Friday, January 13, 2012


Almost a century after its founder started designing automobiles, Porsche is still going strong and that’s the result of a premier cure for a mid-life crisis similar to Harley - Davidson. Porsche's lineup includes four model lines: the Boxster, the 911 models, the Cayenne SUV, and the Carrera GT. And if these vehicles are too expensive, Porsche also offers watches, luggage, and tennis rackets bearing its name. Descendants of the founding family still control the company and these days it has enlarged its area by offering consulting services to other companies involved in auto and furniture manufacturing, mechanical and electronic engineering, and construction.

Over the years, Porsche transformed itself from serious money-loser into one of the most profitable car companies in the world, all this while other car manufactures toil over cash incentives, market share and strategies for the Chinese market. Porsche has constantly rolled out new products and despite the costs and risks is has quadrupled its annual unit sales in just under a decade. The most recent debuts are the Boxster and the Cayenne. And so far, the key of their success seems to be the long product life cycles and the company intends to maintain this strategy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Porsche 365

The Porsche 356 is the first Porsche production automobile and it was sold from 1948 through 1965.  Although many consider Porsche 64 as being the first automobile produced by the German company, the 64 was never mass-produced and it was only a drivable test-mule. The 364 was created by Ferdinand Porsche and his son, Ferry Porsche, designed by Erwin Komenda and its engine features derived from the Volkswagen Beetle, deigned by Mr. Porsche Senior.

The models available were initially coupe, cabriolet (luxury convertible) and then roadster (a stripped down convertible). Before being withdrawn in 1965, it went through several changes. The most desirable versions were 356 “Carrera” (often sold for well over $150,000), “Super 90” and “Speedster”. In the late 50`s, the original selling price for a Porsche was $4,000.

In 1954, Max Hoffman, the only importer of Porsches into United States needed a lower cost, racier version for the American marker. Therefore, the company created 356 “Speedster” that became a instant hit thanks to the low, raked windshield (easily removable for weekend racing), bucket seats, and minimal folding top. These days, this car is still very appreciated as it is sold for over $100,000 and it has been used in several films, including 48 Hours, its sequel – Another 48 Hours and Top Gun. In 1957, the production of Speedster peaked at 1,171 cars. In 1959 it was replaced by the Convertible D model, which featured a taller, more practical windshield, glass side windows, and more comfortable seats.

Year after year, the basic shape of Porsche 356 remained the same and was easily recognized and remarked, even though changes were made, especially in the mechanical area. Coupe and cabriolet models were produced every year up to 1965, with the last 356B Roadster built in early 1963. The final model build was 356 C that featured disc brakes and the most powerful push road engine Porsche so far: the 95HP “SC”.

In the year that Porsche launched 911, 1964, Porsche 356 production peaked at 14,151 cars. Still, the company continued to sell the 356C in North America through the end of 1965 as a lower-cost vehicle. When the customers complained the price for 911 was too high (almost twice the price of the 356), Porsche started producing the 912, using the 356 engine. The 912 model was sold between 1965 and 1969.

56 years after the beginning of the production, Sports Car International named 356C number ten on the list of Top Sports cars of the 60`s. Today, the 356 is a respected car among the collectors, as it stood the test of time. Worldwide, thousands of 356 owners maintain the tradition, preserving their cars and driving them regularly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Porsche 550 Spyder

In 1953, Porsche needed a race car more powerful than the 356. So they created the 550. This was the first true competition car from Porsche. It was lightweight, it had two seats, aluminum body, tubular frame and an open top. They were racing only with Volkswagen. The initial pair of 550 dominated their class at Le Mans finishing one-two in the 1500cc division. Then, one of the two
cars won its category in the famed Pan Americana Mexican road race.

Subsequent 550`s carried on what the initial 550`s had started. They were fitted with the four-cam Carrera flat four cylinders. They soon became dominant cars world wide.  During races, it was fast and easily maneuvered so no other car stand a chance. But people loved it purchasing every one of these quick little cars they could find.

In 1956, Porsche started to produce the 550A, a slightly modified Spyder. It was a hit, shocking the entire world by winning in its first Appearance in Targa Florio, a brutal road race. It also humbled well-known and more powerful rivals such as Ferrari, Maseratti and Jaguar. In the next five years it won almost all the races in which it competed. It became a car that attracted more attention for its occasional losses than for the nearly non-stop victories.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Porsche 911 highlights

The 2005 Porsche 911 redesigned rear-wheel-drive models. The models are available as coupes and convertible Cabriolets. They all have a rear-mounted, horizontally opposed 6-cyl engine. The redesigned Porsche 911 has subtly altered styling and dimensions and changed the interior. There are two types of 911: The Carrera, with a 325-hp 3.6 liter engine and The Carrera S, with 355-hp 3.8 liter.

