Flat Sixes
Flying|December 2021
Fanatical artisans
BEN YOUNGER

The two machines pictured below do not conform to the rules of economy of scale. Both are made by hand to some degree, and are done so to exacting tolerances in small numbers by dedicated craftsmen. Both have horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines. Both require a certain level of mastery to fully extract their potential. Both attract the mechanically zealous. Both fly.

We are currently experiencing a profound loss of craft in our world. As a society, we consume and we replace. We do not repair. There is no incentive to do so when goods are cheap. Efficiency has come to eclipse all other manufacturing qualities— most notably, quality. In this booming consumer culture, the individual artisan has been sidelined. There have always been exceptions, but they demand a higher price tag governed by the laws of volume. Beechcraft and Porsche are two companies that never lost the thread.

The Porsche 911 GTS and the Beechcraft Bonanza pictured were built 40 years apart on different continents. One in 1978, and the other in 2018; one in Kansas, and one in Stuttgart, Germany. But they were built by the same type of human— fanatical artisans. My people. Where some see a status symbol, I see functionality taken to its logical conclusion. I used to own the airplane, while the car was generously loaned to me so I wouldn’t feel out of place driving around Hollywood (I own a Ram pickup back east).

Karl Marx wrote at length about the alienation of the worker. “In your enjoyment, or use, of my product, I would have the direct enjoyment both of being conscious of having satisfied a human need by my work, that is, of having objectified man’s essential nature, and of having thus created an object corresponding to the need of another man’s essential nature. ... Our products would be so many mirrors in which we saw reflected our essential nature.” There is truth there.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

PORSCHE'S TOP SECRET SUPERCAR

The GT3 Touring is an absolute monster—in 911 clothing.

2 mins read
Men's Journal
November - December 2021

Porsche to race on $45/gallon eFuel from direct air carbon capture.

Technologue

3 mins read
Motor Trend
December 2021

2022 Porsche 911 GT3

There’s so much more to the new GT3 than its raw speed.

2 mins read
Motor Trend
November 2021

WITHOUT ITS ROADSTER, PORSCHE MIGHT NOT EXIST TODAY

That was the headline on a New York Times story published on January 20, 1996, detailing the German marque’s effort to turn around its finances and reinvent the way it had built cars for more than 40 years.

10+ mins read
Motor Trend
July 2021

Porsche Design Acer Book RS: This stylish, blazingly fast laptop lives up to its name

The detachable display and 360-degree hinge of the original Porsche Design Book One are gone, now replaced by sheer speed.

10+ mins read
PCWorld
March 2021

BEST OF TIMES, WORST OF TIMES

THAT CRAZY YEAR IN WHICH A SMALLER FIELD MADE THINGS HARDER

10+ mins read
Motor Trend
March 2021

4 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

I could be blindfolded and tell you I was driving a Porsche

3 mins read
Motor Trend
March 2021

7 Porsche Cayenne Turbo Coupe

Forget physics, Porsche’s uber-SUV is right at home at Best Driver’s Car

3 mins read
Motor Trend
March 2021

5 Chevrolet Corvette Z51

The new mid-engine layout places Chevy in exotic car territory

3 mins read
Motor Trend
March 2021

MINE'S THE PORSCHE - ON TEST // ELAN GT6

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE BADGE: WHY PORSCHE BECAME INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN OF ELAN’S NEW FLAGSHIP

10+ mins read
Yachting World
December 2020