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Gemballa - Legendary Porsche Tuner

Updated on May 7, 2011

Gemballa - German Porsche Tuner Tribute

Gemballa is a company based in Leonberg near Stuttgart, Germany, which was founded by, and named after, Uwe Gemballa in 1981.

They provided aftermarket parts mainly for Porsche and Ferrari, and are commonly listed under the great echelons of Porsche tuning along with Ruf, TechArt, and Rinspeed.

On the 17th of February, 2010, it was reported that Gemballa's founder, Uwe Gemballa has gone missing in Johannesburg, South Africa while on a business trip, and in May 2010 Gemballa's factory closed their doors. This is a tribute to a visionary man, an excellent company, and some amazing Porsches.

*Scroll to the bottom of the page for a current update on Gemballa!

Gemballa Squidoo Directory

This lens is in chronological order, so we start with the early Gemballa models in the mid-1980s and end up with current models. Thankfully, Gemballa is back in business, and once again producing some of the fastest and most extreme Porsches on the roads today!

Overview:

Gemballa Squidoo Directory

Historic Gemballa Models

Gemballa Avalanche

Gemballa 500SEC Widebody

Gemballa 959 Replica

What bloggers are saying about Gemballa

Gemballa Mirage

Gemballa Testarossa

Gemballa 993 LeMans BiTurbo/GTR 600

Gemballa products on eBay

Gemballa 911 Extremo

Gemballa Diablo T50

Gemballa 996 GTR 750 EVO

Gemballa on YouTube

Gemballa V6 Turbo

Gemballa BiTurbo GT600

Gemballa Boxter Roadster 3.6

Gemballa Facebook Fan Page

Gemballa 996 BiTurbo GTR Cabriolet

Gemballa BiTurbo GT700

Gemballa 997 GT 3.8

Flickr Photos featuring Gemballa

Gemballa 997 GTR 650 EVO Avalanche

Gemballa 997 GT 500 Cabriolet

Gemballa Mirage GT

Gemballa Group Discussion

Gemballa Cayman GT 4.0L RS

Gemballa Avalanche 600 GT2 EVO

Gemballa Mirage GT Carbon Edition

Gemballa Tribute Guestbook

Gemballa Tornado 750 GTS

Gemballa MIG-U1 Ferrari Enzo

Gemballa on Amazon

Gemballa Mistrale Porsche Panamera

Gemballa Porsche Cayenne Tornado

Resurrection - Present Day

Historic Gemballa Models

1980s and early '90s

* This text is taken directly from 1000SELL.com, with minor corrections for spelling and grammar.

Uwe started with VWs but soon ventured in the world of Porsche. As the company's name suggests, the company's specialty was interiors and that's what they became known for. Gemballa's interiors were among the best, if not THE best available in the 1980s. From Porsches to Mercedes, BMWs and even Rolls-Royces -- they all received new interiors. The Gemballa craftsmen weren't just known for their leather, they usually had the latest electronic gadgets on board such as digital instrumentation, TVs and the latest in audio. Gemballa used to work together with Pioneer, and created several show/demonstration cars that sported the Pioneer name very prominently.

In addition to the interiors Gemballa also did some very impressive complete conversions -- mainly on the Porsche 911 Turbo (930 model) such as the Gemballa Avalanche, Gemballa Cyrrus and Gemballa Mirage, but also on some other cars such as completely-modified Mercedes S-classes (SELL and SEC), a widebody 6-series BMW and a redesigned Ferrari Testarossa. To be able to fund the time- and money consuming one-off cars that were built to customer-specifications, Gemballa also had a parts program, mainly for the Porsche 911, 944 and 928 models. These included simple trim upgrades for the interior and new bumpers, spoilers, etc for the exterior.

Gemballa Avalanche - 1985

One of Gemballa's first complete-car creations was the original Avalanche, based on the "930" Porsche 911 Turbo, and it is commonly considered the event that really put Gemballa on the map. The bodywork was an indication of the over-the-top styling to come, including the monster hand-beaten metal wheelarches, hidden door handles, and enormous plastic one-piece rear spoiler. Fellow Porsche tuner Ruf supplied the turbocharged 3.4L engine, which produced 375hp (75hp more than stock).

Only 13 of these insane cars were made, over a span of 8 years, all featuring elaborate interiors, futuristic electronics (cameras replaced rearview mirrors), slantnose styling, and a price starting at $115,000 -- which was plenty in 1985. Options brought it close to the $150K mark. Exclusivity back then, as now, was not cheap. And a Gemballa was about as exclusive as you could get for most.

