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A Look Back at Porsche’s Project: Top Secret

The DriveDen blog provides advice, news and reviews. This feature article looks at some of the cars presented at the Porsche Project: Top Secret show back in 2014.

 

Back in 2014, Porsche opened it’s museum doors to show off some very special and one-of-a-kind vehicles. The title of the show translated as ‘Project: Top Secret’ and indeed many of the cars on show had never been seen by the public before. Amongst them were secret concept cars, camouflaged prototypes and all sorts of other weird and wonderful creations. Some were just produced as experiments or to break records, while others were made to test potential new features or materials. Here we look back at some of the most interesting cars from the presentation:

 

1973 Long Life
The 70s saw a growing concern for the environment and the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology asked Porsche to investigate a car that would last a lot longer than usual. The result was a rear-engined, four-cylinder hatchback concept that was designed to last for at least 20 years and run for at least 300,000km. The car itself was never produced, but the ideas were way ahead of the time and the rust-resistant sheet metal used for the concept was a key feature of late 70s 911 models.

1976 924 World Record
In 1976 Porsche set it’s sights on the long-term top speed record, hoping to create a car that would be capable of averaging over 155mph for 10,000 miles. This project gave birth to a crazy looking 924 with a turbocharged 250bhp engine. Extensive wind tunnel testing showed the special 924 to have a drag coefficient of just CD 0.268 (apparantly this is very good!), and the car could achieve a top speed of almost 175mph. Unfortunately, the test was never carried out and the 924 concept found it’s way into the Porsche museum instead.

1978 Type 995 Research Car
Based on the opinion-dividing 928 and another of the prototypes funded by the GFMRT, the Type 995 Research Car was a project focused on creating a future sports car that delivered good fuel economy, safety and low noise emissions. There were two very different engines considered for the car – a high compression 3-litre V8 with automatic cylinder deactivation, and a 2.2-litre four-valve, four-cylinder alternative. Along with the planned lightweight aluminium bodywork, a five speed dual-clutch would add to the car’s efficiency, and anti-lock brakes enhanced safety.

1982 959 Aerodynamic Study
The Porsche 959 was the world’s fastest street-legal production car when it was introduced in 1986, as well as being a formidable racing car and Group B rally legend. However, none of that would have been possible without years of research by Porsche, some of which can be seen in the 1982 ‘Aerodynamic Study’ car. It was used for extensive wind tunnel testing, as Porsche experimented with drag, lift and of course, aerodynamics. Much of the research was used directly in the production version of the 959, and laid the ground work for all of Porsche’s future road and racing cars.

1984 911 Carrera 3.2 Studie E19
By the early 80s, 911 models had been around for over 20 years and despite their looks actually weren’t the most aerodynamic cars they could be. So, in 1984 Porsche set about experimenting with different methods to make the 911 more slippery. Features such as removing the rain gutters, fitting flush-mounted glass, lowered headlamps and retro wheel covers all helped and many of these features found their way into the 964 models of the late 80s.

1984-87 984 Sport Two Seat
1984 also saw a project from Porsche to tap into the lightweight, affordable two-seater sports car market. The 914 had been and and gone and the Boxster was still a decade away – so the 984 was created with a folding steel roof, all-wheel-drive and a 2-litre air-cooled flat 4 engine. The car would have likely made it into production had it not been for the 1987 stock market crash, which saw the global economy take a nose dive.

1987 928 Cabriolet
Although the 928 was made for almost 20 years, it was never officially offered by Porsche as a convertible, although it’s reported that 12 aftermarket models were made by Carelli at almost double the usual price of the car. However, Porsche did toy with the idea of making a convertible 928 and in 1987 a concept was created on that basis. As with all the Porsche concept and test cars, the finish was still of the highest quality and the convertible concept looks like it could have easily been made into a full-blown production model. Porsche also produced a 928 estate concept in this period too!

1991 989 Study
Long before the Panamera debuted, Porsche had already tried out several 4-door coupe models. There was even a 911 variant created in 1968. However, the vehicle shown off at Project: Top Secret was intended to go on the market in the mid-90s and was called the 989. Porsche were mindful that owners may want something with a bit more practicality, but the V8-powered concept car’s development and potential production costs went through the roof, leading to the cancellation of the project in 1992. The Panamera is now considered to be the spiritual successor to the 989.

1993-96 986 A4 Test Vehicle
As the economy improved in the mid 90s, Porsche wanted to bring buyers back and sought to test out some new ideas within the existing 911 bodyshell. The resulting test car was therefore able to be driven for thousands of miles without attracting any sort of unwanted attention, even though it was actually being used to test out a new mid-engined, rear transmission concept that would form the basis of the Boxster, which came out in late 1996.

 

In many ways, these concepts show that Porsche was often way ahead of it’s time, and we wonder how many other secret concept cars they may have created over the years. Other manufacturers must do the same too…so the driving world of today could be very different had some of these and other concepts made it into production!

Why not check out a similar article that focuses on concept cars, such as The Worst Concept Cars This Century or New Volvo Concept Car Has Unique Interior Features

 

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