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Five Porsche-inspired atrocities

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder and taste may be a subjective thing, but without going out on a limb, I think that we can say that all of the cars on this list are just objectively wrong. The fact that each was inspired by a highly legitimate Porsche adds crushing insult to injury. Here’s PCA’s official hall of shame:

Gemballa Avalanche


Above: 1986 Gemballa Avalanche. Image courtest RM Sotheby's

Gemballa, rode the wave of the original 1980s Porsche tuners, and they were certainly the most outlandish. Most often seen in the appropriate white with a white interior, the Avalanche may well have been designed by a sentient bag of cocaine. Named for a potentially deadly, crushing wall of white powder, we’re pretty sure that Gemballa was in on the joke when claiming that it could “blow” past anything else on the road. If not, they almost certainly set a modern record for unintentional cocaine references. The Gemballa Avalanche is the only car ever to be officially named a Schedule 2 controlled substance by the DEA.  Pablo Escobar had three of them. Enough said.


Laser 917


Above: Laser 917 replica. Photo by DougW at English Wikipedia

The ad copy read: “It’s wild, it’s exotic, it’s unique.” Left out of that stream of adjectives was “hideous.” Built by Elite Enterprises of Cokato, Minnesota, the Laser 917 was a typical 1960s-1970s kit car designed to be built on a standard Volkswagen Beetle platform and in fact looked almost nothing like a Porsche 917K. Half-built Laser 917 projects still turn up online with alarming regularity. The car achieved big screen fame in the Disney blockbuster “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo,” where a slow, clumsy Laser 917 did a poor impression of a race car.


Wide-body 356 Speedster replicas


Above: 356 Speedster wide-body replica. Images courtesy Autohaus of Naples via YouTube.

The 356 Speedster is, after the 427 Cobra, probably the most replicated car of all time. The replicas range from convincing to retina-searingly horrible. The worst tend to be the wide-body kits that, when the car’s short wheelbase is combined with ridiculous fender-flares, you achieve a car that is damned-near square — as wide as it is long.


Anzianos Illuzion Mega Wide Body 993


Above: Anziano Illuzion, a 993 with a wide-body kit. Image courtesy Wicked Motor Works.

Umm, yeah, it’s difficult to know where to start here. Take the (arguably) prettiest of the air-cooled 911s and turn it into the StayPuft Marshmallow Man. The tiny, Strosek-inspired, naked mole rat-eye headlamps were the piece de resistance.


959-inspired convertible kit cars


Above: 959 replica with convertible top. Image courtesy CarBuzz.

The unobtainable nature of the 959 virtually guaranteed a stream of lame efforts at replication. At least one of those fiberglass resin sniffers decided that the car Porsche really should have made was an open version of the 959. Ill-fitting, tent-like convertible tops, horrid panel fit and cheesy wheels seem to be standard equipment on every 959 convertible kit.

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