Few automotive manufacturers inspire the kind of obsession and loyalty that Porsche manages to bring out in their owners and fans. And yet, Porsche always seems to be one step ahead of their fans, introducing new designs and technology that initially proves divisive but eventually brings everyone around thanks to impeccable style and an unceasing focus on driver engagement.
From the earliest vintage coupes to the electric Taycan of tomorrow, every Porsche model has a distinct style, respectable if not over-the-top power, and handling to match the best in the business. Perhaps out of every other brand, Porsches seem to hold their values incredibly well, and enthusiasts are happy to claim that around 75% of all the cars that Porsche has ever built are still on the road.
But as with anything that becomes a desirable collectible, Porsches of all makes and models can bring about unhealthy obsession and a feeling of insecurity that often stems from the knowledge that there are other, better Porsches out there. The general rule of thumb for buying a Porsche is to buy the best one the budget can possibly allow, and then make it better over time.
But just because a person owns a Porsche doesn't mean they have good taste; in fact, sometimes Porsche owners buy their cars just to prove to themselves, as well as others, that they have any taste at all. And that's when custom projects can go terribly awry, as owners slowly transform their cars into vehicles that have lost every semblance of what makes Porsches so great. Keep scrolling for 10 custom Porsches that have been totally ruined, and 10 beauties that should serve as inspiration for any would-be modders.
The 996 generation of Porsches caused plenty of ruffled feathers among hardcore Porsche snobs, mainly due to the use of a water-cooled engine in the historically air-cooled 911.
Other fans of the brand hated the front headlights, often referred to as "broken eggs" thanks to their non-ovular shape.
But today, thanks to those criticisms, the 996 Turbo is one of the best used car bargains in the world - making the model ripe for would-be tuners and modders. But zero percent of Porsche enthusiasts will enjoy the ridiculous tack-on exterior this Turbo suffers from, regardless of their feelings on its original form.
The increasingly popular trend of lowering cars on airbag suspension, wrecking their suspension geometry with excessive camber and caster adjustments, and barely clearing even the smallest gravel bits in the road is an indignity that Porsches rarely have to suffer. Typically, these kinds of mods are limited to cheap Civics or Subarus, whose fanboys don't realize that they're destroying everything that makes a car great. Throwing a roof box on top doesn't help this Porsche fool anyone into thinking it's about to drive up the canyon in the background any faster, either, since it only increases drag (that is, if this car can even get up to speeds where aerodynamics actually matter).
Once again, a Porsche fan looking for the best bang for their buck went out and bought themselves a 996 Turbo. And with a twin-turbocharged flat-six cranking out 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, who can blame them? But then they added this ridiculous paint job (or maybe wrap job) to it, that looks like they took the concept of 'bang for the buck' a little too literally and spent an afternoon lobbing paint balloons at their new prize from across the yard. The exterior now looks like a frat house after homecoming, not one of the most capable all-around sports cars of the early 21st century.
Porsche 911 owners love their cars for their tail-happy handling, respectable and sometimes overwhelming power, and their consummate build quality. But there's no denying that the smooth form of the 911 - which is instantly identifiable on models from the 1960s to the modern era - also plays a big part of the appeal.
This concept Porsche though, ruins just about every part of what makes a Porsche a Porsche other than the headlights.
With semi-open wheels, excessively long trailing lines, Gurney bubbles, and a lift job, the car makes every Porsche fan glad the German manufacturer never took their designs in this direction.
There's always been something extra special about Porsche's convertibles. From the earliest Speedsters to the 550 Spyder, to today's Cabriolets and the Carrera GT, the convertible form always fits so much better onto the overall profile of a Porsche than it does for other brands. Except for this custom Cayenne, that is, which looks like someone just took a handsaw to the roof and bolted on a couple of sheets of canvas over its trunk. Rather than complementing the Cayenne's somewhat sporty appeal, the poor SUV is left looking like a tour-cart an amusement park that has to be kept inside on rainy days.
