Porsche Minivans Do Exist, 911 Powered Minivans are 1980s Unicorns

Porsche is a legendary automaker. Most known for its sports cars and racing history, the company has branched out to build crossovers and family vehicles in recent times. But even those vehicles have been known for their bent on performance. So, it might seem surprising to some that Porsche also has minivans in its past! Yup, the company did indeed make minivans at one point. 

The need for a Porsche minivan

A charcoal colored 1985 Porsche B32 Minivan is on display in a museum.
1985 Porsche B32 Minivan | HSG Automotive via YouTube

As mentioned earlier, Porsche has been involved in racing for much of its history. One of the more grueling races it has participated in is the Paris to Dakar Rally. The race is long and travels through difficult terrain. Teams participating in races of this nature normally have a support team with chase vehicles. That way if anything breaks on the race vehicle, the support team can arrive in short order and help with the needed repairs, changes, or first aid.

Back in the 1980s, Porsche recognized that they needed a support vehicle that could carry what they need but still have decent performance. So, they partnered up with Volkswagen to make a limited run of a chase vehicle based on the Volkswagen Bus. From that relationship came a minivan unlike any other. It became called the Porsche B32.

Volkswagen minivan body, sports car power

The Volkswagen’s original powerplant was tossed and replaced with a 3.0-liter, flat six-cylinder engine from a Porsche 911. But that wasn’t good enough. So, the 3.2-liter from the Porsche Carrera was later upfitted into the minivan, giving it around 230 hp. That’s a little over 100 horsepower more than the original engine. Of course, the newfound power meant that handling had to be upgraded. So, the suspension was tightened up on the minivan, the brakes were upgraded, and the wheels were swapped out for 16-inch 911 model wheels. Also, the steering wheel and gearbox were transferred from the 911 model. 

The Carrera nameplate is on the rear liftgate of the minivan
The Carrera nameplate is on the rear liftgate of the Porsche minivan | HSG Automotive via YouTube

The Porsche B32 minivan was a factory production effort, not aftermarket

The production run of the Porsche minivan was from 1983-1985. It was available only from one dealership. But, it was a Porsche manufactured vehicle, not a dealer package. During its production, any person could walk into the dealership and purchase one. There were only 15 made in total, including the prototypes. So, the rarity means spotting one would be like spotting a unicorn in the wild, especially since one might see the VW badge that remained on the grille and discount it as an ordinary Volkswagen.

Our friends at HSG Automotive have an Unsung Heroes series on YouTube that highlighted the Porsche B32 minivan. The video does a good job of retelling the story of the vehicle. That is posted below for your enjoyment and astonishment. 

Other sport car cues on the minivan

Aside from the wheels, looking at the minivan, one can easily see some of the Porsche and Volkswagen dichotomy. It looks like a traditional VW Bus from a distance. However, on approach, one finds the Porsche badges on the B pillars. Also, the Carrera nameplate is affixed to the rear liftgate of the vehicle. A badge from the manufacturer sits centered in the liftgate as well. 

The steering wheel of the minivan clearly says Porsche.
Steering Wheel on the 1985 Porsche B32 Minivan | HSG Automotive via YouTube

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A collector who likes rare and historically important vehicles would probably drool over this minivan and be itching to get their hands on it. First, it’s a Porsche product. Second, it is a rare vehicle. Third, it’s a type of vehicle outside the normal mindset for a sportscar manufacturer – a minivan! For the rest of us who aren’t looking to buy one, we will have to satisfy ourselves by looking at the pictures and video above.