The Porsche 924 DP Cargo is a weird fibreglass dream
A debate’s been raging at Classic Driver headquarters this morning – one that threatens to put lunch on hold and spill over well into the afternoon. And it’s all because of this car, the Porsche 924 DP Cargo. Is it an ultra-cool sports wagon that exudes everything that’s great about the ‘shooting brake’, or rather another tuning house’s failed attempt to make a major manufacturer question why it never had the idea in the first place?
Believed to be one of just nine in existence, the striking car was built by DP Motorsport, the German Porsche tuning specialist founded by Ekkehard Zimmerman in 1973. It’s fair to say Zimmerman knows a thing or two about automotive design – among numerous other feats, he was responsible for the design and fabrication of the monstrous Kremer Racing 935 K3 that dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979.
A wizard in the craft of fibreglass, Zimmerman’s focus soon turned to improving Porsche’s range of road cars and, inevitably, the unloved transaxle 924, 944, and 928 models received extra special attention. Forever in the shadow of the 911, the transaxle Porsches were missing something. But what?
Practicality and punch, DP Motorsport determined, before heading to the drawing board. These were the days before the Cayenne and the Panamera, remember, and for the well-heeled enthusiast with a family – and everything that comes with it – to ferry around, a two-seater sports car with a sloping roof and tiny boot just wasn’t going to cut it.
The solution was simple. Zimmerman and his band of merry men in Cologne would upgrade the 924’s humble engine to Turbo specifications and graft on the rear roof section of a Volkswagen Passat destined for the scrapheap, thus transforming the car into what us Brits would call an estate, complete with a flat roof for skis and the like and a vast space for children, pets, or groceries (or all three). Which teenager wants to be shipped off to university in a Volvo, after all?
Unsurprisingly, it’s the aesthetics of the 924 DP Cargo’s rear end that are proving most divisive here at Classic Driver. In fact, it’s been likened to everything from a Reliant Scimitar (bad) to a BMW Z3 M Coupé (good). Personally, I think it works. Replacing the 924’s scrawny front bumper with that of the 944 does well to balance the overall design and the slick and impressive massaging of the rear hatch will have no one uttering the words ‘Volkswagen’ and ‘Passat’ to you in the supermarket car park.
I also love this particular car’s sporty touches, such as the NACA duct in the bonnet, aerodynamic mirrors, Fuchs wheels, and huge antisocial exhaust pipe – all nods to the proven race pedigree of its creators.
Sure, it’s not going to be to everybody’s tastes. But the same can probably be said of every coach-built shooting brake, from the Ferrari Daytona to the Aston Martin Virage. If anything, their divisiveness is sort of the core of their appeal. Here is a rare and practical sports car beautifully coach-built by a company with Le Mans-winning credentials and with a Porsche badge on the bonnet. What’s more, if you can find one that’s for sale (the Porsche Centre Gelderland is holding on tight to this one), it’ll be a hell of a lot cheaper than an Audi RS2, and not a great deal less thrilling to drive.
Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2018