In this second edition of our Garage Envy Series, we meet up Matt Hummel to learn more about his passion for air-cooled Porsches and why keeping them as close to their original condition is so important.


Your name?

Matt Hummel

Why old Porsches?

I have no idea why old Porsches. As a kid, there was just something about the air-cooled engine that I was fascinated by. The noises, or probably because my dad had one. The charm of it just stuck with me. I like the shape of the car, and it's just been a part of my life.



Tell us about the property.

Lets' see... I got my property about 7 years ago I think. It was actually a foreclosure that I found on CL. The place was just covered in junk, and needed a lot of work. But it was kind of like a park and so I figured that I might as well just go for it and create something out of it.



How did you get into cars as a kid?

My dad had a Porsche 914 that he bought brand new. I would always hear it coming and leaving. You'd hear that engine coming up the driveway so you'd know your dad was home. It's air-cooled, and it has that specific sound. And I think for some reason that sound has resonated with me as an adult, and it's just something comfortable I like to have around. It's like subliminally I got sucked into old Porsches somehow by that. It's true.


Above Picture: Matt Hummul grinning ear to ear, with the '56 356 sitting so elegantly in the background.

Above Picture: The '56 356 Speedster


Tell us about the '56.

Ya this is the old '56 Porsche that has created a life of its own by being an off road trouble maker. But it's constantly breaking, I'm constantly breaking stuff. Like right now I have to put a new clutch in because I grenade'd the clutch.

How?

Just recently I was down some dirt roads going down into this ravine to a river spot. And the dirt roads are about a mile down there and washed out. I probably shouldn't have been down there anyways with this car. I get down to the bottom and of course the clutch cable breaks. So now you have to bump the car in 1st gear and drive out of there in 1st gear without ever stopping. Because if I stop, I have to go back down for a mile into the ravine to get the car going again. It's pretty hairy. So get out of there, and get home, I ended up mis-shifting without a clutch and I grenade'd my whole pressure plate and everything else.

This is the reality of it: when you are doing this much with your car, you are working on it just as much. It's not a free ride, that's for sure.



Why do you off road the Porsche?

It's one thing to off road a Porsche or another just adventuring out to remote areas. I don't necessarily seek off-roading situations. It's not really what I'm about or where my interest is. My interest is to adventure to beautiful spots. And I want to see my car there when I get there. And so it just sorta happens that we do a lot of off-roading to get to those locations. It's just circumstance, not everybody knows that.

Tell us about the race car.

It was a car that was raced in the 1950s. When I found it, it had been pretty much off the road since the 50s, and it was still in this kind of hodge podge race configuration. So I just rebuilt it in the spirit of vintage racing from the 50s. I wanted to recreate that time period and experience for myself what it would be like. And that is what this car is: this car is recreating history. Seeing the photos of people racing in the 50s has a big impact on me and I just want be in the car. I want to be that guy in the photo. So I'm going to recreate it for myself. And that is what this project is: to get a glimpse of something you have so much curiosity for. I'm not sure when it's going to get finished completely, and it doesn't even matter. It's like having the photo 3D. I just love being around it. I'm taking my time with it. It's going to be a fun car.


Above Picture: A few things to that set the tone just right in the garage.

Above Picture: Major garage envy going on.


What's the secret to a great garage?

You know, I don't know if I've ever figured out the secret to a successful garage, I really don't know. But it's probably organization. When things are organized, it definitely helps. Having the proper tools is usually pretty good too. But just knowing where the hell everything is, I think.

How many garages do you have?

It's kind of comical because I have three separate garage locations. So like right now I'm working in this garage, but most of my tools are up in the other garage. And I spend a lot of time walking back and forth looking for things. I spend half the day looking for things. I've got a barn garage and another house that I converted into a garage. So I've got my bases covered for a garage situation here.



That's a lot of walking up there.

Ya, having three garages in three different locations, I'm constantly going to find something I left at the other spot. I had an old golf cart from the 70s, like an old gas-powered Yamaha. But I had a party here one night and one of my jackass friends wrecked the golf cart. So the golf cart is now in the shed broken and I haven't fixed it yet, so I'm back to walking from house to house and garage to garage.

What was the property like when you got it?

Originally when I got this place it was completely covered in junk. I mean VINTAGE junk. There were hundreds of vintage bicycles, stacks of vintage lawn mowers, vintage refrigerators, all kinds of vintage things. The old guy who lived here would go to the dump, find things broken, bring them back here, repair them, and then resell them at a flea market. So when I got this place it was really cool because there was so much vintage junk. But once I had to start cleaning it all up it took me about a year to actually get my barn so I could get inside of it.



What do you love about it?

When you don't live in a traditional fashion, you're not very traditional in your day to day life or anything, a lot of comical things come up. I create my own reality here. Things work by some sort of madness that I can't really explain. It's full of stories and it's full of character here, and that's why I really love this little world that I created that I live in. It's fascinating to me.



All photography shot by Scott Toepfer: @sgtoepfer.


Matt Hummel on Instagram