By Nigel Matthews
Porsche débuted it’s new and unique four-door Panamera to the public at auto Shanghai April of 2009, and is now available to anxiously waiting customers here in Canada.
The Porsche 911 is the core of the company brand, so it is no surprise that the Porsche designers have incorporated the timeless 911 shape into the four-door Panamera.
A 911 four-door sounds a little odd but, believe it or not, it is nothing new as the first one was built 42 years ago. Dr. William Dick, a Porsche dealer principal in San Antonio, Texas, wanted to give his wife something special for Christmas. The Dick family garage housed a fleet of cars that included a number of Porsches, a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce, but not one of them was a four-door sedan. Dick sent the general manager of his Porsche dealership on a trip to Italy; his task was to visit the various coachbuilders with his idea of building a four-door Porsche 911. Only one of the firms took this request seriously and returned some design prints.
A contact in the U.S. suggested that Troutman-Barnes of Culver City, Calif., could handle such a project and that is exactly what happened. They began with a new 1967 911, cutting it in half through the roof and floor.
They built a new “B” pillar and added a “C” pillar to hang the rear door from. The rear doors were standard 911 front doors mounted in reverse and on opposite sides. A reversed left front door became the right rear door and vice versa. The Porsche factory made two non-adjustable rear seats for the car. The Fuchs aluminum mag wheels were replaced with chromed steel rims with hubcaps, to give it a more appropriate sedan look and to handle the additional weight.
Other luxury touches included the installation of electric motors, normally used to power the sunroof, into the doors to operate the windows.
Mrs. Dick received her four-door 911 for Christmas in 1967, at a cost of slightly more than for a Rolls-Royce.