Raleigh, North Carolina - October 10, 2013


1. SOUNDBITE (English) Ken Gross, Guest Curator: "We are in the North Carolina Museum of Art. I'm the guest curator for this exhibit, which is called `Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed.'// Opening the exhibit is a Type 64, which is essentially the first Porsche sports car. It was developed in 1938 and '39.// I like it because it shows the continuity of Porsche design right from the beginning. The shape, the aerodynamics // We have twenty-two cars in this exhibition, one of which is Janis Joplin's 356 C Porsche Cabriolet.// In one of her songs she sang, `Oh, Lord. Won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches. I must make amends.' Well, she drove a Porsche. She bought it second-hand in San Francisco. And because she was Rock 'n' Roll's first diva, it had to be a little different.// We wanted cars in this exhibit to tell several stories, so we had to have a Speedster. Why not have Steve McQueen's Speedster? // It was the first car McQueen bought, new. It's the first car he raced. He went on to become, as well as a successful actor, a VERY successful racer. // As a kid, I coveted one of these in the worst way. // We have several cars that are one-of-a-kind, like the sixteen-cylinder 917 prototype // Or the 935 Baby. They only built one of each of these cars, as a prelude to see if they could be successful racers. // These cars are elegant examples of 20th century craftsmanship. They have a continuity of design, of engineering.// A really remarkable story that's unlike anything in the automobile industry."


Curator Ken Gross had his first encounter with Porsches in college, when the cool guys were driving Super 90 Coupes. His old Ford, which was fine for attracting girls in high school, didn't compare.

He bought a 1961 Super 90 Coupe after graduate school in 1966, then sold it before he went to Vietnam in the U.S. Navy. Although he hasn't owned another one since, he has found a job that makes for a fine consolation prize - curating museum shows that include Porsches, such as the one that opens Saturday at the North Carlina Museum of Art.

This show is different from other car exhibits that Gross has curated because it's the first one he's done that focuses only on Porsches. The show has 22 of the German-made cars, starting with a 1938 Type 64 Berlin-Rom Racer and including actor Steve McQueen's 1958 Speedster and Janis Joplin's psychedelically painted 1965 Type 356C Cabriolet that's usually at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The exhibit, titled "Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed, runs through Jan. 20, 2014.