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 set
up his own engineering workshop and designed among others
the Volkswagen. At the plant where Volkswagen was made,
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.
A Brief History Of Porsche
Ferdinand Porsche was an automobile engineer with more than a thousand patents to his name, and played an important role in the development of airplanes and the construction of tanks for the Wehrmacht as well. In the 1920s he was appointed chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart and later set up his own engineering workshop. There he designed, among other things, the Volkswagen. He acted as chief of operations at the plant where the Volkswagen was made, Wolfsburg, and at the end of the war he was interned by the Allies.
He was released a few years later and immediately went to work building his first car with his son, Ferry Porsche. This car was named the Porsche 356, after Ferry, and was a sports car with styling reminiscent of the Volkswagen. In fact it had the same four-cylinder boxer engine, and wore it rear-mounted, just as the VW did. This meant that it was far from being a powerful sports car, boasting a mere 40 bhp and a maximum speed of 87 mph (140 km/h). Distinguished by its elegant and innovative body, the Porsche 356 was first produced as a convertible and then as a hard top. Father and son developed it in the workshop of Erwin Komenda, a master of restrained streamlining who had been in charge of sheet metal and design techniques for Ferdinand Porsche since the VW Beetle. This new style of closed coupe designed by Komenda soon became the embodiment of the sports car, due in part to its “fastback”.
Erwin Komenda and Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, the founder’s grandson, continued this tradition with the 911.
The 911 became instantly recognizable: it had an attractive sloping bonnet reminiscent of the 356, what later became characterized as “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 shared more in common with a BMW 1500, but it retained the distinctive stylistic features of the original Porsche. The new 911 became the keystone of Porsche’s identity, even though the design was not always fully appreciated. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, many Porsche designers attempted to distance Porsche from its legendary design and nearly 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 fell short fulfilling expectations, and failed to allow the company to branch out in new directions and styles.
However, in the 1990’s the company seemed to realize that what some perceived as a stylistic straitjacket was in fact a market advantage. During this period Porsche embraced the timeless nature of classic styling to become highly profitable. Nearly forty people now worked in the design department solely dedicated to further improvement of the long running 911. Such developments included the 911 GTI, put forward by the in-house designer Anthony R. Hatter as a powerful combination of sports and racing car. In 1999, Porsche’s chief designer proudly unveiled the new Boxster, enabling Porsche to establish a second independent range of successful models.
Porsche Before Porsche: Ferdinand’s First Fifty Years
Ferdinand Porsche was around 72 years old when the first hand-made, hand-beaten Porsche 356 rolled down the road at Gmund. It was 1948 but Porsche had started his career before the turn of the century.
Just what was he doing for his first fifty years?
The one word answer is “plenty”. A slightly longer answer is designing some of the top motoring icons and fastest cars of the twentieth century. Or, getting all the experience, knowledge and skills needed to produce one of the hottest and most charismatic lines of sports cars in the world.
It all started in the late nineteenth century. Porsche’s father was a tinsmith, but young Ferdinand preferred the new-fangled electricity. He worked for an electrical equipment manufacturer before designing electric automobiles for Lohner. The Lohner-Porsche, with electric motors in the front wheel hubs, (one of the first front-wheel drives), was exhibited at the Paris exhibition in 1900 and won a Grand Prize for 25 year old Porsche.
Porsche kept developing the Lohner. Motors in all four hubs made it one of the earliest four-wheel drives and a petrol engine and generator instead of batteries made it one of the first mixed drive vehicles. Porsche himself raced one of the petrol-electric cars.
In 1905, Porsche moved from Lohner to Austro-Daimler where he became technical Director, and later Managing Director. His first petrol car there was developed into the sports model that won the 1910 Prince Henry Trial.
Cars weren’t the only mechanical designs of the self-taught automotive genius. In 1912 he designed a four-cylinder aero engine. Its layout was a flattened X, almost a flat four.
World War I had Porsche working for the military, designing gun tractors, motorized artillery pieces and an enormous road train carrying an 81-ton gun and pulling four trailers each with eight-wheel drive. Total weight was 150 tons! It used the Lohner-Porsche method of electric motors in the hubs with a 20 liter, 150 hp traction engine providing the power.
