When the brand Porsche is the subject of conversation without the benefit of an image, I am betting it’s likely to most that the image of the classic 911 in all its forms one way or another comes to most enthusiast’s minds. It’s without argument the most recognized shape attached to Porsche and quite possibly the most recognized shape in auto history. It’s a safe bet virtually everyone knows the brand name upon sight.
With all that said, I truly have a deep affection for the 911 lineage, but it isn`t my favorite format associated with Porsche. I am not referring to style, rather to drive train configuration. At times I wonder how many feel the way I do or would dare say that with fear of accusations of blasphemy to the single most recognized car in the world.
For me its been the vehicles that Dr. Porsche created under the banner of his own namesake when he began that pull my attention just a bit more. Cars created with the infamous quote he made (not verbatim here mind you), “I couldn’t find a sports car I liked, so I built one.” And so he did, for himself as well as for others. That’s how Porsche really began as it’s own company and moved from being an engineering consultant.
The 356 and 550…these shapes hold high regards for me. It’s important to note, I am not disparaging the 911. It’s not preference of style. I think what really adds to my interest of these early cars is when the 356 inspiration rolled into the 550 and along with it, a mid-engine layout.
I see mid engine as being the best appropriation for drive train configuration. This setup adds much improved handling and some of the most beautiful car shapes ever. Various manufacturers seem to follow the mid engine configuration. I wonder if this favored drive train configuration lends itself to beautifully styled cars or simply the law of attraction is at work here? And rhetorically, why is that?
That being said I move to modern era Porsches. I`ll define that as the last decade give or take a few years. When I look at that given era in Porsche history to this very day, I see three cars that really stir my interest. They are the Boxster, Cayman and the ultimate Porsche: Carrera GT. All hold an interest of passion of varying degrees for me. They all hold a common design element: mid engine.
Offer me a choice between all three of these aforementioned cars and what kind of odds would anyone place that I would NOT take the keys to the 2004 to 2006 Carrera GT??!! From here on I’ll refer to it as the CGT since I consistently misspell Carrera! I have an obsession with the CGT. It shows lines all the way back to the 550. There really isn’t anything I can say about this car to anyone even remotely aware of it. Nothing that would enlighten anyone any further about its performance, engineering, sheer beauty and effect.
So I`ll skip the rave about the CGT and look at the other end of the Porsche catalog.
To me, referring to the Boxster as being at the other end of the Porsche catalog of modern era cars does not define how I feel about the car. I love the Boxster. I flat out think for all intents and purposes, it is one of Porsche’s best moves ever. It’s reference to being the entry level car sometimes incites me. The entry level moniker, should it need to be attached to a car, could maybe be uttered about the 986. However, the Boxster has come a long way with the 987.
I feel the Boxster gets slighted when its referred to as a car that is made simply for those who cannot afford a 911. I’m sure there’s some truth in that statement for those who define cars for status. It’s utter garbage for those like me who hate to see ill appreciation for excellent design lacking a larger price tag that no doubt can equate to its intent at a milder mannered roadster (translated: far less horsepower options).
It isn’t the style that wins me over when comparing a 911 to the Boxster, Cayman, or CGT. It’s the mid engine design that tilts the scale. Not only the mid engine, but also the design taken back to the start of Porsche history as a banner company does it.
As far as the Cayman goes, I like it, but it’s a Boxster with a tin hat. The Boxster gets that much more of an emphatic nod only because of the rag top option. Pretty easy to see at this point two cars hold my interest greatly in modern era Porsches: The Boxster and the CGT. Each example being at the extreme end of the Porsche catalog in my aforementioned time era.
If it comes down to me having to write out the check, I could possibly afford a Boxster with some priority arrangement. That’s okay. I wouldn’t buy and drive a Boxster simply because I want to drive a Porsche and I like the car. The price tag on the CGT says I either better get cracking on some of my entrepreneurial ideas real quick and hope they score big, or the lottery numbers need to line up and get the same result without the sweat.
Seems to me Porsche has a gap here, but of course that’s my opinion. We all think we can make decisions to run a car company better than the folks who do. Armchair executives is what a lot of enthusiasts are. So I throw my question in and wonder why there is no mid engine car that bridges a gap between the so called entry level Boxster and the CGT? I think I might have some ideas as to why, but they equal the why nots.
What if Porsche could fill the gap with a mid engine car that has the heritage design of the 550 like the Boxster and CGT possess, only with more horsepower for those who crave some more go (okay, a lot more go) than the Boxster offers? Ideally, though, not enough horsepower that starts to require the CGT price tag for all the Carbon fiber and chassis tech that 600 plus horsepower loads generate. The project would be costly but far less than a CGT check, and then falls the garbage claim that one drives a Boxster due to the economic shortcoming of the owners wallet compared to that of a 911 owner.
Since Porsche has no such car, we go back to the words of Dr. Porsche himself (verbatim disclaimer included). Now referring about his own brand, “Build it myself.”
Wonder where I’m going with this? I came up with a solution to fill the Porsche gab. Tune in tomorrow for part 2 where I reveal the answer to the missing Porsche.
This post was submitted by Brad, our resident Boxster and Carrera GT advocate of sorts. Thanks Brad!