How The New Porsche 935 'Moby Dick' Was Kept Top Secret

Feb 1, 2019 3 min read
How The New Porsche 935 'Moby Dick' Was Kept Top Secret

Porsche went to great lengths to keep its track-only homage a secret. It was revealed at the 2018 Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca.

Today it seems that no matter how hard a car manufacturer tries, the big reveal of a new car is always spoiled by leaks. One way or another, the world ends up knowing what’s underneath the silk cloth, long before the model meets the public for the first time, and that’s rather a shame. Porsche thinks the same, and so it kept the development of its modern day 356 ‘Moby Dick’ track car a secret even from most of its employees. The result was a huge surprise that served to peak Porsche’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

Now free to talk about the development of this track-only model, Porsche has released more details on how the car came to be. The whole operation was top secret for ‘Project Flatnose,’ and the development was compressed in order to reduce the likelihood of any other departments getting wind of the reborn 935. Matthias Scholz was the project manager, and remarked how Porsche engineers "normally join the process in the wind tunnel stage at the latest, but with the new 935 we were already included at the design studio phase – it created a special group dynamic."

Porsche 935 Development

The design period for this car was actually only a matter of days to insure that parts could be fabricated and tested in time. Designer Grant Larson said, "We essentially didn’t have a lot of time to make our vision a reality. At least the exterior design had to be created in three to four days, which meant that there was just one attempt – and it needed to stick."

Grant was previously responsible for other Porsche projects such as the 911 977, Boxster, and legendary Carrera GT — so, well qualified for the task at hand. Something that helped Mr. Larson and his team was the fact the new Porsche 935 didn’t need to be road-legal or comply with any motorsport regulations. "This project was special because of all the freedom we had. There wasn’t going to be any homologation, so both we and the engineers were free to design as we wished," said Larson.

Track testing was kept to an absolute minimum to maintain a safe distance from prying eyes. A video of the 935 lapping the Monza Formula 1 track in Italy did surface, but this was after the car’s official reveal at the 2018 Rennsport Reunion at Laguna Seca. Porsche announced that the new 935 was a gift to all of its loyal fans.

The modern-day Porsche 935 is based on the 911 GT2 supercar, and makes use of its 690-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-six engine. Just 77 will be built at a cost of $816,371 each. Want one? Well, we’re sorry to tell you that even if you did have the cash required, all are sold.

The original 935/78, the vehicle that gave the new car its inspiration, was a Group 5 racing car of 1978. Porsche exaggerated the bodywork of its 935 racer for greater aerodynamic stability at speed. Its long tail and predominately white paintwork spawned its nickname of ‘Moby Dick’. The 935/78 housed an 845-hp 3.2-liter flat-six engine — one of the most powerful engines of its type to date.

The new Porsche 935 is a fitting homage to the original icon.

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