Lapine, Tony

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Lapine, Shinoda and the Corvair Monza GT

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Anatole “Tony” Lapine was a designer and engineer at GM Styling Section during the 1950s and 1960s. He spent a portion of his GM career in Bill Mitchell’s infamous secret workshop, “Studio X” and had a hand in designing many of the concepts cars built during the Mitchell era. He also served as Dick Thompson’s co-driver at Elkhart Lake when Mitchell’s XP-87 Sting Ray raced there at the SCCA 500-Mile Wisconsin Grand Prix.

Lapine was teamed with Larry Shinoda a number of times during the 1960s. He served as studio engineer for Shinoda on the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. They also worked together on the body for Zora Arkus-Duntov’s single seat open-wheeled CERV I in 1960; the 1962 Corvair Monza GT; the 1963 Corvair Monza SS; and the CERV II in 1963-1964. The CERV II was Lapine’s last project for General Motors in North America before he was transferred to Opel in Germany.

At Opel, Lapine famously installed a specially tuned 1.9 liter, 150 hp engine in an ordinary looking Rekord, adding an aluminum deck lid, aluminum doors, and a NASCAR-style roll cage to create sneaky-fast street rod. Known as "the Black Widow", this car created a sensation in Europe, even besting Porsches and a Penske-tuned Camaro in Belgium.

Lapine was recruited away from his position at Opel in 1969 to take up the position of chief designer for German sports car manufacturer Porsche. He served in this capacity for 20 years until 1989. His most enduring work for Porsche is the 928 that debuted for the 1978 model year.


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