The Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition is the first of four Heritage Design models planned by the German carmaker. It is filled with design elements that are inspired by past decades – specifically, the 1950s to the 1980s.
But is there a deeper meaning to this Heritage Design model? Or is it just a modern car with retro touches?
To find out, we spoke to the man behind the machine – Ivo van Hulten, Director of Interior Design Style at Porsche AG.
Ivo tells Torque about the challenges he faced in building the car, how he sees it attracting new customers, and how they plan on maintaining the model’s exclusivity.
Before you started designing the Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition, who did you picture your target audience to be? And how do you envision them reacting as they drive the car?
This is a cool question. We have a lot of great choices in the motorsport and racing area, but Porsche still needs to expand its offerings in the lifestyle collection.
This is one of the reasons why we came up with the Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition.
Most of our customers have experienced the 50s and early 60s when they were young. The experiences we had as a child are much more intense, and we want to tap into this great opportunity for people to reminiscence or relieve the same feeling they had before.
It could be as simple as sitting in the back of the car with your dad, walking down the street as a young kid or watching a car drive past while playing with a toy car. This was what we had in mind for our target customer.
Is the model aimed at both existing enthusiasts and fans who are new to the brand?
The Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design is also targeted at new customers. For our younger customers, it is also an opportunity for them to experience those days.
Specifically, a young woman who has a mid-century model interior in her house could also appreciate how Porsche is able to provide the same sense of quality from those days with modernity.
Dyed in the wool Porsche enthusiasts will readily identify with the Heritage model. What aspects of this model would attract newer fans of the brand?
The 992 Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition is a unique combination that is not seen anywhere.
For example, corduroy is not offered by other premium automotive brands. But corduroy is considered cool fashion today, and super modern.
Corduroy is also used in modern houses with mid-century interiors. I think these people would be interested to find something that is not found anywhere else.
How did you integrate the styling and design elements of the past with a modern, high-tech interior?
At Porsche, we need to find the right balance between making sure our interiors and cars are modern while maintaining our fantastic heritage.
We tried to do a modern reinterpretation of certain themes from the past. It is a great advantage for us as there are many competitors out there who do not possess such a rich heritage.
Let’s take modern houses as an example again. While there is furniture equipped with the newest technology, there is also furniture from the mid-century which blends very well together to create a cool combination.
Therefore, it is great to play this strength of our Porsche brand to bring a couple of features from the past to make our current cars even more modern.
Apart from the limited production run of 992 models, will the colours and design elements used here be unavailable as options in other models?
Yes, we would like to maintain the car’s uniqueness. The design of the 992 Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition is very special. You would not get the same combination anywhere else in the future.
However, certain elements will still be made available down the road as we continue to design other HDEs.
What was the most challenging aspect of the design process? How did you overcome this?
When we knew that we wanted to do this, we fully laid out colour combinations and cool pictures of the 1950s and early 1960s. We made a big mood board with a lot of different fabrics and materials.
The most challenging aspect was making sure the roots of Porsche are included in the final product, while at the same time, creating a new unique design that is not a clone of something we did in the past.
We overcame this because of the talent in our team. We have a lot of colleagues who are dedicated to Porsche’s rich heritage. We also went to the Porsche Museum a couple of times and spoke with the team there.
Then, we made sure that we involved colleagues across various departments in order to come up with a credible heritage-designed car that is modern, and not just a copy of our past.
You once said that “digitalisation and simplicity are two sides of the same coin”. Have you always felt this way, and how will this guide you in your future work?
Yes. The great thing about digitalisation is that almost everything you can imagine is possible.
However, this endless possibility demands simplicity, because we are forced to make choices. We have to focus on offering things that are relevant to our customers.
For my future work, I will have to continue to narrow this endless possibility and make the right choices with our customers at the heart of my decisions.
Is there anything that you wanted to include, but ultimately couldn’t due to constraints??
Definitely. As designers, we’d like to offer a wide range of colours or ideas. However, we also need to narrow our ideas down and make sure that the project will be crystallised at the end of the day.
While we will love to do more for 992 Porsche 911 Targa Heritage Design Edition, we are very happy with the outcome.
What would you like to have in the next Porsche interior you design? What would a Heritage model look like 20 years from now?
My team and I ponder about the future every day. We know that we want the future interior of a Heritage model Porsche to still look and feel like a real sports car, a design that is driver-focused.
It doesn’t matter what the rest of the world does – we will still be building sports cars.
Therefore, we try to find the right balance by making sure our values are intact while keeping up with the digital world.