A sports car is always an expression of its owner’s personality. The vehicle refiner TECHART from Leonberg near Stuttgart gives Porsche fans all over the world the opportunity to customize their beloved cars as they desire. How surprisingly large their portfolio is, how the topic of individualization and refinement changed and what makes their products so special, tell us managing director Tobias Beyer and marketing director Marc Herdtle in today’s partner portrait!
TECHART was founded in 1987. How did it all start and what’s the story behind the name?
Beyer: The name was derived from the connection between technology and art. Initially the focus was on developments for the interior. The saddlery quickly built up a good reputation. The first “mass product” designed by TECHART became the classic telephone console. In the 90’s, TECHART consequently continued its way towards offering a full range of products. Soon, exclusively for Porsche models.
In contrast to some of the competitors, TECHART doesn’t seem to do extreme conversions for the sake of customer catch. What are your priorities instead?
Herdtle: TECHART has never been loud. We are more at home in the niche, but not focussing on a single theme. The brand has always seen itself as a premium supplier for the full range of individualization. It’s not just about styling or technology. We want to offer our customers everything from one source. When it comes to body parts for example, we always aim to achieve an aerodynamic advantage over series production components.
Beyer: The topic of OEM quality is not only important for the appearance of materials and technical function. In the development of front hoods and front aprons, for example, it is a matter of course for us to carry out various test procedures, including impact tests. TECHART parts should be in no way inferior to the original Porsche parts, even when it comes to pedestrian safety. This high quality standard applies to all our products, i.e. rims, body kits, performance enhancements, suspension components and of course the entire range of handcrafted interior refinement – for every Porsche model, from 911 to Taycan.
How das this quality standard affect TECHART’s design?
Beyer: In principle, all parts should aerodynamically follow the design language of the production vehicle. TECHART products should emphasize or sharpen the vehicle at prominent points. We’re aiming at a finished product, that isn’t recognizable as an aftermarket part to a layman. Everything should look as if it is all of a piece and not deny the design language of the base model. Sometimes TECHART is even ahead of the Porsche: With the TECHART GTsport we offered an unusual conversion program for the 987 Cayman already in 2006. The main features were a sporty aerokit with an aerodynamically functional rear wing and a 3.8 liter engine with 385 hp. It was very similar to the concept of the Porsche Cayman GT4, which they presented about 10 years later on the basis of the 981.
You are currently preparing the launch of the TECHART program for the Porsche 992 Turbo. How has the development changed over the years?
Herdtle: Our development processes have changed significantly over the years. Today’s technology is more sophisticated and offers speed advantages, especially in the design process. When developing the aerokit for the 992, we visualized and prototyped the parts mainly in virtual reality and used 3D printing, rather than the traditional clay design models. Nevertheless, the development work, including design and model making, still takes place in Leonberg. For the actual production of the components we have our OEM-experienced suppliers.
Beyer: The sensor technology in today’s Porsche models is much more capable than it was a few years ago. This, too, offers us possibilities to integrate our products intelligently. For example, our TECHTRONIC is directly networked with the CAN data bus. On the one hand, this allows smart operation, such as activating the additional power via the already existing drive mode switch on the steering wheel. On the other hand, our performance enhancements can even react to feedback from the vehicle and, for example, automatically reduce the additional power in “WET mode” when the road is wet.
The same applies to the many protective functions that ensure that the engine and drive train are never subjected to excessive stress, even with significantly increased power. For this reason, the subject of homologation and approval, e.g. with part certificates or EC type approvals, plays a central role, especially in the development of our performance enhancements and exhaust systems.
Has digitalization also changed the language of form? And how does TECHART look into the future?
Herdtle: The typical TECHART design has already changed over the years. Achieving a harmonic fit to the basic vehicle is of course still very important. Also the digitalization opened new ways here. We implement creative design ideas with very modern, technical materials. In the TECHART rear spoiler II for the 992 models, for example, transparent wing supports made of high-strength Makrolon create a truly unique look.
But not only the form itself has developed steadily. The interaction of the body components in terms of aerodynamics is more important than ever. Today, we are not only dealing with active components such as automatically extending front and rear spoilers. We are also developing body parts that have to supply air precisely or dissipate heat effectively. And all of this in a very broad speed range.
The basic goal, however, has always remained the same: combining an independent, individual design with balanced, performance-oriented aerodynamics as perfectly as possible.Marc Herdtle – TECHART
Especially with regard to e-mobility, we will break completely new ground. After all, without a combustion engine there is no need for an exhaust system. Until now, that has been a very important part of an emotional driving experience – to name just one example. In order to be able to offer our customers a complete range of products in this area, we are currently working very intensively with the Porsche Taycan models. Here, too, as was the case with the Cayenne and later the Panamera, we have to identify those vehicle areas where more individuality and refinement options offer our customers real added value, both technically and emotionally.
Is there such a thing as the typical TECHART customer? And in which regions are your products especially popular?
Beyer: Generally, all TECHART customers are united by their attitude, finding mass-produced vehicles just too mainstream. They want to get something exactly matching their wishes – and we offer that. That’s why we have many long-standing customers. Basically you can say, that our most important sales regions are located, where Porsche itself is particularly successful. However, there are significant differences within the portfolio. Some TECHART conversions, such as the GTstreet program, are so special that they are completely independent of local Porsche sales. However, Europe and the USA tend to be the core markets. Through our worldwide sales network our customers can get the full TECHART product range in more than 40 countries.
And what Porsche would be your personal favorite?
Herdtle: I like it modern and think the Porsche 992 is a great car all around. Hoever, my current dream sports car par excellence would be the TECHART GTstreet RS based on the 991 Turbo S.
Beyer: My heart is clearly set on the classic line of the Porsche 911, which in this case doesn’t mean air-cooled, but 991 Carrera T. The history and emotionality of the Carrera T are symbolic of what a Porsche 911 stands for. The reduction to the essential, the thin glass… a Carrera 4S on the other hand would be out of the question for me. But I agree with Mr. Herdtle that a GTstreet RS would be a dream. The car manages to do a very good balancing act between everyday utility and performance.