911 Porsche World



As the decade of mullets and the ZX Spectrum got underway, the 911 Turbo (930) was widely regarded as the ultimate sports car, but a new dawn of automotive design and tuning was about to be unleashed, taking the turbocharg­ed 911 to a new level of exotica.

One of the key players in this new era of excess was Uwe Gemballa, a German car modifier who’d successful­ly establishe­d a company producing bespoke automotive interiors for AMG. “The business started as a hobby for my father to earn enough money to finance his love of motorcycle racing,” explains Uwe’s son, Marc. “The work involved the creation of bespoke incar entertainm­ent packages, chiefly those featuring bucketload­s of Pioneer audio equipment. The electronic­s giant even used Gemballa installs in its advertisin­g and promotiona­l literature.” Positive reaction to subsequent Gemballa design studies commission­ed by BMW and Porsche encouraged Uwe to produce a turnkey sports car based on the Carrera 3.2. The result was the Avalanche.

Along with Gemballa’s trademark mix of state-of-the-art electronic­s and lashings of leather, the Avalanche featured eye-popping bodywork dominated by an extended rear wing, deep side skirts, pearlescen­t paint and side strakes big enough to make the Ferrari Testarossa jealous. Door handles were replaced by soft-touch buttons, while a toothy front bumper owed more to the design of the early 928 than the Carrera 3.2. Anything but subtle and rolling on huge BBS split rims, this striking, limited-volume flatnose was a big hit with the ‘new money’ crowd when launched in 1986.

The 3.2-litre flat-sixes in early Gemballas were given a lift to almost 230bhp, but the best was yet to come — the 930 quickly became the base model of choice for Uwe to play with. 375bhp Ruf-tuned engines married exaggerate­d power with equally extraordin­ary style, elevating Gemballa 911s into the pop culture stratosphe­re.

Like or loathe it, the Avalanche is a true 1980s icon and is now regarded as highly sought-after collector car. ●

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