Porsche 908-04 Concept. A tribute to the Porsche long tail

The unofficial ‘Vision Gran Turismo’ that pays tribute to the 908 ‘long tail’ LH Coupe and the ‘real car guys’ who enjoy Porsche heritage: the Porsche 908-04 Concept.

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Imagine for a second that somebody threw the new Mission E and the 918 Spyder into a melting pot together with just a dash of long tail sports car heritage and some influence from Gran Turismo. Chances are you’ll end up with something that looks a lot like this.

The creative brainchild of an independent six-man team, the above 908-04 Concept is both an unofficial ‘Vision’ Gran Turismo concept in line with THIS LOT but also the team’s tribute to Porsche’s 908 sports car, which in one derivation or another, helped secure not only the 1969 International Championship of Makes (latterly the World Sportscar Championship) but also victory on the infamous Targa Florio before paving the way for the steamroller of Stuttgart success that was the 917.

Dubbed a ‘rebirth of an icon’ by the design team (though not in an overly wanky and egotistical way), the 908-04 Concept is a bare bones, back to basics design offering an ‘advanced look with a truly mechanical soul’, so forget cameras in place of wing mirrors, 3D information screens and various other bits of non-road legal bollocks normally associated with concept cars. There’s even – shock, horror – a manual stick in place of the flappy paddle automatic.

That’s not to say though that the future of motoring has been completely swept beneath the rug. Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed the peridot green brake callipers and ‘e-hybrid’ logos on the flanks, a nod to the hybrid powertrain beneath. More eye-catching than that though is the long tail body style, a tribute to the 1969 908 LH Coupé on which the concept is based. That, plus the fact that real-world dimensions were taken into account:

“I made the choice to have the longtail because Porsches with this feature have something genuinely unique,” explain exterior designer Alan Derosier. “The challenge of the project was to work with real proportions. Porsche is one of the rare brands that has evolved from a strong heritage of unique design and identity, so I didn’t want to ‘overdesign’ it.”

908: the 908-04 Concept inspiration

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*Hat tip to WheelsAge.org for the images

While it may not have the laurel-exhausting lineage of the Le Mans winners that succeeded it, the 908 nevertheless deserves its place in Porsche’s motorsport hall of fame. The last bastion before Porsche unveiled its 362kph, five-cylinder 917 investment, the 908 sported a lighter weight version of the chassis at the base of its 907 bedfellow, but sported a gutsier 3-litre flat-eight in accordance with new Group 6 technical regulations for 1968. The ‘nearly 370bhp’ eight-cylinder would also inspire the 908 name…

After a slow start to its campaign, the smaller, more nimble 908/2 and 908/3 Spyder derivations were developed to take on the tighter, more technical circuits, a route Porsche would follow with the 908 from 1969 onwards. It was with the 908 Coupe though that Porsche tasted its first success with victory at the 1968 1000km Nürburgring courtesy of endurance racing legends Vic Elford and Jo Siffert. The Swiss raceer would repeat this victory in 1969 with Brian Redman, just a few months after the 908 lost that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans to Ford’s GT40. By less than three car lengths.

Strangely, it was not until 1972 that an LH ‘longtail’ of the Coupe would appear. It would race only once – at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, obviously – but would finish an impressive third behind both Matra Simca MS670s. As lead Porsche.

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