This year has been rough for Porsche designers. Last month Ferdinand Porsche, designer of the 911, passed away; and now Tony Lapine (second from left), former chief designer at Porsche passed away at the age of 81 on Sunday, April 29.
Lapine is most well-known for his front-engined Porsche 928 design as he headed the Style Porsche design studio from 1969 to 1988. The Porsche 924 and 944 models were also under his direction. During those years, the German automaker saw its biggest changes in corporate structure including the foundation of an Executive Board whose members came from outside the Porsche family. Both the 924 and 944 models that Lapine helped design are important to Porsche’s history because both models represent the growing relationship with Audi and the Volkswagen.
Previous to his stint at Porsche, Lapine created memorable concepts for General Motors including the 1960 CERV I, 1962 Corvair Monza GT, 1963 Corvair Monza SS, and the 1963-1964 CERV II. More importantly, he teamed up with Larry Shinoda on the classic design of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.
Born in 1930, Lapine began his automotive journey with an apprenticeship at Daimler-Benz before traveling to the U.S. to work for GM. GM eventually transferred him to Germany to head the Opel Research Center where he was snatched up by Porsche in 1969.
“As a designer, he didn’t follow fashion, but was forever setting new trends with his concepts,” said Porsche’s current chief designer Michael Mauer.