Porsche – It’s My World: what is this book all about? Well, for starters, you won’t learn anything about Porsche’s cars, it doesn’t contain any technical specifications, and it has no narrative. So, you may well ask, what good is that to a Porsche enthusiast? And who is this guy, Stéphane Coradi, we have never heard of him? Also, his name doesn’t appear anywhere in the book, nor on the cover, there is only a small hint in the handle, Motörsteph, in the top right corner of the front cover.
Stéphane Coradi the man
Stéphane Coradi is 53 years old and lives in Agen, which lies between Toulouse and Bordeaux, in southern France. His love affair with Porsche began at the tender age of just 12 years when he and his father visited the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1977 for the first time. There, he came face to face with the Porsche 934, 935 and the 936, and his most vivid memory is of these fantastic race cars spitting flames, and the noise of that flat-6 engine at full chat. Who could blame him for being converted at that impressionable age? Having seen the real racing version of the 911, when a 930 later turned up in the street where he lived, his young mind was gripped even tighter. But it was only 33 years later, at age 45 years, that Coradi acquired his first 911, a Type 993 which he hopes to keep forever – can’t blame him.
Coradi is a truck driver. So, what drives a man who has a practical, demanding job like that, to turn his hand to publishing? Trucking and publishing don’t ordinarily belong together in the same sentence, and it is not because he is a whizz on a computer in his spare time, he is a self-confessed long-hand writer and illustrator!
Creating Porsche – It’s My World, is the realisation of a long-term dream for this author, and in his words, “Porsche means more to me than just sports cars…it’s a lifestyle! It’s not fashion, it’s a mix of history and performance.” The book is a combination of memories represented by imagery and graphics, and this concept is portrayed through creativity, colour, and loud expression. Coradi approached Porsche Germany, Porsche France and Porsche North America to help, but none of these would commit to, or contribute to, his project. So, what does a man do who is convinced by his own idea, when no-one comes to the party? Well he does it himself, and that is what Stéphane Coradi has done, he has self-funded and self-published his first Porsche book himself!
The fact that the book has only been released in French does not matter that much, because there isn’t much reading to be done, that bit is limited to the Foreword by Jürgen Barth. When the author told Jürgen Barth that Le Mans ’77 was his first Porsche baptism, he laughed, and agreed to do the Foreword. The importance of this first step in the book was not lost in the journey that the author has taken, because 1977 was the year of Barth’s overall win at Le Mans.
But having little or no text to speak of would lead you to think that the whole book then is all about photos and images, and strictly speaking you would not be wrong. The author has chosen to depict the important models, milestones and personalities alphabetically, from A-Z, in a distinctive and graphic manner illustrating the wealth of imagination in the Porsche universe. Most of the images and photos in the book you won’t have seen before, I found very few that were familiar to me. In a book containing 400 images by 40 different artists and photographers, this is no mean feat.
The book starts, logically, with the letter A, and here you will find photos and graphic images of the Auto Union, in which Professor Ferdinand Porsche played such a big part. You will also find an image of the Almeras brothers rallying in a 911 in the 1978 Monte Carlo Rally. The section starting with the letter B, shows images and drawings of Edgar and Jürgen Barth, the Boxster, and more. The pages following progress through the alphabet with the letter C showing the Cayenne, …and J is for Jägermeister, and so on.
The variety of image types and the graphic style of each and every page is as appealing as it is creative and different. The colour palette is truly impressive, and the layout of images has been done by someone with a real flair for creativity. The letter K, for instance, shows Kurzheck, Kremer, Karajan, while L represents Langheck and shows Larrousse and Ludwig. The reader soon realises that this is not just a display of all of Porsche’s many models, or just race cars or just people, but it is all of those things, and they have been tastefully compiled and thoughtfully nailed together in a pleasing and colourful way.
Another interesting fact to bear in mind is that the author has not created this book on a computer. The original concept, chronology and all the image sequencing was done manually, with paper and pencil. This book is truly a labour of love, as Coradi confessed, “It’s My World, is like my child.”
The passion of Stéphane Coradi is evident in the vast spectrum of Porsche topics, which shows the lengths to which he has gone to source important and significant moments in Porsche’s history. Take for instance the image on page 98 showing Dr Wolfgang Porsche, current Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, where Wolfgang Porsche is seen sitting in the car and holding the steering wheel of the 1-millionth 911 produced. If you look past Dr Porsche, the fellow holding the camera and looking a little impatient, is none other than this reviewer. When I pointed this out to Coradi, he happily informed me that I was the fourth person to claim that they were shown in the book.
This is not a book that you have to pick up and ‘read’ from cover to cover, even though you can of course. It’s what you may call a dip-in/dip-out book, which allows the reader to literally view a few letters of the alphabet, or a few of his/her favourite bits of imagery – it’s a very flexible format. The author has combined great photography with impressive artistic representations, some of Porsche’s posters (by Erich Strenger) from yesteryear and some commercial art. It’s a great combination which also brings current contemporary Porsche-inspired furniture, wall hangings and other tasteful accessories into its pages. Some of the art pieces displayed in the pages of this book are really great, some I might call a bit ‘way out’, even a bit edgy!
In the author’s own words, “Ferraris are red, Mercedes are grey…Porsche has Gulf, Martini, Salzburg, Brumos, the Hippie car and many more!” These are true words indeed.
What do you get for your money? You get a whole lot of colour, creative layout and presentation, and some classy photos mixed in. Having been told that you won’t learn anything about Porsche cars, the motivation to own this book lies in its appealing presentation, but it is also a talking point and a conversation starter. Put this book on your coffee table, and once your guests pick it up you will be off, talking for hours about all manner of images and personal Porsche memories.
The other reason to buy this book is that it is a salute to the author, that he was prepared to dip into his own pocket and create something that he has wanted to do for years. To have had the vision of creating It’s My World, containing all of the author’s favourite images from the world of Porsche, plus many, many more, in a way makes it also Your World, because you will bring your own interpretation to the pages of this book.
It is worth mentioning that the author is distributing the book himself and it is only available via the website listed below. This project is an inspiration, showing that when the drive comes from within, you can accomplish almost anything. Full marks to Stéphane Coradi for taking up the challenge with such enthusiasm and determination in the face of a negative response from the corporate world. Putting your hand into your own pocket and paying to realise your dream yourself, should be an encouragement to others and should be admired. The first printing of 356 copies are numbered, so be sure to order yours soon.
It’s a fun book, and it will put a smile on your face – if only all truckers were this creative!
|Title||Porsche – It’s My World|
|Sub-title||It’s also Your World|
|Publisher||Stéphane Coradi – Motörsteph|
|Format||210 mm x 297 mm, landscape hardback|
|Page count||119 pages on quality paper|
|Images||400 images (95% colour)|
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Stéphane Coradi and Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale