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Motormuzejā apskatāmi latvieša radīti sporta auto

Latvian-made retro sports cars on display at Motor Museum

Several German retro sports cars have arrived from Stuttgart Motor Museum, almost all of which were created by a Latvian – Anatols Kārlis Lapiņš. The creator's hometown of Rīga will see most of them for the first time, Latvian Television reported Thursday.

Anatols Lapiņš was born in 1930 in Riga. He mastered auto engineering in Hamburg, Germany and emigrated to the US after World War II with his family. Lapiņš moved to the mechanical engineering epicenter of Detroit, where, by lucky coincidence, he ended up in the design department of the then-powerful auto company General Motors.

Frank Young, director of the history archives of the Porsche brand, told LTV: "When he came from Latvia to Hamburg, he fell in love with the Porsche 356 model from his first glance. So he bought a Porsche when he worked in the US."

Becoming known for his skills, he was sent to work at the Opel Design Centre in Germany, where he met Ferdinand Porsche at an exhibition.

Ivars Norvels, Chairman of the board of Baltic Sports Cars Ltd. (Baltijas sporta auto), said that Lapiņš worked for several car companies, but his biggest and most famous works are Porsche.

924, 928, and 917/20 are among the most famous Porsche models created by the Latvian, having served as chief designer for nearly 20 years from 1969 to 1988. The main innovation in the company introduced by Lapiņš was the location of the engine in front of the car, the company's representative in Latvia said, and parts of the design are still borrowed and used today.

"There are only a few people who have been so important in the history of "Porsche," Young said. So it's safe to say that the Latvian designer's handwriting can still be seen on streets around the world.

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