We are saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Schutz, the man who saved the Porsche 911. On Oct 29, 2017, the auto and motorsports’ world mourned the loss of Schutz, former President and CEO of Porsche AG – a legend.
His story with Porsche began when U.S. sales were falling and the production of the 911 was scheduled to end in 1981. That same year Peter Schutz became the first American President and CEO of Porsche AG and shook things up.
Can you imagine Porsche post-1980 without the 911?
Schutz was barely on the job a few weeks when he overturned the board’s decision to discontinue the 911. According to an article he wrote for Road & Track on May 22, 2013, he went straight to the office of the chief engineer, Helmuth Bott to discuss plans for upcoming 911, 924 and 928 models. There he noticed a chart on the wall which showed continued production of the front-engine 944 and 928 models and a line that stopped in 1981 for the rear-engine 911. Schutz picked up a marker and extended the line for the 911 off the chart, onto the wall and out the door and told Bott to make it happen.
And just like that, with a marker on a wall, he saved the Porsche 911.
Not only did Schutz save the 911 program but he also pushed his engineers for modernization of the 911 and initiated new technologies in sports cars. Within a few years, Porsche introduced the 911 Speedster and the advanced twin-turbo 959; the fastest production car of the time.
The Modernized Porsche 911
We were thrilled to see a prototype of the 911 Speedster at Porsche Experience in Atlanta, Georgia. The red 1985 911 Speedster Prototype, ordered by the CEO himself, is a one-of-a-kind 911 model. According to Autoweek’s May 18, 1987, issue, “It’s aim, officially, was to study various body configurations so it can be assembled as a 911 coupe or a Targa (removing the hardtop is a two-man job). Then the magic: Remove the normal-size 911 windshield – carefully – and replace with the chopped windscreen, pop-off the quick-release wipers, then install the fiberglass tonneau cover. Presto! A 911 Speedster”
We think it’s safe to say that the 911 is the iconic Porsche and we have Peter Schutz to thank for saving it and ensuring it’s future. Peter, you are a legend!
Legends never die.