Some of Porsche’s Most Distinctive Work Came on Cars for Other Automakers

One might say that they left their mark on plenty of marques

Porsche's automotive design work spans several marques.
Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Over the decades, Porsche has created some of the most memorable automotive designs in the world. Sleek yet playful, performance-oriented yet luxuriant — these are frequently vehicles to savor. But if you’re looking for a fuller understanding of Porsche’s impact on the automotive world, you might need to look beyond cars bearing the Porsche logo to get the whole story.

A new article by Adam Ismail at Jalopnik explores some of Porsche’s most fascinating work for automakers who aren’t Porsche. “[G]iven Porsche’s history as an engineering consultancy firm before building its own cars, there are far more examples of this in the company’s history than many realize,” Ismail writes — and the overview he’s assembled demonstrates an impressive range of styles and capabilities.

This includes some high-end cars, including the Mercedes-Benz 500E, which Porsche manufactured from 1990 to 1995. Ismail notes that it and the Volkswagen Beetle are the most well-known examples of Porsche’s engineering for other marques, but they’re far from the only ones. The 1999-2005 Opel Zafira, a collaboration with General Motors, is one example. So too is the Porsche 542, a prototype created for Studebaker and critiqued by one John DeLorean.

There are even a few motorcycles in the mix, including the 2002-2018 Harley-Davidson V-Rod. The whole article makes for a fascinating look into vehicular history — and it may well prompt a Gran Turismo flashback or two for readers of a certain age.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.