After passing a Porsche 928 this evening, I decided to do a bit of internet reading about the interesting car. I was surprised that Ralph Nader was an influence on its final design.
Ordered by Ferry Porsche to come up with a production-feasible concept for his new model, Fuhrmann initiated a design study in 1971, eventually taking from the process the final specs for the 928. Several drivetrain layouts were considered during early development, including rear and mid-engined designs, but most were dismissed because of technical and/or legislative difficulties. Having the engine, transmission, catalytic converter(s) and exhaust all cramped into a small rear engine bay made emission and noise control more difficult, something Porsche was already facing problems with on the 911 and wanted to avoid. After deciding that the mid-engine layout didn't allow enough room in the passenger compartment, a front engine/rear wheel drive layout was chosen. Porsche also feared at the time that the U.S. government would ban the sale of rear-engined cars in response to the consumer outrage over the Chevrolet Corvair, started by Ralph Nader via his book "Unsafe at Any Speed". ... Legislation against rear-engined vehicles also didn't materialize.
"Porsche 928." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 1 Aug 2007, 15:55 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 14 Aug 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Porsche_928&oldid=148517928>.