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February 19, 2024

Before Panamera, Here’s the First and Only 4-Door Porsche 911S

As we are about to find out, the Panamera wasn’t the first four-door coupe-styled car that carried the brand’s emblem. Well, previously there’s an obscure 1968 custom-built 4-seater version of Porsche 911 originally intended as a Christmas present you might have never heard of before. Although at the same time during the 1960s, the Stuttgart-based automaker once tried to make a number of four-seater concepts based on the 911 and the 928, for instance. But never made it to the road. Apart from one, although not officially built by Porsche featured with 2+2 seater layout, this weirdly obscure one-off also has 4-doors.

This stretching of a new 911S took place in 1967 at the behest of Texan Porsche distributor William Dick Jr as a surprise Christmas present for his wife. Eventually costing the same as a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, the coachwork was carried out in the Californian workshop of Dick Troutman & Tom Barnes after enquiries at various Italian coachbuilders proved fruitless, with Mr Dick sending two engineers to replace the standard transmission with a Sportomatic unit and also installing air-conditioning prior to delivery.

The not inconsiderable lengthening by twenty-one inches necessitated the manufacture of a completely new roof. By using rear hinging for the additional doors 911 front doors could be utilized, although with purpose-built window frames and electrically operated glass. A special deep orange-brown leather was chosen by Mr Dick (after he purchased a pair of boots in the same color) and Porsche sourced the material and upholstered the original front seats and a modified pair for use in the rear. They also supplied additional hides for the rest of the interior and that work was completed in the US, as was the additional walnut trim.

A side issue to the creation of the car was Mr Dick’s feeling that there was a latent demand for a four door Porsche coupe and he wanted to demonstrate to the factory that there could be a wider market for their products. The works remained unmoved by this suggestion however, although the advent of Panamera some forty years later would seem to indicate that the car was simply way ahead of its time, the new model sharing the proportions of Mr Dick’s creation to a striking degree.

The car subsequently passed through various owners, at one point receiving a set of the Fuchs alloys that Mr Dick had specifically avoided, although these certainly looked better. Other changes that took place over time included the substitution of a 2.7L engine over the original 2.0, the reversion to a five-speed manual transmission and the flaring of the wheel arches. The air-conditioning was upgraded with that from an Audi and the car was refinished in brown from its initial green, the changes making it a rather different car -in looks and specification to the one which Mr Dick commissioned. The car is now in the Petersen Automotive museum.


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