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Lawsuits arriving from the 930 in the late 70's

From another thread about Pelle Lindbergh's crash, somebody mentioned lawsuits and that the US Government sued Porsche over the 930's and how dangerous they were.

Did the US Gov. actually sue Porsche or was it individuals?

Is this the reason Porsche stopped selling 930's in the US after 1979?

I have a decent Porsche library and haven't came across an article on this.

If would be a good Porsche history lesson anyway if anyone knows more and cares to share on this topic.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:25 PM
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A very interesting question. I'm not an attorney, but It's hard to imagine the US government engaging in a lawsuit against a small (especially at that time) German auto maker. Hopefully, someone with real knowledge will reply. Having lived through the 70s (as an adult), however, I don't doubt for a minute that Porsche AG management probably felt serious pressure to stop importing 930s to a country that at the time was experiencing periodic gas lines and a backlash against any and all performance cars, and with that goofy little peanut farmer from Georgia at the helm.
Old 11-30-2011, 04:36 PM
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Taken from wikicars:

As can be imagined, performance got even more impressive - it was now possible to go from 0-60mph in 5.2 seconds, and onto a top speed of almost 180mph. Period press marvelled at the engineering - with British magazine Motor claiming 'the best example of precision engineering on four wheels' - but also higlighted how difficult it was to drive - 'suddenly, at 6000 rpm, we left behind two expensive and decidedly long black rubber stripes on the road'. The volatile nature of the car would eventually get Porsche into trouble in the USA, where several lawsuits were filed following fatal accidents. Porsche soon had to offer customer training for consumers who had bought a 930.

Read more: Porsche 930 - Wikicars
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Link: Porsche 930 - Wikicars
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:45 PM
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Taken from Wikipedia:

Due to ever more draconian emissions regulations, the 930 was withheld from the important US and Japanese markets from 1981 through 1985. In the same time period, Porsche was involved in several wrongful death lawsuits in California related to the 930, even involving privately imported European market 930's. It was finally re-introduced into the United States in 1986.

Porsche 911 classic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:47 PM
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Taken from CAMautoMag:

The 930′s legacy was further enhanced by its buyers. In the late 70′s it was a sign of success to own a 930. Movie stars, Rock stars, Pro athletes were among the elite list of 930 owners. It was a who’s who list of owners, but its reputation was catching up with it almost as fast as the car itself. The volatile nature of the car had finally caught up with it, and with several lawsuits involving fatal accidents, Porsche had to first offer customer training for consumers who purchased a 930. By 1980, Porsche halted the import of 930′s to the US due to emissions requirements and safety altogether. For five long years, the US would see no new (Legal) 930′s. Then in 1986 the 930 came back until 1989 when the 964 replaced the 911.

Link: CAMautoMag » The 30K Dollar Check: Introduction
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:53 PM
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Taken from The McClellan Law Firm:

Product Liability - Vehicle Speed & Power Defects
The McClellan Law Firm has litigated two cases against Porsche involving the Turbo 930, in which the combination of power, turbo-lag and oversteer made the vehicle too difficult to handle for the average driver, without proper warnings and instruction.
The first case, Garrison v. Porsche, arose out of the death of a husband and father who was a passenger in a Turbo 930, when the driver lost control on a city street and went into oncoming traffic. The jury awarded $2.5 million, which was upheld on appeal. The 1983 award tied the verdict for the death of Audie Murphy, a war hero and actor, for the largest wrongful death verdict in the state of California. Following the Garrison verdict, Porsche started offering driver's training to the purchasers of its high-performance, turbo-charged vehicles.
The second case, Trent v. Porsche, arose out of the death of a husband and father, when the Turbo 930 oversteered and collided with a telephone pole. The case settled for a confidential amount.


Link: Product Liability Cases | San Diego Product Liability Lawyers
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:56 PM
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I read some article about internal company documents. Here was the problem. The Porsche test drivers when they wrote reports on these cars said "the handling is absolutely poisonous, and this car will be a liability in the hands of anyone but a professional driver" or some such (i don't have the document in front of me). but Porsche higher-ups altered the internal memos to praise the car and certify it for sale. At some point these original driver reports were circulated and discovered which caused a very egg-on-face moment for the company. That combined with the emissions and such caused Porsche to pull it.

