It must have been a quite shock when Uwe Gemballa launched his Porsche 911 Turbo (930) "Gemballa Mirage" in 1986. No doubt was this the most outrageously tuned Porsche 911 ever and it might still be, even after 25 years. A few years before Gemballa already left the public in awe with the Gemballa Avalanche, also based on the 930 model Porsche 911 Turbo. That car evolved from merely just a widebody 911 Turbo at it's debut in 1984 into a high-tech street-racer with gadgets like cameras in stead of rear-view mirrors and the ultimate in sound-systems. If the "Gemballa Avalache" was the king, the "Gemballa Mirage" was the emperor and the "Gemballa Cyrrus" the little prince.


The Gemballa Mirage combined all the elements of Gemballa Avalanche like the extremely wide, hand-crafted metal wheel arches in Testarossa-style, the slanted nose, the huge rear wing (different in design though and made out of steel in stead of the fibreglass in the case of the Avalanche) and the high-tech gadgetry and combined it with an outrageous bodywork modification to make it all complete: a chopped roof, 10cm lower than the original Porsche 911 Turbo's roof. This modification alone made the car much more expensive than the Avalanche. Priced at about 390.000 DM in the mid 1980s, the Avalanche was still 170.000 DM cheaper than the Gemballa Mirage which had to go for 570.000 DM. No wonder that only one car was ever made. Just as with the Avalanche, Alois Ruf provided the powerplant for this Gemballa-masterpiece, however it was more powerful than the Avalanche's engine. The 3.4 litre twin-turbo Ruf-engine  with 500BHP (375BHP for the Avalanche) which made it from 0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds possible and a topspeed of 310 km/h (195 MPH). The 500BHP was at customer request, since the US-citizen who ordered the car wanted no less than that amount of horses.


The most fascinating gadget in this car appart from the lowered roof are of course the cameras that replace the wing mirrors. This feature was first seen on the Gemballa Avalanche of the year before and couldn't fail on the even more extreme Mirage. The cameras are professional zoom-cameras that have an auto-focus function so the image is always sharp and crisp and above all the image is in color. You could switch from left to right using buttons on the steering wheel.


In the pictures of the car the Mirage is seen wearing two different sets of rims. Originally it had 15" Ronal wheels, but by the end of the 1980s bigger rims started to become fashionable so after a while (possibly even before the customer took delivery of the car) the Gemballa Mirage was fitted with 17" BBS rims (tire-size 245/50 front and 335/35 rear).



The Mirage together with it's proud creator, Uwe Gemballa himself. 



Front view of Gemballa's monster of the 1980s, possibly the most spectacular tuning car from the era. The lowered roof is quite obvious. 


The Gemballa 911 front bumper with the fog-lights sits underneath the slant nose with a special air-scoop that was first seen on the Gemballa Avalanche.


Show car or not, still a Porker with a lot of (extra) power, so going sideways still is very possible.


This photo illustrates very clearly what Gemballa, or better yet Mr Maurer who painted the Gemballa cars, did to the colorscheme of the car. A special two-tone job that starts out light grey in the front and goes very dark to the back of the car. They did a similar thing to a red Gemballa Avalanche. Something interesting in this photo also are the clearly visible heavily tinted/chromed windows.



Rear-view of the Gemballa Mirage The common Gemballa treatment with the triple exhaustpipes is evedent. Note that the tinted windows only let a bit of light trough. 


The rear wing of the Gemballa Mirage is similar to the one of the Avalanche, however it's completely open on the top, it doesn't close off the engine compartment as the one on the Avalanche does.



This picture shows the different profile of the Gemballa Mirage compared to the standard Porsche 930 Turbo. Note the different angle of the windscreen as well.



The original 16 inch Ronal rims were replaced at some time by bigger 17 inch BBS wheels. It does make the Gemballa Mirage look more up-to-date.




A top view that shows the two-tone paint job very well. 


Gemballa Mirage in the streets.


The powerplant made by Alois RUF that delivers 500BHP.



The interior of the Gemballa Mirage is rather boring compared to it's outer appearance: all black leather. Visible are the 300 watt Pioneer stereo and the TV-screen to monitor the cameras that have replaced the Porsche's wing mirrors. The Mirage has also been fitted with Gemballa digital "dials".




Under construction: Gemballa Mirage in the Gemballa workshop in Leonberg.





Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013


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