I would not have thought that a discussion of the Boxter design heritage could be presented without at least a reference to the Panamericana concept car and 80th birthday present given to Ferry Porsche in 1989. As I recall the patriarch was not entirely complimentary of the project and it was displayed at a couple of shows and quickly swept under the square weave carpet with all hope of a small production run dashed. It seems that at the time most dyed in the wool Porsche aficionados knew what the management at Porsche apparently did not - that to save the company it had to get back to its roots and produce a nimble, affordable (and hopefully) air-cooled sports car. A car that would draw in new buyers and rekindle the excitement of the loyal fan based left behind with the front engined Camaro clones. Sure the Panamericana was rear engined, but the design influence on subsequent models including the Boxter is apparent. It was taunt and sinewy and had a visceral, youthful attraction. Just what was needed to bring buyers into the fold who hadn’t yet started wearing green pants with white belts. It took years before the Porsche saw the light, and if it wasn’t for the 911 fan base helping keep the spark alive a pretty good argument could be made that the Boxter may have been like the Studebaker Avanti, a nice design but just too little too late.
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