First generation Cayenne’s get Resto-Mod makeover to celebrate 20 years of Porsche SUVs

First generation Cayenne's get Resto-Mod makeover to celebrate 20 years of Porsche SUVs

The 2003 Porsche Cayenne was a game-changer for the company and its customers, but nowhere more so than in the Middle East. The off-road prowess and practicality of the SUV made it a fast friend in a region known for its desert landscape and, let’s face it, wealth.

But some of those first-generation Cayennes are getting close to 20 years old, which means you don’t have to be an oil sheik to buy one, and also make them ripe for some fun tweaks, which is exactly what Porsche has done for the model’s birthday.

Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE challenged the UAE’s two Porsche importers, Porsche Center Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and Porsche Center Abu Dhabi, to get creative with a collection of first generation (E1) Cayennes to on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the SUV and its impact on the luxury car market in the region.

The two Porsche centers bought four Cayennes each, which proved to be one of the biggest challenges of the project, as the teams were only interested in cars in good condition, which were relatively standard, and which were original GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) specification vehicles. And, as might be expected, given their advanced years, some of them still needed work.

More: This Stock Porsche Cayenne tackling Moab is an unlikely off-road hero

“They went through the same inspection process that any Porsche-approved pre-owned vehicle would go through and it required quite a bit of work, which you would expect from cars that are 17 to 20 years old,” said Darren Abel, Brand Manager for Porsche Centrum Abu Dhabi, Ali & Sons.

Some Cayennes are equipped with lift kits and off-road wheels, plus spacers to push the wheels to the edge of the arches and stiffen the stance. Others have fabricated rear spare tire carriers, underbody protection and roof racks for roof tents. One of the other motivations for turning the project around was to promote Porsche Classic and Porsche EquipmentCayenne parts catalogs and some of the changes the teams have made, including the roof top tent and graphics, are available to owners.

The eight modified Cayennes, along with their modern descendants, will be on display at the Icons of Porsche Festival taking place in Dubai on November 26-27, after which they will be sold. And it doesn’t sound like that will last long. “We already have customers lining up to buy them,” says Abel.

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