Now when the supercar/hypercar industry is racing toward electrification, analog heroes like the Porsche Carrera GT are more treasured than ever. And sure, you’ve seen all there is to see about the mid-2000s Stuttgart halo car, including the brilliant Gemballa Mirage GT tuner version. But have you ever come across a Carrera GT/Mirage GT with its body panels off… driving through New York City?
Bringing supercars to their skeletal form is a bit of a thing these days, as simply losing the rear bumper of your Lambo to showcase the aftermarket turbos is no longer enough for the attention game. However, this Porsche-based Gemballa Mirage GT has to be the highest-ranking machine we’ve seen in such form to date.
The stunt comes from Sean Rajan, who runs the TopGear Imports collector car specialist in New Jersey. And while this has nothing to do with the Top Gear on telly, there is a British chap capturing everything on camera for his YouTube channel, namely Tim Burton (aka Shmee150).
The shenanigan, which sees the duo rolling through NYC with the naked machine, wasn’t just done for social media, though. You see, Sean, who owns this Gemballa and took the driver’s seat, is in the process of installing clear-carbon body panels on the V10 beast, so he had to remove the old ones. For the record, the new hardware will match the Carrera GT‘s factory carbon fiber monocoque, chassis, engine cover, and brakes.
Running the mid-engined machine in this form means losing some serious weight—Sean estimates that the scale footprint advantage could climb to 1,500 lbs (680 kg) and while it could be less, you’d still notice the difference from behind the wheel.
Keep in mind that only 25 units of the Gemballa Mirage GT were ever built. The German tuner’s treatment involved taking the already radical N/A 5.7L V10 from 603 to 670 hp, with the stainless steel exhaust used in the process amplifying the legendary-from-the-factory V10 voice of the vehicle. A lift system came as a bonus, with Sean mentioning how useful this and the upgraded clutch are in terms of drivability.
While we can’t see all of this now, the Gemballa treatment includes the front fascia, hood, a roof scoop, and a fixed rear wing. However, the custom touches for the headlights, wheels, and other such elements are still visible on this stripped-out example. As a bonus, losing the doors and the roof means we get to fully feast our eyes on the custom cabin bits (e.g., dashboard, door trim, shifter boot, and steering wheel).
New York has dark memories of a Gemballa Mirage GT
Sadly, New York’s previous memory involving a Gemballa Mirage GT isn’t as joyful. That’s because, back in 2020, GoldRush Rally co-founder Benjamin Chen slid an example into a minivan. Based on the footage available online, he drove away in the damaged car, while crashing again soon and eventually being stopped by the police and getting arrested. Interestingly, on March 16, 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office dropped all charges against Chen—here’s Road & Track analyzing the situation with the help of a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney.
The Mirage GT, a blue example, sustained serious damage in the multiple impacts. And while the rumor mill talks about the vehicle having been rebuilt, this has yet to resurface.
Nowadays, there’s Gemballa and Marc Philipp Gemballa, two separate companies
Nowadays, the Gemballa name has different meanings. Alas, Uwe Gembala, the founder of the respected original tuner was murdered back in 2010. And the company is now owned by investor Steffen Korbach. It promised to deliver the Avalanche 4×4, a lifted 992 Porsche 911 back in 2020, but we haven’t heard any fresh news since and we’re looking forward to an update.
However, Uwe’s son, Marc Philipp Gemballa, has founded the namesake company, which has no connection to the other specialist. And his debut model is a 992 Porsche 911 Turbo S that’s been turned into a 750 hp go-anywhere supercar (yes, it’s also lifted), which is dubbed Marsien—its designer, Jowyn Wong, is also the penning master behind the De Tomaso P72 and the Apollo Intensa Emozione (IE) and here’s what he does in his spare time.
In fact, just earlier this month the Nurburgring was graced by a test mule for the Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien, which puzzled everybody with its beefy rear aches—you can check this out in the Automotive Mike-provided YouTube clip at the bottom of the story.