By Lee Sibley 1 month ago
That time I visited the White Collection
Lee recalls his 2018 visit to Houston, TX, to witness the White Collection of Porsches and Porsche memorabilia in all its glory
It’s just after midday and we find ourselves waiting outside a plain, nondescript building, its featureless, external monotony a brilliant contrast to the magic of what resides inside. That’s because within these walls you’ll find what is very likely the most astonishing, most unbelievable Porsche collection on the planet which, until very recently, has been kept a complete secret to everybody. You should prepare to be amazed.
It’s a complicated process to get inside the building but, after sharing introductions with the rather secretive owner, we’re lead inside. Greeted by a maze of stairways and corridors at first, our eyes take a little time to adjust to the bleached-out haze of white floors, walls and ceilings, illuminated by brilliantly white lights. The connotations here are almost surgical – for a minute you’d forgive us for thinking we’re about to take a look around a top-secret new hospital that’s soon to open.
Eventually we reach a wide set of windowless double doors, bright light from the other side visible through a minute gap where they meet. Pulling on each handle, the owner swings the doors open and steps back, imploring the three of us in our party to venture inside.
Staggering into the room, three sets of jaws hit the floor as our brains attempt to compute the information we think our eyes are relaying. There are no less than 54 Porsche sports cars impeccably laid out in this huge room which, like the corridors leading to it, is a complete whitewash from floor to ceiling. The cars within this hall, rather predictably, are all finished in varying shades of factory ‘weiß’. Welcome to The White Collection.
What started with a single Matchbox 911 Turbo has grown into what is the most awe-inspiring stockpiling of Porsche on the planet. It’s not just because of the unique colour either. The cars in this room are, almost exclusively, extremely rare and collectible models, and all boast low mileages. Don’t let the colourless hues fool you: each Porsche is extensively, bountifully specced, with most of the modern cars simply dripping in bespoke CXX options – but we’ll come to that later.
The collection is vast and immaculately presented. Walking towards the middle of the room, a row of 911 GT2s from 993 right up to 997 RS sit to our left – the 991 is in transit – all organised in chronological order. To our right there’s a row of air-cooled Porsche Rennsports ordered from first to last, including both M471 Lightweight and M472 Touring versions of the original 2.7 Carrera RS. The water-cooled Rennsports line up opposite, with the holy trinity of Porsche supercars in the 959, Carrera GT and 918 presented, in white, in the middle.
Flanking each end of the Rennsport displays you’ll find an extensive Turbo and Turbo S line-up, plus a long line of rare flatbacks which culminates in a 991 R. There’s a row of Cabriolets in the distance, plus every Porsche Speedster, and some choice Targas. All are meticulously placed in stringently straight lines.
Back to that white Matchbox Turbo. “I was given the car when I was a child and was mesmerised by its flowing lines, and so I cherished it. More than a car, I found art in its design. It continued to inspire me as I grew up,” says the Collection’s bashful owner, who wishes to remain anonymous. His first Porsche was a 993, though not in white. They came later, amassed over a period of years, though there’s an admission that “the collecting only became quite aggressive in the last six years or so. The aim, as you can see, was to have one of everything, in white, in the lowest mileage possible.”
Boasting what is likely the best independent Porsche collection in the world, the owner of The White Collection might also be one of the Exclusive Department’s best contemporary customers. The 918 has north of $100,000 in CXX options, and the R, GT3 RS and GTS Targa aren’t far behind. The total amount of CXX options in the room could be near to $1 million. Even cars such as the 991 Turbo S Exclusive Edition, which came with bespoke Gold metallic paint, was optioned in Carrera White Metallic and, popping the front bonnet, the entire boot is lined in luxury leather with contrast gold stitching, courtesy of the Exclusive Department.
Most 991 interiors are resplendent in CXX Yachting blue leather with white contrast stitching and seat piping, this specification a clear favourite of the meticulous owner. The inspiration for this lies on the far side of the room, among the flank of flatbacks, where a 3.2 Carrera resides with a factory Yachting Blue interior. “I just fell in love with the colour combination when I bought that particular car,” the owner says. “It works so well and complements the white exterior, so from that moment on I decided all the new cars should be finished this way.” That 3.2 Carrera’s legacy now includes a 991 R, 991 GT3 RS and 918, all with Yachting Blue interiors.
All cars are absolutely original, to a painstaking degree. Their mileage, sometimes only being delivery – and not just the new cars: there’s a one-of-two 964 RSR Straßenversion in the collection with just 69 kilometres on the clock, and a 1-of-39 964 Turbo S Flachbau with 38 miles – sees to that, but our owner has even sourced original tyres for all the cars, at great expense as you can imagine. As for the new cars, they’re very carefully handled from the moment they leave Zuffenhausen to ensure their absolute originality is maintained. “We don’t even let Porsche unwrap the cars. We get them delivered here and we do all that. We keep absolutely everything which comes with the car,” the owner says. These are neat examples of the fastidious dedication that’s gone into creating this unrivalled automotive nirvana.
