I’m not sure they heard you the first time… or the second.
So what have we here? Well it appears to be Ital Design’s 1991 proposal for Porsche’s abortive 989 four-door saloon project. As detailed previously on these pages, Porsche had been investigating a four-seater saloon ever since the 928’s inception, the 989 concept being the culmination of Zuffenhausen thinking at the time. But while the in-house proposal reflected Porsche’s enthusiasm for traditional silhouettes, there was clearly some hand-wringing as to whether this was the best way forward.
Porsche’s Ulrich Bez commissioned a number of alternative studies on the brief – (said to have been four in total), one of which was this from the studios of Ital Design. Clearly a derivative of themes explored to better effect in the carrozzeria’s 1990 Proto T concept for Seat, one gets a strong sense that Giorgetto’s heart wasn’t really in it. Ladling on the coincidence here is the fact that Seat had previously engaged Weissach’s engineers as consultants for the ‘System Porsche’ engine family that powered their mid-80’s car range, so there is a neat circular arc to this story. Well, sort of.
As we know, the recycling of conceptual themes was quite regular behaviour for the Italian carrozzerie. In a similar manner to that of the fashion couturiers, a theme is developed and variations of it are offered to whoever expresses an interest. In a manner of speaking, they were saying; ‘here’s this season’s little black number, which we will modify to your specifications’. However, the 932 as seen here simply looks lazy – even if it (by coincidence or otherwise) appears to have foreseen the frontal styling of the 1992 968 model.
Perhaps il maestro knew he hadn’t a hope of getting the commission and simply went through the motions – a position one could understand given that Porsche weren’t in the habit of over-riding their in-house design team. Another way of looking at it is through the adage that suggests that the quality of the creative is only as good as the brief that initiated it. A further nail in it’s coffin would undoubtedly have been Giugiaro’s 1990 Jaguar-themed Kensington concept – (a subject I will return to), which plainly drew heavily from the same Proto T well.
The 932 prototype has been retained by Porsche, residing amidst their vast collection of waifs, strays and rejects. One can’t imagine too many tears were shed over its dismissal, least of all by the great man himself. After all, even the best of us have off-days, even if most of us don’t always get reminded of it so vividly.
11 thoughts on “SEAT Again Giorgetto”
In the first photo, the concept looks too much like a Toyota Carina from the same time. Really not a highlight.
The Proto T is not too bad, actually, except for the short wheelbase. The Toledo seems to be quite closely derived from this – I’m thinking of the overall silhouette as well as the bumper treatment.
This is not appropriate for a Porsche and I am not surprised they didn’t take it any further.
But I do admire Giugiaro for the consistency of his approach – Ital Design had hit on what they thought was the ideal form for a sedan and they kept on churning out different versions of the same idea until somebody (Lexus) bit.
This consistency makes his work highly recognisable. As far as I know, VW’s Up! has never been formally credited to Ital Design – but it’s the most Giugiaro car on sale today.
Even if his heart wasn’t in it, one can not say Giugiaro isn’t consistent. My first thought looking at the picture was that it looked like the love child of a Saab and a Jaguar. My second thought was that I immediately recognised the Kensington rear door.
From the rear it looks like a Saab, and only from the front it looks somewhat like a Porsche. But mostly it looks an Italdesign, he slab but bulbous lower half is very much all and entirely Giugiaro. It’s interesting the lower half is all him when the upper part looks like three different cars from the front, middle, and rear.
I actually think it looks quite neat, it was a pity he didn’t get the chance to develop the concept further. It could’ve been tweaked into a fine little number, in proportion and stance it looks better than the Jaguar XE, it could’ve been something like that twenty years beforehand…
It’s far from the maestro’s greatest work but it looks like the product of more recent work than it is. Pontiac in particular seems to have borrowed fairly heavily from it for the seventh-generation Grand Prix.
I always quite liked the GS300, though. A bit bland, but showed that something worthwhile could be extricated from the horrendous Kensington.
Consistently Giugiaro and consistently adaptive. I’d say adaptivity is an intrinsically important function for any fashion house. We’re talking design cues from a lot of different makers here, Porsche, Seat, Jaguar, Saab, Toyota, Lexus. Pontiac. That is actually quite impressive.
That makes it design bouillabaise. The only missing item is a blob of rouille.
It really is very Camry-like around the rear 3/4. Not very Porsche at all!
The Proto T DLO doesn’t pass muster. And the Porsche is plain bulky. I don’t think there is much in it to say Porsche that isn’t grafted on.
Maybe it could have been a QP with a modified front end?
Very interesting article. Didn’t Giugiaro end up hawking the Kensington to Daewoo as the Leganza?
We discussed this vis a vis the recycling of the motif for the Maserati 3200 GT.