Porsche has produced some absolutely stunning cars in recent years. From the jaw-dropping 918 Spyder hypercar to the svelte Taycan electric vehicle, the German car maker’s design team has had far more hits than misses.
But there are models that have been brought to the drawing board in the last decade that haven’t made it to production, for one reason or another.
For the first time, Porsche has revealed – all at once – 15 cars that didn’t make the cut, from crazy spin-off variants of existing models to track-inspired hypercars… and even a van. We’ve taken a detailed look at our six favourites from the line-up.
So, in your best Jim Bowen Bullseye voice: ‘Let’s have a look at what you could’ve bought…’
Porsche van: Arguably the most surprising of the 15 cars that won’t make production is this – the sportcar-maker’s six-seat MPV…
1. Porsche Vision ‘Racing Service’ van (2018)
When you think of Porsche, you probably don’t think of vans.
But the maker toyed with the idea in 2018 and even created this one-of-one electric model.
Called Vision ‘Renndienst’ – translating to Racing Service – it’s a family-friendly MPV for up to six people that harks back to the legendary ’60s VW bus, which was used as Porsche’s race service vehicle some half a century ago.
This (right) is the Porsche Vision ‘Renndienst’ – which translates from German to ‘Racing Service’. It has been inspired by the 1960 VW Bus, which were used by Porsche’s official racing term as a support vehicle
While the six-seat MPV might look like a shuttle, it does retail many of the design features you’d expect from a Porsche, including the single beam rear light unit, similar to that of the Cayenne SUV
The shape is inspired by a ‘futuristic space shuttle’, though retains many of the common design features of modern-era Porsches. That includes the flat-fronted body, flared wheel arches and single-beam rear light unit.
Inside, the driver sits in a ‘central lounge chair’ to give a sporty and comfortable position, This gives the five additional passengers a better view out the front and takes up less space if the vehicle is set into an autonomous driving model.
The battery pack sits under the body so it doesn’t eat into cabin space, making the van an ideal travel tool.
The visor-like wrap-around glass, huge arches and flat-nosed body are all design cues you expect to see from Porsche
The concept was dreamed up in 2018. Porsche built this one-of-one example to showcase the design idea
2. Porsche 911 Vision Safari (2012)
Back in the day, there were rally Porsches – the 911 SC RS Group B car being the one that really stands out for us.
Eight years ago, Porsche contemplated a contemporary re-interpretation in 2012 using the 991 iteration of the famed sports car and built this one-of-a-kind prototype.
It featured raised suspension, reinforced wheel housings, massive bumpers and a spartan rally cockpit with race seats and roll cage.
The 911 Vision Safari was a modern twist on the Group B rally cars of late eighties. Porsche made one prototype in 2012 using the 911-generation sports car
To make it the ideal off-road racer like the original (left), Porsche fitted raised suspension, reinforced wheel housings and massive bumpers (right)
To cut weight, there’s a spartan rally cockpit with race seats and roll cage. The designers even planned a special shelf mounted above a fan behind the seats to cool the driver and co-pilot in hot conditions, such as rallies in Africa
The designers even planned a special shelf mounted above a fan behind the seats – to cool down your crash helmet between especially races in hot climates.
And for events held at night, there’s a roof bar composing of four super-strong LED lamps to supplement the two additional spot lamps in the bumper, all for improved visibility on dusty stages when the sun has disappeared.
Porsche even tested it on its gravel proving grounds at the Weissach test facility, where normally the Porsche Cayenne and Macan SUVs are put through their paces.
Porsche added a roof bar composing of four super-strong LED lamps to supplement two additional spot lamps in the bumper
The prototype was even put through its paces at the German brand’s off-road proving grounds, which was created for the Macan and Cayenne
The 1980s Porsche 911 Group B rally car is one of the iconic models of the era, which would have made a 911 of this ilk very attractive to enthusiasts
3. Porsche 919 Street (2017)
Porsche’s recent assault at the 24 Hours of Le Mans saw the creation of the 919 LMP1 Hybrid racer. It won the historic endurance race three years running, from 2015 to 2017.
Shortly after Porsche announced its departure from LMP1 racing after the last of the three wins, a new idea was born to crown the success story with a limited special edition of the Porsche 919 Hybrid that could be sold to customers.
Porsche took victory in the premier LMP1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Man in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with the 919 Hybrid. After the final win, it came up with the idea of a road-going version of the car…
Porsche only made a clay model, so it never made it to working a prototype stage. What they did create is a stunning road car design
The Porsche 919 Street was developed on the basis of the existing technology, putting the mind-boggling performance of the LMP1 race car in to the hands of amateur drivers – a worrying prospect.
Under the outer shell are the carbon monocoque and powerful 887bhp drivetrain. The dimensions and wheelbase were also the same as on the race car, though only this clay model was created.
