Porsche says this 718 GT4 RS-based concept has proportions that are very “close to reality”. Just build it, please
Porsche must have registered the number 357 but has never used it. Until now. This is the Eyesight 357, the latest in a long line of Porsche concepts, this one powerfully invoking the memory of the 356/1 Roadster. That, fact fans, was the first production car to bear the particular Porsche name, the model that kick-started the whole adventure on 8 June 1948, 75 years ago.
So what is it exactly? It’s primarily Porsche’s birthday present to itself as this particular important year gets under way. Vision 357 is a mercifully compact, beautifully proportioned little coupe that swerves the retro thing by taking modish design tropes like reductionism and stirring in some emotive historic references. Kind of old plus new at the same time and yet neither. Or, as Porsche says, “it’s a look back in the conceptual journey towards the future”. Huh?
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If you’ve read the particular book Porsche Unseen , you’ll already know that will the company’s design team are also knowledgeable historians. Design head (and new VW Group style boss) Michael Mauer will be clear about how this works in Weissach. “Would it better to have a clean sheet and not have any restrictions? No. History gives us orientation… I’d compare this to a compass. It also gives you a brand that stands for certain values. It would be stupid not to build on this, but you have to find the right balance between tradition and innovation, otherwise you won’t be successful in the particular future. ”
There are usually a few other important things to note here. Peel away that impressively disciplined body plus you’ll find the chassis and powertrain from the 718 Cayman GT4 RS , including its magnificent 4. 0-litre, 493bhp, six-cylinder engine. Given that Porsche made 77 units of its 911 GT2 RS-based 935 Moby Dick homage back in 2019, we don’t think it’s lunacy in order to suggest that will this one could be headed in the same direction. Porsche offers also re-issued images of the 2018 Renndienst concept – it means ‘Racing Service’ – which you may remember played with the idea of a Porsche people carrier and the particular ‘spatial experience’. It had a central driving seat. Now it is presented here towing the Vision 357. Stop toying with all of us, please, plus just develop them.
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“It’s not even really a concept, ” Mauer continues. “We were thinking about the particular 75 many years, what the first car was, and then we thought, let’s do something where you can see the connection to the 356 without being too retro. Then all of us decided to do it upon the combustion platform. We had a lot of freedom but the particular proportions are very close to reality. When we do ideas they have a pretty realistic base, we all don’t do them simply for the sake of doing something. So yes, it would be possible. inch
Mauer says another part of the Vision 357 creative process was in order to envisage the sort of vehicle Ferry Porsche might possess liked. They’ve been right here before. In 1989, the particular company created an 80th birthday present for Ferry based on the 964-era 911, called the Panamericana . It was engineered by future Aston Martin boss Uli Bez, its design overseen simply by Harm Lagaay, and still looks pretty way-out today. There were twin air vents on the engine cover that nodded to the 356, but as the Panamericana title implied, this thing was a quasi dune-buggy. The link now is much more explicit.
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Ferry, of course, was your man behind the original 356, and is usually credited with activating Porsche as we’ve come to know it. Not that the particular main movers and shakers had been slack before that will. His father, Ferdinand Porsche Sr., has been one of the greatest automotive engineers associated with all time. In fact , he was instrumental in a handful of the most significant cars ever made, including the first petrol-electric hybrid, 1901’s Lohner-Porsche, the particular Mercedes SSK, the epic Auto Union racing cars, and of course the KdF-Wagen that became the particular Volkswagen Beetle. That’s the whole other, vast story, with the murkiest of roots, yet let’s just say it fell in order to Ferry Porsche to pick up the particular pieces post-war. Initially, the company fixed cars and made water pumps plus lathes. Then Ferry did a deal with former Juventus footballer turned racing driver and entrepreneur Piero Dusio to build the particular Porsche Type 360 Cisitalia single-seater. Gorgeous and advanced, that was the first car to wear the Porsche badge, but the project stalled.
Still barred from returning to Stuttgart, Ferry set up in Gmünd, Austria and got to work on what would become the particular 356. That was previewed by the 356/1, considered by some to be an outlier because its air-cooled, flat-four 1. 1-litre is definitely mid- rather than rear-engined, as the particular 356 might soon be. But the shape is there, this particular most recognisable of style typologies set by long-term Porsche associate, Erwin Komenda, who experienced joined Ferdinand Sr’s newly established design office within 1931. Komenda was the guy who designed the Beetle, and had been formulating the 356 since 1946.
“I saw that will if you had enough power in a small vehicle, it is nicer in order to drive than if a person have a big car which is also overpowered, inches Ferry Porsche said inside a 1972 interview. It took two yrs to sell 50 cars, but by 1965, when the 356 finally ceased production, more than 76, 000 have been made.
The particular Vision 357 is as well-informed the reimagining as you’d expect. The passenger compartment can be narrow plus sits in-board, while the windscreen – split on early examples of the particular original – wraps around the A pillars so that the glass area resembles a visor. The shoulders are broad, the car less over-bodied than the slightly cuddly 356. There are no door handles; a patterned array of light points by the side windows conceal openers. The original’s motor cooling vents are referenced in the grille pattern in the rear, which run the full length of the particular car, and the tail lights are usually almost invisible until lit.
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At the front is a discreet four-point gentle similar to the motif used by Porsche in its production cars. The particular 20in wheels are made of magnesium, and use aero-efficient carbon fibre hubcaps with central locks. Racing inspiration is certainly manifest in the jointless bonnet which usually uses quick-release mechanisms, along with threaded rods for the particular front spoiler. The sills are made of natural fibre reinforced plastic (NFRP), as previously used around the Mission R concept , which partly consists associated with flax. The exhaust has blue-ish toned titanim trim however the pipe itself is usually ceramic. Cameras replace traditional door mirrors. As on the Cayman GT4 RS, there are air intakes behind the side windows, with ‘air’ decals set to them. Porsche nerds will know the company’s rich history within graphics – ever looked at a 908 Bergspyder from above? – and as well as the particular ‘75’ decals, there’s a good ‘e-fuel’ one within the fuel filler flap, and dinosaur decals upon the air-intakes in front of the rear wheels.
“There had been an option in order to do an electric car yet we thought combustion was cooler, ” Mauer says. “And as this might be the last burning engine we do, 1 of the particular designers came up with a dinosaur sketch which we turned into a decal. inch
Mauer admits that the Vision 357 happened quickly, coming together in barely a year. By going to the source instead than, say, another famous Porsche still in manufacturing, they’ve also avoided prompting speculation about what an all-new 911 might look like. Although stand by for another birthday present later in 2023.
“Compared to other companies, we have the more open mindset and a CEO who gives us budget plus doesn’t know what he’s going to get from the end of the 12 months, ” Mauer says. “Everything is possible. We’re given the independence without constraints to think about new concepts, in order to explore ways we may develop our design language. On this vehicle I would refer to the particular head- and tail-lights. We always want to integrate elements, and new technology might enable something like this. inches
Like all of us say, just build it…
(The Eyesight 357 is on display as part associated with the ‘75 Years of Porsche sports cars’ exhibition at the Drive Forum inside Berlin)