As far as if that is true or not? I can't say, but reputable people say its valid, so who am I to argue?

Just what I heard.

Last edited by Groovie Ghoulie; 11-30-2011 at 10:10 PM..
Old 11-30-2011, 10:07 PM
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I had no idea thats how Audie Murphy Died all that time on the battle field fighting Germans only to be killed after in a car wreck.
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:18 AM
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Product Liability - Vehicle Speed & Power Defects

The McClellan Law Firm has litigated two cases against Porsche involving the Turbo 930, in which the combination of power, turbo-lag and oversteer made the vehicle too difficult to handle for the average driver, without proper warnings and instruction.

The first case, Garrison v. Porsche, arose out of the death of a husband and father who was a passenger in a Turbo 930, when the driver lost control on a city street and went into oncoming traffic. The jury awarded $2.5 million, which was upheld on appeal. The 1983 award tied the verdict for the death of Audie Murphy, a war hero and actor, for the largest wrongful death verdict in the state of California. Following the Garrison verdict, Porsche started offering driver's training to the purchasers of its high-performance, turbo-charged vehicles.
The second case, Trent v. Porsche, arose out of the death of a husband and father, when the Turbo 930 oversteered and collided with a telephone pole. The case settled for a confidential amount.


The McClellen law firm meant that their Porsche award for the Garrison lawsuit was equal to the previous record award in a wrongful death lawsuit ... the Murphy plane crash. It was poorly worded on their website.


The American World War II soldier Audie Leon Murphy died in a plane crash on May 28, 1971 (which was Memorial Day weekend), in Brush Mountain, located near Catawba, Virginia, roughly 20 miles west of Roanoke. He was on a business trip when his private plane crashed due to bad weather conditions along with a pilot who was not qualified to fly on instruments. Everyone involved was killed. Murphy was only 46 years old when he died. Later on in the year1974, a big granite memorial marker was put up near the crash site.

Murphy was the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II within his 27 months of combat action. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, which is the military's premier award for valor. In addition he was awarded 32 other medals for bravery and service.

Later on he became an actor with a successful movie career, which included the tremendously popular movie 'To Hell and Back.'
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Old 12-01-2011, 05:50 AM
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As someone who was selling them in '79 when they stopped importing them & '86 when they brought them back the story we were told was the wrongful death lawsuits were trying to be certified as a class action & Porsche pulled them back as the speed limit was 55mph & cars were being fitted with 85mph speedometers. As Audi would later do with the unintended acceleration claims on the 5000 their position was there is nothing wrong with the car Americans just didn't know how to drive them.

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Old 12-01-2011, 06:14 AM
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I did this research last year. I wanted the personal plate "WDOMKR" and the DMV rejected it. Guess they thought I was going to start eliminating husbands or some such nonsense. I appealled the rejection and sent them internet postings of the lawsuits as well as magazine articles describing the 930 as one of the 10 deadliest automobiles...

Must have worked, my plates showed up about three weeks later.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:10 AM
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Makes my balls seem 2 sizes bigger being reminded of how legendary my killer car is.

A pretty well respected older mechanic I used to take the car to told me that the 930 was "the last real man's car", and that if you could drive a 930 effectively, any other car would seem boring in comparison. At the time I was being tempted by a 993tt - I've still got the 930 eight years later (though I'd still love to add a tt to the stable).
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:07 AM
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Always thought that was a urban legend deal. Wasn't in Ca also something to do with a BMW owner receiving a crazy award for a scratched car that had been repaired without him being told or something along those lines??

When you hear stories about how ill handling they are I guess it is all about what a driver feels is ill handling or a benefit?? Kind of makes you think if legendary great handling cars are due to race drivers using the problems to their advantages. Corvettes under stear and Porsches over stear so how can they both be considered great race cars???

I was always told US mfg's kept the under stear as a safe gaurd as it was easier to recover from.
Old 12-01-2011, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard930 View Post
Makes my balls seem 2 sizes bigger being reminded of how legendary my killer car is.

A pretty well respected older mechanic I used to take the car to told me that the 930 was "the last real man's car", and that if you could drive a 930 effectively, any other car would seem boring in comparison. At the time I was being tempted by a 993tt - I've still got the 930 eight years later (though I'd still love to add a tt to the stable).
Well said. Exactly my feelings.

Hence my German track day pseudoname "Yufgott Eisenballs".....

