When it comes to performance tuning you have shops that specialize in certain types of vehicles. BMW has Dinan, Mercedes-Benz has Brabus, and Porsche has Gemballa.
Gemballa has been perfecting their 911 modifications for over 30-years now, becoming one of the major players in the aftermarket field. And while they have since made incredible cars like the Mirage GT, based on the impressive Carrera GT, Gemballas’ greatest work is easily some of their earliest. Gemballa calls it the ‘Avalanche’ and it is bar-none one of the greatest cars to come out of the 80’s.
The Avalanche is based on the infamous 930 Slantnose, a car that should need little introduction. The turbo already had a reputation for being absolutely ruthless to drive, earning the nickname ‘The Widow Maker.’ With the 935 race cars killing it on track Porsche decided to produce an exclusive run of production ‘slantnose’ 930 turbos. With a 1000 car run, they already belonged in the rare category. Gemballa seemingly took this as a challenge, creating one of the most exclusive custom Porsches ever made. That fateful first generation Gemballa only resulted in 15 cars total, less than two made per year.
Designed by Uwe Gemballa, the ‘Avalanche’ was marvelous for its time. Gemballa had no interest in developing the performance side of the 930 but knew leaving it stock wouldn’t do either. So they enlisted a tuner to handle improving the ‘go-fast’ bits on the 930. Who was it? Oh, just some shop called RUF, that’s all. In typical RUF fashion, the 930 jumped in power, now producing a plentiful 375hp. And while RUF was hard at work making the 930 a little bit faster, Gemballa was hard at work making it look timeless.
Gemballa redesigned the body to the point where it became unrecognizable from any angle but the front. The side strakes are not just an 80’s faux pas. No, those Testarossa style strakes are functional through and through. They are actually designed to give the ‘Avalanche’ a better aero profile while simultaneously siphoning air in through the ducts. That’s better air and more of it. Before you have time to notice the missing door handles, your eyes will uncontrollably wander to the spectacle that is the rear wing. The thing is bigger than Tony Montana’s cocaine pile and just as deadly.
The wing is massive in every sense of the word. It was part of Gemballa’s exclusive ‘aero’ package. It was supposedly wind tunnel tested, providing the ‘Avalanche’ with some much-needed downforce in the rear. The amazing thing about the ‘Aero’ package was that it had so much more to it than just that obnoxiously cool wing. The package included a uniquely designed ‘fairing’ for lack of a better term, that surrounded the rear windshield. This, like the fins on the sides, was designed to help feed air into the engine bay, while also keeping the body in check.
Because of their exclusive nature, the Gemballa 930 was heavily created around its customer. For instance, the 1986 car featured in this article is basically a one off design. Sure, they all share the same exterior designs, they do in fact have a lot of differences. Everything from timeless analog gauges to a full on electronics suite in the cockpit. Mind you, that’s 80’s electronics. That means the ‘Avalanche’ interiors on some models have become about as useful as dial up internet. One of the coolest features I have seen on these old Gemballa’s has to be the video camera side mirrors. Basically, Gemballa deleted their side mirrors, replacing them with small aerodynamic pods that housed cameras. With a small screen in the dash, you could see who and what was behind you with ease.
Astonishingly the Gemballa ‘Avalanche’ sold for over $500,000 new, and that was in the 80’s mind you. If you were to adjust for inflation that would make the ‘Avalanche’ well over a million dollars, an absurd price point. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your opinion of the car, prices have officially dropped. So start growing your ‘Tom Sellick’ Mustache, and practice your best Miami Vice impressions, because now one of these wild relics could easily be yours, and it will only set you back somewhere from $150,000 to $200k. Check out this ’86 Avalanche right here.