by Sian Loyson
In my opinion, Porsche is one of the greatest automotive manufacturers in history, if not the greatest of all time. I am really impressed by the line up of Autoworld to celebrate Porsche’s 70th anniversary.
In the early 40’s, Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, was looking for the sportcar of his dreams but couldn’t find it. So he built it instead. On June 8 1948, The first car under the name Porsche was born: the Porsche 356/1 Roadster, produced in Gmünd. It was powered by a 1.1-liter aircooled 4 cylinder boxermotor, which came from Volkswagen. It had 35 horsepower and it weighed only 585 kilo. The porsche 356/01 was capable of a topspeed of 135km/h.
In 1956 the 356 was replaced by a better version: the Porsche 356 A. And in 1960 a fully new designed 356 B took the place of the Porsche 356 A, which again was replaced by the Porsche 356 C in 1964.
Autoworld managed to line up the original 356-family (Keibl, Gmünd, 356 A, 356 B and 356 C) in their non restaured condition.
I think we can say Porsche has easily one of the greatest race history to tell. In the 50’s and 60’s Porsche scored many wins in their class and overall wins in the sports car racing, most notably winning Targa Florio and Carrera Panamericana. Which were later used for naming their street cars.
In 1970, Porsche won their first time Le Mans 24h with the KG Salzburg Porsche 917K. Later, in 1979, The Porsche 935 K3 even defeated the sports prototype class and took the overall win. In the 80’s, Porsche won Le Mans 24h seven times in a row with their 936 , 956 and 962. And won three times in a row in 2015,2016 and 2017 with their 919 Hybrid. With 19 overall wins, Porsche is the manufacturer who won Le Mans 24h the most!
Beside that, the Porsche 959, which was first manufactured as a Group B rally car, won Paris-Dakar in 1986.
Autoworld placed some of the biggest race icons in chronological order.
1970 was a kind of a 917 year. Next to their first ever Le Mans 24h victory (KG Salzburg Porsche 917K), it was the Martini Racing’s psychedelic long-tail Porsche 917 who stole the show. The purple and green Porsche 917 was so popular that other race organizers said: “Please, bring us the hippie..”
In 2012, The 917-021 was fully restored and came back to La Sarthe for the first time for Le Mans Classic.
The very first Porsche 901, based on a Porsche 356 was born in 1963. Fun fact: Porsche called it the 901, but Peugeot owned that name. Porsche was forced to use another name which became the legendary 911. As we know, from that point, through the years, a lot versions of the Porsche 911 were produced and today is no different. That’s why the 911 is one of the most iconic sport cars on this planet.
RS is short for RennSport and literally means “race sport”. In 1973, the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 was built to satisfy the Group 4 homologation requirement of 500 units. The 1974 Carrera RS 3.0 was almost double the price of the RS 2.7. The Carrera RS 3.0 had a similar chassis to the 1973 Carrera RSR. That’s why it had racing capability. In 1992, Porsche produced a super-lightweight, rear-wheel-drive only version of the 964 Carrera 2 for the European market, the 964 Carrera RS. Than again in 1994 the 993 Carrera RS was the last one of his kind as the Porsche 993 is the last aircooled Porsche on the market.
The Porsche 996 GT3 RS was a tribute to the 1973 Carrera RS and was offered with red or blue wheels and stickers. The last version of the 997 GT3 RS featured a 4.0 flat six engine. It was named the Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0. The engine itself uses the crankshaft from the RSR with increased stroke dimension. And a few months ago Porsche released the brand new Porsche 991.2 GT3 RS, which is the successor of the 991 GT3 RS.
As mentioned before, the Porsche 959 was manufactured as Group B rally car and was used for Paris-Dakar and later as a road legal production car to satisfy FIA homologation regulations requiring at least 200 units be produced. The Porsche 959 was the fastest production car when introduced.
To satisfy the GT1 regulations, Porsche had to create at least 25 cars for road use. That’s how the Porsche 911 GT1 Straßenversion was born.
In the production run of only 1270 cars, the Carrera GT was powered by a ten-cylinder engine with dry-sump lubrication. The capacity of the 5.5-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine, which was originally designed for use on the track, was increased to 5.7 litres for the standard production model.
Back in 2010, Porsche unveiled the Porsche 918 concept at Geneva Motorshow. People were unsure how this future successor to the Carrera GT on the streets. In 2013, Porsche unveiled the production version of the 918 Spyder at Frankfurt Motorshow, which was a hybrid. In 2014 all 918 units were sold out.
I said it before and I will say it again, Porsche has one of the greatest histories to tell and this was only a small part of it!