A V8 powered 911? Did I read that right?
Following the 1984 reveal of the technical wondercar that was the 959, Porsche planned to sprinkle some of that car’s allure onto the ageing 911 line. The 959 was only ever going to be a low-volume homologation special, but this car, dubbed 965 in factory-speak but to be marketed as the 969, was intended to be a faster, more upmarket replacement for the incumbent 911 Turbo.
Originally intended to have a variant of the 959’s twin turbocharged flat six, 965 prototypes initially also featured that car’s novel air cooled cylinder block and water-cooled heads amongst its technical novelties. A sophisticated four wheel drive system was also on the cards. Costs spiralled however and in an attempt to save the programme, Zuffenhausen engineers investigated using a V8 unit instead.
At that stage, Porsche had two potential in-house V8’s – the 60° unit from the 928 or a detuned version of their Indycar race unit. It’s unclear which was to have been used, but in order to test the feasibility of the layout, engineers shoehorned Audi’s V8, then in development, into a development mule. But following a thorough review of the project, the entire programme was cancelled by Porsche’s then technical chief, a certain Ulrich Bez.
With the 965/969 dead, engineers reverted to the time mechanical honoured layout in the 964-series 911 Turbo and normality was resumed. So don’t worry, there are no V8 911’s – you’ve just had a nightmare. Back to sleep children..