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.
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WITHOUT ITS ROADSTER, PORSCHE MIGHT NOT EXIST TODAY
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