Munich, 18th – 21st May 2023
Changing countries, warm hospitality, cherished friendships, and culinary delights in exquisite settings: these are the ingredients for the International 356 Meeting – one of the most prestigious Porsche Club events ever. Now on its 48th occasion, it still surprises with extraordinary experiences and captivating destinations every year.
After the Netherlands hosted the event last year, the German 356 Club, led by Club President Thomas Ernst, promised a meeting of superlatives. With over 700 members, this is the largest 356-specific brand club in the world after the 356 Registry. It's no wonder that the organizers were thinking grand: 245 teams, 225 vehicles, and 575 participants gathered in the Bavarian capital to explore the charming landscape around Wasserburg and Lake Tegernsee with their legendary Porsche classics. An impressive 15 nations formed the loyal community of early Porsche icons, including 14 teams from the United States. Joao Castro, President of the 356 Club Portugal, had the longest journey with a Porsche 356, covering approximately 6,500 kilometers.
The numerous coupés, roadsters, speedsters, hardtop coupés, convertibles, and cabriolets showcased that the 356s are meant for driving – not without reason is the motto of the German Classic Club: “356. Driving in its most beautiful form.” The oldest vehicle present was a 1950 Pre-A. Particularly eye-catching was a women’s team from Reutter Karosserie with a beautifully restored Bent-Window Coupe.
It was also remarkable that this time children and teenagers were part of the event, and enthusiastically mingled with both the motorized and driving classics. Four-legged passengers were also well represented.
The meeting kicked off with a tour to the famous brewery and beer garden Maxlrain in the south of Munich. The traditional evening at the Hofbräuhaus set the mood for the following day and extensive tours with shoe-slapping dances, traditional brass music, and beer-filled steins.
What made the tours special was the absence of fixed start times. Everyone could start at their own leisure and make their way to the destination. This contributed significantly to an incredibly relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, which was highly appreciated by all participants.
“The excursion on the second day was particularly sensational,” reports Stephan Griese, Classic Club Manager at Porsche Global Community Management. “Heading down to Lake Tegernsee, with a magnificent stop in the courtyard of Gut Kaltenbrunn – complete with a traditional Bavarian chapel.” The flair, atmosphere, good food, snow-covered mountains on the horizon, the typical Bavarian weather, lush green meadows, yellow flower fields, and herds of cows along the scenic route created an enchanting experience. “In addition, the organization was perfect – thanks to all the responsible organizers, the entire German board of directors, and the helpers from the Munich and Southern Bavaria region,” Griese raves. “By the way, the helpers were all wearing lederhosen every day, both the guys and the girls. The Club has truly set the bar very high and set standards. Respect to all!" He is impressed by every little detail being taken care of, reflecting on the team led by Thomas Ernst and the Bavarian regional teams. “Sometimes it's the little things – like when to reset the trip meter –- that make a big difference,” he enthuses.
Club President Thomas Ernst had set out to organize one of the largest international 356 meetings to date. However, it was not only about size but also about showcasing the land, people, and culture of Bavaria, combining Bavarian serenity with perfect organization down to the smallest detail. “Just as one imagines Bavaria, it presented itself in its most beautiful form. Sunshine included. The 356 enthusiasts are a loyal and dedicated global family that we have truly embraced. We wanted them to feel at home here – and above all, to feel comfortable.” Ernst let us glimpse into his air-cooled automotive heart. “If we have succeeded in that, we are happy.”
On the final evening, after the award ceremony and thanking the sponsors, Joao Castro from the 356 Club Portugal announced the next meeting for 2024: Estoril will be the venue, and the website for registration went online that very evening. Everyone who was present in Munich had the exclusive opportunity to register for the next highlight. Many participants took advantage of this on the same evening. This is further proof not only of the success of the German 356 meeting but also of the commitment of the 356 family and its loyal Porsche enthusiasts.