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Wendeigheit — Last Of The Air-Cooled

“THE NEW SHAPE created arguably the best looking 911 of all, by achieving something that hardly seemed possible — making the 911’s shape even simpler.” (The Complete Porsche: A Model-By-Model History by Brian Laban.

Porsche Management did not like the 964 series as it was built for the Porsche enthusiast and not the normal Porsche customer. So, the project began with a 20-page prospectus by Peter Falk, an executive and one of the driving forces behind the 956 and 962 racecars, and multiple winners at Le Mans and other series. (Porsche 993 The Essential Companion by Adrian Streather)

At the end of the day it is all about emotion. If it doesn’t stir anything inside you, inspire you, then it isn’t a Porsche.

Falk used the word Wendeigheit, which means agility or nimbleness. (Porsche 911 Perfection By Design by Randy Leffingwell) For Falk, agility has two main qualities: direct agility and indirect agility. Direct agility is vehicle reaction initiated by the driver. Indirect agility means communication to the driver. He even defined aspects of appearance contributing to agility. (Porsche: Excellence Was Expected by Karl Ludvigsen)

For direct agility, Porsche redesigned the rear suspension to limit noise and eliminate the tail-happy handling characteristic of 911s from day one. This was the “Weissach effect” which had originated with the 928. (Porsche 993 The Essential Companion by Adrian Streather) A six-speed gearbox was developed and the ABS was updated. The horsepower of the engine increased even as it was made quieter.

Budget constraints had an affect on the body design as the designers had to use the windshield, roof, and front trunk lid from the 964. The interior design went back to the 1974 Porsche 911. Tony Hatter was given responsibility for the body design. He commented, “I like to compare forms to muscles…It is such a tightly packaged vehicle that it’s like a trained athletic shape.” (Porsche 911 Perfection by Design by Randy Leffingwell)

The 993 was a success as the company turned around from red ink to black. Interestingly the 993 listed for $5,000 less than its predecessor.

I am the proud owner of a 1995 Porsche 993 in Adventurine Green, a colour offered only for two years. I drove several Porsches before choosing this one. Buying and owning a Porsche should be an emotional experience and I drove a few that just did not give me that feeling. I practically bought mine when I first saw it and before even driving it.

The design chief for Porsche at the time summed it up for me by stating, “At the end of the day it is all about emotion. If it doesn’t stir anything inside you, inspire you, then it isn’t a Porsche.” (Porsche: Excellence Was Expected by Karl Ludvigsen)

Addendum: Little did I know that when my wife and I visited the Porsche factory in 2015 that I would use that visit as research for this article. I asked our factory guide how many robots were used on the 993. He replied, “One, to install the windshield.” </>

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