After the impressive success of the Porsche 935 race car, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1974, enough buyers wanted to modify their 930-generation Turbos into that iconic slantnose style that Porsche relented and made it a factory option. But this car is clearly not a factory slantnose, rather one that has been converted to almost cartoonish proportions with a squashed front end, strange fender flares, a Speedster-like raked top, and a spoiler that truly typifies the term "whale tail." Those Ferrari Testarossa side scoops perfectly round off an utterly ridiculous build - which admittedly still must have required plenty of talent to pull off.
A common sarcastic refrain that swells around any Porsche car listed on the internet is the general statement "wear and tear commensurate with age."
The phrase is used to justify everything from stone chips to seat bolster rips, which are perfectly understandable - but plenty of cars up for sale are rusted-out deathtraps waiting for unsuspecting buyers who don't know enough to check out the undercarriage for rust.
This Cayman, on the other hand, has received a custom wrap job that resembles a rusted German police car with impeccable rims. If there's anything that no one will ever see in Germany, it's a German police car looking anything other than impeccably maintained.
The Porsche 928 brought with it plenty of controversies when it hit the market, dividing fans who will argue to this day whether a front-engined, water-cooled Porsche is truly a Porsche. But no one can deny that the 928 and its subsequent 944 and 968 siblings offer impressive handling and a quintessentially 1980s vibe, which makes this car's trailer conversion all the more depressing. Even just two of those rotary phone wheels are probably worth more than the trailer itself, regardless of how well the conversion was actually completed. The mindset behind this cannibalization is without a doubt completely incomprehensible - but maybe that's the point.
Throwing a massive Detroit V8 into the rear engine compartment of a Porsche 911 would be completely impossible.
That fact should be immediately obvious to anyone who wants a Porsche and needs some good old V8 power in their ride, and people with that kind of taste should consider other options at all other costs before committing this kind of crime to a poor, unsuspecting 911.
This purple behemoth almost turns comedic with its almost Batmobile style, its enormous new engine, exposed wheels, and yet its pristine Porsche passenger cabin. While it may be able to chew up stock Porsches on the drag strip, there's no way this beast can keep up in a tight canyon.
When Porsche unveiled the Cayenne, and later its little Macan sibling, plenty of buyers shopping for SUVs wondered whether Porsche could translate its sports car heritage into a utilitarian, yet still enjoyable, product.
And even though Porsche purists hated the thought of the SUVs, they helped bring the brand back into profitability, while offering impressive off-road capability, as well.
But tossing on an enormous set of wheels with extra-low low profile tires completely ruins a Cayenne's appeal, as now it won't be able to drive fast on roads but it also won't be able to handle leaving the tarmac, either.
California-based Porsche builders Singer make radical changes to their customers' car, including engine, interior, and exterior mods that can bump power up to 500 horses, throw in supple leather and carbon fiber trim, and manage to still consistenly deliver a clean yet easily-distinguished profile. The important lesson many other would-be modders and tuners should learn from Singer is that the brand only strives to enhance the classic elements that already make vintage Porsches so attractive to buyers of every price point, and the features that make the brand so enduring. Of course, the power and luxury improvements are huge, but the style is perfectly on-point, as well.
When Porsche developed their world-beating 959 for the brutal Paris-Dakar endurance rally, they knew that they'd built something special. With a twin-turbo flat-six powering all four wheels, a futuristic yet distinctly Porsche exterior, and technological advancements that would dictate automotive engineering for decades, the 959 is still one of history's greatest cars.
But Porsche probably didn't realize that the model would spawn a trend that many shops are quickly adopting, turning a classic 911 into a rally-inspired off-roader.
Some of the builds turn out horrific, but ones that combine classic style with a lift kit, knobby tires, and the right level of patina can turn out simply stunning.
