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Porsche 911:The Practically Free Supercar: Practically Free Porsche

Porsche 911:The Practically Free Supercar: Practically Free Porsche

Автором Robert McGowan

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Porsche 911:The Practically Free Supercar: Practically Free Porsche

Автором Robert McGowan

Длина:
220 pages
1 hour
Издатель:
Издано:
Dec 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781386674856
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Have you ever dreamed of owning a Porsche? This book is for you! Learn how you can already affoed the car of your dreams and also how to get your money back come resale. Learn how to spot potential IMS RMS and bore scoroing on affected cars. All Porsche sportscars covered. 

Издатель:
Издано:
Dec 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781386674856
Формат:
Книге

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Porsche 911:The Practically Free Supercar - Robert McGowan

How It All Started

‘’A formally harmonious product needs no decoration. It should elevate through pure form.’’

Ferdinand Porsche

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The Porsche 911 is the best-selling and most iconic sports car in history. Some say it is the greatest sports car of all time. Whatever your view, one thing is undeniable. The 911 is truly special.

In this chapter, I would like to discuss some key developments in the early history of Porsche and how the unique and idiosyncratic Porsche 911 was conceived and developed. Why would anyone put an engine in the back of a car? Isn’t that a bit like putting the horse behind the cart? Let’s look at how it all started.

Ferdinand Porsche with his son, Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche ‘’Ferry" Porsche

The Porsche Company, "Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH, Konstruktionen und Beratung für Motoren und Fahrzeuge,’’ was founded by Austrian born Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) and registered in April 1931. By this time, Porsche was already an established technical genius, a gifted designer and a very creative engineer. Porsche had built an electric wheel-hub motor (the concept for which had been developed by American inventor, Wellington Adams, more than a decade earlier); Porsche also designed various trucks, tractors and cars for military and agricultural use. Porsche was fascinated by electricity and was responsible for the development of the world’s first hybrid car.

1900 Lohner-Porsche. The world’s first hybrid car.

In April 1934, Adolf Hitler commissioned his Volkswagen (or people's car) project to the Porsches Company. Hitler wanted a cheap, reliable and simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new Reich autobahn road network. The engine had to be powerful enough to transport two adults and three kids along the Autobahn at a steady 100 km/h (62 mph). All parts were designed to be easily, quickly and inexpensively changed. A compact, flat four, rear wheel drive, rear engine layout was favored for its efficient packaging and low center of gravity. The location provided more room for the passengers and lent additional traction to the back wheels.

Porsche shows Hitler a Beetle prototype in 1938.

The engine had to be air-cooled since not everyone had a garage and water could freeze in a radiator if left outside. (Ethylene glycol antifreeze was just starting to be used in liquid cooled aircraft engines). The characteristic, floor mounted pedals were used simply because they were much easier to package and to mount than hanging pedals. Floor hinged pedals were the preferred choice in motorsport as they are ideally suited for heel and toe driving, which we will discuss later in the book.

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Ferdinand worked on the Volkswagen project alongside his son, Ferdinand Ferry Anton Ernst Porsche (born in 1909), and Austrian born Hans Ledwinka with whom he had shared ideas previously. Ledwinka had worked with Czechoslovakian company Tatra that had built the V57 prototype with its air-cooled flat twin, rear wheel drive, rear mounted engine. Hitler was impressed with the Tatras and he also liked the shape of the May Bug as designed by German car designer Josef Ganz. The May Bug was visually like the Standard Superior, an automobile produced from 1933 to 1935 by Standard Fahrzeugfabrik of Ludwigsburg, Germany.

The air-cooled flat four boxer engine fitted neatly in the rear of the Beetle.

For the Type 60 Beetle project, Porsche basically combined the looks of the May Bug with technology from the Tatras along with his previously-designed Type 12 and then added the tried and tested 1.1 L, flat four, 25 bhp, air-cooled engine. Cooling the rear mounted engine presented challenges. By the start of WWII, Tatra had filed ten legal claims against VW for patent infringement, however these were neutralized when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Tatra became Nazi property in October 1938. Volkswagen continued to manufacture the Beetle from 1938 until 2003. With 21,529,464 produced, the Beetle is the longest-running and most manufactured car of a single platform ever made.