In 1917 he received an honorary doctorate from Vienna Technical University.
Porsche turned to small cars after WWI, designing the Sascha, which could hit 89 mph with a tiny 1100 cc engine. These cars came first and second in their class in the 1921 Targa Florio. However, differences of opinion with other directors of Austro-Daimler led to a move to Daimler in Stuttgart, as Technical Director with a seat on the board.
Here Porsche fixed the poor performance of Daimler’s new two-liter supercharged race car, which went on to take the first three places in its class in the 1924 Targa Florio, including first place overall. Porsche was awarded another honorary doctorate, this time from Stuttgart University for his achievements.
At Daimler he designed one of the most famous cars of all time, the seven-liter six-cylinder supercharged Mercedes which progressed through the K and S series to the SS, SSK and SSKL. These cars dominated racing in 1928-30. As well, he worked on diesel engines for trucks and airplane engines.
Daimler merged with Benz in 1926, and the combined board rejected Porsche’s push for small and light Daimler-Benz cars. Porsche quit and moved to Steyr where he designed a large luxury car with a 5.3-liter straight-eight.
Steyr collapsed in the great depression though, and in 1930 Porsche was unemployed.
At the age of 55, when many people these days are taking early retirement, Porsche opened his own design bureau with a select group of engineers that he had previously worked with, including his own son Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche.
His first job was the Wander W.17, a small medium-priced six-cylinder car. A small car for Zundapp followed. Named the Volksauto, it was an early ancestor of the Beetle, with a rear-mounted radial engine and fully independent suspension. It didn’t go into production because of an upturn in Zundapp’s normal market of motorcycles.
In 1932 Russia offered Porsche the job of State Designer. It was an attractive offer, but he turned it down.
Another tilt at a small car came from NSU. The Zundapp was dusted of to give the basic ideas, but this time a flat-four air-cooled engine was used at the rear, along with torsion bar suspension and swing axles at the back. Three prototypes were built before the project was abandoned, but the VW Beetle was getting closer.
Hot racing cars were still on the drawing board, with the Porsche team building a real monster for Auto-Union. It had a 4.4 liter supercharged V16 mounted at the back. With the weight at the back, swing axles, skinny tires and tremendous power, (it’s reported they could spin the wheels at 100 mph) these cars were a handful to drive, but they won races!
Meanwhile, Hitler was also gaining tremendous power, and one of his ideas was for a “people’s car”. Porsche got the job of designing it, and all his previous experience went into the best selling car ever, the Volkswagen Beetle. Three Beetles were turned into lightweight sports coupes for the proposed 1939 Berlin-Rome road race.
The race never took place because the Second World War started.
During WWII the Beetle was turned into the Kubelwagen, the German equivalent of the Jeep. Porsche designed the Tiger, Ferdinand and Maus Tanks, which all used the mixed drive with an internal combustion engine driving hub-mounted electric motors.
The war ended and the French threw Professor Porsche, son Ferry, and son-in-law Anton Piech in prison as war criminals. (Totally unfounded). Ferry was released after a few months but the Professor was kept with France demanding 1 million Francs for his release.
Ferry and the design bureau took on new projects to pay the money. When the Professor was released, the design of the very first Porsche branded sports car was well under way. This car was the 356, the start of a line of exciting thoroughbreds which are some of the most desirable sports cars in the world today.
Ferdinand Porsche may have had a humble start in life but he was an automotive genius and for half a century he designed some of the most magnificent machinery ever. The Porsche cars of today continue his legacy.
Porsche Car Covers For Top Protection
In owning a high quality roadster such as a Porsche Boxster you are making a statement that you value quality, engineering, speed, luxury, and reliability. Few cars can match all that a Boxster does in effectively combining an exhilarating sports car ride with a sensible price. Still, owning any Porsche is an investment and you must take care to protect that investment. A custom fitted car cover is something to consider to properly shield your Porsche.
