From September 22 to mid-October, the Riga Motor Museum will host the first exhibition of historic cars of the German sports car manufacturer “Porsche” in Latvia, including exhibits from the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, said Ivars Norvelis, head of SIA “Baltic Sports Car”, the official representative of “Porsche” in Latvia.
The exhibition “Driven by dreams. The story of “Porsche” and Anatole Lapine: the Latvian who made pigs fly” is organized to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the brand and to pay homage to Anatole Carl Lapine, a native of Riga who was “Porsche’s” chief designer from 1969 to 1988.
“To quote the author: “Latvians are everywhere”, the same can also be said of “Porsche”. Lapine oversaw the development of several legendary car models, and we are honoured to tell Lapine’s story in collaboration with members of the Antique Car Club and the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, from where the cars have come to Latvia for the first time. The exhibition will run for a limited time, therefore I invite everyone to use this opportunity to learn more about the legendary brand and Latvian automotive achievements,” said Norvelis.
The exhibition’s biggest star is the 917/20, nicknamed the “Pink Pig”, “Big Berta” or “Truffle Hunter”, which debuted in Leman in 1971. Other historic and iconic “Porsche” models, such as the 928 GTS Wiedeking Edition and the 930 Turbo, will also travel to Riga. Cars restored by members of the Latvian Antique Automobile Club will also be on display, including the “Porsche” that was the beginning of it all, Type 356.
It should be noted that to mark the exhibition and the anniversary, “Porsche” representative in Latvia has decorated electric “Taycan” in the style of “Pink Pig”. Visitors of the exhibition will be able to participate in virtual competition and those who score the best results will be able to enjoy a flight with a “Taycan” together with professional racer Valters Zviedris in Bikernieki race track.
“75 years in the history of a car brand is a considerable achievement. It is the added value that includes recognition, traditions and history. It all refers also to German sports cars manufacturer “Porsche”, and Latvian Anatole Lapine has also contributed to its legend,” said Riga Motor Museum director Agris Smits.
The Riga Motor Museum since its foundation has researched work of Latvian car-building engineers, has been a keeper and promoter of their achievements. “The upcoming exhibition which is being developed in cooperation with “Porsche” museum in Stuttgart and the official brand representative in Latvia, SIA “Baltijas sporta auto”, will ensure a unique opportunity for the brand’s fans and a broad circle of interested persons to get acquainted and evaluate the brightest pages of the car-building legend, where a Latvian also has added his signature,” said Smits.
The Latvian who made pigs fly
Anatole Carl Lapine (1930-2012) was born in Āgenskalns neighbourhood of Riga. During World War II, his family moved first to Poznan, Poland, then to Hamburg, West Germany. Although further away from home, this path led him closer to his dream industry – car construction and design. He started his career in the lowest rank of automotive design as a junior draughtsman, but later on he headed the design department of the iconic German sports car manufacturer “Porsche” for twenty years.
He was said to have the courage to think differently and to be a progressive dreamer. His successor, Michael Mauer, said in 2012: “As a designer he didn’t follow fashion but was forever setting new trends with his concepts.”
His work at “Porsche” coincided with the brand’s so-called “transaxle era”, when Ernst Fuhrmann, then head of the German car manufacturer, wanted their cars to have the engine under the bonnet rather than in the rear.
Under Lapine’s lead, the legendary “Porsche” models 924, 928, 944, and the 964 and 959 supercars in the 911 lineage were developed. The 968 can also be considered part of Lapine’s legacy, as it combines the design and construction characteristics of several previous models, clearly demonstrating its pedigree.
The 928 was Lapine’s first front-engined “Gran Turismo”, it was produced from 1978 to 1995, with a total of 61,056 cars sold.
It is not for naught that Lapine is often referred to as the Latvian who made pigs fly. “Porsche 917/20” takes a special place among the various 917 versions. It remains a unique one-off. “Porsche” engineers together with the French company SERA attempted to combine the advantages of the short and long tail 917. But the best part was the original and unprecedented paintwork, the brainchild of no one else than Lapine.
He decided in favour of the pink body colour and labelled each of the body parts according to the butcher-style cuts. And the car, which went down in the annals of “Porsche” history as the “Pink Pig”, “Big Berta” or even “Truffle Hunter”, caused a sensation at Le Mans 1971. The “Pink Pig” was flying at 360 kilometres per hour!
For the first time in history, the “Pink Pig” will return to the birthplace of its creator, where it will be on display for all “Porsche” enthusiasts. The exhibition will run at the Riga Motor Museum from September 22 until mid-October.
About SIA Baltijas Sporta Auto
The official “Porsche” dealer in Latvia – SIA “Baltijas Sporta Auto” boasts a dynamic and knowledgeable team, as well as 20 years of experience in the car sales industry. “Baltijas Sporta Auto” is the authorized “Porsche” dealer in Latvia, providing reliable and customer-oriented sales and car service.