You gotta love the feeling when you drive one of these hard and walk away undamaged.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WANNA930 View Post
Always thought that was a urban legend deal. Wasn't in Ca also something to do with a BMW owner receiving a crazy award for a scratched car that had been repaired without him being told or something along those lines??
That was in Birmingham, Alabama. A fiend (now deceased) ligated the case on the behalf of the local dealer and lost. I can't remember the settlement details. Essentially the car was scratched or marred in delivery on one lower rear fender and either spot painted or buffed out and sold as new. A local auto detailer pointed the area out to the owner who then proceeded with a law suit.

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Old 12-02-2011, 02:36 PM
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There was discussion of this topic under a thread regarding a Carrerra GT crash years ago.

Randy Webb posted this link Famous 930 turbo accident case and lawsuit with the correct title referencing it so folks could find it in a search.

This article scan was posted in that thread (which has much more detail and references contemporary accounts at the time, including some that state the crash driver was intoxicated at the time (never mind driving 60+ in a 25MPH zone - and that the factory test driver was apparently Mario Andretti):






That thread also references this thread The ultimate Porsche Urban Legend thread, which contains this

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian K. Haggard View Post
I met and talked with the Porsche AG factory driver who did testing on the very street where the La Jolla accident ocurred. He also testified in court about the accident and his findings. I got to read thru his report of his work and a detailed analysis of the trial.

Seems the woman driver left the stoplight, full power straight ahead. No traffic. At about 65 mph, entered a left curve, lifted power, oversteer started, foot on the brake, rotation continued to side impact on passenger side, killng passenger. Passenger was a friend of husband.

The speed of 65 was determined by the factory driver who could not make the curve that speed.

He reported that the trial was going well until the defense noticed that the brake pedal arm was broken, and that in the cross-section of the fracture was a large cavity from a bubble in the casting. They introduced this as evidence that the pedal broke when brakes were applied, and that the car therefore caused the accident because of that flaw in the metallurgy of the brake pedal.

The factory tested and could not duplicate a condition where a driver, even sitting well to the side of the seat, could develop enough lateral force to break ANY pedal. The did, however, demonstrate that a brake pedal could be consistently broken if the driver was sitting normally in the seat, pressing straight on the brake pedal with a high force that the woman driver could have put on the pedal, and the car suffered a side impact of the severity that this accident produced. The inertia would drive the leg sideways, putting lateral force on the pedal, and breaking it exactly in the same place as the accident car's pedal was broken.

It is believed that this factor (bad brake pedal) swayed the jury. "Blame the brakes" indeed.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:01 PM
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I've driven my car for about 20K miles, now. I've had perhaps one single puckering incident on the street (which was my fault), let alone any complete loss of control of the car. I'm no star driver, but is the handling of a 930 really "poisonous?"
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah930 View Post
I've driven my car for about 20K miles, now. I've had perhaps one single puckering incident on the street (which was my fault), let alone any complete loss of control of the car. I'm no star driver, but is the handling of a 930 really "poisonous?"
Weight transition is a big factor, I think. I found it quite easy to unstick either end with careless application of a 3DLZ, even with TB's that were stiffer than stock (and, despite the SC body, about the same amount of rubber as a stock 930). A more progressive turbo makes a huge difference.

IIRC, the factory increased the sways and TB's throughout the production run, to dial out the oversteer.

But this was an early ('79) 930 nailed hard off the line, into a curve that it couldn't be driven around by the factory test driver at the reported speed, driver proceeded to lift and apply the brakes hard (see the discussion of the snapped brake pedal) once oversteer was already induced. And it span. Gee.

Seems to me that even today's cars stuffed with electronics would have their work cut out correcting for that amount of operator error - and as for the 930 being unsafe, there were many cars in the 70-80's that wouldn't have been forgiving driven in that manner. Although few of them had as much power.
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Old 12-03-2011, 02:54 PM
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We need to consider the tyre tech of the late 70s.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:02 PM
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I guess my point was that it sounds as if a lot of these people (who got into accidents) got into accidents because they were careless, not necessarily because they were driving 911 turbos. A 911 turbo may be less forgiving than other cars, but ham-fisted driving and curvy roads aren't going to go well together, no matter the ride.
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Old 12-03-2011, 03:37 PM
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