Design studios are an indispensable department for car manufacturers. Before launching a new model, designers soak up all kinds of objects and try to figure out what the trends will look like in the future.
A rather difficult exercise, since it is necessary to “guess” of what the future will be made several years in advance, the development of a vehicle being relatively long. Designers are also limited by several factors. Approval standards – including pedestrian protection -, now very restrictive, limit the shape of certain elements that cannot receive salient angles, for example. The implementation of mechanics and certain technical components can also restrict creativity.
In the case of Porsche, there is the weight of history, especially for the 911. When it comes time to redesign it, it is unthinkable to remove its historical attributes such as its round headlights, the shape of the fenders or the location. of the motor. To be convinced of this, it suffices to see the outcry caused by the headlights of the 911 type 996 and the flashback operated on the 997.
However, a manufacturer with a history as rich as Porsche can draw inspiration from the past, to bring a lost model up to date or to recreate new trends. During a virtual meeting where The Car Guide Attended, Michael Mauer, design director at Porsche since 2004, showed us vehicles that have never been seen.
Concepts derived from production cars, revamped racing models and even a strange compact crossover, a lot of ideas are springing from the minds of the designers who work for Porsche. While some vehicles seem a long way from series production and serve above all to stimulate designers’ creativity, others seem very close to a definitive vehicle and could have appealed to Porsche customers.
In total, Porsche has unveiled 13 brand new concepts, all from its design studio. Some are fully functional, others have remained as a clay prototype. We have selected six of them, the most striking in our opinion. But you can also see all the vehicles in our dedicated photo gallery.
Porsche 551 Spyder “Little rebel”
We no longer present the 550 Spyder, an iconic Porsche car known in particular because James Dean was killed at the wheel. A model stamped with the number 130, affectionately nicknamed “Little Bastard”. The car in front of you, dubbed the 551 Spyder, is a modern take on this legendary car.
However, she inherits a more polished surname: “Little rebel”. The headlights are now square, the wheels huge, not to mention the air intakes at the front and the diffuser at the rear which obviously did not exist in the 1950s. The small windshield has been preserved, but a roll bar makes its appearance. The fact that the car bears the number 131, the number following the one carried by James Dean’s car, is another nod to the famous actor. The Porsche design office also wanted to pay homage to Hans Herrmann’s victory at the Carrera Panamericana by adding touches of red, as on the 550 Spyder victorious in its class in 1954.
Porsche produces models in small series regularly, we can only regret that this concept dating from 2019 was not marketed on a Porsche Boxster basis. Fashion being vintage and nostalgic, this “little rebel” produced in limited series, like a 911 Speedster, would undoubtedly have found its audience.
Porsche 919 Street
After a victorious return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Porsche 919 Hybrid, the manufacturer was spoiled by producing an “Evo” version, which no longer met the technical regulations of the World Endurance Championship. This overpowering car was made to break records on the tracks where it was driven.
But what we didn’t know was that Porsche’s design studio had also come up with a model that could have been the heir to the 911 GT1 Straßenversion (road version in German), a variant closely deriving from the winning model at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 1998.
The project consisted of transforming the 919 Hybrid into a racing car intended for amateur pilots wishing to drive in the most successful customer competition vehicle on the market. However, the extreme complexity of the hybrid system linked to the petrol V4 set Porsche back. Indeed, it takes a dedicated team of mechanics and 45 minutes of work to simply start your engine!
Porsche Vision “Race Service”
There is no mistake, this big van or crossover-like vehicle is definitely coming out of the Porsche design office. As evidenced by the photo taken by Porsche, the affiliation with the Volkswagen Type 2 which is next to it is obvious! A vehicle which assisted the racing cars entered by Porsche.
For this new iteration, Porsche has developed a vehicle with modernized shapes, with large windows at the front but almost non-existent at the rear. On the side it reads “Porsche Renndienst”, which means “Porsche racing service” in German. The interior is original with a driver’s station in the middle, which improves the visibility of the passengers seated in the rear. Equipped with a 100% electric motor, this original vehicle was not intended to be mass-produced, but to explore new avenues in terms of design.
Porsche Vision 920
With this concept with aggressive lines, Porsche was inspired by the cars entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with this rather successful interpretation. Initially, this study could have been a vehicle intended for the circuit but which could also have been driven legally on the road.
The double exhaust on the back cover suggests that the car would have been equipped with a gasoline engine. Technically, the Vision 920 highlights its suspensions and brakes, all painted in yellow. The front suspension, mounted longitudinally like on a racing car, fits perfectly into the sporty design of the car.
At the rear, the large brake calipers placed on either side of the transmission are surprising on a car designed in 2019. This brake system, called “inboard”, was used in Formula 1 in the 1970s to reduce the weight of each. wheel and improve dynamic behavior. Some road cars have also benefited, including the Alfa Romeo. However, this assembly is no longer used on sports or competition cars today.
Porsche 911 Vision Safari
If you are familiar with the history of Porsche, you know that the brand has already rubbed shoulders with off-road competitions such as the Paris-Dakar with the 953 and the 959 or the Rally Safari in Kenya with Porsche 911s. is to pay homage to these last that the design team dressed a current model, like the racing cars which illustrated themselves on the rough tracks of the Safari in the late 1970s.
Based on a 2012 model, the Vision Safari stands out from a classic 911 thanks to its enlarged body, raised suspensions, a completely emptied interior and even a fan behind the seats to dry your helmet after driving!
Unlike other non-rolling prototypes, this somewhat special 911 was driven on the Weissach gravel track, where the Cayenne and Macan are tested. And the car would be a lot of fun to drive in those conditions. We are volunteering to come and try!
Porsche 904 Living Legend
Icon of the 1960s, the Porsche 904 raced around the world, including in Quebec with Jacques Duval, when he founded the Car guide.
This 904 Living Legend differs from other concepts since it is not 100% Porsche. It is based on the Volkswagen XL Sport, a fuel-efficient sports car presented at the 2014 Auto Show. Using this platform to achieve their own interpretation, the Porsche designers found that the car had similar proportions to the famous 904. This is the reason why they embarked on this path.
While the front end has a few features of the 918 Spyder, the falling rear does not really look like the original 904. The original round lights give way here to a light strip that runs along the rear cover. On the engine side, we have a motorcycle L-twin (open 90 °). From the Ducati 1199 Superleggera, a hypersport, it develops 200 horsepower. It might not seem like much in a Porsche, but with a weight of just over 900kg, performance should still be interesting.
In addition to the six models presented here, also find the seven other prototypes in our complete photo gallery.