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Porsche uncovers 12 more past designs we wish were real cars

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

Last week Porsche took the covers off 15 design studies the general public has never seen, but only three of them were made available online initially, with the rest presumably confined to a new book, Porsche Unseen. Since then, the automaker posted another 12 design studies, which we're happy to share with you. They're all stunning, and some are even drivable prototypes. Most take inspiration from Porsches of past, and all of them look seriously fun to drive. We wish Porsche would build themj all and sell them, but because that'll never happen, enjoy them here on your screen. Be sure to click here to read about the other three concepts we covered in an earlier post, the 919 Street (Hypercar), the Vision Spyder (Little Rebel), and the Renndienst (What's Next?).


917 Living Legend (2013) — 1:1 Clay Model

The 917 Living Legend takes obvious inspiration from the Porsche Salzburg 917 that Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood drove to Porsche's first overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970. In 2013, the automaker returned to the top tier of endurance racing with the 919 Hybrid, right around the time the 918 Spyder hypercar was released. The Living Legend 917 is based on the 918, but takes styling cues from the the older race car, with a wedge shape that rises from the nose back.

"In the super sports cars from Porsche, you always have the feeling of practically sitting on the road between the high wheel arches," says Michael Mauer. "We wanted to emphasise this even further." WIth the 918 serving as the technical inspiration, according to Porsche, that probably means the 917 LL would have a gasoline-electric powertrain with a naturally aspirated V8, not a flat 12 as in the original 917.

906 Living Legend (2015) — 1:1 Hard Model

The 906 Carrera 6 was one of Porsche's earliest super sports cars, following the 1963 904 Carrera GTS. The 906 Living Legend's shape mimics that of the original 906, with dramatic wheel arches surrounding an otherwise superlow body.

Porsche notes that the Living Legend 906 has the appearance of two slim car bodies smooshed together horizontally, and the gap where the "bodies" meet (orange on top, white on the bottom) would be a ventilation duct for a mid-mounted engine. No word on whether that engine would be a naturally aspirated flat six, like the original, or something even more radical.

Vision 918 RS (2019) — 1:1 Hard Model

This 918 doesn't take inspiration from a Porsche from the distant past. Instead, it's based on the recent 918 Spyder, but with a non-removable hard top, crazy aerodynamics, and likely a suspension system developed even more for the race track.

A 911 GT3 RS is the natural step up from the 911 GT3, and we see this 918 RS as the hardcore track version of the 918 Spyder.

Vision 920 (2019) — 1:1 Hard Model

The Vision 920 might be this author's favorite of the Porsche Unseen concepts — it's a tossup between it, the 904 Living Legend (below) and the 919 Street. This has all the markings of an "extreme hypercar," as Porsche calls it, looking more like Aston Martin's Valkyrie (which has not yet been released).

The centrally mounted front suspension (you can see the coilovers mounted in front of the windshield) is perhaps outdone by centrally mounted rear brakes (look for the yellow in front of the rear diffuser), something that hasn't been a common feature on mainstream cars since the Jaguar E-Type of the 1960s.

Vision E (2019) — 1:1 Hard Model

If we've learned anything about electric cars, it's that they're quick, with instantaneous torque off the line. The Vision E is based on the Porsche 99X Formula E race car, though in this form, it's intended to be a track toy or race car for privateers.

Though it's not a traditional Porsche, with no internal combustion engine, we bet that if it became a reality it would be a blast to drive.

Little Rebels

904 Living Legend (2013)

Why is this thing so cool? Aside from the fact that it looks great, taking styling cues from the 1963 904 Carrera GTS — what many consider to be the most beautiful Porsche — it's based on one of the most innovative production VWs of recent memory: the XL1. One could consider the XL1 a hyper economy car, powered by a two-cylinder diesel-electric hybrid powertrain that could travel 100 kilometers on 1 liter of fuel (roughly 240 miles per gallon). The carbon-fiber chassis XL1 was driven by the rear wheels and weighed just 1,753 pounds, making it the perfect candidate for Porsche to work its magic on. This author has dreamed about somehow getting ahold of one and swapping in a more powerful motor...

...Which is exactly what Porsche thought, too. The 904 LL would weigh a bit more, about 900 kilograms (1,984 pounds), and the automaker hints that it could be powered by a high-revving, powerful sport bike engine. Because the XL1 was a real car sold to real people (though only 200 were sold), we think it wouldn't be a stretch for Porsche to make the 904 LL a reality. Pretty please?

Vision 916 (2016) — 1:1 Clay Model

It looks like we weren't too far off the mark when Porsche Panorama Editor Rob Sass suggested Porsche should make an electric 914. Inspired by the flat-six powered 916 (of which only a handful were made), which was based on the 914, the Vision 916 would be powered by four hub-mounted electric motors — one for each wheel. Another similarity the Vision 916 has with the car that inspired it? It's not immediately apparent which end is the front and which is the back.

The Vision 916 doesn't look like it would have fit into the "entry level" range like the 914 did in the 1970s, but if it were made a reality it would have massively quick acceleration and extremely precise handling because of the torque-vectoring possibilities opened up by having each wheel powered by its own motor.


911 Vision Safari (2012) — Mobile Prototype

Like the Vision 916, we imagined Porsche could make a factory off-road Safari-style 911, though it was meant to be an April Fools joke (click here to take a look at our 992-based Carrera RH). What we didn't realize was that Porsche already had done so way back in 2012 with the 911 Vision Safari.

Porsche 911s have a rich history in the rally world, and the 911 Vision Safari was inspired by the 911 SC Safari that competed in the East African Safari Rally in the 1970s. The automaker says this concept is raised with big tires, has reinforced wheel arches, and a racing cockpit. Unlike many of the Porsche Unseen concepts, this one is a working prototype based on a 991-generation 911. Like the 904 Living Legend, this one doesn't seem like it would be too much of a stretch for Porsche to make a limited edition model based on the 992 platform. Pretty please?

Macan Vision Safari (2013) — 1:1 Hard Model

Porsche leaned pretty heavily into its rally history with its Spin-Off concepts. Exhibit B: Macan Vision Safari. There doesn't seem to be much to separate this Macan from one you can buy at a dealer. Like the 911 Vision Safari, it has big tires and other off road accessories.

To be sure occupants are safe while blasting down a dirt road, a beefy roll cage has been fitted. No word on whether it would get a special engine or racing interior.

Boxster Bergspyder (2014) — Mobile Prototype

At 847 pounds, the original 909 Bergspyder was the lightest race car Porsche ever used. That meant it was severely quick at the hill climbs it was built for. The Boxster Bergspyder isn't nearly that light, but the styling is inspired by the original.

Based on the 981-generation Boxster, it would take an extremely powerful engine for it to match the 909's pace, so we'll just enjoy the classic looks on a modern platform.

Le Mans Living Legend (2016) — 1:1 Hard Model

The Le Mans Living Legend might be the most classically beautiful of all of the Porsche Unseen concepts, and it's not hard to see why: It's styling takes inspiration from the 550 Spyder, Porsche's first purpose-built race car.

Unlike most 550s, this one is a coupe, even though it's based on the Boxster. If we were to guess which 550, exactly, inspired this concept, we'd say it was the 1953 550/03 prototype.

Also, check out how this thing opens up!

What's Next?

Vision Turismo (2016) — 1:1 Hard Model

The Vision Gran Turismo is what inspired the Taycan EV, though would you be surprised to learn that it was originally envisioned as a rear-engined four-door sports car?

Yep, Porsche's first EV would have ran on gasoline had its original trajectory panned out.

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