After spending over sixty thousand dollars for your new Porsche, why is it that the one investment that can save you thousands of dollars is often overlooked? What I am talking about is a Porsche car cover. A car cover is a reasonably priced accessory that should be standard equipment for any vehicle. For only a few hundred dollars a custom fitted car cover will protect your car from:
When selecting a car cover there are some things to consider:
You spent a nice amount of money on your Porsche. Do not neglect it and forego a car cover. Protect your investment with a high quality car cover from a leading manufacturer such as Covercraft.
Porsche floor mats
Floor mats are probably not the first thing you are thinking
when you buy a new Porsche. Yes, you think more about the
Boxster engine and the acceleration and the bodyshell color,
but unless you’re going to hand your keys to the butler every night,
Porsche floor mats are an essential purchase. We are talking
about Porsche floor mats. The floor mats are important for
every car and even more when you are thinking about a Porsche.
After all, they will cover some extremely expensive carpet.
The combination of high quality and good looks that will complement
the interior of your car, no matter what floor mats you choose.
You will be driving a car worth a hundred grand and you won’t
want your Porsche 911 floor mat, Porsche Boxster floor mat, or
other Porsche floor mat on the carpet look like it came from the
dollar store. You can find protective and attractive high-end floor
mats for year-round use in fair climates, and also heavy-duty
rubber floor mats if you use your Porsche to trek through deep
The Original: Porsche 365
Sold from 1948 through 1965, the Porsche 356 was Porsche’s first production automobile. Although many think of the Porsche 64 as being the first automobile produced by the German company, the 64 was never mass-produced. It was only an operable concept car and testing platform for the company’s design ideas. The 364, created by Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry Porsche, was designed by Erwin Komenda. Its engine features were derived from the Volkswagen Beetle, which was also designed by the senior Mr. Porsche.
Initially the models available were a coupe, cabriolet (luxury convertible) and a roadster (a stripped down convertible). The Porsche 356 underwent several changes before being withdrawn in 1965. The most sought-after variants of the car were the 356 “Carrera” (which often sold for over $150,000), the “Super 90” and the famous “Speedster”. The original selling price for a Porsche was around $4,000 in the 1950s.
It was in 1954 that Max Hoffman, the only importer of Porsches into United States, told Porsche that he needed a lower cost, racier version of the 356 to entice the American driver. To this end the company created the 356 “Speedster”. It became a instant hit, featuring a low, raked windshield (easily removable for weekend racing), bucket seats, and minimal folding top. Today this car is still widely coveted and premium examples of the model have sold for over $100,000. It has also been used in several films, including “48 Hours”, its sequel — “Another 48 Hours”, and “Top Gun”. The production of Speedster peaked at 1,171 cars in 1957. It was replaced 1959 by the Convertible D model. This model featured a taller, more practical windshield, glass side windows, and more comfortable seats.
Even as the mechanical side of the Porsche improved year after year, the basic shape of Porsche 356 remained the same and was easily recognized. The last 356B Roadster was built in early 1963, but the coupe and cabriolet models were produced every year up to 1965. The final model built was the 356C, featuring disc brakes and the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche so far: the 95HP “SC”.
Porsche 356 production peaked at 14,151 cars in 1965, the same year that Porsche introduced the 911. The company continued to sell the 356C in North America through the end of 1965 as a lower-cost option to the higher-performance 911. When the customers continued to complain about the high the price of the 911, which was almost twice the price of the 356, Porsche started producing the 912. This car utilized the 356 engine and was sold between 1965 and 1969.
56 years after the beginning of its production, Sports Car International named the 356C as number ten on its list of Top Sports cars of the 60’s. Having stood the test of time, the 356 is a well respected and coveted car among collectors today. Thousands of 356 owners worldwide maintain the tradition, preserving their cars and through them the legacy of Porsche engineering excellence.
Ariel Atom Makes You Want To Say Oh My Gawd!
Jay Leno, America’s most popular car collector and host of the Tonight Show, received the very first Ariel Atom 2 produced in the U.S. This little demon is an F1-inspired racecar that anyone can own. The Ariel Atom, which was first developed in 2000, is for one and only one type of driver – an unadulterated fiend for speed, performance, and fun! An entire page of emboldened exclamation points falls short of describing the giddiness and excitement this two-seat racecar delivers to an adrenaline junkie. The magnitude of the acceleration from driving this car around a track might just pull the skin right off of a face!
