Michel Artéro was the President of the French association of Porsche Clubs and has shaped the development of French Porsche Clubs like no other. His book “Porsche Community ...ma seconde famille” is a declaration of love for the Porsche Clubs. Talking to a man who can be named “Monsieur du Club Porsche.”
It's that room: generous, with enough space for a special vehicle. A well-maintained garage, an extraordinary office, a living room. A room to live in, or rather, a room for life. On the walls hang numerous souvenirs from the long career of a gentleman driver: trophies, photos, certificates, and collected memories. For more than twenty years, this room served as the office for the Porsche Club Toulouse and the Fédération des Clubs Porsche de France. It was the hub for all the ideas and visions that Michel Artéro developed during his successful years as one of the leading minds of the worldwide Club Community.
For ten years, a green 911 Club Coupe stood here in the center, a vehicle that was issued in 2012 in an edition of 13 in honor of the Porsche Clubs worldwide. A vehicle that Michel calls the “Voiture du Clubs mondiale,” the vehicle of the Clubs. “Owning the vehicle was a privilege because it represents the community.” In the raffle back then, luck was doing a good job: The vehicle found its way to an owner who had put his whole life at the service of the Porsche Club community.
Now, in 2023, a new model has found its place here in Michel's garage and in his heart: a 1973 2.7 RS. He sold the green Club Coupe, with the greatest regret, as he affirms. But, “at 81 years of age, you have no time to lose to live fully with and in the Porsche community,” he says, explaining his decision. In addition to the 2.7 RS, he bought a 964 RS built in 1992 for the activities of the Registry and the Classic Clubs, as well as a “50 Years 911” anniversary model for the regional Club outings. “This way I can live out my passion for Porsche intensively and to the end... This decision is the greatest possible proof of my love for the ‘Communauté du Clubs Porsche’ – the Porsche Club Community.”
Michel's Porsche story begins with his search for community and family. For 30 years, he drove rally and circuit races, completed the Tour de France in a BMW 2002 TI, drove a Cora prototype for two years. Other legends followed: Jaguar ‘E’ Type, Ferrari 250 SWB, Ford GT40 MK2, later Porsche 2.7 RS and Porsche 3.0 RSR. In the nineties, he built up a French club for the Dutch Donkervoort automobiles. The camaraderie and friendship, the social togetherness of the small, exclusive community inspired him from the start. “But I was looking for a bigger family. And the only brand that could offer that was Porsche!”
In 2002, he bought his first Porsche, a 996 Porsche GT3, to start a Porsche Club in the Toulouse area with seven friends. Michel's concept was well received, and the Toulouse Porsche family grew quickly. “Clubs should always be a place where everyone with their own personal passion, no matter what car they drive, no matter where they come from, can find a place for themselves and their passion... and be welcomed and respected in the community.” For Michel, the most important thing that makes a Porsche Club is “le partage de la passion commune pour la marque” – participating in the shared enthusiasm for the brand. A passion that is best lived and enjoyed in the community. “If you don't want to share something, it's not really important. If it's important, you want to share it. I think that's the basis of our love for the Clubs and the passion that is lived in the Club.”
When Michel founded the Club Toulouse, there were 16 Porsche Clubs in France, with different programs, different admission procedures, and different membership fees. Those who were interested in the Clubs in France did not find a homogeneous whole. Some presidents, including himself, thought of creating an umbrella organization to coordinate and harmonize the French Clubs. “We were Clubs in one and the same country, we were a French family, but we did not appear united as one. If you want to be a driving force in the Porsche Club world, you have to have a global perspective. And we had no vision, neither nationally nor globally.”
After its foundation, the Federation went through five difficult years. Finally, Michel was asked to become the third President of the federation and resigned from the Presidency in Toulouse. To start with, he divides the French Clubs into sections: Classic, Motorsport, Registers, and Regional Clubs. He changes the statutes of the federation. He creates a “Club Management Manual” that sets out guidelines, standards, and principles. He asks the Clubs to work in harmony with the Porsche Centres and therefore creates the “Harmony Trophy”. In collaboration with Porsche France and Porsche AG, he set up an annual calendar of events in France, which the Clubs could not do alone, coordinates visits to factories and museums. “From a certain point on, my life revolved around Porsche. Not a single day went by without inquiries, interviews, and background discussions. You literally become one with Porsche.” To this day, Michel is a sought-after and valued contact for the French automotive world. “You can't do that without passion, enduring passion.” When he handed over the presidency after the four years term, the federation is well-positioned on the world stage of Porsche Clubs. Today, there are 29 Clubs in France with around 5,800 members.
Even today, the 81-year-old Michel Artéro is still on the road as a representative of the Porsche Clubs. He is Président Honoraire of the Fédération des Clubs Porsche de France, Honorary and Founding President of the Porsche Club de Toulouse-Gascogne, Honorary Member of the Porsche Club de Monaco, the Porsche Club RS de France, the Porsche Club 924/944/968, Porsche Club Roussillon, Honorary Member and Co-Founder of the Porsche Club 911 Classic and Founding Member of the 911 Club Coupé Registry.
But above all, after all these years of activity, he has finally found the time to write a book: “Porsche Community – My Second Family”. “There was a need for the book because there really is no comparable book on the market.” In his book, Michel writes a lot about values, attitude, and aspiration; he calls it the “Attitude Club”. A club version about not asking what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community. “We find far too much consumerism in our society today: what do I get for my money, what benefits do I reap?” Too many people complain that the coffee is not hot enough instead of being happy that fellow people are organizing an event for them on a voluntary basis, he finds. “The Club attitude, for me, is enjoying friends and conversations, in the here and now, together and with great vehicles.”
Every day he receives letters and reactions to his book. “People come forward who have read the book and now want to join the Clubs because they want to be part of this Club attitude,” Michel says. “Recently a reader emailed: ‘I read your book and now I want to be an active part of the Club community, I don't come as a consumer.’ Incroyable!”
As the Grand Signeur of the Porsche Clubs, he knows that this attitude will get more important than ever in the future. It is necessary, he says, to transfer the values of the worldwide Club community to new Porsche fans. “We have to pass on our knowledge, our experience, the values of the Club community into the future.” He sees this as a positive challenge because “whoever buys a Porsche always buys the traditions and the values of the brand as well.”
Michel Artéro not only looks back on two decades of Porsche passion and commitment to the worldwide Club community but also wrote the right book at the right time. “The book is a synthesis and accumulation of actions and reflections within the Clubs and the Federation. I wanted to share my passion, my emotions, and my love for the Clubs, telling about what I have created for the community, about what the community has given me. If I have succeeded in doing that, then I have fulfilled my mission. I have come full circle.”
Michel's journey started with the search for a family and concluded with the book about the Porsche Club community. “But you know, the community is never complete.” With a smile, he looks over at the 2.7 RS now standing in the middle of his office... “Porsche forever.”
Porsche Community …ma seconde famille