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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

August 15, 1993|Joel Drucker

PORSCHE LEGENDS: An Inside History of the Epic Cars by Randy Leffingwell. (Motorbooks International, Hong Kong: $29.95.) It's ironic that for all the stereotypes of German obedience, its most treasured and ogled car is one that's cherished for its ability to violate the law with a vengeance. Go read Thomas Mann if you want irony. Go buy a VW if you want to drive under 55. The Porsche, post-World War II Germany's greatest ambassador to the consumer culture, is an altogether different creature.

While this coffee table book makes a solid case for the company's historic commitment to engineering and performance, one look shows those factors are mere rationale for what Porsche represents to its lovers: A slope-backed combo of elegance, speed and, most of all, sheer sex appeal.

This is not a book to be read; it's a book to be toured. Beautiful color photos of all the great Porsches--from '49 to '89--show the car in its uncluttered glory. These include the classic '50s model associated with James Dean, the racy '67 911, the appetizing '73 Carrera, the sleek '84 928S Coupe and many others. Whether in fields, country roads or racetracks, the Porsche mission has been to bring European precision to an America chomping at the bit for a chance to whiz out on the highway. In a world increasingly filled with traffic jams, regulations and disease, this book's lush photos make quite a statement as to why the Porsche is the pin-up car of modern times.

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