Porsche has built some weird and wonderful prototypes over the years. Some have made it into production while others have disappeared under a silk sheet (many at Zuffenhausen’s ‘secret’ warehouse). Here are the seven coolest prototypes the Total 911 team has discovered:
The ‘965’ tag is often erroneously bestowed upon the Porsche 964 Turbo. However, the real Porsche 965 was intended to sit below the 959. Based on the G-Series platform (hence the ‘Elephant Ear’ mirrors), the 965 looked like a smaller version of the Porsche’s supercar.
Development issues and cost-cutting measures meant that power was provided by a water-cooled Audi V8. Of the 16 prototypes, this is the sole remaining example; it’s not hard to see where the 993 took some of its styling cues.
PORSCHE 901 CABRIOLE
Porsche didn’t release a production version of the 911 Cabriolet until the last year of SC assembly in 1983. However, that didn’t mean Zuffenhausen hadn’t been trying, as this one-of-one prototype attests.
Beginning life as a Targa test mule, Porsche hacked off the roll hoop to test the structural rigidity of the 901’s chassis sans roof. You can read the full story in Total 911 issue 130, available to download here.
It may not look particularly pretty (the hand sculpted panels still show the fingerprints of those working on this particular prototype) but the C29 aerodynamic study is the car that helped to confirm the Porsche 959’s distinctive shape.
Representing the genesis of the integrated rear wing, 959/C29 was used extensively for wind tunnel testing in 1982, with Porsche’s engineers getting its drag coefficient down to an impressively low 0.31Cd.
Even before the 911’s inception, Porsche had been looking at developing a truly four-seat sports car. Even after the Neunelfer’s launch, the investigations didn’t stop, initially resulting in the 911/B17 prototype, styled by Pininfarina.
With a wheelbase stretched by 39cm (over 15 inches), 911/B17 could comfortable seat four but, the high roofline and angular rear windows didn’t prove popular, leading Porsche to try again with a new prototype, codenamed C20.
While most of the prototypes on this list were never meant to see the light of day, the Porsche 953 definitely was. Starting with a 911 SC, Porsche’s motorsport engineers heavily reinforced the chassis for off-road rallying and fitted a newly developed four-wheel drive system that could be adjusted manually.
Used exclusively in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, the Rothmans-liveried 953 took overall victory in the hands of René Metge and co-driver, Dominique Lemoyne, while racing legend and Dakar pioneer, Jacky Ickx finished sixth, taking nine stage victories along the way.
PORSCHE 993 PROTOTYPE
The Porsche 993 Turbo revolutionised the forced induction Neunelfer concept, using many of the developments from the 959 (like twin turbocharging and four-wheel drive). Originally registered in 1993 – yes, really – this is one of the original 993 Turbo prototypes used for pre-launch testing.
Total 911 subscribers have been reading the full story of this incredible car since Friday but fear not. Issue 147 goes on sale in store and online tomorrow.
PORSCHE 918 PROTOTYPE
Okay, so this isn’t a Porsche 911. However, take a closer look at the rear end of this early Porsche 918 Spyder test mule and you’ll notice something familiar. Yes, that’s the rear bumper (complete with brake lights) from a 991.1 Carrera.
Split down the middle in order to house two fire extinguishers, this bareback prototype gives a great view of the 918’s underpinnings, including those brutally short top exit exhausts.