Back in February, Marc Phillipp Gemballa — a new company started by the son of the late Uwe Gemballa who ran the Porsche tuner of the same name — teased a rally-ready machine powered by a Ruf engine, tentatively named “Project Sandbox.” This week, we have our first glimpse at it, and it’s since received a more formal moniker: Marsien.
Yes, in this case, Marsien is meant to evoke “martian.” And much like Singer’s ACS, this Porsche is a tribute to the 959 Dakar rally car that combined cutting-edge tech with rough-and-tumble durability.
Marc Phillipp Gemballa uses a 992-gen 911 Turbo S as a donor car with these builds, but it replaces a lot. The body panels, for example, are all swapped out for new ones made of carbon fiber. The stock MacPherson struts are scrapped in favor of double wishbones.
And then there’s the engine. By the time the flat six mavens at Ruf are done with it, it churns 740 horsepower and 685 lb-ft of torque. Though, you can get more if you like; an option raises output to 818 HP. Marc Phillipp Gemballa says that’s good enough to get the car to 60 MPH in 2.6 seconds — on asphalt, anyway.
Every Marsien will come with two sets of wheels and tires, one of which is designed for off-roading. The Marsien doesn’t appear to ride as high as the ACS, or seem fit to clear the same terrain with its longer overhangs and more road-oriented lower-bumper treatment. However, drivers have the ability to ratchet up the ride height from 4.7 inches to 9.8 inches with the press of a button, thanks to a hydraulic system.
The Marsien wears its inspiration on its sleeve. The rear wing integrated into the bodywork is an obvious callback to the 959, especially when painted white. Marc Phillipp Gemballa will, however, allow you to have your Marsien in literally whatever color you wish, or no color at all if you’d rather go the unpainted carbon fiber route. With the company planning a run of just 40 cars priced at about $583,000 each (which doesn’t include the price of the 911 Turbo, mind), it’s fair to assume each one is going to look very, very unique.