Chief Porsche designer Michael Mauer and his team at the automaker’s in-house styling studio do a lot more than come up with new designs for future production vehicles. The German automaker describes Mauer’s studio as “a huge ideas workshop,” where even the craziest of concepts are routinely supported and pursued, even if they know these cars may never make it to production.
These experimental vehicle designs help fuel artists’ creativity and give them ideas that they can apply to cars and crossovers destined for public consumption. Many of these secretive Porsche designs, which take form in the way of renderings, 3D models, and sometimes even driveable prototypes, have never been shown to the public – until now, that is.
Porsche opened Mauer’s secretive vault this week, showcasing several innovative vehicle design studies that his team has been explored in recent years. Some of these concepts were conceived as potential future production vehicles, while others were only ever intended to be experimental and to help the designer to step outside of their comfort zone.
Scroll down to see all the cool concepts that Mauer has been hiding from Porsche fans in recent years.
Porsche 911 Vision Safari
The Porsche 911 Vision Safari was conceived in 2012 and was intended to serve as a tribute to the Porsche 911 SC Safari, which contested the 1978 East African Safari Rally in the hands of Porsche works drivers Björn Waldegård and Vic Preston Jr. Raised suspension, plastic wheel arch cladding, larger bumpers, and a spartan rally cockpit with race seats and roll cage help set the 911 Vision Safari apart from a regular 991-generation 911.
Porsche Macan Vision Safari
The Porsche Macan Vision Safari was also inspired by off-road Porsche cars like the 911 SC Safari and features similar off-road-focused parts to the 911 Vision Safari, such as protective wheel arch cladding and increased ground clearance. While the production Porsche Macan crossover was a five-door, the Macan Vision Safari ditches its second set of doors to take on a quirky three-door body style. Unlike the 911 Vision Safari, the Macan Vision Safari is not a driveable vehicle and was only ever built as a 1:1 plastic model.
Porsche Le Mans Living Legend
The Porsche Le Mans Living Legend is 1:1 scale clay model inspired by the pair of Porsche 550 Coupes the manufacturer won the 1500cc class with at the 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche designers envisioned a production version based on the Porsche Boxster platform and featuring “the most incredible-sounding" eight-cylinder engine.
Porsche Vision 916
Another 1:1 clay model, the Vision 916 is a small, pure electric sports car concept that was put together by a small team of Porsche designers. It gets its name and likeness from the original Porsche 916 – a rare prototype variant of the Porsche 914 that featured a flat-six engine pulled from the larger and more powerful 911.
Porsche Vision Spyder
The Porsche Vision Spyder was inspired by the 550-1500 RS Spyder of German driver Hans Herrmann, who won the 1954 Carrera Panamericana endurance race in the little four-cylinder racer. This handsome mid-engine concept, which was designed and built in 2019, is a hard 1:1 scale model, so it unfortunately cannot move under its power.
Porsche 904 Living Legend
Back in 2014, VW shocked the car world when it rolled out the radical XL-1 – a limited-production plug-in hybrid vehicle with a mid-mounted 1.0L diesel engine and wacky gullwing doors. This study piqued the interest of the Porsche design team, who decided to use it as the basis for a compact sports car inspired by the original Porsche 904. This study only exists as a 1:1 hard model, but if it did reach production, it would have featured a “high-revving V2 motorcycle engine,” and would have tipped the scales at under 900 kg.
Porsche 906 Living Legend
The Porsche 906 Living Legend is yet another 1:1 hard model inspired by a Porsche race car of yore – this time the original Porsche 906 that took victory in the 1966 Targa Florio. The concept will never reach production, but it has served as inspiration for Porsche designers as they sought new ways to integrate exterior lights and air intakes into their electric production vehicle designs.
Porsche 919 Street
The Porsche 919 street is what the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car would look like if it were sold to the public as a street-legal hypercar. The automaker was seriously exploring this idea, but the complex technology of the 919 Hybrid would have made the program too costly – even for the wealthiest of car enthusiasts and collectors.
Porsche Vision E
The Porsche Vision E is the automaker’s vision for what a track-day car based on its 99X Formula E car might look like. Like many other cars on this list, it only exists as a 1:1 scale model, but with the electric performance car race heating up, we wouldn’t be surprised if Porsche holds onto the idea of EV track toy like this. The Vision E was only designed last year, too, so this is a fairly recent project.
Porsche Vision 918 RS
This is what the Porsche 918 hypercar would look like if the automaker decided to give it the same track-focused RS treatment it applies to the 911 sports car. It’s only a 1:1 scale model, but Porsche says the production version would have offered “enhanced drive and chassis technology and a dramatically designed, aerodynamically optimized body,” compared to the standard 918. Believe it or not, Porsche only designed this concept last year, even though the 918 went out of production way back in 2015.
Porsche Vision 920
Porsche says the Vision 920 “was designed as a super sports car for the road or as a possible racing car for customer motorsport based on the LMP1 race cars.” This design study, which is a 1:1 hard model, also helped Porsche designers figure out how they could integrate styling cues from their prototype LMP1 race cars into supercars and hypercars for the road.
Porsche Vision Turismo
The Porsche Vision Turismo was designed in 2016 and was conceived as a four-seater sports car. The Porsche team was at first deliberating over whether this new four-seat sports car should feature a front- or mid-mounted engine, but they eventually concluded it should feature an electric powertrain instead – helping to expedite the Porsche Taycan program.
Porsche Vision Race Service
This quirky electric van is a 1:1 hard model that Porsche built back in 2018. The automaker says the van “combines sportiness and comfortable travel in a completely new way, but which is still immediately recognizable as a Porsche. A Porsche van probably won’t enter production any time soon, but Mauer says such experimental visions “are of essential importance for Porsche,” and its design team for drumming up inspiration.