The 6-speed manual transmission is standard to all 911s. Optional, we can choose the 5-speed automatic with manual shift gate and steering-wheel controls. Standard, the 911s have antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, antiskid/traction control and front side airbags. The redesigned Careras include side airbags in the windowsills for head protection. In the convertibles models, we find a power top and heated glass rear window. A suspension with lowered ride height and shock absorbers are standard on the Carrera S and optional on the Carrera. This system helps adjusting firmness within driver selectable Normal and Sport models. All other Porsche models have 18 inch wheels, but the Carrera S has 19s. An option for the Carrera is a Sport Chrono Package. It includes a dashboard-mounted stopwatch and it allows altering various engine and chassis controls in order to improve driving performance. All 911s offer a navigation system.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Porsche 911 Turbo

In 2006, Dr. Ing. H.c. Porsche will extend it’s current product line with the addition of a new 911 Turbo, the sixth generation of the 911 series. This top-of-the-range model will have its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show on February 28, 2006 and as from June 24, 2006 it will be available in German dealerships.
The 911 Turbo (type 997) has a few improvements. It has an output of 480 bhp at 6,000 rpm, a 3.6 litre engine, a rated torque of 620 Nm and a maximum torque available between 1,950 and 5,000 rpm. All these numbers are translated into driving performance, as the 911 Turbo with six-speed manual transmission only needs 3.9 seconds to get from zero to 100 km/h. The coupe reaches 200 km/h in 12.8 seconds. Despite these performance statistics, Porsche developers succeeded to keep the average consumption to 12.8 liters per100 km.
For those who need even more speed, the 911 Turbo offers the optionally Tiptronic S automatic transmission. This way, it can reach 100 km/h from a standing start in just 3.7 seconds and 200 km/h in a mere 12.2 seconds. Both manual and automatic transmissions have a top speed of 310 km/k. Available for the first time, the optional  “Sport Chrono Package Turbo” enhances the vehicle’s flexibility even further.
The Porsche 911 Turbo features a redesigned all-wheel drive with an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch. The result will be the transfer of the available power to the road. That’s because, depending on the driving conditions, this system will determine the optimal torque distribution to ensure the best-possible drive.  Also, Porsche Traction Management (PTM) ensures variable power distribution to the two driven axles. This means that on the road the 911Turbo will prove outstanding traction in the rain or snow, high agility on narrow country roads and optimal active safety even at high speeds.

The new 911 Turbo’s driving performance is duly tempered by its brake  system, which comprises monobloc fixed-caliper disc brakes with six pistons at the front axle and four at the rear. The diameter of the internally ventilated and perforated brake discs at the front and rear wheels is 350 millimeters. An optimized ceramic brake system that Porsche offers is Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB). This high-tech system reduces with 17 kilograms the standard brake system and provides an excellent fading stability.

The major bodywork change of the 911 Turbo is the modified front end with its distinctive, tautly drawn cooling air inlets. Combined with the standard oval bi-xenon headlights, it will define the new unmistakable image. From the rear perspective too, the Turbo will seem more powerful. This is due first and foremost to its tail end, 22 millimeters wider than that of the previous model, to which the redesigned wing spoiler element has been aligned. Secondly, the lateral air inlets behind the doors have been redrawn and now they offer a more efficient supply of cooling air to the charge-air intercoolers.

The basic price for the 911 Turbo is 115,000 Euros. In the USA, from July 8, 2006, the vehicle will be available at $122,000 (not including taxes).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Porsche 914

Introduced in September 1969, the Porsche 914 was a sporty, mid-engined two-seater with a targa top and a 4 cylinder boxer engine. The idea for this new model came up as Volkswagen and Porsche collaborated to create a new car. VW would take 914 bodies and finish them as 914/4s, and Porsche would take their portion of the body shells, and build 914/6s. When sold in North America, however, all 914s would be considered Porsches.

Porsche 914 is not like other Porsches. It has pop-up headlamps, a vertical rear windshield, and a flat deck lid covering the rear trunk and engine. It has no backseats so when you sit down,  you are practically on the floor, which is on the road.

