The Porsche Museum's hidden warehouse has quite a few mules and concepts that were either kept secret for decades, or simply forgotten by most after they left some car show's floor in the nineties. With that in mind and after publishing 121 photos to demonstrate the pure scale of this unique collection, it's time to take a closer look at the weirdest and the most wonderful.
Starting with something that was never shown to the public.
Porsche 932 Panamera II Study By Italdesign, 1991.
Porsche made quite a few attempts at building a four-door car before the Panamera could make it two decades later. The 932 was presented by Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign in 1991 as an alternative design concept while the 989 was still in development. Since the study was not much more than a recycled version of the , Porsche wasn't biting and the 932 was never shown to the public.
Porsche 989 Concept, 1989.
Despite the long-wheelbase making somewhat more sense, this was Porsche's most serious four-door concept before they finally got ready to build the Panamera in 2009.
Engineered by Dr. Ulrich Bez, the 989 looked like a stretched 911, and was supposed to be powered by the brand's new front-mounted V8. The recipe included 300 horsepower, plenty of comfort, and superior handling to the BMWs and AMGs of the period. However, once Porsche ran out of money following the recession in the early nineties, the project got cancelled in 1992. This is the sole surviving example.
Porsche 911 Panamericana Concept, 1989.
While the 989 remained a secret, the 911 Panamericana, perhaps Porsche's most daring concept, was presented at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show. Designed by Harm Lagaay (father of the BMW Z1) and developed by Ulrich Bez's team in just six month, the Panamericana was essentially a lifted Carrera 4 with a new carbon fiber composite body and a fabric roof secured by a purple zipper. Lagaay was hoping Porsche would put it into limited production in 1992, but the same recession locked this car to the Museum's floor as well.
Porsche 984, the "Junior" from 1987.
Porsche has always been as much of an engineering company as a carmaker, and in the early eighties, one of its main projects was engine development for Seat. After the 'System Porsche' 1.2s and 1.5s were done, the Spanish company was considering building a small sports car with the new four-cylinder and a bubble roof called the PS. Needless to say, the project was cancelled, but Porsche did not give up on it so easily.
Called the Porsche Junior, the upgraded concept was supposed to pair all-wheel drive with an air-cooled flat-four and a five-speed manual. Later on, the AWD idea was dropped, but the 984 retained an interesting folding hardtop design that was similar to the one that eventually made it into production on the limited-edition Ferrari Superamerica in 2005. Meanwhile, the Junior's multilink rear axle designed by Georg Wahl returned in the Porsche 993, the last air-cooled 911. The Porsche Boxster was introduced in late 1996.
Porsche 996, with a bulletproof windshield.
Perhaps this US-spec 996 is not the most exciting Porsche concept in the Museum's warehouse, but it's certainly an interesting one, made to solve an engineering challenge: bulletproof windshields. Multilayer pieces that are not only heavy enough to mess up a vehicle's center of gravity, but also happened to distort the view in curved form.
After witnessing what we must assume had to be a considerable demand, Porsche went into great length to prove that despite the added 400 lbs. sky high, a 996 could handle just like a 911 should, providing a clear view through glass that was ready for a mild ambush. This concept remained a one-off. Or so they say.
Porsche Cayenne Convertible Design Study
Despite having two alternative rear ends, this Cayenne study doesn't have an official name. That suggests this idea was shut down long before it could have become more than an inside joke. Still, Porsche claims the roof mechanism seen here helped them come up with the later Targa's system. Alrighty then.
The CGT 918 Spyder Mule
In order to develop a mid-engined hypercar, one must possess a mid-engined platform. There's no other way.
Luckily for Porsche, at the time of making the 918 Spyder, they still had a few Carrera GT monocoques laying around, somewhere behind the 7-8 flat-16 prototype engines they also have in stock.
918 mules like this are well known to car enthusiasts with access to the internet, but they don't cease to amaze me. And nor does the finished product, something the warehouse also has in great numbers.