Brammo Motorsports is licensed to make the Atom Ariel 2 in the U.S. UK-based Ariel Motor Company produces the Atom abroad. The U.S. version deploys a General Motors’ Ecotec 2.0 L SC engine, while Ariel uses a Honda IVTEC. Both engines produce around 300 horsepower, which does sound somewhat laid back for an asphalt rocket of this nature. However, with the Atom’s weight just a tad over 1,000 pounds, the vehicle’s weight to power ratio, 4.10 to 1, is comparable to the McLaren F1, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, and the Ferrari Enzo. It goes from zero to 60 mph faster than you can say “Porsche Carrera” (2.8 seconds). The Bugatti Veyron 16.4, which costs $1.34 million, does it in 2.5 seconds. The Atom’s price range is $35,000 to $75,000.
The car’s chassis and body are one and the same. It has a tubular steel frame that houses two seats, four tires, two lights, a steering wheel, an engine, and, thankfully, an excellent set of brakes and safety belts. The perfect pitch of the engine is the Atom’s sound system. There is no roof, windshields, and doors. When it accelerates, the aerodynamics from its low, wide shape, nose cone, rear-positioned engine, and front/rear double-wishbone suspension pushes the car down into the road to improve its stability.
Although the Atom is available in six colors, it is hard to call it a luxury toy. But since it is neither a street-legal vehicle nor an item available at Wal-Mart, it fits the bill. However, if purchased as a kit car and assembled correctly with all the extra goodies added on, it may be street legal in some states. But who cares? Driving this badass car on any road with restrictions or impositions would be outright perverse.
Simon Saunders, who has designed both cars and motorcycles for some very prestigious manufacturers, is the designer of the Ariel Atom. He set out to create a vehicle that gave drivers the thrill of a motorcycle with the safety of a car. Check out the videos on the company’s Web site and see for yourself. Mr. Saunders is a bloody genius!
It’s Not a Ferrari for Nothing
The classic look of the Ferrari is its blazing race red color (Rosso Corsa) alongside the prominent black steed on canary yellow background topped by the Italian flag. Colors have been the essence of luxury when it comes to luxury cars. But what is the Ferrari, and how did its popularity come to be?
The Ferrari in fact began Italian Enzo Ferrari’s establishment of the Scuderia Ferrari in 1929. He didn’t exactly build the company for the purpose of selling luxury sports cars built for the road, but to simply provide sponsorship for the Modena-based amateur car racers and enthusiasts. Its founder, for a time, successfully raced drivers in Alfa Romeos until he learned of Alfa Romeo’s intent to purchase Scuderia.
This forced Enzo to inevitably carry on with Scuderia Ferrari on his own. What made this great man begin the huge Ferrari sports car empire? It was a result of the need to finance the Scuderia that he actually reluctantly sold the very first Ferrari, dubbed the 125 S, in the year 1947.
However, the force that was Ferrari did not come to be as a result of just an image of luxury and prestige, since Enzo did not desire to even begin sales of his racecars. What gave the Ferrari its niche market was its beautiful design and breakneck driving speeds.
Knowing this particularly interesting history; speed up to the present and we have the sports car giant Ferrari still holding true to its reputation of beauty and speed.
The fastest Ferrari sports car to date is the 2002 Ferrari ENZO, designed by the Pininfarina design house. The new-found speed of the Ferrari ENZO comes from the fact that every bit of the design aspect of this model serves a particular speed or aerodynamic function.
The Ferrari ENZO is a testament to its Formula 1 participation, creating a statement both on the race track and on the exotic and fast sports car lists. For one, its sleek and pointed front were designed to facilitate the airflow, helping cool the brakes and the engine during the heat of a race. The entire body’s shape is to create effective aerodynamics and reduce drag.
Beginning with the Ferrari ENZO is the option for buyers to personalize the Ferrari’s cockpit in order to best suit their taste and needs.
Enzo Ferrari built an empire on the statement of beauty and speed. With its continued patronage for these two values through the years, expect Ferrari to continue being a force to be reckoned with.