The idea was canned before Porsche could seek road approval as a limited edition model as the race team said the car would be fair too for street use complex. For instance, a team of mechanics needed around 45 minutes just to start the LMP1 engine.
The project was canned when it was decided the vehicle would have way too much performance to be put in amateur drivers’ hands, and the fact the hybrid drivetrain was incredibly complex
The road going car had plenty of heritage with it being so closely based on the LMP1 919 Hybrid endurance racer
Under the outer shell are the carbon monocoque and powerful 887bhp drivetrain. Imagine this view overtaking you on the M25
4. Porsche Vision Spyder (2019)
One of the latest examples to be drawn up by the design team at Porsche but failed to make it past a one-of-a-kind model is this incredible Vision Spyder – a homage to the 550 Spyder of the 1950s, which was infamously the car that ended the life of Hollywood star James Dean in 1955.
The concept penned last year takes inspiration with a stripped-down cockpit, flat radiator grilles over its mid-mounted engine and – of course – no roof.
The VIsion Spyder, a design concept from last year, pays homage to the original Spyder 550
The classic is infamous for being the car that Hollywood star James Dean died in as a result of a crash (pictured)
While just one ‘hard model’ was created – which is the next phase on from a clay version – the Vision Sypder has been of use.
The vertical arrangement of the headlights at the front as well as other aerodynamic and functional elements such as the angular roll bar are being adopted into the design language of the remaining internal combustion engine models Porsche creates.
Little rebel: Just one ‘hard model’ was created – which is the next phase on from a clay version – for the Vision Sypder concept
The roofless design looks incredible. Inside, it had a stripped-out cabin, which is probably a good thing if it rains
Some of the stunning design cues will be used in future petrol-powered models Porsche releases before the ban on new internal combustion engine vehicles comes into play
5. Porsche 904 Living Legend (2013)
For readers who can cast their memories back to the sixties, the 904 – also known as the Carerra GTS – is a model they will remember.
Just 106 examples of the original were built in order to achieve ‘homologation’ requirements to produce a specific number of road cars (100 minimum in this case) in order for the racer to be used. Today, expect to pay over £2million for one.
This 904 Living Legend, a one-of-a-kind concept, doesn’t have racing pedigree at all – in fact, it’s the product of the Porsche’s parent firm’s revolutionary plug-in hybrid vehicle, the VW XL1.
The Porsche 904 Living Legend shares a name with the 1960s race car, of which 106 road-going models were produced between 1964 and 1965
Left: A 1964 Porsche 904/Carrera GTS, which was sold at the RM Sotheby’s Paris event last year for almost £2million. Right: The 904 Living Legend concept
Just one concept car was produced and Porsche says the vehicle is so light that it could be powered by a 1.2-litre V-twin engine from a motorcycle
The 904 uses a similar carbon monocoque chassis to the lightweight PHEV, though instead of a dinky one-litre deisel engines has a mid-mounted engine from a motorbike.
Porsche says a high-revving V-twin motor – likely taken from a Ducati (which is owned by sister car-maker Audi) – would have been a suitable power plant for the 904 Living Legend, which barely weighed more than 900kg in concept form.
Clearly, the use of 904 is a reference to the design mirroring that of the classic racer, with the drastically-sloped coupe shape.
The VW XL1 hybrid car, which used a 1-litre diesel engine and electric power. It was priced at just over £100,000, though only few were made. The 904 Living Legend shares its carbon-fibre monocoque chassis
Porsche says a high-revving V-twin motor – likely taken from a Ducati (which is owned by sister car-maker Audi) – would have been a suitable power plant for the 904 Living Legend
Just one concept car was built in 2013, which barely weighed more than 900kg, according to the German sport car maker
6. Porsche 917 Living Legend (2013)
Fans of Steve McQueen’s 1971 Le Mans film will like this one – a modern take on the iconic Porsche 917, re-imagined for the 21st century as a hypercar.
In 2013, the German sports car maker wanted to celebrate its return to the historic endurance race with its most famous Le Mans car.
The Porsche 917 Living Legend was conceived in 2013 as a way of celebrating Porsche’s return to the premier LMP1 class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year
Just one clay model was created and no working model was ever built. Looking at these images, we wish it had been
The Living Legend shares the name with the 1970s Le Mans racer (right), which was the star of 1971 film Le Mans, featuring (and directed by) Steve McQueen
It created this to-scale industrial Plasticine model in six months leading up to the even and was intended to bring the living legend into the present day.
The Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar served as a technical basis for the drive and chassis architecture.
However, the concept study very clearly evoked the winning car of 1970 with its dramatically flared wheel arches, its cockpit which extended well forward, its almost unending rear end and of course its red and white racing colours.
Left: The Porshce 917 Living Legend was to be based on the existing 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar. Right: Steve McQueen on set of Le Mans (1971)
Fans of the now iconic film will remember the snarling engine note of the Porsche 917 driven by Steve McQueen in Le Mans