Vellum Venom: 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera

vellum venom 2012 porsche 911 carrera

Vellum is a material at the heart of Automotive and Industrial Design. Venom is something this website has in spades: so a few positive comments from a recent Piston Slap column brought the two concepts together. Before we start; some ground rules: I analyze what’s seen from my camera phone, no press cars and therefore no time to second guess my thoughts.

And a few shout outs:

  • Jeff Sanders: it was 5 years ago this week when you left us. I will never forget you.
  • Jack Telnack: for forming a team that made the cars of my childhood so remarkable. Meeting you in 2007 was an honor.
  • Robert Cumberford: for not being offended that I’m copying your idea.
  • My Parents: for paying the Industrial Design tuition to the Center (now College) for Creative Studies.

On to our first subject, the new 991 iteration of the 911: slightly longer, wider and with a ton more wheelbase in the proud Harley Earl Tradition, but you’d be forgiven if you see little difference between this and the outgoing model. That said, the evolutionary changes are noteworthy, beautiful and maybe a little laughable.

The first thing most notice are the new taillights. Mercifully, the 991 is part of a new crop of vehicles ushering back the era of normal sized lighting pods: back when the non-functional portions of plastic lens were not a significant part of a vehicle’s real estate.

Even better, the new lighting pods and extra dimensions translate into an even more voluptuous side profile. It’s not obscene like a Ferrari Testarossa, the more prodigious fenders give the feeling of even more tumblehome…which is sorely needed in today’s age of boxy silhouettes.

While I wanted a direct shot of the side, I intentionally steer clear of the press car lifestyle. So this 991 merely sits in a dealership’s inventory. But even from here, the extra wheelbase pushes the rear wheels further behind the greenhouse, giving the 911 less of a Pure-Porsche feel…even if it still is purely evolutionary in scope.

Aye, there’s the rub. While I’ve read that moving the side mirrors to the door removes a boatload of aerodynamic nightmares, they aren’t nearly as elegant as having them on the A-pillar like the older models. More to the point, imagine if that plastic triangle on the A-pillar was the footprint for the mirror instead? Not to mention the flat black plastic trim on the mirror’s base is just asking to turn chalky after a few visits with an orbital buffer operated by an unprofessional.

The 991’s extra length and width translates into a sleeker, less stubby nose. If you squint just a touch or remove your corrective lenses, the new schnoz turns into something distinctly Ferrari 430-like. I am sure the Purists hate it, but this is a significant improvement for most everyone else.

Yes! What’s not to like about a bit more nose?

The only big problem? The wannabe Lambo lower valence. I know everyone steals everyone’s ideas in this business, but the 911 is supposed to be a little voluptuous, not wedgy and boxy. I’d love to take a heat gun to the lower bumper and bring a little sexy back. And what’s up with the flat black plug in the center? That’s a little cheap and chintzy for a big dollar Porker. If you need that for cooling in an upcoming model, just make a new bumper cover and add another grand to the asking price! Your clientele will neither know, nor care!

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  • Hogie roll Hogie roll on Mar 05, 2012

    You're quite the Renaissance man aren't you Sajeev? You've studied engineering, business and design? Did I miss anything?

    • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Mar 06, 2012

      And tons of cross-functional electives that taught me $20 words. Some day it will all be worth something.

  • -Cole- -Cole- on Mar 05, 2012

    Good point on the mirrors, I hate standing mirrors. The absolute WORST standing mirrors are on the A7

  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.
  • Inside Looking Out Why not buy Bronco and call it Defender? Who will notice?
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