Gemballa 500SEC Widebody - 1985

When you wanted the absolute widest car on the street -- Koenig creations included -- you went to Gemballa with your 500SEC and had him put his magic on it. What emerged was, and still is, a showstopper. Unlike Koenig, Gemballa did all his custom bodywork in hand-formed sheet metal, and fitted unthinkably wide tires at the back to fill out the arches. As per usual, the interior was also a breathtaking masterpiece.

A similar conversion was performed on the BMW 635CSi about the same timeframe. And just as with the Avalance/Mirage models, which featured 3 exhaust pipes per side, the Mercedes and BMW were both fitted with a four-in-a-row exhaust pipe setup -- very unusual and conspicuous. The cost for these conversions? About $33,000 for the 500SEC and $50,000 for the 635CSI . . . in addition to the price of the new car.

Gemballa 959 Replica - 1985

Gemballa Creates A Very Unique Porsche!

As far as we can tell, this is the only car of its kind in existence. Based on a 1984 Carrera and built on a 1985 chassis, this is a Porsche 959 lookalike. We can only assume this was built for a well-heeled collector who did not wish to wait for the real 959 launch in 1987.

While the actual 959 featured a twin-turbo 2.85-Liter flat-six delivering 400bhp and 4-wheel drive, this Gemballa makes do with a 3.6-Liter producing 275bhp and remains only rear-wheel drive. When last seen, this very special car was for sale on eBay France with bids over EUR20k.

Gemballa Mirage - 1986

Only one has ever been created, and it was yours, shortly after the introduction of the astonishing Avalanche, for the small price of $188,000. With all of the Avalanche's visual cues -- plus a very expensive chopped roofline! -- and a 500hp Ruf engine at the request of the American client. This included, of course, the rear-facing professional zoom cameras that replaced the side mirrors, which could be selected individually via steering-wheel-mounted buttons.

Gemballa Testarossa - 1987

Built On A Ferrari Testarossa

Taken from conceptcarz.com:

"There are several stories surrounding chassis number ZFFAA 17B 0000 69087. One story states that in 1987 Ferrari approached the German company GEMBALLA to create a special one-off Ferrari Testarossa for the Paris Auto Show. GEMBALLA has a strong reputation for their work with tuning Porsches and was deemed an appropriate coachbuilder to create a stunning rendition of the Ferrari Testarossa. The result was an appearance package clothed on a Testarossa chassis.

Another story states that the car was modified by GEMBALLA after being purchased from the factory (a body kit with perhaps three other vehicles receiving the same digs).

Mounted mid-ship is the familiar five-liter, four-valves per cylinder, V12 from Ferrari offering a top speed in excess of 180 mph. zero-to-sixty was in the 5.3 second range. The wheels were BBS. Amenities such as a rear-view camera was installed.

It is seen here at the 2008 Concorso Italiano."

Gemballa 993 LeMans BiTurbo/GTR 600 - 1995/1996

Not many 993-era Gemballa Porsches are in existence -- but they are astounding cars. The LeMans BiTurbo produced 550hp, and the GTR 600 (of which only 5 were ever made) cranked out 600hp. From a standing start, these wild-looking creations could hit 60mph in about 3.8 seconds, ran the quarter mile in 11.4, and saw a top speed of 201mph.

The modifications alone on the GTR 600 cost over $265,000 back in 1996, and retained the stock four-wheel drive system. Several custom lightweight modifications included honeycomb doors and hood, carbon fiber and Kevlar wings with GT2 RSR wheel arches, body kit, and thinner composite side and rear windows. In addition to the complete engine rebuild, Gemballa installed a full race suspension, GT2 clutch and Brembo brakes.

Gemballa products on eBay

Gemballa products on eBay!

Gemballa 911 Extremo - 1997

An Extreme 993 Speedster

One other Gemballa 993 work is the Extremo, based on the Carrera 2 or Carrera 4. It was available with the same 600hp as other twin-turbo 993 Gemballa models. It is estimated that with the reduction in weight, this speedster could scorch 60mph in under 3.5 seconds and see 220mph.

Gemballa Diablo T50 - 1998

Gemballa Goes Insane With Lamborghini

Very little is known about the Gemballa Diablo, but from what we can tell, there were no exterior modifications. There was, however, a twin-turbo system for the Lamborghini V12 designed by Lotec that boosted power up to a blistering 750hp.

Gemballa 996 GTR 750 EVO - 2002

Seems that in 2001 a model similar to this one (which is based on the 996 GT2) was piloted around the Nurburgring in a time of 7:32.52, which at the time was a production car lap record. That was quicker than any TechArt, Blitz ,Caterham, Lamborghini or Ferrari road car that tried before it. Either way, Gemballa entered the millennium with, as usual, monster horsepower and outrageous styling.

