top of page

The 4-door Porsches: the quiet revolution

We all know the 4-door Porsche Panamera, many consider it the first 4-door from the Stuttgart manufacturer, yet some examples were built before.

PORSCHE 597: the ancestor

After the Second World War, Porsche offered the German army the 597. A model inspired by the Volkswagen Käfer and offered in convertible or four-door versions, from 1954. The model was refused by the army and only 71 models were been produced, until 1958.

Porsche 911 S by Troutman-Barnes: an idea aside

A unique example built in 1968 and is known as the Porsche 911 Troutman & Barnes. This 911 was the brainchild of William J. Dick Jr, co-owner of Porsche Cars Southwest' distributor of San Antonio, Texas. He had repeatedly asked Porsche to build him a four-door 911, but they never did. So he decided to have one built by Troutman & Barnes, a custom car shop in Culver City, California, to give as a Christmas present for his wife.

Based on a Porsche 911 S, the Culver City bodybuilder took the option of extending the chassis by 53 centimeters at the wheelbase, and installing "suicide" doors, opening in the opposite direction. in back.

As it was originally an 'S' model, performance is not an issue. While the extra metal adds a few pounds, the base car only weighed a little over a ton, so the 8-second 0-60 sprint would likely be largely unchanged, perhaps even improved with the addition of the "Sportomatic" transmission. The 2.0-litre, 158 hp, air-cooled flat-6 remained unchanged.

Additional vertical supports for rigidity and rear door supports were integrated in the center of the car. It's funny, but the rear doors are exactly the same as the front doors, only deployed and mounted on the rear hinges. True, they have been modified, so the glasses they contain are new, personalized, with a slightly different shape. As the car got heavier, the original wheels had to be replaced with new tires - Pirelli Cinturato BN 72.

The interior of the car corresponded to the concept of a luxury sedan of the highest class. Expensive orange-brown leather, wood trim and parquet under the rear row of seats. Incidentally, the color of the leather turned out to be comical: shortly before the start of the project, Dick Jr. had a custom pair of leather shoes made, and he liked the shade so much that he sent the leather-trimmed shoe to the workshop that made the seats for the 911S as a sample.

After construction was completed, the vehicle was shipped back from California to Texas and the Porsche air conditioning unit was installed. he interior of the car corresponded to the concept of a luxury sedan of the highest class.

As you may have noticed, the color and rims changed at some point during the life of the car. During the modifications, the car was green and had Porsche's signature 'FUCHS' alloy wheels, although the decision was made to replace this set with a more minimalist set of steel wheels with hubcaps, as these were deemed more suited to a sedan. Upon receipt of the car, it was made known that Mrs. D¡ck didn't like that color/wheel combo hugely, so it was repainted in a shade of Porsche Red and the iconic wheels were rightly refitted.

The German management of Porsche had a look at this concept. Such a model would have made it possible to broaden the range, and to retain the clientele of young well-to-do fathers. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the German manufacturer did not pursue the study. The market was not yet prepared to adapt to such a product, and the fathers of families preferred to buy a second family car. For their part, the German technicians expressed doubts as to the rigidity of the whole.

PORSCHE B32: we embark on the idea

In 1984 and 1986, to assist the Paris-Dakar Porsche 959s, Porsche needed powerful, 4-wheel drive assistance vehicles. The Porsche B32 derives from the VW T3, but it houses a 3.2-liter Flat-6 with 230 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a plush interior.

The Porsche B32 is actually a Volkswagen T3 to which the engineers in Stuttgart decided to make "a couple" of modifications to serve as a support car for the brand's team along with the Porsche 959 group b which raced the Paris- Dakar. By the way, in 1985 did not finish any of the three cars that came out, while in 1986 the first two steps to the podium were the 959 with René Metge and Jacky Ickx. It had all the space and the usual capacity of the VW T3 Multivan, but with certain details that the strength to speak of B32 instead of T3. For example, the steering wheel is a 911 and also has an additional set of clocks in front of the shift lever which offer additional information such as oil pressure. It looks like a normal T3, only the Fuchs rims would betray what you really have.

The chassis number of the Porsche B 32 is of the Porsche type: WPOZZZB3ZES200xxx. Its maintenance is similar to that of a Porsche 911.

Only 15 copies were born 15 copies (9 series models - including 1 for Peter W. Schutz (used by his wife to transport their children) - and 6 prototypes which have mostly disappeared).

Dieter Steinhauser, Porsche body and aerodynamics boss, writes:


Porsche 928 H 50: the idea matures

The 928-based shooting brake did not convince. This does not prevent the management of Porsche from continuing to consider a more family extension of the range, still based on the 928. This will result in two objects, the S4 Sedan, and the Studie H50.

This "S4 Sedan" was designed in partnership with AMG (then independent of Mercedes), again on the basis of a 928 with an extended wheelbase, which allowed for decent roominess. It therefore remains to improve access to the rear seats, but despite its wheelbase, the 928 does not allow the addition of real rear doors, and Porsche also hopes to maintain a coupé spirit.

This S4 Sedan does not end the adventure of the 928 family. In 1987, a new project was born. The Studie H50 mixes the two previous ones. We find the elongated wheelbase, the antagonistic doors of the S4 Sedan, and the rear typed break of the 942. Porsche will add an enveloping effect to the rear glazing. This H50 will not succeed in convincing the staff of the brand.

The H50 concept delivered 330 horsepower from a V8 engine, which was enough to push that clunky-looking long-roof to a top speed of 168 miles per hour. Certainly nothing to sneeze at in '87. Seeing the machine parked next to its eventual offspring made it all too easy to draw parallels between the two, especially in the rear end.

In total, the automaker clocked over 5,000 miles on this particular creation before deciding that the 928's extended architecture couldn't meet the stiffness requirements needed to wear the Porsche crest. In addition, the 928 is beginning to show its 10 years, and its line which remains an evolution not originally planned does not find its balance.

Porsche 989: the idea is there! corn...

It wasn't until just one year and 1988 that the idea of ​​a Porsche 4 door reface surfaced, from the 928 came the 989. Development of the 989 began, under the supervision of Porsche engineer Dr Ulrich Bez . The 911 is the crown jewel of German society. It is quite simply the definitive Porsche. The design team was tasked with creating "a Porsche for four" that would still look like the 911. Dutch car designer Harm Lagaay. He returned to Porsche in 1989, as head of the "Porsche Style" department in Weissach. The 989 may have been designed to look like a 911, but that's where the similarities end. While the 911's power still came from an air-cooled flat-six engine (still), the 989 was destined to have a V-8. In the early stages of development, the car was supposed to receive a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V8 developing around 300 horsepower. However, it ended up with a bigger 4.2-liter 80-degree V8, producing 350 horsepower. The engine had much in common with the Audi unit, used at the time, but was not identical to it. An even more powerful version of the engine was considered. Porsche quickly ditched the rear-engine layout, but not for practical or weight distribution reasons. They wanted the 989 to compete with the BMW M5 and Mercedes 500E (which Porsche created) - both front-engine, rear-drive sedans.

More importantly, the rear-engine layout would have paired the luxurious Porsche with the not-so-premium (by Western standards) Tatra 613, which had a rear-mounted, air-cooled 3.5-litre V8. It was decided not to adopt a rear-engined configuration because it was not luxurious enough.