a car guy. It was just great! Eduardo really is one of those guys who you can’t help but like!

      • I’ve known Ed for many years and he’s a great guy who is very particular with his cars and “stuff”; he has been in my home and “garage” as well. Ed sent me photos recently of his latest acquisition, an aqua blue/red interior 2012 Boxster Spyder. It is stunning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*