The Le Mans Living Legend Was A Retro Inspired Sports Car Porsche Should Have Sold

Porsche launched its new book, "Porsche Unseen," in 2020 as a complete glimpse of the German automaker's top-secret concept cars. It features 15 previously unreleased models from the Porsche Design Studio while providing insights into the brand's future vehicles. For instance, the 911 Vision Safari (via Porsche) is a 996 Carrera-based crossover concept with lifted suspension, chunky tires, and bulging wheel arches -– the same off-road-inspired features you'll find in Porsche's all-new, limited-edition 911 Dakar. The book also features the 918 RS (per Porsche), a concept that Porsche calls an evolution of the magnificent 918 Spyder, the world's first mass-produced hybrid supercar.

Among all the magnificent concepts in the book, what definitely caught our fancy was the Porsche Le Mans Living Legend, a homage to the brand's most iconic racing car: the mythical Porsche 550. Porsche fans refer to the 550 Spyder as the purest distillation of driving enjoyment and as one of the brand's winningest race cars.

Porsche Le Mans Living Legend: greatness reincarnated

Those old enough might remember the Porsche 550 Spyder as the car James Dean drove to his grave. Dean died on September 30, 1955 (via Exponent). However, few were privy that Porsche's first-ever 550 racing car is a hardtop coupe. The Le Mans Living Legend drew inspiration from the 550 Coupe and first appeared in 2016. Porsche started with a Boxster (hence the similar proportions ) and focused on turning it into an "extreme road sports car" (per Porsche).

Given its retro-inspired exterior style, the Le Mans Living Legend is brimming with throwback detailing. It has a center-mounted fuel filler door in the hood, fancy doors, racing decals, and a rear compartment that opens opposite the front bonnet. The highest-performing Boxster, the 718 GTS 4.0, has a 394-horsepower 4.0-liter flat-six, but the Le Mans Living Legend has something better. Porsche claims it has a rear-mounted racing engine, "the most incredible-sounding eight-cylinder," possibly a derivative of the magnificent-sounding, naturally-aspirated V8 engine of the 918 Spyder hybrid.

Porsche did not reveal the performance numbers but imagine what could have been if the brand went on producing the Le Mans Living Legend. On the other hand, Porsche has certainly taken inspiration from its own concept vehicle in delivering the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4, albeit without a V8. And if you look closely, the concept's rear design bears the DNA of the current 992-Series Porsche 911 and, from some angles, the gorgeous rump of the Audi R8.