Foursche - Troutman-Barnes Porsche 911 Saloon
When we think of four-door Porsches, the Panamera, Macan and Cayenne typically spring to mind (setting aside the fact that two of them are, in fact, SUVs), though one that is forgotten and often overlooked is the one-off 911 4-door. Based on a pre-964 first generation 911, this cut-and-shunt job took place back in the late 1960s (‘67 to be exact) and was a rather professional job, and had a genuine purpose. The man whose idea this was (a Texan dentist known as Mr. D¡ck) believed that, I quote, “A car of Porsche price and quality should be appealing to a wider market,” which was, when you think about it, the mentality which Porsche themselves recycled when they expanded their range with the models previously mentioned; to make men and women successful enough to be in the position to buy a Porsche, but whose family requirements prevented this possibility. More sales, therefore more profit. Clever.
Anyway, back to the car. Originally a 1967 Porsche 911S, a chop shop run by two men (D¡ck Troutman, not the dentist, and Tom Barnes) were tasked with the conversion job. The car was cut in half and stretched 21 inches, a new roof was fabricated to get a sleek, factory-looking finish and a B-pillar was added for rigidity. The rear doors were suicide fittings, opening rearwards and in case you couldn’t tell, were actually the doors straight off another 911 of the same vintage, just fitted the other way round. Even the interior was bespoke; Porsche made up a collection of hides, just to match the colour of a pair of Mr. D¡ck’s shoes.
As this was originally an ‘S’ model, performance is no issue. Whilst the extra metal adds a few pounds, the base car was only a smidge over a tonne, so the 8 second 0-60 sprint would likely be largely unchanged, perhaps even improved upon with the addition of the ‘Sportomatic’ transmission. The 2.0 litre, 158BHP, air-cooled flat-6 remained unmodified. After the build was finished, the vehicle was shipped back to Texas from California and the Porsche A/C unit was fitted. The car was gifted to Mr. D¡ck’s wife for Christmas of that year.
As you might have noticed, the colour and rims changed at some point during the car’s lifetime. During the modifications, the car was green and had the iconic Porsche ‘FUCHS’ alloy wheels, though the decision was made to replace that set with a more minimalistic set of steel wheels with hubcaps, as these were deemed more fitting on a saloon car. Upon receiving the car, it was made known that Mrs. D¡ck was not hugely fond of this colour/ wheel combo, so it was resprayed a Porsche shade of red and the iconic wheels were rightfully refitted.
When the news of a saloon car based on Stuttgart’s finest started to circulate, Porsche themselves commisioned Pininfarina to develop a 4-seater 911 (B17, green vehicle above) though this never reached production. Curious, Porsche Werks had a jab at it (C20, orange car above) though this too never saw the light of day. These two prototypes were, clearly, not saloon cars, presumably to retain their sporting pedigree to an extent.
Fast-forward fifty years, and nobody knows anything as to the whereabouts of the Troutman-Barnes invention. Not a single soul has claimed to be in possession or said they know where it is, which is a crying shame.