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Alamogordo, New Mexico, United States
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A few weeks ago, we bid a fond happy 40th anniversary to the automotive dark ages of 1973-84 that have come to be known as "The Malaise Era" - the performance ice-age when 160 horsepower was a lot and a 0-60 time of under 10 seconds was remarkable. Like music in the 1980s, everything in automobiledom didn't suck, however. There were a few bright spots. Here are five of our favorites:
1976-79 Porsche 930, aka 911 Turbo Carrera (above)
Photo Credit: Dorotheum
Former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking (left in the above photo) could potentially be facing some time in the slammer after all. The last we had heard, he and former Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter (right) had avoided a trial in April due to a lack of evidence. However, an appeals court in Stuttgart has looked at the case again and overruled the earlier decision, finding that the executives should be tried for share manipulation during Porsche's failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in 2008, Bloomberg reports.
The judges in the appeal "list numerous indications that could suggest that there was a hidden decision to increase the stake as they could suggest the opposite evaluation by the lower court," said Stefan Schueler, a spokesperson for the court, in a statement cited by Bloomberg. Wiedeking and Haerter put out their own releases saying that there was no merit to the charges.
The prosecutors allege that Wiedeking and Haerter had a plan to buy up VW stock options in 2008 to take the automotive giant over but hid it from investors. The whole thing was a massive failure and eventually allowed VW the chance to acquire Porsche and forced the two execs to step down. In addition to the criminal investigation, hedge funds have attempted to sue the company multiple times in civil court for the same reason, but they have repeatedly failed.
While Porsche was unveiling the new Nürburgring-dominating 918 Spyder downstairs in Hall 3 here at the Frankfurt Messe, there was another Porsche supercar quietly and discretely on display upstairs in the same hall. That, of course, was the 959. But not just any 959: this was the original Gruppe B prototype.
The 959 was first developed as a rally car in the early 80s to compete with the likes of the original Audi Sport Quattro S1, Ford RS200 and Lancia Delta S4. But Zuffenhausen soon saw its potential as a production road-going supercar, emerging as a technological marvel to challenge the decidedly linear approach of the Ferrari F40. It still stands as a groundbreaking supercar in its own right, but also lead to the first all-wheel-drive 911 Turbo and set the stage for the Carrera GT and aforementioned 918 Spyder that followed to cap the top of the evolving Porsche range.
This original Gruppe B prototype, which presaged the production 959, packed a 450-horsepower 2.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six into an even sleeker form than the final version that followed. We caught up with it on display as part of a display of 80s German classics, of which this 959 prototype immediately stood out as the pick of the proverbial litter. Check out the hotness in the high-resolution image gallery above.