Two families famous for modifying Porsche 911 sports cars of the 1980s have reunited to build an off-road capable supercar based on the latest 992-generation 911 Turbo S.
Engine tuning company Ruf is working with Marc Philipp Gemballa, newly established by the son of the late Gemballa founder Uwe, to offer a run of 40 vehicles, with the first ten already sold ahead of being revealed to the public.
Based on the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S, the car is currently known as Project Sandbox and takes inspiration from Porsche’s own 959 rally car built in the mid-Eighties to tackle the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Fans of that car will recognize the widened stance of Project Sandbox, along with the 959-style full-width rear wing flowing into the rear bodywork. A teaser image and digital render are all that has been revealed for now.
As well as a dramatic visual overhaul, the 911 Turbo S has been treated to extra power, with Ruf taking the output of its six-cylinder, twin-turbocharged flat-six up from 650 to over 750 horsepower. Torque is up from 800Nm to 930Nm. As well as building Project Sandbox, the companies are also offering those power upgrades for every conventional example of 992 Turbo and Turbo S.
A ‘launch edition’ version of Project Sandbox, limited to ten examples, has already sold out, with the remaining 30 vehicles now available to order. Further technical details are yet to be made public, but Marc Philipp Gemballa say more will be announced ahead of the vehicle’s spring 2021 launch. As in the Eighties, the cars will carry the ‘Powered by Ruf’ signature.
Mark Philipp Gemballa said: “We enjoy working with my father’s trusted business partners, Many of them rank among today’s leading suppliers in the automotive industry…the choice of partner with Ruf Automotive for the engine development was a natural decision for us.”
The result of two years’ development, the rally-spec 911 is intended to offer buyers of ultra-exclusive cars an alternative to manufacturers’ own limited-run hypercars, and to take a design-led approach instead of producing evermore power. Although, naturally, the jump from 650 to 750 horsepower isn’t to be sniffed at.
Project Sandbox is described as “forming a hybrid between a modern-day sports car with all its comfort and day-to-day practicality, combined with off-road capabilities”.
Marc Philipp Gemballa plans to host the world premiere of the Project Sandbox vehicle in the spring of 2021, and claims demand is “already very high”. Production of customer cars is scheduled to begin later this year. The conversion is priced from €500,000 plus tax, shipping and a 992 Turbo S donor car.