When Porsche decided to attach the GT appellation to Carrera in 2004, it marked a return to its competition roots, the new flagship supercar’s looks recalling those of the original Type 550 of 50-plus years ago. Known as “Project Code 80,” the program to develop a front-ranking supercar had begun following Porsche’s Le Mans win with the 911 GT1 in 1998. Although a couple of dozen GT1s were adapted for road use, something more practical would be required for volume production, although it was intended that the GT1’s advanced technology would be carried over to the new model.
The first hint that Porsche was planning something very special was dropped in 2000, when a concept car designed by American Grant Larson appeared on the Stuttgart manufacturer’s stand at the Paris Motor Show.
Porsche employed racing driver Walter Röhrl to assist with development, which included countless laps of the demanding Nürburgring circuit. In the interest of high-speed stability, the rear body incorporates a wing that is raised automatically at around 75 mph, retracting when the speed drops back to 50 mph. This was a vital necessity in a car capable of exceeding 200 mph.
Porsche stated that only 1,500 Carrera GTs would be made, thereby emphasizing the car’s exclusivity, and each example carries a numbered plaque on the center console (the factory retained No.1 for its museum). When deliveries commenced in January 2004, the selling price was $448,000 (approximately £279,500, or $349,200 at current rates of exchange).