Recreating an Icon: The Porsche 908/4

The Porsche 908 LH retains a special place in the heart of racing and Porsche enthusiasts. Runner up in the 1969 Le Mans race with Hans Herrmann and Gérard Larrousse behind the wheel, the car was a tough contender for the Ford GT40 driven by Jacky Ickx and Jackie Oliver.

The Porsche 908 LHs were destined to win, having been honed by Porsche System Engineering since it recorded the fastest qualifying times the year before. But Jacky Ickx wasn’t ready to let that happen.

In the last lap, Ickx pretended he didn’t have enough fuel and let Herrmann pass on the Mulsanne Straight, using the 908’s slipstream to pass him again just before the end of the race. Ickx held on to the lead and beat Herrmann to the finish line by a few seconds (394 ft). It was a tough day for Porsche, but they’d proven their worth with a beautiful, innovative vehicle shape.

Now, a team of six people has reinvented the Porsche 908 LH for the modern day: it’s called the Porsche 908/04.

“We wanted to create a car that nobody makes anymore, a back to basics kind of feel, mainly focused on generating a feeling for the love of racing,” says exterior designer Alan Derosier, who works as a designer for Chery Motors in Shanghai.

Derosier collaborated with exterior modeler Marcos Beltrao, component modeler Martin Peng, interior designer Guillermo Mignot, interior modeler Hasan Umutlu, and image retoucher Tom Wheatley to bring the concept to fruition.

“The challenge was to work with real proportions. We did this car in a way it could be physically feasible, so we’ve actually worked with coherent dimensions and constraints such as seating position, visibility, headroom, door openings, ingress/egress, width, length, height…”

Derosier chose the longtail because he felt that this feature was something genuinely unique, which has never been replicated.

“From the beginning I wanted it to be clearly Porsche in appearance, creating the car in a way I believe Porsche enthusiasts would love,” says Derosier. “Porsche is one of the rare brands that has evolved from a strong heritage of unique design and identity.

“I didn’t want to overdesign it. From my point of view, objects with pure volumes and complex details will stand the test of time and define the way I see Porsche.”

Hans Herrmann and Gérard Larrousse would probably love another go…


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