With such a collection comes responsibility which, aside from the generous application of white paint and building materials, the owner has typically taken to the next level too. There’s an indoor car wash so the vehicles don’t have to go outside, complete with drains and vents to extract liquid and take moisture away. The water used to wash the cars is carefully monitored too. The cars are each started once a month and a vacuum takes the fumes away, again ensuring the cars don’t have to ever venture outside. The air around the cars is also monitored and purified, an industrial generator appointed its own room with bespoke intake and extraction vents.
There are numerous couches (white, of course) dotted all over the room, though our favourite is a Porsche Design Yachting Blue set made by Kusch + Co, using leather from Porsche’s supply chain to match the 918 residing nearby. Alas, we elect to sit on a white couch about halfway down one side of the room, looking inwards. Sitting down, it quickly becomes clear their individual placing is deliberate, offering an opportunity to appreciate these elaborate ornaments flowing in tandem with the lines of the building. It’s a most humbling experience; in a world where vibrant PTS colours are now the norm, this graceful all-white display is refreshing in its simplicity. Similar to how you could stand in an art gallery and admire the works for hours, so you could sit here and wind the day away enjoying the automotive artistry encapsulating your eyesight.
Unbelievably, the cars do not form the pièce de résistance of the collection. Led upstairs, we’re presented with a long room stretching far back, organised into rows upon rows of open storage cupboards forming a series of aisles, each with their own illuminated desk top in the centre. There are mini displays running down the main gangway too, showcasing, for example, every first generation (1990s) Porsche bicycle made, comprehensive assortments of full Porsche luggage sets (organised into years, our favourite is the tartan set from the 1956 to 1982 display), to official kids toys, to champagne, to leather Porsche Design jackets.
Before those open cupboards, though, we find three large cabinets to our right, looking like oversized bottom drawers of a snap-on toolchest. The thin, wide drawers in each unit are marked according to year. We open ‘1973’. Inside, in a large Mylar pouch, we find a 30x40-inch advertising poster for the 24 Hours of Daytona. Written in German, we soon see that other posters have identical, original copies in English, Spanish and French. “We don’t have every advertising poster ever made, but we are trying to get there,” the owner says proudly. Based on the evidence we’ve seen so far, we don’t believe it’ll be too long before that part of the collection is deemed complete. We later find out the runners on the cabinets have been modified to take the additional strain the weight of this comprehensive poster collection was causing them. It’s another meticulous detail which surmises the care and affection which has gone into maintaining the incredible assets hidden within this secretive building.
The open cupboards are organised by products first, but then by year, with separate aisles dedicated to owners manuals, keys, radios, model cars, brochures and books. This unending library of Porsche material is simply astounding, its exhaustive, asset-rich catalogue something even the Porsche Museum and Archive in Zuffenhausen can only dream about.
Within the library you’ll find everything relating to every individual car downstairs, such as the original owners manuals, plus lots which aren’t. Even better, it is fastidiously organised within this hyper-meticulous and clinically presented facility. A case in point: the owner explains how he went to great length to source a cassette tape for the 959, which originally came with the car to help explain how to use its factory cassette player. Three days of exhaustive searching later, he found a tape for sale in Germany for a princely sum of €5,000.
“I’ll show you it,” he says, and we follow him past aisle after aisle of memorabilia, the owner using the descriptive signs at the end of each to navigate his way. Eventually he turns down an aisle, navigates about half-way down and stops at one of the hundreds of clear plastic boxes everything is sorted into. “This should be it,” he says, lifting the box off the shelf and on to the desk behind him. Pulling out the contents of the box, we find the tape in question, admiring it under the daylight-spec strip above us. There are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of products up here, yet we’ve managed to efficiently source a tiny cassette tape in less than a minute.
Again, running such an operation takes considerable resources: two truck loads of steel storage cupboards were ordered to help curate the items, and five figures worth of archival Mylar sleeves has been used too. We find we spend more time upstairs, fascinated by the degree of obsession exerted to pull this collection together. Upstairs is arguably more impressive, too: anybody can collect cars if they wish, but the associated Porsche components and memorabilia that goes with it? That’s an entirely new level of fascination and emotional investment.
And with that, we’re back outside and into the sunshine, our eyes taking a few minutes to adjust to the natural daylight after what has been hours mentally dazed in bright-white wonderment. It’s difficult to comprehend the scale and the degree of meticulousness of The White Collection. Not only is it one of the most outrageous Porsche amassments in the world, incredibly it’s been kept a complete secret from us all – until now, that is. We still can’t quite believe what we’ve witnessed: does it really exist?
Taken to the most obsessive and brilliant of extremes, The White Collection is a stellar expression of affinity with Porsche in a way we’ve never seen before, and will never likely see again. Personally speaking, it is a pleasure to have seen it with my own eyes.