By on September 28, 2011

I’m no fan of tuned cars, particularly the garish, over-the-top bodykit jobs that seem to curse the high end of the European sportscar market. And yet, when I saw these pictures of the new Porsche 991, as tuned by the Russian house TopCar, something strange occurred to me: this was the first picture of the new 991 that I could instantly recognize as the new model. And then I read, over at Pistonheads, that the 991 will be sold with only minor design changes through 2025, a 14-year lifespan for a model that’s barely distinguishable from its predecessor. And all of a sudden, this garish Russian tune-job started looking a lot better. It may not be subtly tasteful, but there’s an undeniable hunger to its flared-and-scooped styling. It’s trying to be something different, while Porsche’s design evolution has ground to halt. We hear that Ford, which has enjoyed great success working a retro groove with the last couple of Mustangs, is “moving on” to craft an entirely new, non-retro Mustang for the next generation. It seems that we’re going to have to wait about 14 more years for Porsche to similarly realize the benefits of making its flagship a “living document.” In the meantime, if you want a 991 that looks like it has moved with the times, you may just have to look at the aftermarket…



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24 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: An Archetype’s Progress Edition...”

  • avatar

    i would have to go negative on all that

    the front air dam has bits of Mazda 3 in it

    the side scoops are way overdone and almost Audi r8 large in the panels

    the rear bar cutouts are are superfluous frill

    i think Porsche has to have a certain conservatism for the base Carrera and Turbos as they are bought by the Goldman Sachs set so they do have to be more lux than sport… and rarely do I like the tuners… from Gemballa to whoever… RUF isnt too bad but its rare tuners don’t mess things up

  • avatar

    This reminds me of the failed re-boot of Knight Rider. When the hum-drum Mustang starts to turn into the new and improved KITT… grows wings, gaps, etc. This car looks like that, midway through changing.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    … never ceases to amaze me how quickly these tuner shops respond to (not so) new models, sometimes beating the factory item to the market, or so it would seem.

  • avatar

    You obviously can’t do this with all cars, but with something like the 911, why mess with success? Make incremental improvements to improve the product, and let the timeless design do it’s thing. Styling for the sake of styling is pointless.

    It’s the other cars in the lineup (ie, Cayenne and Panamera) that could use a little design creativity. Not every car needs to look like the 911.

    • 0 avatar

      My take exactly.

      Lots and lots and lots and lots (hey, I’m trying to illustrate a point by repeating myself like Porsche does with 911 iterations) of baby boomers with still somewhat intact nest eggs are retiring. Some downsizing to the car they have been waiting to reward themselves with, for perhaps their entire working life. Yanking that dream car out from underneath them by going skunkworks on it, fails to strike me as prudent business.

      but as you said, the other models…. (Except the Panamera, good as it is, really should have been a rear engine 4 door.)

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. The basic design language of the 911 is remarkable. Why mess with near perfection other than minor tweaks here and there to achieve perfection.

      Design change for the sake of design change turned the gorgeous GM vehicles of the 1960s into the ugly masses of heap known as GM vehicles of the 1970s.

      Case in point: 1967 Chevelle vs the 1973 Chevelle. The 68 was a downgrade from the 67. 69 was better than the 68, but it was all downhill with the major styling revision of 73.

      Or the 63 Pontiac Grand Prix vs later iterations, and on and on.

      The 911’s styling dna is an icon, Porsche would be foolish to change it.

  • avatar

    Needs moar vents.

    Give Steve Saleen a call.

  • avatar

    This seems to be a philosophical issue. If a car functions well, is there a functional reason to change it? On the other hand, if you care whether someone can tell your version is new, or if you don’t like the way the old version looked, then there may be aesthetic reasons to want a restyle.

    From the manufacturer’s point of view, there may well be good reasons to restyle. When I was a teenager in the 60s, every year my best friend and I would drive around to see what the new cars looked like. In those days, that was one of the main reason to buy a new car: what it looked like compared to last year’s model.

  • avatar

    It’s interesting just how faddish automotive designers can be. Ever since the Aston Martin One-77 featured prominent brake cooling ducts flanking the front end, they’ve started showing up in a bunch of cars.

