The Porsche 904 Living Legend concept is a cool 904 tribute with a VW hybrid drivetrain

Porsche recently unveiled several design studies and concept cars it has created over the past 15 years, and some of them, including the 904 Living Legend, are downright impressive. Created in 2013, the 904 Living Legend is a tribute to the iconic 904 sports car of the 1960s. Design-wise, the 904 Living Legend is a combination between the modern Cayman and the classic 904, but the drivetrain underneath that sleek body is surprising, to say the least.

The Porsche 904 Living Legend Is Really a Volkswagen

Porsche Almost Revived the Iconic 904 with a V-2 Diesel Engine Exterior
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The 904 Living Legend is actually a re-bodied Volkswagen.

This isn’t exactly a new idea. Back in 1969, Porsche introduced an affordable sports car co-developed with Volkswagen. It was called the 914 and remained in production until 1976 with flat-four and flat-six engines. But the 904 Living Legend isn’t based on a mundane Volkswagen. This car was built around the carbon monocoque chassis of the XL1. If you’re not familiar with this car, the XL1 was a limited-edition plug-in hybrid that the German firm built from 2013 to 2016. A small two-door coupe with butterfly doors, the XL1 was Volkswagen’s idea of an ultra-efficient car.

Porsche Almost Revived the Iconic 904 with a V-2 Diesel Engine Exterior
- image 947607
Porsche took both the monocoque and the drivetrain from the XL1.

The latter is what makes the 904 Living Legend a strange car among other Porsche vehicles. That’s because the XL1 was powered by a hybrid drivetrain combining an electric motor and a 0.8-liter V-2 diesel engine. The combo delivers a combined 68 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. That’s not a lot for a Porsche-badged car, but enough to send the XL1 from 0 to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds. That mostly because the XL1 tipped the scales at only 1,962 pounds.

Volkswagen XL1 specifications
Powertrain 0.8-liter V-2 diesel + electric motor
Horsepower 68 HP
Torque 100 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 5.7 seconds
Weight 1,962 lbs
Porsche Almost Revived the Iconic 904 with a V-2 Diesel Engine Exterior
- image 947610

The 904 Living Legend was never considered for production. It was just a no-nonsense sports car, which eventually looked a bit like the classic 904. While the front fascia and the profile are clearly based on the Cayman, the rear end looks a lot like the 904 thanks to its long and almost flat decklid, the flying buttresses, and the twin bulge on the engine hood.

What is the Porsche 904?

1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS Exterior
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Built in 1964 and 1965, the Porsche 904, also known as the Carrera GTS, replaced the iconic 718.

The 904 was developed for sports car racing, but FIA regulations forced Porsche to build some cars for the road, of which 106 were assembled and sold. The 904 debuted during the 1964 racing season, winning the Targa Florio and scoring impressive results at the Nurburgring and Le Mans. The 904 proved highly reliable and often faster than much more powerful race cars.

The 904 was fitted with 2.0-liter boxer engines only, either with four, six, or eight cylinders. The road car was restricted to the flat-four engine, which delivered 198 horsepower through a five-speed manual gearbox. The 904 was capable of hitting 60 mph in less than six seconds, toward a top speed of 160 mph. The 904 marked the beginning of a series of Porsche race cars that culminated in the iconic 917 and 936.

Porsche 904 specifications
Engine 2.0-liter boxer flat-four
Power 198 HP @ 7200 RPM
Torque 144.5 LB-FT @ 5000 RPM
Transmission 5-Speed Manual
Top speed 160 MPH
0 - 60 mph 6.0 seconds
0 - 100 mph 14.0 seconds
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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