Uwe Gemballa’s Son Is Building An Off-Road Porsche 959 Tribute With Ruf Power


Illustration for article titled Uwe Gemballas Son Is Building An Off-Road Porsche 959 Tribute With Ruf Power

Illustration: Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH

These off-roading 911s really are all the rage, huh? A little more than a month after Singer dazzled us all with the 964-based ACS, we’re learning more about Marc Philipp Gemballa’s Dakar 959 project.

Mind you, this Gemballa isn’t quite that Gemballa. Marc Philipp Gemballa is the 27-year-old son of Uwe Gemballa, who started the tuning company of the same name and was murdered in South Africa in 2010. Apparently, what’s left of the father’s company tried to sue Marc Philipp last year for infringing on its trademarks.

It’s all very strange and messy, but the news today is that Marc Philipp Gemballa’s 959 project will apparently use an engine built by another name famous in the world of Porsche tuning: Ruf. The powerplant will be sourced from a 992 911 Turbo S. Normally, that car’s twin-turbocharged, 3.7-liter flat-six produces 640 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, but after Ruf is done with it it’ll reportedly pump out more than 750 HP and 685 lb-ft. And even with all that fiddling, it’ll still apparently be legal.

“Despite the enormous power reserves, the engine complies with the latest EURO 6 emissions regulations and has been subject to the strictest WLTP and RDE tests,” explains Moritz Renner, technical director of MARC PHILIPP GEMBALLA GmbH (MPG). The world premiere of the project is scheduled for Spring 2021, and the demand is already very high.

We’re supposedly not all that far from the car’s full reveal, though all we’ve seen of it thus far is an artist’s rendering and a teaser image of the back. While normally I’d be very excited for a 959 tribute, whether designed for roads or not, I have to admit I’m struggling to work up the enthusiasm for this one. I feel like we’ve reached saturation with the resto-mod thing, especially 911s resto-modded for rallying. Though with this particular car, being based on a brand-new 911, I suppose the term “resto-mod” doesn’t really apply here, even if the result will deliver those retro vibes.

Marc Philipp Gemballa, at left, poses with Alois Ruf Jr., center, and Estonia Ruf.

Marc Philipp Gemballa, at left, poses with Alois Ruf Jr., center, and Estonia Ruf.
Photo: Marc Philipp Gemballa GmbH

Still, this 959 — referred to as Project Sandbox in Marc Philipp Gemballa’s press release — looks nice enough. I certainly prefer it to the garish 911 Avalanche that the other Gemballa is doing. Ultimately it’s just nice to see two companies with long histories of modifying Porsches working together again, particularly after everything the Gemballa family has been through.



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