1993 Porsche C88
This is, without doubt, THE obscure Porsche. Everything from the looks, to the idea behind its creation, to what sort of car it is. Nothing about this car says Porsche, besides perhaps any under-the-skin clever engineering that could only come from the bright minds behind the gates in Stuttgart. Indeed, nothing about it is supposed to say, Porsche. The C88 is a subcontracted project delivered by Porsche to the Chinese government who had put an invitation out to a variety of manufacturers to propose designs for their market in the early ‘90s.
If you’re looking for a Porsche badge, you won’t find one. Given an empty studio with the car and no prior knowledge, you’d sooner work out who it’s made for than who it’s made by – the most obvious clue as to its target market is the single rear child seat in line with Chinese population laws. The badge is also a clue, with the three dots representing two parents and a child. The name C88 refers to “Comfort” and “Cheap” while the 88 is there to appeal to the Chinese people, who see it as a lucky number. Its diminutive proportions, sub-1,000kg weight and conservative 65hp 1,100cc four-cylinder engine allowed it to achieve an impressive 49mpg average consumption figure. Even though Porsche had designed the perfect car for the Chinese people, their efforts were not rewarded, with their clients pulling a dine and dash – noting everything that made the C88 great and copying it on the cheap. Poor (at the time) financially ailing Porsche’s plan for a comfortable new revenue stream had backfired. Still, they got a curious little prototype out of it and a fun story to tell in more prosperous times.