In terms of prose and style, Porsche’s advertising certainly couldn’t keep up with the modernism of the company’s flagship GT. Yet the Swabian virtues persisted.
Given the amounts of thought, devotion and creativity that went into the creation of Porsche’s landmark 928 coupé, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the ’78 vintage brochure of the car isn’t terribly advanced in terms of layout or prose.
The overwhelming sense is one of pride and Swabian thoroughness, with just a hint of ’70s glamour and cosmopolitan flair added. Double pages are devoted to the 928’s being awarded ‘Car Of The Year’, obviously, as well as its design and engineering development process.
The wording may hardly be humble, but it never reaches any lofty heights, as one would expect of a company from the heartland of protestant proficiency. Naturally, the introductory note (‘Porsche only builds sports cars – specialists achieve more’) isn’t without irony in this day and age, but any hyperbole – which the 928 can rightfully boast – is served in rather dry a fashion.
The photography is equally two-sided. There’s quite a few ‘behind the scenes’ snapshots that aren’t blatantly staged, as well as the required money shots of 928s being employed by the Côte d’Azur glitterati for savoir vivre purposes. Neither of those sets of photos appears as cheesy as most other examples of the kind.
Truly surprising though are the mundane photos of 928s in actual regular traffic, be it in congested Stuttgart or on some French/Belgian motorway, with a Renault R5 and a Mercedes W114 being left behind in its wake. This naturalistic context actually does the best job at highlighting the Porsche’s advanced styling, which lends it a kind of UFO appearance amidst its 1970s environment.
Despite the brochure’s Swabian flair, the layout and typography aren’t obvious progenies of the Ulmer Schule. The stark cover page though acts as a somewhat striking element, just as the attached data sheet at least bears some resembles with German modernist layout á la Otl Aicher.
Was the conservative nature of the 928’s brochure a symbol of the strength of the product, which didn’t need any kind of modernist embellishment? Or was it signifier of Porsche’s disaffection with its most advanced creation? One can only guess.
The author of this piece runs an uninfluential (English language) motoring site of his own, (with some Porsche 928 content) as well: www.auto-didakt.com
4 thoughts on “Brochures Redux – 928 equals more than 911+17”
As a child in the late 70’s I was enthralled by the 928 and its spaceship styling. To me it is an exterior design that refuses to age, no doubt aided by the fact there was no successor to create an updated version of its unique look.
The interior’s age is mostly determined by manufacturing tolerances and materials. The shapes themselves are almost as timeless as the exterior. The entire car’s a masterpiece, plain and simple.
Thanks for stopping by Dinger. I agree. The 928 was a landmark car, perhaps too subtle for its own good. That the ubiquitous 911 continues to outshine it in the one-make stakes aptly demonstrates the herd mentality of (elements of) the enthusiast community.
I would recommend Kris’ Auto Didakt piece on the 928. Excellent insights into the car’s development and superb photos.
I’ve only sat in one 928, a hard used example at an auction for tax write-off clunkers. I suspect it had spent time hauling masonry blocks. Looking at the pictures of that pristine beauty on Auto Didakt I have ton concur on the status of the interior. It’s a great complement to the body.