Here a 911, there a 911, everywhere a 911…For Porsche fans, it sometimes seems to be an obsession. Porsche however has not just produced the 911 since its inception. Without going too far back as to look for projects carried out for others (Studebaker for example, Lada also, not to mention Seat, and even responding to Chinese tenders with the C88), the Stuttgart based brand has produced some interesting project cars and prototypes. Here’s an anthology of 4 cars that you might never have heard of before.
Porsche Typ 64
We tend to consider the 356 as the first Porsche and have always considered that the work of Ferdinand Porsche before the war had nothing to do with sportscars. For sure, the brilliant engineer was the author of the famous KdF Wagen (which would become the Beetle) and its military derivative the Kübelwagen, but he also produced the Typ 64 sportscar.
This Typ 64 foreshadowed what would come from the post-war manufacturer: a round and aerodynamic shape as well as engine at the rear, a flat four cylindre of 985 cc and 50 horsepower, capable of pushing the car to a top speed of 160 km / h. It is also known as the 60K10, since it was the 10th body proposal for the Typ 60, the famous Volkswagen.
Three prototypes were built in 1938 with the intention to participate the following year in the Berlin-Rome race, which ended up to be canceled due to the war. One of these 3 cars was destroyed during bombing raids, and a second was ransacked by American soldiers in 1945. Only one example remained to be kept by Porsche, then sold… Fortunately it was long well preserved before being finally restored: it is today the property of the Peterson Museum in Los Angeles.
Porsche 356 Carrera GTL Abarth
Yes, you read that right: there is a Porsche 356 signed by Carlo Abarth and in an entirely official way. Although initially, the mission to build a lighter, more efficient and more aerodynamic version of the 356 (deemed to be too heavy) was entrusted to Zagato in 1959. He failed and quickly Porsche had to find a reliable alternative. It was finally entrusted to an old acquaintance of the Porsche family, Carlo Abarth.
Carlo Abarth had met Anton Piëch in the 1930s, even marrying his secretary. By the end of the 1940s, he had become the distributor of Porsche patents in Italy, when the Austrian was not yet a manufacturer but just a design office. In the 1950s, Karl Abarth, a germano-phone native became ‘Carlo’ as he was naturalised Italian for better integration. It was at around this time that his technical aptitude began to meet with considerable success.
Abarth worked with Franco Scaglione to redesign a 356B that would be used as the basis upon which to improve the original flat-four, 1.6-litre, producing 115-horsepower initially before rising to 128 hp and then even to 135 horses. The car only weighed 780 kg. Approximately about 20 of these cars were produced in Italy before the contract was ended by Porsche, judging that the quality was lacking in these ‘Abarth’ cars. The 356 Carrera GTL nevertheless stood out in several races, particularly winning its category three consecutive yearsat Le Mans: 1960, 1961 and 1962.
Porsche 928 Typ 942
You might want to drive a Porsche while enjoying a large, more spacious interior, at least that might be what buyers of the Cayenne and the Macan have in mind. But back in 1984, there was no choice: the 928 did offer a little more volume inside but it remained a pure coupé.
For the 75th birthday of Ferry Porsche, the Stuttgart teams wanted to kill two birds with one stone: to offer a nice gift to the boss while carrying out a beautiful styling exercise that might just possibly lead to something new in the model range. This is how, based on a 928S, that the engineers at Porsche extended the wheelbase by 25 cm, and redesigned the rear end in order to envision the Typ 942: a shooting brake with the 5 litre V8, producing 310 horsepower, for a total weight of 1,625 kg.
The car, a real one-off, was particularly well finished at the time of its construction and was even accompanied with technical documentation. Some improvements in details introduced in the Typ 942 were eventually included on the 928 series, in particular the redesigned bumpers. Ferry Porsche drove it for a while before it was put into storage. Other attempts at 928 ‘station wagons’ would remain on the drawing board. It would be necessary to wait for the Cayenne to see this type of bodywork finally as part of the lineup at Porsche.
Porsche Typ 984
In the early 80s, and despite the commercial success of the 924, Porsche felt that its base clientele might be regretting this transition to the front engine cars. After working with Seat on a small sportscar project with a rear, central-mounted engine, the German brand began to explore the idea of a new baby 911 for its own account, and thus launched the 984 project, the premise of what would become the Boxster (type 986) several years later.
Launched in 1984, the project was ambitious, so much so that Porsche would invest almost 10 million marks! Four models were initially planned: a coupé, a targa, a cabriolet and a roadster. Stylistically, the 984 was inspired by the two stars of the lineup at the time, the 928 and the 911, although conjuring up an unpleasant hybrid design of the two.
At the rear, a 4-cylinder boxer of about 150 horsepower was envisioned, making it possible to obtain a sticker price of around 40,000 DM and to appeal to a large and young clientele. But in 1987, the stock market crash, and the sharply declining US sales that ensued, weakened the firm’s finances to the point where management preferred to cancel the project all together and focus on its best-seller, the 911. It wouldn’t be until 1996 that such a model would appear in Porsche’s pro
Translation credit : Daniel Patrick Brooks