In mapping out 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car performance, designers realized that on the racing circuits of the late 1980s, steel bodies were going the way of the dinosaur. Even aluminum panels were disappearing, replaced by materials that originated in aircraft technology and the space program, then made their way to the auto race courses.
So 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car performance would benefit from a high-tech carbon fiber and glass blend, formed into a "sandwich" that combined light weight with structural rigidity.
Beneath that skin, however, lay a conventional Carrera 4 powertrain, with a horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine driving all four wheels. This meant 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car performance would be just as spectacular as the Carrera's.
That translated to a top speed in the 160 mph neighborhood or beyond, and acceleration to 60 mph in under 6 seconds. Even so, the car was all stock and roadworthy, right down to the "environmentally-friendly, three-way catalytic converter."
The exotic turquoise-blue Panamericana, said Porsche, served as a clear statement that the company would "continue to be able to provide answers to the demands of the times in the future, using pathfinding technology and intelligent detail solutions."
Responsibility for its creation lay in the hands of Dr. Ulrich Bez, who'd been at Porsche for only a year but had formerly lent his talents to the creation of BMW's Z1, a two-seat sports car in production from 1989-1991, but not sold in the U.S.
A vision of pure motoring pleasure for two, the passionate 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car was clearly a future-coupe for the open road, not for frenzied rush-hour expressways or traffic-laden city streets.
Everything was designed with the driver in mind, from the suspender-style shoulder harnesses that reach back to the rear panel to the functional, no-nonsense instrumentation.
Whether the prototype would evolve into the real-life Porsche of the future, or fade away like so many short-lived stars of the European and American auto-show circuits, remained to be seen.
Meanwhile, auto lovers could imagine the envious eyes that would follow their course in a ramble down Main Street, if only they could slip behind the wheel of this inspired Stuttgart creation.
If nothing else, the 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car demonstrated the inevitable trend toward super-light, super-strength construction techniques that were coming soon to the supercar arena -- and even to everyday automobiles as the future approached.
Go to the next page to learn more about 1989 Porsche Panamericana concept car specifications.