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HUB:RAUM: The 944 is grossly underrated!

If you love photography and engines of all kinds? I guess it's only fitting if you call yourself HUB:RAUM (cubic capacity) on Instagram. But Luca Di Blasi, who is behind the name, is simply much more than cars, motorcycles, and cameras. And also proves that love for a Porsche can be at second sight.

Interview: Marko Knab Photo: Luca Di Blasi 10.08.2020 7 min

On Instagram, you call yourself HUB:RAUM and torque.photo. Where do both your names come from?

In the case of torque.photo, I was looking for a catchy name that makes it easy to understand what it's all about. That was in my time as a Carspotter about six years ago. Those were also the early days of Cars & Coffees at Böblinger Motorworld. Over the years and due to my job as a new car salesman I got more and more into the taste of classic cars. In my opinion, they simply have a bit more soul, heart, and a story to tell. This led to the idea of setting up a new platform for old sheet metal with HUB:RAUM.

Where does your enthusiasm for cars come from?

I can't explain that specifically. However, I already painted cars diligently at kindergarten age. When I was older, I drew them and had the wish to become a designer one day. The direct proximity to one of the best universities for transportation design in Pforzheim, to Porsche in Zuffenhausen and Mercedes in Stuttgart did the rest. An employer once noted in an appraisal interview that I am just a petrolhead. He was right. (laughs)

On your accounts, we also see many (historical) 911s. Why is a Porsche the perfect photo motif?

The 911 is a timeless design icon. Until today hardly surpassed. It has a long history that simply goes on and on. There are many racing successes to come - and on one or the other of them a »war paint« that is still current today. You can put a 911 virtually anywhere to take a picture of it. It simply looks good everywhere. That's what makes it so interesting as a photo motif. Besides, a photo of a 911 is a good consolation if you can't get one yourself! (laughs)

Through the eyes of a photographer: Which would be the perfect color for your Porsche?

I think every car from Zuffenhausen is unique in its own way. In the past, Porsche had such a wide range of paintwork and interiors with the most diverse patterns. I wouldn't want to say that there is this one or the best color for a Porsche. The best color for a Porsche is the one that suits it. So every color! Nevertheless, I do occasionally dream of a 930 in Oak Green metallic.

We've heard you have a thing for two-wheelers as well as cars. What is it?

You heard that right. When I was a child, my father, who is a little car nut himself, used to take me for a ride on his chopper. This feeling of togetherness when you greet other motorcyclists has always fascinated me. When I was 16 years old, it was clear: I'll get my “Small” motorcycle license. The first tours and trips welded me to the two-wheelers. Today, I can hardly imagine life without my Café Racer. There is hardly a comparable feeling of freedom - except for flying myself. That's what I've been told because that's also a little dream of mine.

What does a Café Racer like your machine and a historic Porsche have in common?

Café racers are mostly historical motorcycles or modern motorcycles that have been converted to a classic look. With a historic Porsche, they share the charm of bygone times. They are loud, puristic, stink a little, leak a little here and there and tell a story through the numbers on their odometer, through their scratches and dents, poetically called patina. And by their smell when you open the garage door or the driver's door. No new vehicle can do that. There are also external similarities: round headlights, analog instruments, this rather crouched posture ... and an air-cooled engine like that of my Honda CM400. That's what it has over my 944.

You drive a Porsche yourself?

I sure do. An '87 second series 944 in a rare Maraschino red. Tone on tone with its interior.

Why a 944?

That's an easy one. Because I can afford it. I have a great love for cars. But still, there are things in life that are far more important to me - and that's why I don't spend all my money on cars. The Transaxle series was often called the housewife Porsche in the past - somehow it even fits, I think. Not because of the performance or the design, but how the 944 fits perfectly into an economical budget. It is the perfect entry into the Porsche world: it offers driving pleasure, is reliable, and with its huge dome-like glass lid trunk is the perfect travel companion. The 944 is still mercilessly underestimated today. It was David from »Only A Roadtrip Away« who gave me the taste for it back then. He uploaded some great pictures of his 924 in the snow on Instagram. And then three years ago, when I finished my apprenticeship, I bought my '87 Porsche 944.

So are the rally lights on your car a tribute to this road trip?

The two Hella Rallye 1000 auxiliary headlights and mud flaps on the rear wheel arches were only added as a gag at the beginning of this year. At the time, I made a tour to the GP Ice Race in Zell am See - with a good friend who also drives a 944. A roof rack completes the road trip look.

What else have you changed on your 944?

When I bought it, the tuning sins of the 80s and 90s were still clearly visible: Fiberglass rear spoiler, smoked-glass tail lights, Twingo-1 twin exhausts, and a big 17-inch. Plus an oversized rear apron in the Audi 80 look. This had to be lowered and reset to the standard condition.

What else makes it special apart from the road trip equipment?

For one thing, it is quite clearly its color combination of the rare maraschino red on the outside and a wine-red fabric/imitation leather combination with pinstripes on the inside. For me personally, the vehicle is something very special, because I have known it since I was a child. Because of the conversions, I always found it quite horrible, but at some point, it was for sale in my former home. At that time I also knew that I wanted to drive a Porsche. After a first test drive, I was not convinced. But when I turned on the headlights and looked into his nice frog face, I knew: I've got to have it! Since then he has been a faithful companion on many longer tours.

What drives you in life besides the 944?

My motorcycle! (laughs) No, I'm joking. To this question I would like to quote the motto of »Life« Magazine: »To see the world, to see things that are dangerous to get to, to look behind walls, to get close, to find and feel each other, that's the meaning of life.« I came across this motto in the film »The Amazing Life of Walter Mitty«, in which photography and travel also play a central role. I enjoy meeting new people, exchanging ideas, seeing new places, countries, and learning about life. And to gain insights. Photography and my love for old cars give me all that.

The perfect photo-setting for you?

The perfect setting? Sunset, summer, an old Porsche, what else? And no matter what model, but I'd love a Rallye 944. In a desert, a steppe. With lots of dust and a model. Whether it's a man or a woman. Maybe an old Café Racer or an old cross-machine from the '80s. Inspired by the magnificent series of pictures by Aaron B. Hall and the 911 Safari by Florian Flatau.

The most beautiful road - without cars?

Cars are my life. But I don't always have to travel by car. I could well imagine walking along a beautiful road and enjoying the landscape. But today I can hardly imagine a world without cars. We will see what the future brings. But the most beautiful car-free road for me today is the route out of the Enzkreis from Loffenau via the Rote Lache, the B500 past the Schwarzenbachtalsperre, and the Mummelsee to the Lotharpfad. Early in the morning before sunrise to watch the sunrise over the Black Forest.

And the perfect soundtrack for that?

On tours with the car, I like to listen to music that fits the country or the area: ...through my authentic Marshall speakers. I don't have a favorite genre: »Gente di Mare« by Umberto Tozzi or »Bello e Impossibile« by Gianna Nannini if you're going to Italy, »Moi...Lolita« by Alizée or »Ma direction« by Sexion d'Assault if you're going to the Cote d'Azur, where I spent my last vacation. Or just whatever suits my mood.

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