The interior of the 914 is quite simple, not luxurious but with all necessities. There’s not too much space other than the passenger seat. The transmission is like the 928's with 1st down and to the left. The 914 has a targa top, and like 911's, it stores in the trunk. But if you take off the top and roll down the windows, the Porsche 914 is a pretty nice little roadster.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Porsche - a brief history

Ferdinand Porsche played an important role in the development of airplanes and racing cars, and the construction of tanks for the Wehrmacht. He is an automobile engineer with more than a thousand patents to his name. He was appointed chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart in the 1920s. Later on, he setup his own engineering workshop and designed among others the Volkswagen. At the plant where Volkswagen was made by Wolfsburg, he was chief of operations and at the end of the war he was interned by the Allies.

He was released a few years later and started building his first car with his son, Ferry Porsche. The car was named the Porsche 356 and it was a sports car and a reminiscent of the Volkswagen.It had the same four-cylinder boxer engine that was rear-mounted, just like the VW. It was far from being a powerful sports car, developing only 40 bhp and a maximum speed of 87 mph (140 km/h). First produced as a convertible and later as a hard top it distinguished by the very elegant and innovative body. It was developed in the workshop of Erwin Komenda, a master of restrained streamlining who had been in charge of sheet metal and design techniques at Porsche since the VW Beetle.  The new style of closed coupe was designed by Komenda and it soon became the embodiment of the
sports car, thanks to its fastback.

This tradition was continued by Komenda and Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, the founder’s grandson, with the 911.

The 911 became easily recognizable: it had attractive sloping bonnet and what later became characteristic “frog eye” headlights, curves running from the top edge of the windscreen to the rear bumper and a straight waistline. From a functional and technical point of view it was more like BMW 1500, although it retained the stylistic features of the original Porsche. The new 911 will become the foundation stone of Porsche’s identity, even though the design was not always appreciated. During the 1970`s and 1980`s, the designers attempts to distance Porsche from its legendary design brought the company to the edge of disaster. The more modern 924 model, “a people’s Porsche”, developed with Volkswagen, as well as the 928 were far from fulfilling the expectations.

In the 1990`s, the company realized that what for over twenty years was perceived  as a straitjacket, it was in fact a market advantage. During the 1990`s, Porsche became highly profitable since they now knew that the typical Porsche features were timeless. Nearly forty people now worked in the design department on further developments of the long-running 911. These developments included the 911 GTI, a powerful combination of sports and racing car, put forward by the in-house designer Anthony R. Hatter. In 1999, chief designer proudly presented the new Boxster which enabled Porshe to establish a second independent range of models.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Porsche 968

Porsche 968 is basically the successor of the Porsche 944. It has a low nose and wide wheel arches that helps accentuating the beautiful lines of this classic shape that in a Porsche Guards Red is a real head turner.  It has also the classic GT front engine, rear wheel drive layout with the added advantage of a rear transaxle giving almost perfect weight distribution.

Instead of the hidden headlights of the 944, the 968 has visible pop up headlights, similar to the Porsche 928. This brings the look of the car inline with the new Porsche 997-911. This change has also a practical advantage: the headlights can be washed along with the rest of the car instead of having to pop them up to wash them.

As for the interior, it remains the same as produced in the 944, keeping the famous “oval dash”. The designers used the same robust materials which have given all Porsche owners many years of trouble free motoring.

The exterior has a few differences: the door mirrors have been streamlined with the tear drop effect and the wheels have 5 spoke Cup design alloys. The rear bumper is more blended and with integral rear light clusters, making it almost indistinguishable from the bodywork. All these bodywork changes made the 968 look a lot like the 928, and added the engine heritage, some people have referred to it as “the daughter of 928”.

The engine is a version of the one first used on the 944 S2: it is a 4 cylinder, 3 liter, 16 valve unit. And they added VarioCam for optimum power throughout the speed range. It has 240 HP at 6200 rpm and a torque of 305 Nm at 4100 rpm, given by the improved combustion chamber and inlet manifold design.  At the time of production, it was a remarkable engine, having the highest displacement per cylinder of any car engine and also the highest torque output of any unblown 3 liter engine. Clearly, the result of Porsches investment in this engine paid off.

The rear-mounted gearbox is a 6-speed manual or 4 speed tiptronic. It is the first ever mounted on a production car. The chassis has almost perfect weight distribution and very stiff characteristics.

Usually, most cars start to fail when it comes to breaks and the reason is that it doesn’t matter how fast the car is in a straight line if you can’t take a bend (turn) at the right safe speed. But Porsche brakes have always been the envy of most road sports car manufacturers. You will notice little or no or no discernable fatigue even under harsh use of Porsche 968. ABS adds even more safety to the already excellent braking system. Also, what makes the brakes so effective is that the wheels themselves are designed to prevent the tire from coming off the rim in the event of a sudden pressure loss.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Porsche 977 bodyshell

A new Porsche 911 is always fascinating because it’s interesting to see how after more than 40 years of development the Porsche team still manages to bring changes and improvements to this icon model. 

