Porsche Former Chief Designer Tony Lapine Dies at 81

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

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.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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