words by pablo deferrari
911+'28=939. This simple mathematical equation is how Rinspeed came up with the Porsche 939. This isn't just some silly, whiskey fueled idea of melding 928 parts with a 911 Cabriolet, this was a very carefully planned and executed concept to create something four years before Zuffenhausen decided to produce it.
Founded in 1977, Frank RINderknecht started his company by importing sunroofs from the US and converting cars for handicapped drivers. But in 1983, Frank wanted to make a Turbocharged 911 Cabriolet, only problem was that Porsche had yet to make such a configuration...that would have to wait until 1987.
"...its visual impact rivaled that of the 928's introduction back in 1977."
So what Rinspeed decided to do was use the then new 911SC Cabriolet and engineer what would be a fire-breathing, top-less 911...with a twist. They began by extensively modifying the body to cope with the extra horsepower, and then added signature touches with the interior and exterior of the car to really separate from the standard fare 911. The car that was taking shape was so far ahead of its time that its visual impact rivaled that of the 928's introduction back in 1977.
The nose would be designed using the 928's headlamps and fender lines while the bumper would be a RInspeed original using the rectangular quad-lights of Zuffenausen's V8. Out back, the softened rump would bear the tail lights of the 928...these components, by the way, could be ordered in Kevlar or Carbon Fiber upon the client's request.
On the inside, the R39 (so called because Porsche had rights to the 939 nomenclature) could be fitted with Recaro or Koenig seats with enough electrical adjustments to make a dentist's chair seem archaic. And this being the 1980's dawn of Hi-Fi, an insane system would be installed using Clarion G80 or Pioneer Centrate tuners.
Power came from a complete 3.3 liter intercooled 300hp 930 drive train, and although it was untouched, the R39 would prove to be faster than the factory's 930 because it was about 400kg lighter thanks to the composite components replacing metal in certain areas; 0-100kph in just under 5 seconds and a top speed of 275kph.
hmmm...imitation clearly is the sincerest form a flattery here.
Posters of this car were made back in the 80's. I vividly remember having one without a clue of who Rinspeed was...it just looked so outrageous, I wondered if Gemaballa had a hand in it. I can only imagine the stir it must have caused when it was first seen in the 1983 Geneva auto show...
And while it may be chastised by purists of either side of Stuttgart's flagships, it's still a historically significant car. They may also too quickly forget that Porsche offered a Sonderwunsch version of the Flachbau 1994 Turbo S looking very similar to Rinspeed's version done a decade earlier. The one we're seeing here done in black over red is a 1984 vintage offered at €42,500 (USD$58,110).
That's a bargain considering the rarity of this machine and the fact that it was the object of desire on many a kid's wall...it should at least be worth twice as much. All the more reason why you should acquire one now before others catch on.
below is a gallery of images from 1000sel.com