European Union officials are threatening to sue four countries, including Germany and Britain, for permitting Volkswagen AG to sell vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests. The union has faced growing criticism for taking a more laissez-faire approach to handling the issue while the United States forced the company to settle $15 billion in legal claims.
Meanwhile, German regulators are looking into whether Porsche intentionally manipulated fuel economy data on its vehicles — creating a potential subplot in Volkswagen’s never-ending emissions-cheating scandal.
Countless hours of development, design and and construction. Exacting details wrought in board rooms and wind tunnels. Exotic materials, experimental engine designs, hand crafted bodies. The goal?
Simple. Make the fastest car in the world.
But even if a designer or firm achieves that goal, they don’t necessarily have a winner on their hands. Even when the facts and figures support the superiority of one supercar design over another, intangibles often determine which one will be a success.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some superlative automobiles over a few decades and see how fate played out.
Though it may seem hard to believe, we’re only a month away from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Wedge Era in automotive designs.
To those of us who still think of the Countach as a sharp enough design to be considered cutting edge, this is a sad reality. Yet the prototype of what would become the 1980s poster child was first shown in a hard-to-conceptualize 1971.
The influence of the angle extended far beyond the Countach in the 1980s. It also started before the scissored doors opened on the stand in Geneva in 1971 and was seen in many more marques than just those wearing the Raging Bull. Even more impressive than its age is the reach of these designs, some of which are still being refined today. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and influential doorstop shapes and where they later found a home.
There are currently over one thousand 2014 through 2016 model year Cayenne TDIs in the United States that Porsche cannot sell, all thanks to VW Group’s ongoing emissions fiasco. You might be wondering what Porsche plans to do with its stop-sale utility vehicles. Recycle them? Ship them all to Germany? Burn them on the world’s largest-ever funeral pyre?
If one of your DIY car enthusiast friends built a home or office audio system from the muffler and exhaust pipes of their favorite car as both an acoustic and visual part, you’d probably think it was a clever idea — something like using an engine block for the base of a glass coffee table, only more practical.
What, then, to think of the $3,500 Porsche Design 911 Soundbar Bluetooth loudspeaker that incorporates an actual titanium rear silencer and twin chromed exhaust tips from a Porsche 911 GT3 in its subwoofer?
Porsche says it doesn’t anticipate the introduction of any vehicles smaller or cheaper than the Macan and 718 in the current production lineup. That’s bad news for anyone who was holding out for Porsche to build a modern day 914/4 and great news for a premium automotive company that doesn’t want to sully the brand with an affordable dud.
J.D. Power & Associates has released its sales satisfaction index, and there’s a familiar tri-shield insignia gracing the top honors. There were also a slew of stinkers we are gradually growing accustomed to seeing on the bottom any list denoting some form of quality.
Tranquility returns to North America as FCA’s ill-fated minivan assembly plant prepares itself for a return to active duty.
That, the used car rulebook is getting an update, an autoworkers’ union puts its hand out for government cash, and Porsche shrinks the price-tag and stretches the length of the Panamera … after the break!
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.
Let’s get one thing clear straight away: this car doesn’t exist on any Porsche lot. Finding a no-options Porsche 911 is like finding leftover beer at a frat party or a Prius owner who isn’t smug. If you want this, you’ll have to order it.
The base Porsche 911 Carrera starts at $89,400 and is devoid of extraneous technical frippery, making it closer in spirit to mythical 911s of the past than anything else in the current catalog. And yes, I’m aware of the existence of the psychotic 911 R and GT3 RS.