Porsche and the Transaxle era

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In 1976 Porsche introduced the transaxle mechanical configuration on the 924, and with it, it embarked on new territory. This type of configuration mounts the engine in the front, while the transmission goes on the rear axle. Between 1976 and 1995, Porsche produced a generation of sports cars that was far removed from the principles established by the 911. They were the 924, 928, 944 and 968. On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of these models, the Porsche Museum displays 23 exceptional examples of these. cars in the framework of the special exhibition “La Era Transaxle. From 924 to 928 ". More than half of these vehicles are being exhibited for the first time in the museum.

Transaxle models were a great financial success for the brand at the time. With this undercarriage configuration, Porsche sold nearly 400.000 units worldwide. Behind this success is a typical Porsche philosophy: a perfect combination of sportiness and versatility for everyday use. Alongside the exhibition of series production and racing vehicles, the Porsche Museum also displays a selection of prototypes and concept cars that have not been seen in the museum until now. For example, different derivatives of the Porsche 924 are on display, which were initially used as a base model. The 924 1979 Turbo Targa prototype is also being exhibited for the first time. Although this car was never produced, its design influenced the development of the 944 Cabriolet.

The Porsche 928, which celebrated its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1977, was initially an attempt to replace the 911. As a Gran Turismo and luxury sports car it explored entirely new paths and offered greater ride comfort, as well as a large trunk. Just one year later, in 1978, the 928 became the only sports car to win the prestigious “Car of the Year” award to this day. As part of the potential extension of the 928 range, a Cabriolet version of the Gran Turismo was worked on in the spring of 1987. This resulted in the 928 S4 Cabriolet concept car which, despite its harmonious design, was never produced. This unique prototype is also in the special show, along with five other 928 models.

The Porsche 968, a product with a technical evolution of 15 years, marks the end of the transaxle era.
The Porsche 968, a product with a technical evolution of 15 years, marks the end of the transaxle era.

The next car with this configuration was the 944, which arrived in September 1981. It ranged between the 924 and the 911, with its 163-horsepower four-cylinder engine. From the outset the 944 was accepted as a "genuine" Porsche, and not just because its Porsche engine was derived from the one used in the 928. No previous Porsche had sold as well or as fast as the 944. When production ended, By the end of 1991, a total of 163.302 units of the 944 had been manufactured.

Also included in this special exhibition are gems such as the 1985 Cabriolet concept car, which is being shown to the public for the first time. This model, painted in Flemish pink, was distinguished by its 183-horsepower four-valve per cylinder engine, as well as having a catalytic converter, airbag and ABS. The first concept of the 944 Cabriolet was presented in 1985 at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

Other 944 models that can be seen in the exhibition are the "Luna" project, which was used for an endurance test carried out by the Austrian specialist Gerhard Plattner, in 1987. With it he traveled from North America and crossed Europe to reach Asia, all this in a period of 258 days in which it covered 384.405 kilometers, a distance equivalent to that between the Earth and the Moon.

The next car with a transaxle configuration was the 944, which arrived in September 1981. It is also on show.
The next car with a transaxle configuration was the 944, which arrived in September 1981. It is also on show.

The Porsche 968, a product with a technical evolution of 15 years, marks the end of the transaxle era. Its centerpiece is a 240-horsepower three-liter engine, which is one of the most torquey four-cylinder naturally aspirated powertrains in the world. Visitors can also enjoy seeing a roadster concept for the Porsche 968, created in 1992 under the direction of then-chief designer Harm Laagay. The main features of this prototype are the smooth and muscular shapes of its fins, a dynamic cockpit and an interior full of emotions. In late 1992 the 968 roadster project was withdrawn to make way for the Boxster concept car, which was introduced in early 1993.

The sports car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen has also proven its ability to restore cars in the transaxle range. Porsche Classic services all cars that finished their production run more than ten years ago. These services cover all aspects, from car care and technical manuals, to the distribution and manufacture of original parts and even complete restorations. There are currently more than 52.000 original spare parts available worldwide. Porsche integrates the care and preservation of value, both of its modern classics and its vintage cars, within a novel service concept that closely links the tradition and innovation of the brand.



Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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