Tony Hatter’s career at Porsche has spanned nearly 35 years, and to this day has been involved in some of the most formative projects in Porsche’s history.
Tony’s passion for automobiles is a familiar story. As a child in Northern England, he collected Dinky toys and Korgi die-cast miniature cars and would peruse the new car brochures that his father brought home. In the early 1960s, he was brought to the Harewood hillclimb event and the began to read various automotive publications such as his favorite, Popular Hot Rodding, where he discovered Peter Stevens’s illustrations and would do his best to emulate them. He found himself particularly drawn to race cars, and distinctly remembers having loved the 906 Carrera 6 for its styling and proportions. He enrolled in a course at Lanchester Polytechnic where a course called “Industrial Design (Transport)”. It was this course which showed Tony that there was a future in designing cars, but it wasn’t until he went to the Royal College of Art in London where he truly discovered design and styling.
After graduating in 1981 he had set a goal of working for Porsche, but they were no available positions so he was able to get a position at Opel in the styling department in Germany, where he learned German and gained valuable insight into the industry. Luckily, in 1986 he joined the team at Porsche starting off on small jobs such as the wider rear bumper for the 964 and the fabric door pulls for the 964 RS.
Early in 1990, Harm Lagaaij tapped Tony to lead the design of the 993 and modernize the shape as both engineers and stylists within the company felt that the 964 had looked too much like the earliest 911s and a change was overdue. At this time, the 959 had already reached iconic status and the 989 four-door concept had been in the works, so he and his team were able to draw inspiration from those to incorporate into the design language of the 993.
In 1995, Tony had been working with a groundbreaking new technology to design surfaces digitally when Harm Lagaaij again selected him to lead the design of an important new project. The project turned out to be the 911 GT1 race car slated to compete at Le Mans in 1996. With the design completed, he found himself with the responsibility of producing the graphics for the race cars. It became a study in aerodynamics and Tony was instrumental in designing the following GT1 cars for 1996, 1997, and 1998. A few years later, he found himself reunited with the GT1 program team for the design of the Carrera GT and was responsible for making the show car (which had been based on a heavily modified Boxster) into a fully realized, roadworthy production car.
Tony’s design work has been instrumental in the evolution of Porsche’s styling language and preserving the telltale design cues that have endured since the very beginning.