We Interview The Man Behind The 992 Sport Classic

We Interview The Man Behind The 992 Sport Classic

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
08 Jul 2022
... I was more into model cars as a child. I had Ferraris, I have to admit.

When the 911 (992) Sport Classic was released, I pored over every detail because I loved every bit of the concept and what it represents. At that time, I felt it was the 992 I would get if I could ever afford one, and my opinion stays the same till today.

At the Festival of Speed, I had the chance to speak to Boris Alpenbrink, Director of Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur vehicles, who conceptualised the first 997 Sport Classic (another one of my favourites) and also came up with the 992 Sport Classic. We dive into the imagination of this man who has a knack for creating desirable cars for heritage anoraks.

I’m responsible for limited edition cars at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur. Basically we start from a white piece of paper just as an idea until the car becomes reality like it is here. We have a team of people working on the design, the technical things and also around the strategy - why we are doing it.

What do you do at Porsche?

Yes it is a true story. Beforehand, I didn’t have much to do with Porsche. I thought the design has not changed that much over the years, the crest was a bit old-fashioned, so I was more into model cars as a child. I had Ferraris, I have to admit.

I heard you were an intern at Porsche and worked in the company for 20 years to get to where you are today. What’s your Porsche story?

But when I started at Porsche as an intern, and I learned about the special character of the company and its people, and how quickly you’d get to know people who will help you with anything you wanted to do. The same thing happened to me with the product. When I drove the 911 for the first time, I was completely changed and I knew there and then I wanted to work for this company. After my internship, I stayed in contact with my colleagues at Porsche and had a chance to start with Porsche Exclusive as a full-time employee, doing Training and Sales.

Absolutely. The strategy behind the 997 Sport Classic was that we wanted to bring back the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur limited edition cars. This ended in the late 1990s, because it was all about saving the company, reducing complexity and lean production, so there was no place anymore for low volume, high complexity cars.

You came up with the 997 Sport Classic, a favourite of mine. Did that car lay down the foundation for the 992 Sport Classic?

But when we started to talk about how to make Exclusive more visible, we said that with a special car it will be a ‘lighthouse’. Everybody will see and talk about it. It will be easier to explain than with single options. So we started with Grant Larson, lead designer for the day whom we still work with very closely today, on the idea and it was called a ‘retro classic Coupe’. It was all about ducktail spoilers and Fuchs style rims, the things people still really loved about Porsche.

Now when we did the Heritage Design Strategy, starting with the Speedster with Heritage Design Package, we were talking about the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. We thought the 60s and early 70s was right about the time to bring back the Sport Classic idea.

The harmony of the concept - it is so well-balanced, everything fits together. We have the 911 Turbo as the basis but there are no air intakes on the rear haunches, this is the biggest part that we ever had for a sports series. To get rid of the holes, we had to create new tooling that is only for those 1,250 vehicles. If you look at the rear area, the wide fenders together with the ducktail spoiler and the Fuchs style rims (centre-lock for the first time), it is like a sculpture. It is my favourite view of the car and it is significant because no other 911 has this kind of shape.

What’s your favourite feature of the 992 Sport Classic?

We are also very much about passion for details, so if you look at the front bonnet and the roof when compared to a regular 911, you see that the shape in the middle that is a bit lower is narrower than on the standard car. That’s because the stripe design has to be done first, and when incorporating the double bubble roof we thought the front bonnet had to match. That’s why the front bonnet, roof and the spoiler ended up being carbon fibre. It’s low volume, small series production but with passion for details so that everything fits together.

It is completely unique up till now for the 992 models. It’s the first time we combine the big turbo engines - the 3.7-litre - with rear wheel drive and manual transmission. This specific drivetrain is the largest effort we ever made for a sports series car. This car drove around 750,000 km of testing for development because the drivetrain had to be approved, something that really stands out besides the beautiful character of the exterior. The technical character is very unique.

The 992 Sport Classic is loosely based on the 911 Turbo but has a manual gearbox and is only rear wheel drive. Is this concept special in the Porsche world?

The Heritage Design Strategy is all about these classic, iconic seat patterns. That was the first idea. So with the Targa you have Corduroy, you have Pepita (with the Sport Classic), and we will come up with Pasha and Tartan. So with the 70s (now you may understand the numbers on the doors) it will be Pasha, and with the 80s it will be Tartan. I can also tell you we want to go through all body types. So we have a Targa and a Coupe so far, so you can expect us to do a Cabriolet and let’s see what ideas we have for the fourth one.

There will be two more Heritage models that will be coming. Can you give a hint about those models?

We will also create new colours and materials, and we will always look at some things that stay the same, like the numbers, the vintage Porsche crest and also the golden logos. This will be in all four model types. The rest, be excited, we will tell you in due time.

Credits: Text by James Wong; Photos by Horizon Drivers' Club and Porsche

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