Porsche’s design studio isn’t based in some far-flung metropolitan like New York or Los Angeles or Tokyo. The company got its start in industrial design, after all, so why not keep everything in-house where it can be inspired by the depth of history and motor sport the brand is known for. That’s why Porsche has kept its design studio in the quiet German town of Weissach. There’s a reason Porsches look like Porsches, and could never be mistaken for another make. The whole company is so invested in its design language that it can build everything from a single-seater track car to a six-passenger people carrier and they’re immediately recognizable as being true to the Porsche form.
This book is a celebration of Porsche’s design studio, showcasing some of its lesser known products. The cars in this book are all design studies. What ifs. The brand is built on a strong design and style, so even when there aren’t any new cars to design, the studio has to keep busy developing new cohesive deign traits.
That’s how cars like the one-off Boxster Bergspyder are built. I still contend that Porsche should have offered this car as a limited run, considering cars like the McLaren Elva, Ferrari Monza, and Aston Martin V12 Speedster have come around in the meantime. A magnificent single-seater Boxster Spyder track car, the Bergspyder recalls the early days of Porsche hillclimbing in the 1960s when the 909 Bergspyder was the most focused a racing machine could possibly be.
This wonderful 904-aping mini sports car is much smaller than its contemporary Boxster/Cayman brothers were at the time. It brings the 904’s 1963 design up to date with 918-style fascias and 997 Turbo wheels and tires. This thing was potentially considered for production, as it rides on the same carbon chassis as Volkswagen’s XL1 super-economy hybrid, and it’s powered by a high-revving Ducati V-twin motorcycle engine. I can’t imagine how much fun this would have been to drive, if Porsche had actually produced it.
Porsche Unseen will also give you insight into Porsche’s take on a street-legal ultra-hyper car based on the 919 Hybrid LMP1 platform. Forget about the 918 Spyder, Porsche could have given the world its pinnacle hypercar years ago. It’s possible this was being considered as a reality if Porsche were to pursue a run at Le Mans again in the Hypercar class, where Toyota will compete this year. Instead, Porsche has opted to build an LMDh prototype, which doesn’t require a road-going counterpart to compete.
Obviously the Renndienst van was never going to even be considered for production, but it’s an interesting design and recalls Porsche’s history in a unique way. I’m a fan of this van.
The most interesting piece of news to come out of this book is that Porsche actually designed and built a hypothetical road-going version of its Formula E race car, the 99X Electric. While it’s not a very realistic car for the average Porsche consumer, I would love to drive one of these on weekend mountain road runs. The idea here was to provide the Vision E as an all-electric track-only car for Porsche enthusiasts to race. You would be the absolute boss of a PCA DE if you showed up in one of these bad boys.
There are so many other Porsche design elements discussed in detail and exquisitely photographed for the Porsche Unseen book. The paper is a nice weight, and has been given a matte finish for excellent detail. This is a book you’ll want to display on your coffee table for years to come, as this is a piece of art more than just a book. The book is published by Delius Klasing from Germany, and is printed in both German and English. You can pick up your copy here.