Hot rod culture has always suffused the automotive industry in the United States. Perhaps in Germany, the trend wasn't quite as developed when Porsche created the 356, but their marketing execs in the states should have been well aware that consumers on this side of the Atlantic loves creating uniquely styled examples of their favorite cars - while also bumping up power simultaneously. As usual, hot-rodded Porsches are equally as likely to turn out terribly as they are to turn out nicely, but in the case of this Silver Bullet, the job has been completed to absolute perfection. From the aluminum venting to the moon hubcaps, and even those six tiny exhaust tips, every detail screams space-age obsession.
Porsche's Le Mans efforts came to the forefront of race car engineering with their 908, 912, and 917 models - many of which competed totally decked out in what would become iconic Gulf-branded livery. Today, throwing on a Gulf wrap or a bevy of decals might seem silly to plenty of drivers on the road, but for those enthusiasts who recognize the contributions that Porsche's groups teams have made to the history of automotive development, as well as how those races created trickle-down developments that feature even in the cars driven on the road today, a Porsche with Gulf livery is a perfect homage to an enjoyably rich history.
While modifying a Porsche 356 might seem borderline heretical to plenty of P-car collectors, the Outlaw style still seems to be picking up steam, if anything.
Builds like this, which combine a bit of aggression with plenty of respect for the form that made the 356 such an iconic car only contribute to the popularity of the Outlaw fad.
And the roll cage on the interior suggests this car's owner won't be happy just parking their 356 at a car show, winning awards for originality. Instead, they're going to be out doing what Outlaws do - namely, blasting through canyons at top speed evading the law that could be hiding around every corner.
Porsche's 914 was another model that split fans down the middle, with some doubters bemoaning the adoption of a mid-engined layout (especially in such an angular body) and some enthusiasts loving the futuristic exterior design and the predictable handling that a mid-engined car delivers. But without a doubt, everyone can agree that the 914 needed a bit more from the engineering department, which mostly subbed in Volkswagen parts to help keep costs low. Some owners have taken their own initiative and added their own vision of what should have come under the unique 914 body from the factory: thicker sway bars, larger wheels, and sometimes even full-on 911 engines.
The radiator clearly visible beneath the bumper of this 911 is a dead giveaway that something special is happening - even if the rest of the car is clearly more radical than anything Porsche ever allowed to leave the factory floor.
But even those massive fender flares, which house larger wheels and absolutely massive rubber, still looks good because of the restrained nature of the rest of this build.
Matching the orange paint to turn signal hue was a solid choice, even if plenty of Porsche fans still can't quite get used to seeing the script on the sides of their favorite models.
Rally styling has become increasingly popular in recent years, as many Porsche owners take part in winding ownership club drives among like-minded friends and similar cars. But exactly because so many of the cars in any club will be fairly similar, owners feel the need to add a bit of a unique appearance to their cars, and an easy way is to throw on a couple of Cibie rally lights, some Fuchs wheels, and maybe just a subtle fender flare. The result is a car that demonstrates its owner's sensibilities, while the process of sourcing time-specific accouterments can become a fun hobby all to itself.
Porsche's early racing cars were open-top wedges designed with speed and reliability in mind. Their sponsors included brands like Gulf and Pirelli, who combined to create some of the racing world's most recognizable livery color schemes and layouts. And while adding a livery-style wrap to a modern Boxster may seem counterintuitive to some owners, many Porsche fans are similarly huge fans of the brand's history, and the racing prowess that led to their cars' impeccable qualities of speed, handling, and overall driver engagement. With that history in mind, this Boxster manages to combine modern tech with a sense for the developmental significance that led to the design of one of the world's premier mid-engined sports cars.
The divisive Porsche 914 split enthusiasts down the middle, with some loving the angular body and others believing it ran totally counter to every sleek Porsche design that preceded it.
But this owner clearly enjoys his 914 and has taken advantage of its mid-mounted engine layout to increase the little car's utility by a huge margin by opening up the rear trunk and converting it into a tiny truck bed.
The decals contribute to the build, which seems like it would be perfectly placed as a service truck for a Porsche factory works racing team, shutting parts back and forth to the pits between service stops.