Ferdinand observes a Beetle prototype in 1938

Porsche also built the 50 bhp Type 64 cars, and since materials and parts were scarce, it was manufactured using mostly Beetle parts with a reworked engine and redesigned and stiffened chassis. The body was designed using new wind tunnel technology, which enabled this streamlined vehicle to obtain a top speed of around 160 km/h (99 mph). It quickly became popular. This car encompasses the true spirit of Porsche and was the start of the Porsche brand as we know it. Only three cars were made. The hand-shaped, aluminum bodies of these cars were made by the bodywork company, Reutter. One of the cars was destroyed during WWII; the Porsche family used one and put the other in storage. The U.S. military found (and chopped the roof off) the one in storage and then thrashed it about until it broke. Ferry Porsche used the other one. Both cars were later restored. One was sent to a museum in Las Angeles; the other one was offered for sale for $20 million!

Type 64 at the Porsche Museum Hamburg

This very special piece of Porsche history is the forefather of the 356, the 911, the 550 Spyder and just about everything else with a Porsche badge since then. I’ve had the pleasure of being close to one in the Porsche Museum, Hamburg and it is indeed a remarkable looking machine.

The VW factory was destroyed during WWII and Porsche turned his attention to designing tanks and other military vehicles, which would later see him tried and jailed for 22 months for alleged war crimes. By  1947, Porsche was back – manufacturing motor vehicles, designing a new Grand Prix racing car in Gmund, Austria, and working on the Auto Union Grand Prix cars. On June 8, 1948 Ferry Porsche built the company’s first ever sports car, the 356 No.1 Roadster, which once again used Volkswagen parts. It was, however, the first car to bear the Porsche name.

Around the same time Porsche designed its logo, which was based on the coat of arms of the Free People State. The black horse and Stuttgart represent the original site of the Porsche factory – atop a horse breeding farm. Prior to 1952, before West Germany was formed, the area was known as Wurttemberg or the Federal State of Wurttemberg, of which the capital is Stuttgart. The antlers and black and red stripes represent the coat of arms of this state and are a part of Germany’s history.

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The first Porsche sports car: the 356 Roadster

When you look at a Porsche 356, you can easily see the Type 64, the 911 and the VW Beetle DNA intact. The 356 is a lightweight, nimble, rear engine, rear wheel drive, two door coupe or convertible. The 1.6 flat four, air-cooled, boxer engine was based on the Beetle’s powerplant with newly added cylinder heads, camshaft, crankshaft, intake and exhaust manifolds and used dual carburetors, which more than doubled the VW's horsepower to 59 bhp. It enjoyed many motorsports wins and became very popular. In 1950 the Porsche factory moved from Gmund, Austria to Zuffenhausen, Germany.

356 Coupe

356 dashboard showing the tachometer placed dead center

Production of the 356 continued until April 1965 and approximately half of the 76,000 cars still survive. These cars aren’t fast by modern standards, but they are utterly charming to drive. All the typical Porsche magic is present, and the lack of speed simply adds value to the driving experience, even with the offset pedals where you sit at 12 o’clock and the pedals are at 10 o’clock. The 356 has enjoyed a renaissance recently and some people are gently customizing their cars with reversible mods to bring them up to usable, high-performance cars. The original price in 1948 for the 356 coupe was $3,750 (U.S.). The 356-cabriolet cost $4,250 (U.S.).

By the early 1960’s, Porsche had enjoyed enormous commercial success with the 356 variants and had earned itself a well-deserved reputation for building quality, high-performance cars that could be driven on a racetrack, then reliably driven back home. Here was a car that was just as comfortable driving to the local shops as it was at covering long distances or going for a spirited blast on a Sunday morning. Celebrities such as Steve McQueen (who had a footswitch fitted in his to turn off the headlights at the first sight of the boys in blue) had served to somewhat glamorize the street appeal of the sleek little Porsche and, of course, there was the tragic accident that killed James Dean. Dean was driving his new, 550 Spyder numbered 130 (VIN 550-0055) when he crashed at the CA Rte. 46/41 Cholame Junction on September 30, 1955.

The Porsche 550 was a racing sports car produced from 1953-1956. In that time only 90 Porsche 550's were produced, an impressive fact considering its dominance in the racing world at that time. The Porsche 550 was a mid-engine car. It was inspired by the Porsche 356 created by Ferry Porsche and by the Spyder

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