Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien to begin deliveries this year

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Tuner’s 1980s-inspired take on the Porsche 911 is nearly sold out at more than $1 million a piece.

First deliveries of tuning outfit Marc Philipp Gemballa’s off-road-ready supercar, the Marsien, will begin later this year, with the limited-run Porsche 911-based creation “almost sold out”.

The 552kW Marsien is based on the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S and inspired by the radical Porsche 959 racer that achieved success competing in the Paris-Dakar Rally in the 1980s.

Ten launch-edition models were sold before its unveiling, and the firm has now confirmed that the remaining 30 are nearly all spoken for. The final few build slots are being discussed with potential buyers.

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Marc Philipp Gemballa is the son of the late Uwe Gemballa, whose own unrelated tuning firm, Gemballa, was well known for its outlandish modified versions of Porsche cars, most prevalently the 911.

The Marsien is currently being homologated for European, Middle Eastern and US markets.

Marc Philipp Gemballa has already called its project “an incredible success”, with cars selling at “lightning speeds”.

Formerly known as Project Sandbox, the Marsien takes its name from the French word for Martian, inspired by Mars-like sand dunes of the desert in the UAE, where the car was developed.

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Tuning expert Ruf has also had its hands on the supercar, uprated the six-cylinder engine to produce 552kW and 930Nm of torque, allowing it to hit 0-100km/h in 2.6sec.

Customers can even opt for a ‘second stage’ upgrade that lifts power again to 611kW, thanks to the addition of enhanced turbochargers, revised engine mapping and transmission changes.

Marc Philipp Gemballa has said the engine still complies with the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations.

Prices for the conversion start at €495,000 (around $745,000). After the cost of the car and options have been added, Marsien buyers will likely be facing a bill well north of $1 million.

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The base 911 Turbo S has received a number of radical changes to make it capable of tackling rugged terrain. The suspension is entirely bespoke and provided by specialist KW Automotive, which has fitted double wishbones at the front with solid piston damper technology and intelligent active damper control.

The dampers are said to react to the conditions in 20 milliseconds, plus driving modes for gravel, mud, sand and snow have been added to those already supplied by Porsche for road driving.

The ground clearance can be increased from 120mm in ‘road mode’ to 250mm for off-roading.

The Marsien is supplied with two sets of forged aluminium wheels with centre locking, as well as Michelin Ultra High Performance and All Terrain tyres.

For customers wanting to focus on off-roading, there’s an optional package with Reiger suspension and rally dampers that offer even more suspension travel and ground clearance than is standard.

Other upgrades include an entirely carbonfibre body, manufactured by a German company that also supplies Formula 1 teams. There’s a bespoke titanium exhaust, the transmission has been revised to deliver power to all four wheels more consistently and the bodywork has been developed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to ensure efficiency and safety at high speed.

Inside, there’s a choice of a full leather or Alcantara interior trim to complement the carbonfibre centre console, although Marc Philipp Gemballa says “full customisation” is available, suggesting customers can specify the cabin as lavishly as their budget allows.

Will Rimell

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