Car manufacturers like Porsche are constantly working on new designs and new models. However, many of these sketches and design studies never reach the light of day. Either they are rejected as inappropriate or become redundant due to decisions made by company and corporate management. In most cases, any models and prototypes that have been built are sent to the scrap press. Only a few designs make their way into the company archives, where they are kept under lock and key for at least ten years, before researching journalists learn more about them. At Porsche, this is an area full of interesting findings. The sports car manufacturer is currently allowing a rare insight and is bringing seven studies from the last ten years never before shown publicly into the limelight for the first time.
Porsche 919 Street (2017)
Inspired by Porsche’s re-entry into the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the race victories achieved there in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the 919 Hybrid, the design studio began to consider a road-legal variant. This supercar was intended to make the overwhelming driving experience of an LMP1 racing car tangible for private individuals as well. In fact, the 1:1 scale model created in 2017 largely corresponds to the dimensions of the racing car. However, the considerations for the actual implementation of this plan are likely to have failed at the latest because of the relatively complicated hybrid drive. In racing operation, this drive delivers between 900 and 1,000 hp system power. Similar to the Weissach package of the 918 Spyder and the 991 GT3 RS and 991 GT2 RS, the concept car shows a Le Mans package with the lowest possible air resistance for high speeds on the long Hunaudiéres straight. Compared to the FIA WEC racing car, the huge rear wing is thus missing. The rear lights are also bigger in order to stand out in daily traffic.
Porsche Vision Spyder (2019)
Last year, the design team around chief designer Michael Mauer was specifically inspired by the Porsche 550 Spyder. This mid-engined sports car achieved worldwide fame at least through the actor James Dean, who had a serious accident in one of these vehicles and subsequently died. As a new interpretation, a radical and purist Spyder was created. Inside, the cockpit was reduced to the bare essentials. On the outside, red details attract attention, while the basic design serves as a store of ideas for future models. For example, the ultra-modern rollbar could make it into series production in a similar form.
Porsche Vision Renndienst (2018)
Porsche builds sports cars, period. As is well known, this is no longer true since the expansion of the model range to include SUVs and sedans. In addition to Cayenne and Panamera, Macan and Taycan are also available for purchase at the Porsche Centers. However, a truly familiar-friendly vehicle concept such as a van isn’t imaginable at Porsche – or is it? In 2018 the design team created the “Vision Renndienst” as a free interpretation of a van. They were inspired by the Volkswagen T1 transporters from the 1960s, used by the Porsche racing department. Interestingly, the driver was positioned in the middle of the front row. The power source for this ultra-modern space glider was planned as a purely electric drive.
Porsche 904 Living Legend
A special, previously unknown car dates back to the year 2013. The 904 Living Legend is based on the very first plastic racing car in the brand’s history, the 904 Carrera GTS. The technical basis was the XL1 eco-sports car, which was also produced in small series at Volkswagen. The Porsche design department redesigned its carbon monocoque to make it as simple and straightforward a sports car as possible. Instead of a four-, six- or eight-cylinder engine, a V2 motorcycle engine sits at the rear, similar to the Volkswagen XL Sport Concept. Whether Porsche also used the 1.2-liter, 200-horsepower unit from the Ducati 1199 Superleggera remains a secret. The light alloy wheels, on the other hand, come from the 911 (996) Turbo.
Porsche Le Mans Living Legend (2016)
In 2016, the Le Mans Living Legend was created as a concept car in homage to the lesser-known 550 Coupés. These racing cars competed in Le Mans in 1954 and then disappeared from the scene. Thanks to the shape of the headlights and the rear LED light band, the car fits perfectly into the current design language from Zuffenhausen. In the broadest scene, Porsche sees the Le Mans Living Legend as an indirect predecessor to the 718 Cayman GT4. However, the study was given an electrically extending rear spoiler and a roof scoop for more fresh air at the mid-engine. Furthermore, one can see a typical characteristic of various early design studies: the left and right sides of the vehicle differ in some details. So designers can show different ideas on the basis of only one model and save material and costs.
Porsche 911 Vision Safari (2012)
As early as 2012, Porsche was already thinking about a modern interpretation of the 911 SC Safari. With this vehicle in the famous Martini look, Porsche won the 1978 Safari Rally in Kenya. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 911 series, there were indeed considerations on a modern special model, which shouldn’t only wear Martini stickers, but at the same time also with a raised chassis. Additional LED headlights were mounted in the front bumper and on a bracket on the roof. In addition to the fenders, the car also features modified front and rear bumpers. Behind the sports bucket seats, at the bottom of the rollcage, there is a storage facility for helmets which can be ventilated.
Porsche Macan Safari (2013)
Only one year after the 911 Vision Safari, a rally version was also created on the basis of the Macan, which wasn’t yet presented at that time. A three-door body made of clay was created especially for this. According to the intended data sheet, the car would have had permanent four-wheel drive, double-clutch transmission, a higher suspension, coarse-tread tires and a switchable off-road mode.
“Porsche Unseen” book now available
In fact, Porsche is actually showing not only these seven, but 15 concept cars that have never been shown before. For this purpose, the Delius Klasing Verlag is publishing the book “Porsche Unseen” at a price of 68 €, which is also available in the store of the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart Zuffenhausen. It contains 328 pages, photos by Stefan Bogner and texts by Jan Karl Baedeker. In the Porsche Design Studio in Weissach, they normally start with a white sheet of paper to draw on. The next step is to create three-dimensional models on the computer from these hand-drawn sketches. If the ideas are good, the first real models on a scale of 1:3 and finally so-called hard models on a scale of 1:1 follow. This process is also shown in the book for these 15 vehicles. The unseen prototypes are to be shown in a special exhibition in the Porsche Museum in 2021.