“Das Treffen” in Thailand
To really appreciate the rich history of Porsche in Southeast Asia, “Das Treffen” is an annual jamboree where privately-owned Porsche sports cars from a range of decades are displayed and admired by all who visit.
“Das Treffen” in German translates to “The Meeting”. Today these words are on the tip of a thousand tongues of Porsche enthusiasts across Thailand. Since the 1960s Porsche has exported vehicles to Bangkok, creating a small but loyal fan base that now spans several generations. The recent resurgence in air-cooled culture has driven many Thai owners to bring mothballed cars out of storage and in the last five years, Porsche fever has tangibly gripped the Thai capital. What was still missing, however, was a means to harness this burgeoning passion, a proper Porsche gathering to rival the established meets in the US, Europe and Australasia. There was nothing of the sort in Southeast Asia; not until a man called Sihabutr Xoomsai appeared. Xoomsai, known as Tenn to his friends, was first inspired by his own passion for Porsche. “I’ve always had a thing for Porsche since I was a kid. The first Porsche I drove belonged to my father’s friend. He came over to our house one day in a brand new 964, tossed me the keys and asked me to get them something to drink. I will never forget that day—the sound, the smell and the kick in the back.”
“I’ve always had a thing for Porsche since I was a kid. The best way to enjoy a Porsche is to share it.” Sihabutr XOOMSAI
“The most important thing I learnt that day,” Tenn recalls, “is that the best way to enjoy a Porsche is to share it. Since then that is what I’ve tried to do—to share my passion with my friends and fellow enthusiasts.” In 2016, he decided to organise a casual get-together of Porsche cars and their owners. Was he inspired by the likes of Patrick Long’s Luftgekühlt in California? “Luftgekühlt”, he explains, “is largely about the air-cooled cars. Even though we have a strong group of air-cooled car lovers in Thailand, I wanted to make sure that every model is welcome. It’s really a get-together for the love and passion for Porsche.” The first thing was to decide on a name. He wanted to keep it simple and memorable, and recalled a meet he attended a few years ago called “Rgruppe Treffen”. The even simpler “Das Treffen” seemed to work perfectly. As the Executive Editor of GT Porsche Thailand, and assisted by Porsche Thailand, Porsche Club of Thailand and Renndrive, Tenn had no difficulty spreading the message. And the response was simply overwhelming—nearly 1,000 enthusiasts registered for the first event and more showed up besides. There were over 300 cars on display in 2017—only its second year—meaning “Das Treffen” had already grown into one of the largest annual gatherings of Porsche enthusiasts in Southeast Asia. Highlights have included a Martini-liveried 918 Spyder, a freshly restored 1972 911 T, a time-warp 944 convertible and a 1973 911 RSR clone finished in iconic Gulf Blue. The oldest car last year was a 1960 356 B T5, though even older examples are expected in the years to come. Besides the attraction of the rare Porsche models, another highlight of “Das Treffen” was the camaraderie among old friends and new, who bonded over the experience as one Porsche family. “I have made a lot of life-long friends from all over the world through the brand, and it’s amazing how people from different parts of the world can speak the Porsche language,” Tenn says. He has met enthusiasts from as far away as Malaysia, Singapore and even Dubai now, some driving their own Porsches all the way to Bangkok. And they all said the same thing—they will be back next year.
With 2018 being the 70th anniversary of Porsche sports cars, Tenn is confident that this year’s event will be very special. This year, “Das Treffen” will be held again in July to coincide with Sportscar Together Day, a regional celebration festival organised by Porsche Asia Pacific, as well as the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race. It is bound to be a splendid spectacle with a larger turnout than ever that truly underscores the meaning of “Sportscar