Porsche: The Five Most Beautiful

By Bruce McCulloch

11.14.2007

With around 70 years of history behind Porsche at this point, choosing just five Porsche automobiles as the most beautiful of all isn’t an easy task. Oh no, in fact it’s downright daunting. This is one instance where one must take into account not only every little detail, but every little niggle and nanny in approaching a general design philosophy and theme which the company has stood behind for the better part of the last 7 decades.

The Porsche design element is one which is unmistakable – especially when it comes to the 911. Aside from what is referred to as “Hitler’s revenge” – the Beetle – the 911 is pretty much one of a kind. It’s unmistakable, unique and ultimately, iconic. And that being said, many of the 911’s design elements have insinuated themselves into almost every other vehicle which has rolled out of the iconic gates in Stuttgart. It’s a trademark look which is hard to explain with words, but clearly evident when one looks at the Porsche line-up; many of the models not branded with the eminent “911” moniker still share a family trait (or two) in appearance which is not the least bit surprising.

Even Porsche’s 605bhp “Carrera GT” flagship, shares what would appear to be the same styling manner which the company’s 550 Spyder sported back in the late 50’s. And now-a-days, both the Boxster and Cayman – even the Cayenne – seem to have a “Porsche vibe” to them. And this is obviously something Porsche as a company has strived to perfect with every passing year; with each and successive generation of Porsche automobiles, they have the utmost unique ability to make a design fresh and modern, while retaining the design values and design cues which have made the company so successful.

And suffice to say, it’s something that makes Porsche, well, Porsche. One doesn’t buy a Porsche hoping it’ll look like a Ferrari, one buys a Porsche knowing they are getting a vehicle which embodies every stylistic detailing element the company has ever penned. It’s a design spirit which stands alone among modern cars, and in this day and age, truly one of a kind.

Mind you, such a design philosophy is often under criticism as some enthusiasts complain that is exactly what is wrong with Porsche; that they all look too similar, that they’re bland and boring to gaze upon. Not surprisingly, I strongly disagree with such.

In any event, with output that is approaching nearly 100 different automobiles from this great company, which five are deserving of such a “best of” title? Well, here’s what I think – chronologically ordered:

904 Carrera GTS (1964)


For a car which debuted in 1964 as a sports-car endurance racer, the 904 looks every bit as fresh today as it did the day it was released. It is a gob-smackingly good looking car. Unfortunately, information relating to its design is quite rare, but I think the picture speaks for it’s self.

930 Slant-Nose (1987)


Though up until the early 80’s the 911 had been viewed as the cute and quirky sports car with circular headlamps, the flachbau – or “Slant-Nose” as we know it – shows that little work was required to turn the 911 into something truly more aggressive. Commissioned in 1981 by Rolf Sprenger and ordered through the specialist individual ““Porsche Exclusiv Programme”, the Slant-Nose is undoubtedly one of the most interesting vehicles to ever roll out of Stuttgart.

With a body inspired by that of the 1976 “935” racer, the Flat-Nose looks every bit the race car with its hard-edged, flat bumper bonnet design, and with the addition of what was then new sporty “air vents”, “rear spoiler” and “integrated driving lamps”, it’s little wonder why the Slat-Nose makes it on this list. Suffice to say, there ain’t a 911 like it anywhere.

993 Turbo – (1997)


Though the 930 and 964 generations of the 911 were some of the most iconic styles of all time, the 993 – particularly the Turbo version – marks what is arguably the best looking 911 ever designed. It’s a design that even after 10 years since it’s release, has been able to withstand the test of time; even today, it looks fresh, modern and ultimately, Porsche-like. And as far as I’m concerned, the 993’s Turbo’s design is so spectacular, that it’s not only one of the best-looking Porsches ever assembled, but one of the best designs anywhere. With a front end suggesting a 911 design evolution, a slightly quirky silhouette and a rear end with accentuated fenders, a large body-attached spoiler and a distinctive light bar, the 993 Turbo is the most exceptional version of one of the world’s most iconic vehicles.

993 GT1 “Strasseversion” (1996)


It’s not often that I get worked up about a homologation special, but the 933 GT1 is the perfect example of road vehicle finely blended with a racing car. It’s unquestionably from the 911 family, but makes the transition in a manner which is completely unique. Sure, being insanely long and wide, and having no rear window, it might be absolutely absurd to drive it on the road, but hell, I wouldn’t mind. It’s an angry and bulked-up 911 on steroids, and it’s just great.

Carrera GT – (2004)


It’s largely accepted that most supercars of this sort have designs which are often compromised for aerodynamic efficiency. And with vehicles such as the Ferrari Enzo running around, how could one argue? The Enzo is a vast, almost tortured array of Formula One-inspired hard edges – all for the sake of keeping the car aerodynamically efficient. The Carrera GT though, is very much a different story; rather being an edgy and hard-to-digest shape, it’s clean and undoubtedly Porsche. And there are no compromises about it – the Carrera GT looks 100% Porsche. It’s aerodynamically efficient, without alienating any of the company’s classical design traits. From it’s smoothly and fastidiously styled front end, to it’s rear-end profile boasting a carbon fibre undertray, a retractable wing and an exquisite set of mesh engine grills setting above the 10-Cylinder motor, this exclusive flagship supercar is styled like few other comparable cars. It manages to look all-racy, without being the least bit boy-racer or over-the-top.

The design detailing of the Carrera GT is also particularly interesting because it showcases a number of styling elements found in the company’s past; one of the most evident examples being the brake cooling slots behind that of the front wheels which are near identical to those seen on the 993 GT1 which I previously spoke of.

So, there you have it – the Fabulous Five.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant.net – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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3 Comments

  1. The Beetle isn’t rear-engined anymore, and if you’re referring to the original Beetle, then wouldn’t that design roll call include the Tucker (rear air-cooled flat-six), the Tatra (rear air-cooled V8), the Corvair (rear air-cooled flat-six, both turbo and naturally-aspirated), and some others with engine in the back, both air-cooled and water-cooled)? Granted, none of them looked like the Porsche, but a couple of them sure looked different than anything else around at the time.

  2. The 904 is beautiful and it’s not even trying that hard.

  3. The Porsche slant nose could be argued as the best sports car ever built. Rare, unique, and truly ahead of its time when Porsche itself rolled it out between 1987-1989. What a car!

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