As crossovers and SUVs keep devouring more and more of the market, passenger vans are forced to find new ways to survive. And while carmakers haven’t completely forgotten the latter, we’re here to discuss a virtual project that easily proves how cool these vans are by tapping into the high-octane DNA of Porsche and Volkswagen, two automakers whose recent EV van efforts are notable.
To complete the part where we establish the German automakers’ position in the growing electric van market, we’ll quickly mention the recent introduction of the VW ID. Buzz. With the battery-powered people and cargo van already on European roads, this is also slated for a US debut, albeit in 2024.
As for Porsche, Zuffenhausen hasn’t started filling its showrooms with vans just yet. However, to see the brand releasing a concept on the matter is still mighty impressive. We’re referring to the Porsche Vision Renndienst (that’s German for “Race Service”).
Showcased in 2020—but developed back in 2018—the electric six-seater, with a central driving position, harkens back to the real-world Porsche Renndienst van. The latter is a high-roof version of the original VW Bus, which backed up Porsche race cars in Europe in the late 1950s and early 1960s—you’ll find both in an official image included in the gallery below.
For the record, this is part of the OG Volkswagen transporter generation that the production ID. Buzz pays homage to. Back in 1949 when production started, Volkswagen called this the Type 2, with the Type 1 being the Beetle, but nowadays many enthusiasts label it as a T1, referring to the first Transporter series.
A Porsche 917-based VW Bus is insane, even as CGI
With that out of the way, we can get back to this rendering, which takes the VW Bus and its Porsche connection to a whole new level. Sure, from the outside, the overfenders accommodating fat wheels packing Turbofan-style caps are the attention magnet—a somewhat similar-looking VW Bus build stunned the crows earlier this month at the SEMA show.
However, the party trick of this van, which was rendered by digital artist Thiago D3sign (@thiagod3sign) comes from its Porsche 917 race car chassis and flat-12 engine. Hey, one could probably expect this to be a VW T2 shell placed over a de-bodied 917, sort of like Farmtruck and AZN put a camper skin on top of a Big Block van to rule the drag strip and scare road drivers away.
What is the 917, you ask? Well, nowadays, we tend to take Porsche’s Le Mans laurels for granted (they’re coming back for 2023 with the LMDh-destined 963). However, Zuffenhausen enjoyed its first Le Mans victories back in 1970 and 1971 thanks to the 917.
Despite the project initially failing to meet expectations, the German engineers pushed on and managed to create one of the most dominant names in sports car racing history.
Sure, for a real-world project, the body would have to be modified, while a less rare and expensive tubular chassis and engine combo would probably sound more realistic, but this remains a wicked fantasy.
Then there’s the livery, which references Mexico’s old-time Can Am races—this eye candy comes from German specialist Black Fish, a Nurburgring-based operation that does real liveries, such as the one on this British-reinvented Autofinesse S15 Nissan Silvia Liberty Walk that was once a famous 9s tuner drag car over in Japan.
So, looking past the eye candy, there’s so much history condensed into these pixels!