Porsche Unseen: Stuttgart’s lost concepts revealed

Published: 13 November 2020

► Porsche reveals 15 lost concepts 
► So far three have been shown
► A Le Mans road car, a roadster and a van

Porsche has revealed several ‘lost’ concepts in a new book called Porsche Unseen. Featuring 15 design studies which hadn’t seen the light of day until now, it’s an unprecedented look at Stuttgart’s workflow. 

‘When it comes to the visions we develop, it is not about bringing every car onto the road. Instead, it is more a question of establishing creative space and a relationship with the future,’ says chief designer Michael Mauer. 

‘There are two possibilities for continuing to develop as a brand: either you improve your products from the present, that is to say step-by-step. However, it is difficult to be really innovative in this process. Or you give free rein to your creativity. The idea is to let your thoughts jump to the day after tomorrow, and to then move back from there to tomorrow.’

The 15 concepts shown in the new book fit very much into the latter category. Some we’ve already covered separately; namely the Boxster Bergspyder and the 917 Living Legend. But others have been made public for the first time.

Porsche 904

porsche 904

In 2004, VW had created the XL Sport concept using the two-cylinder engine from a Ducati Superleggera and weighing under 900kg. Porsche wanted to have a crack at designing its own version; its designers inadvertendly created something that looks like the original 904 merged with a McLaren Speedtail, with the glasshouse of an Alpine A110.

Porsche Vision 920

Even after Porsche departed the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship, Mauer couldn’t let go of the thought of Porsche running a racing car in the endurance motorsport. This Vision 920 was an optimistic look to the future if Porsche were ever to return – could they do so with something like this under the new rules?

Porsche 919 Street

Probably the most extreme concept of them all, the 919 Hybrid Street takes all the technology from Stuttgart’s Le Mans Hybrid, and makes it road legal. Porsche has a history of making a ‘Strassenversion’ of its Le Mans cars, it’s a shame the 919 Street didn’t continue the tradition. 

Perhaps it’s time for a rethink: Mercedes, Ferrari and even Peugeot have been getting the most out of their electrified motorsport programs – and maybe Stuttgart should do the same. 

Porsche Vision Spyder

Stuttgart’s latest take on its own 1954 550-1500 RS Spyder. Featuring an engine mounted mid-ship, fins at the rear and a space-age roll hoop, the Vision Spyder is the Porsche design team’s roadster of the future. It got to 1:1 scale, too. 

Porsche Vision ‘Renndienst’

Porsche apparently thought so hard about building an electric van that it made it to a 1:1 scale model before the concept was shelved. But that’s not even the weirdest thing – the weirdest thing is that it has a central driving position, just like a McLaren F1. 

In fact, the vision Renndienst (that’s Race Service in German) is a six-seater, which together with the Sport Tourer badging on the back, suggests Porsche was actually thinking about showing a concept MPV…

Porsche Macan Safari

macan safari

This one is self-explanatory. Porsche has a history of entering the Dakar, and it’s not the first time the ‘Safari’ name has been used on one of its cars. Made into a three-door and kitted out with loads of off-road accessories, this Macan is designed to be ready for rough terrain.

Porsche 906 Living Legend

porsche 906

You wouldn’t think this thing was designed and put together in 2005. Porsche’s brief was a free one – just to create a super sports car that didn’t have to tow the line of company design lineage; this was the finished product. ‘The design process for such visions is very free,’ says Mauer, ‘When we were later developing an identity for our electric models, we took another look at these designs.’

Porsche Vision 918 RS

porsche 918 rs

Is that you, Aston Martin Valhalla? Porsche was so proud of its 918 Spyder it wanted to make another one, but with a very different and much more hardcore brief. While the original 918 was designed to be extremely fast and usable, this RS version was meant to be road legal but was all about smashing lap times.

Porsche 911 Safari

911 safari

Another smashing of heritage and the present day. This driveable prototype of a jacked-up 911 came about in 2012, decked out in a Martini-esque livery. Porsche is clearly still toying with the idea: we’ve seen camouflaged prototypes testing as recent as mid-2020.

Porsche Vision E

porsche vision e

As a factory team joined Formula E in 2019, Porsche’s designers also penned a concept of what could be if regulations were a bit freer.

More info here

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes.