Gemballa is a tuning company based in Leonberg near Stuttgart, Germany, which was founded by and named after Uwe Gemballa in 1981. They provided aftermarket parts mainly for Porsche. In May 2010, the Gemballa factory was seized by German authorities and shut down following the disappearance of Uwe Gemballa who was later found dead. CEO Andreas Schwarz and investor Steffen Korbach were able to buy the brand rights and name rights from Gemballa in August 2010 under the new name GEMBALLA GmbH.In 2016 Steffen Korbach became the sole CEO of the company and Alexander Schwarz stepped down. Reportedly Korbach also took over the shares in the company from his former partner Schwarz.
A 600 hp (450 kW) Gemballa model held the lap record for road cars at the Nürburgring in the late 1990s once, and again in 2001 when Wolfgang Kaufmann lowered it to 7:32,52 min. It was since beaten by a Porsche Carrera GT, by less than a second.
In the 1980s Gemballa created the Avalanche based on the Porsche 911/930 (Turbo 911 slant nose) and the Cyrrus (convertible) as well as the Mirage that was similar to the Avalanche. The cars were unique with large wide body kits, side strakes (similar to a Ferrari Testarossa), upgraded wheels, interiors, gauges, paint, hifi audio systems, etc. Some vehicles even used cameras instead of mirrors, technology far ahead of its time. Audio company Pioneer used Gemballa vehicles in their advertisements and brochures for several years. The prices for these vehicles were often mentioned as being incredibly expensive for the time period at US $250K-$375K+. Robert Van Winkle, also known as Vanilla Ice, was a famous owner of Gemballa Porsches.
In the 1990s Gemballa's body kits were more subtle compared to the 80s. They continued to perform engine modifications and opened up a US facility in California.
In 2005 a white Gemballa 911 RS America led a parade of approximately 30 other RS Americas at the Porsche Parade in Hershey, PA. It was the largest gathering ever of Porsche RS Americas.
Based on a Porsche Carrera GT, Gemballa produced the Mirage GT. Rumors suggested that when the car was produced it would have upwards of 800 horsepower (600 kW); however, the Mirage GT's only performance modification is an exhaust system which boosts power to 645 hp (481 kW). At that time, company owner Uwe Gemballa said that a twin-turbo version of the Porsche Supercar was in the works. Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine described the car as "one of the finest automobiles we've ever featured."
The Gemballa Avalanche GTR800 EVO-R is a car based on the 911 (997) GT2. Like the title suggests, it produces about 800 bhp (600 kW) thanks to two turbochargers and highly modified engine components. There are pictures and information released at www.gemballa.com, the Gemballa GmbH website.
Gemballa also has a modification based on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo. This produces around 750 brake horsepower. The modification is called GT 750 Aero 3. This modification is also available for the Cayenne's predecessor 955 model. The tune-up kit features exterior modification to enhance aerodynamic performance. Engine tuning is carried through revised turbochargers, coolers (oil and pressurized air IC) and a large collection of engine components including pistons and seals.
The Gemballa MIG-U1 is based on the Ferrari Enzo, in limited numbers. It is a custom made car for Mustafa and Ilyas Galadari from Dubai: Their initials form the Name "MIG".
The 2011 Gemballa Mistrale, based on the Porsche Panamera Turbo, has 707 bhp. Only 30 will be built.
In 2012, due to homologation rules, Gemballa built two versions of McLaren MP4-12C, including one road-going model and one GT3 race version (under Gemballa Racing division label) destined for FIA GT3 European Championship.
The actual Gemballa cars are predominantly based on Porsche and McLaren cars:Gemballa Avalanche based on Porsche 997
Gemballa Tornado based on Porsche Cayenne
Gemballa GT Aero 1/2/3 based on Porsche Cayenne
Gemballa Mirage GT based on Porsche Carrera GT
Gemballa Mistrale based on Porsche Panamera
Gemballa GT based on Porsche 991
Gemballa GT based on McLaren MP4-12C
Gemballa MP4-12C GT3 based on McLaren MP4-12C GT3 (under Gemballa Racing division label)
On February 17, 2010, it was reported that Uwe Gemballa had gone missing in Johannesburg, South Africa while on a business trip. In October 2010, Uwe Gemballa was found shot dead in South Africa. It is suspected that his murder was a result of a money laundering operation which turned against him. On October 29, 2010 Thabiso Mpshe, 28, from Pretoria, pleaded guilty to charges related to his involvement in the murder of Uwe Gemballa in Johannesburg. Under the terms of the plea agreement, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. In 2015, three additional men, Thabo Mogapi, Kagiso Ledwaba and Garlond Holworthy, were also convicted of charges relating to the kidnap and murder of Gemballa. Their sentencing hearing is expected to begin on 30 November 2015.
Gemballa established its racing division called Gemballa Racing in 2011, using McLaren MP4-12C GT3 vehicles instead of Porsches. They are scheduled to race in FIA GT3 European Championship in 2012.