by Brian Willoughby, images by Doug Breithaupt
To replace its moderately priced and popular collaboration with Volkswagen,
the 914, Porsche unveiled a tradition-breaking product during 1975 that
was assigned the model number 924. Built in Audi's factory from Volkswagen
parts, the 924 was even less of a true Porsche than its predecessor; however,
it laid the groundwork for another new model that was intended to herald
Porsche's future as well as the end of the rear-mounted engines cooled by
air. Often viewed both then and now as the 924's big brother, the other
new model would make its debut in 1977 as the 928. Positioned at the top
of Porsche's hierarchy, the company envisioned the new 928 eventually superseding
the beloved 911 for which eulogies were already being drafted. Yet, over
time, the 928 proved to be less satisfying and certainly less successful
than earlier Porsches and it quietly faded, unlamented and unreplaced, from
the automotive scene during the 1990s.
Why the 928 failed is difficult to fathom since its specifications abounded
with glittering technological marvels and the level of its engineering was
so superior to most of its contemporaries that it had few legitimate rivals.
It was a supercar that, thanks to its extremely high German-build quality,
could be driven daily and practically worry-free. It did not suffer from
indifferent hand-assembly techniques and employed a reliable, albeit unromantic,
Bosch fuel injection system rather than the multiple carburetor set-ups
still favored by Aston Martin and the Italians. Powered by a water-cooled,
front-mounted V8 that initially displaced 4.5 litres and transmitted its
power to the road through a rear-mounted transaxle, the 928 displayed perfect
weight distribution (50% on each axle) that translated into superb handling.
As if all this weren't sufficient, each subsequent update, such as 1979's
4.7 litre "S" model and the later 5.0 litre S4, only seemed to
take the car from perfection to an even higher plane. Yet, in the end, the
928 was still hollow, still lacking a true soul, and still having its credentials
as a true Porsche being questioned and challenged at every turn.
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Article initially published by David Cook, images by Doug Breithaupt.
by Dave Weber, images Doug Breithaupt
The year was 1954 and was the first time a Chevrolet Nomad was introduced to the public. It was one of the experimental cars in the General Motors Motorama styling show that toured the country. This showcar was actually a modified Corvette body that had been introduced the previous year . The front portion had been joined to the rear end of a very stylish and sporty 2 door station wagon body. the public gave a most favorable reaction. This was an encouragement to GM management since the production Nomad was already slated for production the next year. Johnny Lightning produced a model of this concept vehicle in their Classic Customs Corvette set in 1996.
The production car, introduced in the 1955 model year was a top of the line specialty 2-door wagon in the Bel Air series. There were major styling differences between the Nomad and other available Chevrolet station wagons in the 1955 line. The tailgate contained 7 vertical chrome strips. The car was only available as a 2 door model and the side doorposts slanted forward on almost a 45 degree angle. The rear wheels were fully exposed to give the car a sporty appearance.
Pontiac also introduced a sporty station wagon model about the same time. This was the Safari and it too possessed the basic design characteristics of the Nomad. Unfortunately this car has not been reproduced in 1/64 scale to date. Hopefully one will appear in the future as model and toy companies search for new cars to produce.
The Nomad and Safari wagons were only produced during the 3 year period of 1955-1957. Each car had design changes representative of the styling innovations for those production years. Although the 1958 top of the line Chevrolet wagon was still identified as a Nomad, the design had been modified, allowing this vehicle to be presented as a 4 door 6 passenger automobile. The Nomad model nomenclature remained in the Impala line through 1961. However, the above styling characteristics that differentiated this car from the remainder of the Chevrolet line disappeared. Later Nomads were only Impala, top-of-the-line wagons, and not the sport-specialty cars introduced in the mid-50's.
'54 Corvette Nomad #P171, Johnny Lightning
'55 Nomad #5743, Hot Wheels (25th Anniversary Edition)
'55 Nomad #5743, Hot Wheels (25th Anniversary Edition)
by David Weber
images by Doug Breithaupt
The Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corp began in 1912 under the
leadership of William C. Durant and Race Driver Louis Chevrolet. The first
Chevrolet had a 6 cylinder engine and was a companion to the smaller 4 cylinder
Little. GM was originally founded by Durant in 1908. However, Durant lost
control prior to the advent of Chevrolet. The success of Chevy enabled Durant
to again take control of GM in 1915 via stock purchases.
Article initially published by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt.
American Motors Corporation, otherwise known as AMC began in 1954 following the merger of Hudson Motor Car Company and Nash-Kelvinator Corporation. These manufacturers have a long automobile history. Both companies have produced other marques since their beginnings as predecessors to forming the AMC family.