Five Porsche Cars You Never Knew Existed


The German company built several prototypes over the decades. While most of them didn’t go into production, they did help shape forthcoming models. Likewise, Porsche built a few race cars that aren’t as famous as the 917 and 956. Here are five Porsche you may not know about.Porsche 530Developed and built in 1953, the 530 was essentially a four-seat version of the 356 sports car. It featured a longer wheelbase, longer doors for easier ingress and egress, and a pair of additional seats in the rear. The story goes that it all started when Studebaker commissioned Porsche to develop a new engine. The Germans developed an entire car instead but Studebaker rejected the idea because it wanted a larger vehicle for the American market. The 530 was Porsche’s first attempt at a four-seat vehicle and an idea that led to the Type 754, which eventually morphed into the iconic 911.Porsche 542Following Studebaker’s negative feedback for the 530, Porsche developed a four-door prototype called the 542. This car had nothing in common with the 356 design-wise and featured a 3.0-liter V6 engine mounted in the front. Porsche developed both air- and water-cooled versions of the V6 but opted to use the latter. Porsche reportedly shipped four prototypes to Studebaker in 1954, but the Indiana-based company was too busy to save itself from bankruptcy and didn’t evaluate the 542 until after its merger with Packard in 1956. By then, the concept had already become dated and Studebaker scrapped the idea.Porsche 909 BergspyderThe 909 Bergspyder was born in 1968 as a hillclimb racer, at a time when Porsche had two consecutive championships in the bag thanks to the 910, 907, and 908. With Ferrari working on a new lightweight car for the 1968 season, Porsche quickly put together the tiny, spyder-style racer. The company’s lightest vehicle yet, the 909 tipped the scales at only 826 pounds (375 kg) thanks to an aluminum chassis and plastic body. Fitted with a 2.0-liter flat-eight engine good for 275 horsepower, the featherweight Bergspyder needed only 2.4 seconds to hit 60 mph (97 kph) from a standing start. That’s quicker than most modern hypercars. Raced alongside the old 910, the 909 helped Porsche win its third back-to-back hillclimb championship. The Bergspyder was retired after only one year as the company’s final purpose-built hillclimb racer. More than 50 years later and the 909 is still the lightest Porsche ever built.Porsche B32Okay, the B32 is not technically a Porsche, but the Volkswagen T3 body hides quite a few first-generation 911 components. Developed as a support vehicle while testing the 959 race car for the Paris-Dakar Rally, the B32 got its juice from a 3.2-liter flat-six engine sourced from a 911 Carrera. It was also fitted with a sportier suspension, bigger brakes, and a 911 SC gearbox. It wasn’t mind-blowingly powerful at 231 horses, but it was notably quicker than a regular T3. Porsche reportedly built 15 of these vans, including prototypes, and some were sold to special customers. The remaining haulers were retained to transport Porsche staff.Porsche 984Developed from 1984 to 1987, the Porsche 984 was originally intended to go into production as a compact and affordable sports car priced from $14,000. The project included a folding hard-top, all-wheel drive, and a four-cylinder engine capable of up to 150 horsepower. Inspired by both the 928 and the 914, the 984 was set to go on the assembly line when the stock market crash of the 1980s and the company’s poor sales forced it into the history books. The idea was revisited in the 1990s when Porsche created the Boxster.