HCOTY 2017 Nominee: Bradley Brownell's 1976 Porsche 912E

As much as I love cars for what they are, I really love them for what they enable people to do, to see, and to experience. Which is exactly why, when Zach Bowman and family packed up and spent a year in their Odyssey Rig, as much as the whole ordeal was made possible by the Ram with which their travel was afforded, it was the adventure itself that mattered and that was so inspiring; the truck was simply the means to the madness. It’s not so much the metal as it was what it allows the driver and its occupants to see and enjoy, and this year we saw more of the same within our own community.
It was Hooniverse’s own Bradley Brownell who took his 1976 Porsche 912E on a ~7000 mile road trip this year, one that I and many others would follow in envy. A real-life solo journey across the wide expanse of our country, allowing Brad to experience everything from behind the windshield of a unique, special, oft-forgotten car: that’s the Hooniverse way, and it’s one so many of Brad’s friends and readers alike were wildly jealous of.
So while I’m still pretending the Odyssey Rig won last year (in reality it did…), it’s now time to nominate Bradley Brownell’s 1976 Porsche 912E for 2017 Hooniverse Car of the Year and hope that Brad’s own spirit of adventure is capable of carrying his 912E to victory.

I’ll always lean towards honoring cars– and people– that promote, enjoy, and spread the excitement, stories, and energy of adventure. Conveniently, one of this year’s leading examples of such was told by one of our own, and the car he used to do so has earned itself my 2017 HCOTY nomination. The car in question is a 1976 Porsche 912E, hardly the most noteworthy production vehicle the company has built, but one that served its current owner as the adventure portal for what is one of the gutsiest excursions any of us read about this year. It’s one thing to drive a new car seven-thousand miles, it’s entirely another to do so in one that’s forty-plus years old. But Brad never let the car’s age get in the way of its potential, and #ProjectMelloYello completed the long drive without major issue, bringing Brad happily and safely home to tell the tales of adventure and to urge people to get out and drive.

This “things are mean to be seen and cars are meant to be driven to see said things” mojo drew and hooked me to the stories of the “Sure beats flying” road trip, which even deservedly made its way onto the cover of Autoweek. Air travel very easily could have made Brad’s trip a tenth as long as it lasted, but with a destination of his sister’s graduation and by planning a subsequent loop through the Ohio area Brad forced himself to take the long way home, in turn finding and seeing and experiencing places he otherwise simply wouldn’t have.

Cars, especially old ones, are meant to be driven, and Brad will be the first one to tell you so. “Nothing is precious” he repeats on the Cammed and Tubbed podcast, regularly reminding people that cars are machines, not museum pieces. But driving the wheels off the 912E didn’t end with the cross-country circuit; Brad continually drives the 912E through questionable weather over the passes to California, and was even daily-ing the little yellow coupe for much of the year. It might be slow, it might be worn, but it’s a story-maker with built-in character. And for that, you have to love it.

Through his 912E, Brad was able to fully embody the spirit of adventure in 2017. And while some people like to celebrate cars themselves as the material items they can be made out to be, I like to celebrate the adventures that are made possible by said cars and in a reverse-way honor the vehicles that act as the backbone to stories and memories that make the cars important. Brad’s old Porsche was a willing and able adventure vessel in 2017, and for that his 1976 912E wins my 2017 Hooniverse Car of the Year nomination. Hopefully it will win yours as well.
All images courtesy of Gil Folk and Autoweek

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11 responses to “HCOTY 2017 Nominee: Bradley Brownell's 1976 Porsche 912E”

  1. Bradley Brownell Avatar
    Bradley Brownell

    Truly honored. Thanks, Ross.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      Gorgeous photography! I loved the story on the podcasts, but since we don’t have Autoweek here I never followed up the actual article with pictures.

  2. jeepjeff Avatar

    Ooh, this is going to be hard to beat for my vote. This little Parsh is fantastic, especially in person.

  3. crank_case Avatar

    This is my favorite nomination so far.

    1. desmo Avatar

      Naah. Wrong wheels…

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        Who cares?! This isn’t Bring A Trailer, it’s Hooniverse.

      2. Bradley Brownell Avatar
        Bradley Brownell

        What makes my wheels “wrong”?
        They’re knockoff Fuchs in 15X6 and 15X7, allowing me to fit more tire than stock. How is that a bad thing?

    2. Zentropy Avatar


  4. Zentropy Avatar

    Of the nominations I’ve seen, this one would most likely get my vote. Big brother 911 may have been faster, but the 912 is huge fun when the roads get twisty, and here’s an example that’s actually being driven instead of sitting in a garage under a cover. Love it.

  5. Maymar Avatar

    I think I’m going to be torn between voting for this and the Land Yacht – similar ethos to both. Can they possibly share the nom/win?