• I Bet You Didn’t Know About the Porsche B32 - A Porsche-Built 911-Powered Van!

Meet the Porsche B32, the 911-powered VW T3 van

From the 356 and 911 to the 959 and 918 Spyder, Porsche is responsible for some of the greatest sports cars ever built. The German company has been successful in crossover and hybrid markets too, and it recently joined the EV segment with the cool Taycan as well.

What’s more, Porsche also developed some of the most successful race cars of all times, including the 917, 935, 962, and 919 Hybrid. But I bet you didn’t know that Porsche also built a van! Meet the B32, the 911-powered Volkswagen T3 van that Porsche created in the mid-1980s.

What crazy contraption is this?

No, Porsche didn't actually build a van from scratch. The Germans borrowed the T3 from sister company Volkswagen and added its own upgrades.

The title may seem misleading, but trust me on this one, I’m a van guy and I got excited.

And no, Porsche didn’t lose its mind in the 1980s and didn’t want to enter a new segment. Stuttgart simply needed a fast support vehicle during testing of the 959 race car that it was developing for the Paris-Dakar rally. A regular van was far too slow to keep up with the beefed-up 959, so Porsche transplanted a 911 Carrera engine into a Volkswagen T3. Back in the day, when Porsche was still selling an updated first-gen model, the 911 Carrera features a 3.2-liter flat-six mill rated at 231 horsepower.

I Bet You Didn't Know About the Porsche B32 - A Porsche-Built 911-Powered Van!
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That’s not a lot by modern 911 standards, but it was pretty solid back in 1983 and unheard of in a road-legal van.

The flat-six engine enabled the boxy T3 to hit 62 mph from a standing start in only eight seconds and to reach a top speed of around 135 mph.

For reference, the Volkswagen T3’s most powerful stock engine, a 2.1-liter gasoline mill, was rated at only 112 horsepower.

Based on the luxurious Carat trim, the B32 was more than just a 911-powered T3. Porsche also fitted the van with 911-style Fuchs wheel, a set of bigger brakes, and a sportier suspension. It also features a gearbox from the 911 SC and a steering wheel from 911 Carrera.

Porsche B32 specifications
Engine 3.2-liter flat-six
Horsepower 231 HP
0 to 62 mph 8 seconds
Top Speed 135 mph

What happened to the Porsche B32 van?

Porsche reportedly built around 15 of these vans, including prototypes. Although the B32 was not intended to go into production, Porsche sold some of them to special customers and kept a few for itself to transport staff rapidly. Some of them are still around, being featured in a few YouTube videos, but at least one example is being kept in a museum.

Due to the extremely limited production and available, as well as the fact that it looks like a plan Volkswagen T3 on the outside, the B32 did not benefit from a massive cult following. However, some enthusiasts that found out about the project made their own aftermarket conversions, so there are a few T3s fitted with 911 engines out there.

The Volkswagen T3 is a legendary van in its own right

I Bet You Didn't Know About the Porsche B32 - A Porsche-Built 911-Powered Van!
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A successor to the Type 2 (or T2, the original Microbus), the T3 was introduced in 1979 and remained in production for decades. Although it was replaced by the T4 (also known as the Transporter) in 1990, the T3 was produced until 2002 in some markets, with the final examples assembled in South Africa.

The T3 enjoys a cult following around the world and it’s still being used for a wide variety of purposes. The Westfalia camper versions remains highly popular as well. Volkswagen offer a wide variety of gasoline and diesel engines, with output ranging from 49 to 112 horsepower. Oettinger offered an aftermarket 3.7-line unit rated at 180 horsepower, but many owners retrofitted the van with engines from other Volkswagen engines.

Alongside the original Beetle, the T3 was the final generation of rear-engined Volkswagens.

Ciprian Florea
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 full bio
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