Do you suffer from separation anxiety when away from your Porsche? Then Brock Keen has a novel solution.
The problem with owning a Porsche is that at some point your going to have part ways to do other things like eat or buy shoes. However, Portland-based Brock Keen has hit upon a solution to maximise your quality time together, the addition of a loft extension.
Brock initially purchased his Atlas Grey 996 4S from a friend’s dealership to use as a daily driver and escort to the mountains to ski and snowboard with his wife. “We have a lot of rain up here so all-wheel drive is nice to have,” he explains. “Driving these great roads between the coast and the mountains is perfect for a Porsche.”
Spying a discounted roof tent at his local camping store one day, Brock planned to attach it to his classic Range Rover, however it didn’t match up to the roof bars. But as luck would have it, the fit was perfect for the rack attached to his 911, employed to carry his mountain bikes.
“On my drive home I was getting a lot of funny looks,” Keen recalls. “Every stop light I hit people were throwing their hands up in the air in disbelief. When I got home I immediately opened the tent up, mostly to convince my wife that we should keep it.”
The decisive moment came when the couple attended an open-air concert in the Porsche and camped out in the tent for the first time.
A picture on Instagram caught the public imagination and the tent’s manufacturer got in touch, excited to see their product on such an unlikely car, but also concerned that it might not be strong enough.
“They invited us to their headquarters and had their team do a full stress test and weight test on the roof rack and on the car itself. And it passed with flying colours, even though it was triple the weight limit set for the roof rack. Once they had certified it,” Keen says, “that was the moment I decided to keep it on the car.”
A few modifications were also made, including a cold air intake, rally lamps and lowering the suspension by about an inch. “Which is totally insane,” Keen laughs, “because of the places I take it, and I’ve definitely smacked my oil pan on a few rocks, but it keeps the centre of gravity low.
“I’ve had the car on track with the roof tent on top, up on three wheels in a corner, so it can definitely handle it now.”
The car’s first proper road trip with the tent in situ was to the Rennsport Reunion at Laguna. “There were a lot of purists there who thought it was madness,” he recalls, “but also there were the guys who understand the real Porsche brand and how useable these cars are. So there was great appreciation for it.”
Keen has been racking up the miles with road trips all around the country ever since, taking his 911 ever further off the beaten track. “Remote places usually have great roads that lead to them,” he explains.
“So it’s canyon carving by day, a billion stars by night, and I get to do it all over again the next day. I just get out and go to the sort of places you would never really expect to see a Porsche, let alone one with a roof top tent.”
Keen’s regular car camping companions are his wife and dog Lucy, but friends have been tagging along more recently and the ripple effect has gradually gone global. “It’s becoming a thing,” the 40-year-old admits.
“We did a rally with a group of sports cars in the Fall and drove a bunch of gravel and dirt roads in the mountains around the Pacific Northwest. One of my buddies has an ’88 Carrera that we put a tent on as well.”
Now a cult figure thanks to his posts on Instagram, Brock’s adventures have now inspired others to hit the road internationally.
“Now there’s probably at least a dozen more doing it, in Russia, in China – they’re popping up all over the world which is pretty cool.”
Prior to the pandemic Keen had his sights set on an international road trip, taking in every European round of the 2020 Formula E championship. However, he continues to explore the US in his trusty 996 come sun, rain or snow, taking a simple message to the wider Porsche community.“Don’t be afraid to drive your car,” he says. “We’ve just clocked 126,000 miles in ours. They’re meant to be driven, so just get out there and do it!”