When first introduced, the GTR 750 -- a one-off built for a Dubai client that wanted more than the "normal" GTR 600 -- was believed to have 750 horsepower. Recent tests have revealed that the actual output of the engine is more around 850 horsepower! Twin modified Garret T035 turbochargers replace the stock KKK units. These turbos combine with GT3-R heads, a machined crank and special connecting rods which increase the engine capacity to 3.8 liters.

Gemballa on YouTube

These will set your heart racing!

Gemballa V6 Turbo - 2003

Cayenne V6 owners were stuck with a paltry 242hp until Gemballa came to the rescue with their turbo kit. WIth a unique charge cooling system, it boosted the power up to 365hp, and added a body kit also.

Gemballa BiTurbo GT600 - 2003

With the arrival of the twin-turbo V8 Cayenne, Gemballa promptly offered their GT600 package, which bumped up the stock Cayenne Turbo from 450hp to 600hp. As always, a complete aero body kit and interior package was available.

Gemballa Boxter Roadster 3.6 - 2003

Most tuners would have been content to add a sporty exhaust and maybe a set of wheels. Not Gemballa. Despite the fact that they could have simply swapped in the existing 911 Turbo setup, Gemballa chose instead to bore out the Boxter 3.4L engine to 3.6L and fit their own custom K16 turbochargers and triple front intercooler system. The result was 500 horsepower in a lightweight Boxter chassis.

Gemballa 996 BiTurbo GTR Cabriolet - 2003

The year 2003 was turning out to be a landmark year for Gemballa. In keeping with the droptop theme, a 911 Turbo Cabriolet was fully made-over with a twin-turbo 3.6L engine, complete aero body kit, and interior replacement with meticulous detail. The GTR conversion could also be performed on a hardtop.

Gemballa BiTurbo GT700 - 2004

How do you top a Gemballa Cayenne BiTurbo GT600? Create a GT700 the next year, of course. Fortunately, the brakes and suspension are thoroughly updated as well to handle 700hp in a vehicle this size.

Gemballa 997 GT 3.8 - 2005

With the introduction of the new 997 chassis, Gemballa set right to work developing a new package involving a twin-turbo 3.8L engine. Bodywork was kept subtle for a change. As per all Gemballa cars, the interior is also redone, including aluminum pedals and intricate seat detailing.

Gemballa 997 GTR 650 EVO Avalanche - 2006

Soon Gemballa became known for his twin-turbo 3.8L powerplant, here displayed in an Avalanche model that is painted "Blood Orange". The combination of 650hp and rear-wheel-drive combined to deliver an intense, involving driving experience. Exhaust tips were reminiscent of the Porsche Carrera GT.

Gemballa 997 GT 500 Cabriolet - 2006

Gemballa drops the top on their successful 997 911 tuning package, and the result is a real stunner. With the wind in your hair, you could reach 60mph in four seconds flat, thanks to Gemballa's ubiquitous twin-turbo 3.8L powerplant.

Gemballa Mirage GT - 2007

Who could improve on a masterpiece like the Porsche Carrera GT? Argueably one of the best models Porsche has ever made, it was instantly catapulted - largely due to that haunting 5.7L V10 - into the domain of all-time great supercars. As usual, though, even the amazing can be fettled with.

Gemballa adds a hefty 60hp by tweaking the ECU and fitting its now-signature quad-tip exhaust, and its unearthly scream matched its insane appearance. Most notable are the roof intake scoop, massive fixed rear spoiler, and those fighter-jet exhaust tips. We were teased with a 1000hp rumor, but it is unclear if such a model was ever sold to the public.

Gemballa Cayman GT 4.0L RS - 2008

Many today acknowledge that the Cayman is one of the best-handling cars in existence today, and fortunately Gemballa has also recognized that fact with their vaunted 4.0L conversion. As per all their creations, the interior is redone, and the brakes and suspension are upgraded. On the outside, a great-looking front and rear spoiler are added, with the visual effect recalling the Mirage GT, especially the exhaust tips.

The most mythical component, however, is that engine displacement package, which bumps the existing 3.4 to a monster 4.0 liters. Sadly, Gemballa never released official specs on the engine, but knowing their capabilities, it would be fair to assume close to 400hp, if not more. Another stunning offering from one of the world's premier Porsche tuners!

Gemballa Avalanche 600 GT2 EVO - 2008

Porsche's GT2 is already a fearsome beast and a formidable street and track weapon, but as usual Gemballa improves dramatically on the original and brings an astounding machine to the table. Perhaps most noticeable from the outside is the sleek yet aggressive body kit, culminating in that massive rear wing and those distinctive Carrera GT-style exhaust tips.