“RTR” Remote Control Cars
What could be the best possible gift for your child this Christmas? What could be the best possible replacement of his old car with which he does vroom-vroom all the day? Well the answer is simple. Present him with an RTR Remote Control Car.
An RTR Car implies a ready-to-run car. It is a remote control car which comes assembled from the company. All you have to do is put the batteries in the car and it’s ready to use.
The functioning of the car is controlled by a remote, provided along. The remote is easy-to-operate and contains all the buttons which control the featured movements of the car. These RTR Remote Control Cars are also used for racing purposes. You might find your child racing with his friend’s remote control car.
The RTR Remote Control Racing is fast emerging as a recreational hobby which is not merely confined to children. Adults and aged people are also finding these RTR remote control cars racing as a real fun.
As the craze for RTR Remote Control Cars is growing among the kids, toy manufacturers have started manufacturing various types of it. Today you can choose from different types of RTR Remote Control Cars.
You can find lots and lots of RTR Remote Control Cars in the market today. One of the best ways to find and buy RTR cars is internet. On the internet you can find several websites providing numerous types, styles and shapes of RTR Remote Control Cars.
Some of the RTR remoter control car manufacturers design the exact models of some of the famous cars in the world. Among the famous brands on which these RTR cars are based include- Mitsubishi, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche and much more.
If you plan to buy RTR remote control cars on the internet by searching for the car which you think would be the best for your child. You can search RTR Remote Control Cars by the famous manufacturers. You can narrow down your search by pre-determining what kind of an RTR model you are looking for.
If you want an RTR remote control car for yourself, you should probably search for gasoline cars. These RTR cars provide you with ultimate remote control car experience as they employ the use of nitro boosters in them. As soon as you would throttle your car, the flames from the exhaust of your car would definitely add to your confidence.
However if you are a starter you can opt for electric RTR remote control cars. These cars run on battery and there is no such thing as flame exhaust in them. Though the performance of these cars is less than the nitro cars, they are easy-to-handle and operate. As a beginner your child can enjoy with the car and learn how to control remote cars.
Buying and playing with RTR remote control cars can be a real fun for you and your child. You can even buy two cars and watch your child compete with you. This way you can play and enjoy with your child.
Sports Cars: Getting Started on Your Need for Speed
If high acceleration, top speed, and appearance are what you want in a vehicle, then a sports car is probably what you’re looking for.
Sports cars are a $4.5 billion industry with about 55,000 units sold annually.
Sports cars are built as performance vehicles – meaning they are to be pushed in ways regular cars can’t. For example, acceleration is often no more than 5 seconds to go from 0 to 100 mph.
As it is more difficult to maneuver a speeding object, sports cars are specially designed to be handled at top speeds.
The term “sporty” was coined to refer to a sleek but robust design that exudes a powerful persona for the person behind the wheel.
What follows is a basic run-through of sports cars out in the marketplace – their general designs and layout, as well as a listing of the more popular models and makers.
– FF – front engine, front wheel drive.
The FF layout has a moderate capacity for high speed handling and is seen in select models such as the Fiat Coupé, and the Lotus Elan M100.
– FR – front engine, rear wheel drive
Considered the “classic” sports car layout, the engine drives the rear wheels but keeps the weight off the back. The FR is good at drifting corners while still maintaining control. Mercedes-Benz is recognized for using this layout for its models.
– RR – rear engine, rear wheel drive
With the engine at the back driving the rear wheels, weight placement on a RR layout provides excellent traction for a car. However, without auxiliary driving aids like stability control, handling becomes difficult. As of today, the only maker who keeps the RR layout for its cars is Porche.
AWD – all wheel drive
An AWD layout provides the easiest handling, making it ideal for those who are just starting out with sports cars. Audi started the widespread use of this technique with the Quattro. Japanese manufacturers like Mitsubishi used this layout to increase handling making it an excellent rally car.
Because of higher restrictions in the states, sports car manufacturers are more prevalent in Europe than in America. Nevertheless, American brands are in equal competition with its European and Asian counterparts. Some recognized makers and models are:
Now that you’ve gotten started, take your next step by discovering the excitement a sports car can bring you today, just like it has for generations.