May 13, 2018

From A Car Designer’s Perspective: Daniel and his Porsche 944

Berlin is a city in constantly changing, always constructing new buildings everywhere. I’m glad I heard my partner saying: use that location again, they are planning to change the parking lot into a residential building! When I planned to do the story about Daniel’s 944 I immediately thought of this place. As you can see in the photos the construction had started. Right now – sadly – the parking house is completely changed.

The 944 has a special meaning for me, this is why I always love to photograph it. For this opportunity I had the chance to meet a car designer for the first time. During the shoot I had an interesting conversation with Daniel about icons, concepts and the new generations of cars. I also asked Daniel some questions about the story of his Porsche 944. I hope you enjoy it!

Tell me about you.

My name is Daniel. I’m 39 years old and I’m an exterior car design manager for Volkswagen.

What was your first car?

It was a white BMW E30 316i. I loved that car. I used it also to do all my moves as a student in Pforzheim, Wolfsburg, Barcelona and finally Berlin.

How did you first become interested in cars and why especially in Porsche?

I’ve been addicted to cars since I was a kid. Close by my grandparent’s place was a big street and when my grandfather took care of me the only thing he needed to do was bring me to the end of the garden so that I could watch cars! Years later, he showed me how to draw a car. Actually, I like many classic cars, but Porsche somehow is outstanding.

How did you come across the 944?

When I was a kid there were two 944 in our neighbourhood. I’ve always loved that car. For me it’s one of the most typical sports cars of the 80s: long bonnet, pop-up headlamps, the upright front screen with thin A-pillars, super roofline with a cabin that sits very far back and all this beauty on a length of 4,20 m. For many reasons this kind of proportion is impossible nowadays (at least for reasonable money).

But also driving it is amazing. Thanks to its transaxle layout it handles super well on small country roads or in the alps. You can easily take it for a long trip and drive 1000 km without any stress.

What condition was the car in when you bought it? Do you know about your Porsche’s history and previous owners and do you have any particular story to tell?

When I bought the car in 2006 the car was in good but not perfect condition. Year by year I improved many things, technical but also visual, but what will probably stay are some little dents in the very heavy Targa roof. I wonder which of the pre-owners had problems to handle it, the first owner lady, or the guy I got it from.

There are plenty of stories but my favorite one is from Lacanau in France. In 2006 after a quick technic check we went with a Mercedes W123, my 944 and five friends to a nice house near Dune du Pilat in the Atlantic Coast. We went to famous Lacanau to try our best in the waves. Then we discovered that the nightlife in Lacanau was actually not bad, so we decided to stay and sleep in our cars – three in the Mercedes and two in the 944, so we folded all the seats and got quite an OK sleeping position under the glass tailgate!

Did you restore it or was it already restored when you got the car?
It’s unrestored and I like the original condition with its little patina. I did some smart paint jobs to get rid of the stone marks. But the best change I did last year: I exchanged the original 15″ Telefon rims by some 16“ ones that were an option for the 944 (standard wheels on the Turbo) to improve the stance. The original Turbo wheels are really difficult to find but last year with some help I found four and got them nicely refurbished.

In addition to that, I switched to an H&R sports suspension that lowers the car by roughly 35 mm in the front and 25 mm in the back. Plus the 15 mm spacers in the rear (this I did straight away when I got the car) my 944 sits now very beautifully on the street.

What is your favourite detail of the 944?

The pop-up headlamps – it’s amazing to drive into dawn and switch on the lights.

From a car designer perspective, tell me some of the best aspects of the 944.

As earlier mentioned, the proportion is very good. Proportion is always the base for a good car. Then there is the theme with its two muscles that sit on one line that goes around the whole car and refers perfectly to the window graphics. Very logical but still playful! The form language in detail is also amazing as for example, the very nice bumper solution in the front with slush shut lines to the wheelhouse. Very outstanding in the 80s.

For me the interior is one of the best Porsche interiors ever and still influential.

What’s the story behind the sticker ‘’Pass Masters’’, does it have any special meaning?

My friends and I finished university in 2005. Around 2008 many of us had very nice cars and the idea of a get-together in the Alps was born! Two friends organized the whole event with roadmaps, hotels and so on.. fantastic! Over the years it became too big. At the moment the idea is on hold.
What do you think about the current Porsche market compared to the times when you got your 944?

Prices have raised a lot, especially for all generations of the 911. The 944 became more expensive as well but it’s still fairly reasonable. The problem is rather to find one in very nice condition.

Is there any other Porsche you would like to have?

A 964 RS. But just in addition to my 944.

From the new models, my favorite is the Cayman GT4.

 

Cars and mobility ideas are changing, but it will never get boring and the history behind it is amazing.

Follow Daniel and his Porsche 944 on Instagram: @Danielscharfschwerdt

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