Remembering Porsche's unsung heroes.
When it comes to Porsche’s greatest hits it’s all too easy to forget about the transaxle cars that helped keep the brand alive. To honour Porsche's often overlooked front-engined rear-transmission heroes Porsche released a video on their YouTube channel to name its top 5 favourites.
To start its top 5 list Porsche choose to highlight the genesis of the transaxle Porsche with the EA 425. This fairly obscure Porsche was set to replace the Porsche 914 as a joint development project with Volkswagen. The goal was to build a family-friendly coupe that was more affordable to own and maintain than a Porsche 911. Sadly the oil crisis of the 1970s meant the EA 425 never saw full production but is credited with inspiring all transaxle Porsches that followed.
Next, we have the Porsche 924 as the first full production transaxle Porsche. The Porsche 924 was the first Porsche to use a water-cooled engine that was sourced from Audi. Porsche advertised the 924 as a family-oriented sports car with the room of an estate which broadened Porsche’s customer base.
When the radical Porsche 928 debuted with its water-cooled V8 and futuristic styling Porsche set its sights on a true 911 replacement. The transaxle era went from an experiment to a potential to define the Porsche lineup. The 928 won the European Car of the year in 1978 thanks to its innovative design and enjoyed over 20 years of production alongside the 911.
The Porsche 944 debuted in 1982 to replace the 924. The 944 was completely designed by Porsche and used a Porsche designed 4-cylinder engine based on the 928’s V8. The 944 saw great success in bringing the Porsche brand to a more affordable price point.
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The final transaxle Porsche is the often forgotten 968. This 944 based coupe was designed to bring a family resemblance between the 928 and newly designed 993 911. The 968 featured a massive 3.0-litre inline-4 cylinder engine and was the last front-engine Porsche until the debut of the Cayenne SUV.
When it comes to Porsche sports cars the 911 often overshadows a family of truly great transaxle cars. Thanks to these more affordable Porsches the brand was able to survive some tough economic times and remain the sportscar powerhouse we know today.