A journey which started for a Porsche 911 L five decades ago has taken a new direction after its discovery inspired Porsche Centre Lebanon to collaborate with a group of Lebanese creatives, led by visionary industrial designer Karim Chaya under his design alias, spockdesign. Referred to as the Bahamamama project, the restoration project also inspired exclusive collections by fashion luminaries Rabih Kayrouz and Zazknits, as well as customized bags and leather accessories by the renowned Johnny Farah. Revealed during a special reception at Boutique Maison Rabih Kayrouz, during the Beirut Design Fair, the car and its features were showcased to attendees at the event.
The prized 911 was discovered by Porsche Centre Lebanon Chairman and General Manager, Assaad Raphael, in a barn, in the south of Lebanon. Inspired by the original Bahama Yellow exterior color of the car, the Bahamamama project brought together a team of individuals who are passionate about Porsche’s heritage and as a result, collaborated to return the car to its former glory, whilst also celebrating the essence of the Lebanese lifestyle. Porsche technicians and engineers took the unique find apart like a jigsaw puzzle, restoring its exterior, salvaging wiring and mechanical systems and returning the 130 hp, flat-six engine to the height of its performance capabilities. Meanwhile, Karim Chaya designed and produced bespoke interior and exterior detailing for the model.
Regarded as a competition sports car in its day, when launched the 911 L reached a top speed of 210 km/h and completed the zero to 100 km/h sprint in 9.1 seconds. The model was particularly popular amongst Sunday racers in Europe and the USA, with Porsche Centre Lebanon’s find being one of only 444 produced and retailed in 1968 at a price of DM 21,450.
Assaad Raphael, Chairman and General Manager of Porsche Centre Lebanon, said: “The Bahamamama concept is not only inspired by the original color of the car and the rare model which holds a special place in Porsche history, but it also captures the typical lifestyle of a sports car owner of the time. The ‘gentleman driver’, who races their Porsche on Sunday and drives it to work on Monday. It is synonymous with the typical characteristics of a Porsche, blending unparalleled performance and style with exceptional usability. We also wanted the project to pay homage to the Lebanese way of life – going from city life in an office in the morning, to enjoying the countryside or the seaside that same afternoon.
Thanks to the passion of a very special set of partners on this project, the concept has been brought to life through the intricate design details of a car that perfectly blends racing pedigree with luxury and comfort. For us, at Porsche Centre Lebanon, it was also a chance to showcase our unique classic restoration skills.”
Well-known Lebanese designer and classic car aficionado Karim Chaya collaborated with noted leather industry figure Johnny Farah to custom fit the interior of the reimagined Porsche. They selected a special vegetable tanned leather, which is characterized by its ruggedness and designed to age beautifully over time, in combination with intricate hand-stitching. The original timeless Houndstooth Porsche fabric, typical of the 1960’s era, was also woven into the interior design. The interior features zinc doors, dashboard panels, oxidized brass detailing and splashes of Bahama yellow throughout. Further customized elements developed as part of the project include a weekend bag set, a leather pouch for the owner’s manual and a special key holder. Paying homage to the 911 L’s heritage, a bespoke tool roll was also created to house car’s toolkit.
Commenting on the collaboration, Karim Chaya said: “The project is more than the sum of its parts and participants. It is the result of a synergy between people’s passions. It personifies our love for Porsche and the lifestyle that revolves around it. Similar to every Porsche ever built, the Bahamamama represents the perfect combination between performance, design, and usability. To me, this car is first and foremost a tool for discovery and adventure, and my dream would be to travel around the world in it, discovering different cultures and geographies.”
The work of two further collaborations on the project was also showcased during Beirut Design Fair, including an exclusive collection by celebrated designer Rabih Kayrouz, and bags and pullovers created by Zazknits, a bespoke Lebanese brand.