The story of the 965 prototype is a weird one. It was basically engineering car, a test mule. Its goal was to try and solve a big problem Porsche was having at the time, in particular, how to replace the 930’s turbocharged, air-cooled engine to power a new sub-959, range-topping 911 model. Costs ballooned, the project floundered, and ultimately in its last throes, its engineers got desperate. Many thought the flat-six with water-cooled heads was going to be too complex and too expensive to develop, so Porsche worked on…. a V8 (yep, I said it). The result can be seen here in this official Porsche video, shot at the secret warehouse near Zuffenhausen.
The Porsche 965 prototype had a water-cooled Audi V8 out back, a cost-effective, power-dense solution that would meet project goals and that was seriously considered by Porsche management. Thankfully, management changes meant the 965 idea went away and the 964 Turbo was born. Thank goodness.