The new 997 body shell combines the sleek modern looks of the 996 series with the popular retro styling cues from older 911s. The front end is completed with round lights and separate parking/fog/indicator lights. This change, combined with wider hips echoes the last of the air-cooled 911s, the 993. Other changes in the body shell are the new door handles, wing mirrors and the stylish cut of the rear wings into the bumper/lights.

Even if the 997 looks a lot like the previous model, the 996, the new car is actually 38mm wider which creates a more aggressive appearance. With each new model introduced, Porsche has aimed to reduce the drag co-efficient helping the 911 slide through the air more effectively, and so aiding performance. The same thing has been done with the new car, and if we compare the 993 Cd of 0.34 to the 997`s 0.28 we can see how far the aerodynamic game has moved on. The latest body shell and rear wing combine with new under body paneling to also offer increased levels of down force for this latest evolution of Porsche's finest.

The latest Porsche model is the best handling 911 ever. Improving a car's rigidity helps ensure the suspension can work more effectively and while not making such a quantum leap as the team did with the 996. Porsche improved torsional rigidity by 8% and added as much as 40% more flexural strength.

For the new car, Porsche wanted to improve crash safety so they added two new air bags located in the side of each front seat back-rest, designed to protect the thorax. They kept the previous two front and two side airbags, which means that now there are six in total. For the same reason, crash safety, the reinforced body shell features further protection such as a more extensive use of super high strength steel.

The latest model is also 50 kg heavier than the 996. The reason is that modern crash safety regulations kind of force the new cars to come with increased weight, despite the usage of a large range of weight saving measures, including an aluminum bonnet.

Aside from the crash safety improvements, much of the additional weight can be attributed to the higher standard specification of the new cars. Power to weight is similar with the latest car offering 233 bhp per tone against it’s predecessors 238  and the new models improved aerodynamics must help it post Porsches claimed performance figures, which are identical to the 996. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2005 Porsche Carrera GT

Unofficially, the Porsche Carrera GT is a racecar, a racecar built for the street. What makes it a racecar is not necessarily the huge power produced by its V10 engine or the carbon fiber construction that keeps everything very lightweight – although these features surely make it a fast car. It’s more the sum of its parts that make this car worth every bit of its $440,000 price tag.

The Porsche Carrera GT was introduced as a 2004 model and until 2005 there were already a few changes in order to make the Carrera GT the new Porsche super car. These were minor updates in order to make it a little more street friendly. Between the supplemental bar hoops is now mounted a glass screen. The seats height is adjusted along with the additional bolstering in the thigh area. The Carrera GT is easy recognizable, as it’s a low, sleek, lightweight roadster, very beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. Two removable panels that can be stored in the front trunk make the foul weather protection available.

The car has unique features, among which are: 5.7 liter, 605 horsepower V10 engine, monocoque chassis with Porsche-patented engine and transmission mounts made of carbon-reinforced plastic and the first use of a ceramic composite clutch in a production car. A very important aspect is that The Carrera is safe and stable at speeds up to 205 mph, thanks to its aerodynamic and race-bred suspension package.

The design of the suspension is so sophisticated that the shape of its components improves the Carrera GT`s aerodynamics.The designers used lightweight materials such as magnesium for the car’s substantial wheels and the frames of its special sport seats, the result being a faster and safer car. To prove so, The Carrera GT accelerates from a standing start to 62 mph (100km/h) in only 3.9 seconds reaches 100 mph (160 km/h) in less than seven seconds, 125 mph (200 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, and can achieve a top test-track speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).

What makes this car have these impressive results is it’s 5.5 liter, normally aspirated V10 engine for racing created in the development center in Weissach, Germany. That engine’s bores have been enlarged to displace 5.7 liters in the Carrera GT. It has a very low center of gravity, a 68-degree V angle and four valves-per-cylinder heads. Since the block, crankshaft and camshafts are all made of light alloys, the engine weights only 472 pounds (214 kg).

To stop this “monster” Porsche`s team used a high-tech braking system. Developed for demanding motorsports applications, ceramic brakes are the first to work for on-road use. The massive 15 inch ventilated discs and six-piston calipers have the amazing capacity of bringing the car to a sure and safe stop, matched only by the stunning acceleration of Carrera GT.

Porsche Carrera GT is definitely a exotic appearance, a  car that can do it all: fascinate you with its good looks, astound  you with its performance and abilities on the race track.