    • 0 avatar

      the 1-77 is the ugliest modern AML and the problem is no one will tell them the emperor has no clothes… simply because its the most expensive

      even Kia is ripping off the 1-77 in the veloster

      • 0 avatar

        You’re daft.

      • 0 avatar

        The One-77 may not be to everyone’s liking but there is no denying the beauty of that nearly completely carbon fiber frame, sheet metal, and tub. It almost looks better without the sheet metal covering it up.

        My .02 is that it is an evolutionary step forward for a slowly aging design ethos that truly needs to evolve to a more modern design. Not saying the DB9 is by any means ugly – it is a timeless design – Aston just needs to move forward into a new decade with a modified design (not the Virage step child between the DB9 and DBS)

    • 0 avatar

      They focused on the humanoid design more than the automotive design when that Transformer was styled. It probably looks really cool in robot form, with guns and stuff.

  • avatar

    Needs lots of stickers and a fart can to be complete.

  • avatar

    I can’t help but think of Jaguar when I think about design evolution. With the XK, XJ, and the new models to come, they went with revolution. It polarized people, but no one could say they weren’t moving forward.

    Is the 911 a more durable, profitable icon than that first XJ6? Well, the basic shape is still around, so it would seem so. But how long can it last? When will 911’s annual sales trickle to less a month’s worth of Cayenne or Panamera sales? When will it have used up its last bit of “icon capital”?

    I don’t know the answer.

    FWIW I’ve always liked what tuner 9ff has done with the 911 shape, making it lower, sleeker, and meaner. Picture below of the GT9. It shares almost no body panels with a stock 911, but it’s still unmistakably a 911:

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ….auto purists are so easily riled……a longtime fantasy is to apply fender skirts, portholes, and dual whip antennas on a Veyron or a Maybach or the like. Serious backyard tuners, usually lottery winners, could also consider foxtails, remote door spotlights, and fuzzy dice, all easily removable when it comes time to trade up to their next victim. The Beatles pulled off the same sort of thing with their famous “psychedelic” Rolls.

  • avatar

    The 911 doesn’t have to rely on style changes to maintain its place in the market. This post seems to run counter to the prevailing attitude of this blog. If anything, the fact that the 911 has stayed consistent, and beautiful (arguably) for as long as it has should be celebrated. The 911, unlike so many other models and car makers, has not lost the script.

    As long as the 911 is one of the best performing sports cars that can also be driven on a daily basis, it will not lose an ounce of steam. It is, ultimately, the pinnacle of halo cars, because all of the disgusting profits Porsche pulls out of the Cayenne and Panamera relate directly back to the 911 and its hard-fought credibility.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    14 years from now, who is going to be lining up to buy a CO2-spewing, roadcrushing grandpa car?

  • avatar

    Utterly hideous.

    The Porsche 911 was born nearly perfect in form. The slight awkwardness of them only add to thier attractiveness. IMHO, they could produce updated late 60’s shape ones and I would still drool like Pavlov’s Dog every time I see one.

    • 0 avatar

      The perfect form of the 911, died with the much steeper windshield rake of the newer editions. But, as Baruth pointed out in the latest Turbo review, that rake is probably necessary to keep wind noise at reasonable levels; given the speeds these things operate at, and the expectations of their target consumer.

      I’m looking forward to see the new one in the flesh, as I suspect the longer wheelbase, with it’s more more midengine like proportions, should be more tolerant a steeper windshield. By adding some length to the rear, visually flattening the whole car a bit.

  • avatar

    I have lots and lots and lots of car desktop backgrounds. Many of them are 911s. Not many of those are tuned 911s, but I’ve seen many, many Sportecs, Techarts, RUFs, 9ffs, Gemballas and (ugh) Mansorys, and, must say, as restyling exercises go this one is pretty nice.

    Topcar (this) is the one with the shark logo IIRC.

  • avatar

    The design of 911s has always been purposefully understated and in line with the swabians general disapproval of public displays of conspicuous consumption. If you want bling get a lime green Lambo but leave the 911 as it is.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    …..past cars include a ’72 911S and a ’77 930 Turbo….now I’d settle for a tuner Lucerne….must be getting old.

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