DP knew such a trite expression used by tight lipped English old farts to describe "a mode of transport for sporting gentlemen, their rifles, and a couple of hounds" could no longer apply to such a revolutionary car. instead, they chose a more pragmatic term that cuts through the upper crust horseshit -Cargo.
this 944 Cargo won't deny its persona as a hauler; its body language is far too obvious. it's the manner in which every line, curve, and angle meet one another that drives Porschistas like me insane with wanton abandon for the thing. more to the point, it's the possibility of this DP44 becoming the only car you will ever need; well, as a daily driver anyway.
it was in 1988 that Ekkehard Zimmermann, founder of DP in Overath Germany, developed the Cargo using the 924/944 as the foundation (a 1981 924 Turbo model (the silver car here, WPOZZZ93ZCN100203, was first registered in Belgium) and an S2 (the red one) are but two that have been converted). a bit of experimentation took place using the back half of the roof from a VW Passat wagon as a model, or template if you like. rather than simply grafting it into the top/rear of the 944, it became the basis for a complete remodeling of the 944's tail utilizing fiberglass for the roof and hatch door; incidentally, the styling for the earlier 924 versions was achieved by means of a clay buck where the roof, tailgate, the tailgate's inner frame, side panels, and B/C-pillars taking shape by means of reduction, much like carving a piece of wood. the strength comes from a tubular steel skeleton while an electronic closure from a W124 Mercedes Benz wagon lends an air of sophistication. it has been said the result yielded a far stiffer 944 than they originally started with.
Patrick Zimmermann, Ekkehard's son, remembers a total of nine being built; two, possibly three were 944s, the rest were 924s. one of those, the Indischrot DP44, resides in DP Motorsport's showroom while the balance of the litter were exported to Norway through Josef Zirkelbach, founder of DP Motorsport's Swedish base. incidentally, the 924/944's evolution from a sports car to a wagon allowed him to take advantage of an old Scandinavian tax loophole on luxury/sports cars since these DP44s could be classified and taxed as "commercial vehicles" effectively circumventing the "luxury" high tariff.
Zimmermann then began setting his sights on road-going Porsches. in '83, they began birthing street-legal 930s based off of the 935 replicas with agressive slantnoses, super-wide flares, and loads of power to match the looks. his philosophy was to offer his styling genius to every model Porsche made at the time, and rather than deflower the car's lines with a wild imagination and lack of taste, Ekkehard exercised restraint. His approach was to optimize the existing lines, highlighting them, while skillfully blending such styling into the car's original design so as to appear to come from the factory's original mold.
the designs that come out of this house are timeless - aging as beautifully as the Porsches that wear his couture; the DP44, which I consider their opus, proves this point.
what you must remember is that this 944 is put together by DP better than the donor car was in Zuffenhausen, it must. strict TÜV, (Technischer Überwachungs-Verein or Technical Inspection Association) ensures the their product surpasses safety standards imposed by the German government...the man also has a reputation at stake; that alone guarantees the quality of the work.
honestly, how can one not go completely gaga over such a thing? of course, there's a price for such uniqueness...you saw that coming. the complete conversion, and I mean complete right down to the paint and finishing details goes for €18.000, a 19% VAT must begrudgingly be piggybacked along with at two month wait period (the earlier versions took nearly four months to produce). it's a very reasonable sum considering the labor, tooling, made to order components like glass and such, and finishing that must go into such an endeavour...of course you could spend it on a rolling gargoyle like well used Panamera, or an early yawn inducing Cayenne with expensive teething problems lurking under the surface, but why the hell would you? Ekkehard reckons there's enough kits to do five to ten more DP44s, and if demand outstrips the supply, more kits will very probably become available especially if this, ahemmmm, "shooting brake" trend attracts the neophytes with a bit of cash.
the DP44, although not in the same carefree league as the Merc because it's far too nice, would allow me to do everything I do with the Diesel; but there's one key ingredient that gives it an edge...the sporting nature. utilitarianism isn't synonymous with boring in this case. I can thrash it about at speed, hang the tail out, enjoy the wail of the exhaust as I red line out of each cog when the payload is nothing but air...yes, I do this in the Diesel but it's akin to sport-fucking with a geriatric honey; you may break something on the old thing or worse, have her expire in throes of ecstasy leaving you with feelings of guilt and remorse.
unfortunately, or fortunately in this case, there's loads of forlorn '44s to choose from making them perfect candidates to go under the knife; and you needn't feel the least bit bad about carving one up since you'll have rescued what would have surely been a car with a bleak future anyway.
this, my little chickadees, is the most perfect Porsche for those with multiple personalities, eclectic agendas, and a desire to own a rare example of Porsche history with serious pedigree...now, Ekkehard baby, let's try this hat trick with the 968.
image sources: http://porsche scene.de, http://www.autoblog.nl, http://motoringconbrio.com, http://www.autoblog.nl/, https://www.flickr.com/, http://www.auto-swiat.pl/