Power is boosted to 600 horsepower and a pavement-rending 840 lb-ft of torque, making the Avalanche blindingly quick. From a dead stop, 62mph was dispatched in under 3.5 seconds, and the top speed hit 200mph . . . all while relaxing in a sumptuous interior as only Gemballa can create.

Gemballa Mirage GT Carbon Edition - 2009

Gemballa's Mirage GT is back! This special Carbon Edition, limited to only 5 pieces, is designed to expand on the original Mirage GT concept with even more carbon fiber body components in place. As per usual, Gemballa fits their striking wheels, stunning interior work, and howling, bewitching exhaust, which helps bring power up to 670 horsepower.

The eye-catching inlet ducts are as aggressive as ever, helping to scoop in air and giving the appearance of a full-on race car, which the Carbon Edition certainly can be. One final send-off of a great car by a great tuner.

Gemballa Tornado 750 GTS/GTR

What is the world's most extreme luxury SUV? If you answered "a Gemballa-tuned Cayenne Turbo", you are absolutely correct! The Tornado 750 is hardly recognizeable as a Porsche by the time the exterior, interior, chassis, and engine are completely redone. The body kit (featuring quad exhausts similar to the Mirage GT) and hood alone are instantly showstopping, but the real treat is a scarcely-believeable 750 stump-pulling horsepower from the 4.8L twin-turbo V8.

Inside, swaths of leather, aluminum, carbon fiber and alcantara coddle with four bucket seats, a lifted gearbox, panoramic roof and Data Information Center. For the ultimate in SUV dominance, look no further than the Tornado 750 GTS. A 750 GTR version was also created, with rear-wheel-drive, a lightened body/chassis, and carbon fiber racing seats.

Gemballa MIG-U1 Ferrari Enzo - 2010

Perhaps no single creation of Gemballa's has stirred up quite as much controversy as the MIG-U1 based on the Ferrari Enzo supercar. It didn't help that this concept was revealed shortly before Uwe's disappearance, and it is unclear how many of the 25 slated for production were actually made. Regardless, the ideas laid out with the MIG-U1 showcase the engineering and thought process behind the scenes. Every body panel has been re-designed for maximum aerodynamics and downforce, improving on the original Enzo model dramatically.

Power is brought up to 700 horsepower, and the distinctive quad-pipe fighter-jet-style exhaust appear on the back, this time in a vertical arrangement. Nothing has been left untouched, as the interior gets a complete makeover, integrating high-end electronics with high-end materials to create a truly unique masterpiece.

Gemballa Mistrale Porsche Panamera

Dialling back the extremeism and returning to the familiar ground of Porshe tuning, Gemballa offered their tuning program for the new Panamera Turbo, including a rather modest but striking body kit, wheels/suspension and power packages up to a ferocious 750 horsepower. The interior is offered with the usual luxurious appointments.

This is the first model unveiled after the new owners of Gemballa Automobiltechnik GmbH & Co. re-opened the doors to the famous shop.

Gemballa Porsche Cayenne Tornado - 2011

Starting off their new ownership strong, Gemballa follows up with their program for the new 958 Cayenne Turbo -- the Tornado. Recalling the previous Tornado models, the major body panels are reskinned in arresting carbon fiber, and the rest of the vehicle is upgraded accordingly. Suspension, wheels and interior all get the customary Gemballa treatment, with engine tuning up to 700 horsepower.

Only 30 versions will be built, commemorating 30 years of Gemballa's influence on the automotive world.

Resurrection - Present Day

Gemballa Open For Business Again

Following the horrible news of Uwe's disappearance, Gemballa CEO Andreas Schwarz and investor Steffen Korbach were able to reopen Gemballa in August 2010. In October 2010, Uwe Gemballa was found shot dead in South Africa. It is suspected that his murder was a result of a money laundering operation which turned against him. On November 1, it was announced that Uwe Gemballa's killer was been arrested and sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

On a happier note, the new owners of Gemballa have hit the ground running and are hard at work redesigning their website and creating more of the famous masterpieces in the spirit of Uwe.

Please leave your thoughts on Uwe Gemballa or his creations here, whether you have put his parts on your car, purchased a complete Gemballa car, even met Mr. Gemballa in person, or are simply a fan of his work.

Gemballa Tribute Guestbook

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      Johnk788 2 years ago

      Very informative blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing. kgedaecagfad

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have spoken with Uwe many time over the last few years. I do own the white Version III in the top picture (5 in the picture). This car has the first RUF BTR conversion with RUF 5 Speed. It is still awesome to drive today. The car has documented history and was one of Uwe's personal ones.

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      iamhavok 6 years ago

      Some beautiful cars here..wow. I love Porsches especially. Gemballa varaitons of them have always held a special place for me.

      thanks !