Remember the Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion, a ridiculous “road car” made from a Le Mans racing prototype? We could have had that again, if the Porsche 919 Street concept had ever come to pass. That’s right: Porsche actually designed a version of its Le Mans-winning, Nürburgring-record-smashing racing prototype for the road.
The new 328-page book “Porsche Unseen” dives into fifteen different fascinating Porsche design studies that were released between 2005 and 2019. The book spans four different categories: “Spin-Offs,” “Little Rebels,” “Hyper Cars” and “What’s Next?” It’s not just a look at Porsche’s design process from drawing to modeling to production, but a look into some truly delightful, weird stuff that comes out of the Porsche Design Studio.
Unlike other automakers who may have design studios around the world, Porsche has just one design studio in Weissach, close to the brand’s Stuttgart headquarters. I daresay that’s helped Porsche define and keep a very particular look and identity over the years. Even their more futuristic ideas are easy to recognize as a Porsche. Over 120 designers work at the Porsche Design Studio spanning various areas of expertise including colors, materials, interior and exterior design, study engineering and modeling.
Each design starts out as a sketch, which then becomes a 3D model. After that, a 1:3-scale model gets made, followed by a hard model in 1:1 scale.
“The virtual world is the first step, but you especially have to experience the unusual models in reality in order to understand whether a car has small, large or surprising proportions,” Style Porsche Vice President Michael Mauer explains.
Some of Porsche’s concepts are never meant for road use. They’re what Porsche calls “visions,” where one vision model represents the whole idea the designer wants to put forth. Mauer explains it as a sort of idea sandbox where designers can explore less practical concepts that may be more plausible in the future, or may shape the future of Porsche’s design language now. It’s a way for them to stay one step ahead.
Either way, it’s also the reason I would quit everything if I could work in the Porsche archives. Sorry! There’s a convertible Cayenne concept model in that collection, for Pete’s sake. These latest never-before-seen concepts are further proof that “Porsche archives wonk” is my the list of dream jobs alongside “astronaut” and “race car driver”—especially that roadgoing 919.