Not easy to remember only 5 models from a brand as legendary as Porsche!
Not easy to remember only 5 models in more than 70 years of Porsche history! The brand quickly established itself as the sports benchmark, thanks in particular to very good results in motorsport. But today we are focusing on the most significant road models in the history of the Stuttgart builder. And although the 911 has become over the generations the major icon of Porsche, this is not his only legendary model!
While engineer Ferdinand Porsche and the company he founded in 1931 worked on many projects before WWII (notably the Volkswagen Beetle), the Porsche 356 was the first road car to be produced under its own name. . It is a small sportswoman derived from the Porsche 64, a prototype racing car based on the pre-war versions of the Beetle. Like the latter, the 356 houses a small flat four-cylinder in rear overhang. Small, light, aerodynamic, the Porsche 356 has made a habit of competing with much more powerful sports cars. Its class victory at Le Mans in 1951 made it a legend.
When one thinks of Porsche, only one car comes to mind: the 911. With its round headlights and its engine at the rear, the 911 has established itself as the benchmark for sports cars, on the road and on tracks around the world. The very first generation, which was to be called 901 before a dispute with Peugeot, was presented to the public in 1963. It is clearly a evolution of the 356 : the engine is still at the rear, the general look takes the features of contemporary 356s. But the 911 is more opulent, more liveable. First, it’s a 2 + 2, with two booster seats in the back. Then, the 911 has a 2-liter flat 6, which develops 110 ch when it is launched. More comfortable, plus performing, it is quickly adopted by a wider audience.
The 911 goes next skim competitions : on the circuit at Le Mans and elsewhere, or even in rallies and at the Paris-Dakar, it stands out everywhere as a model of robustness and precision. Over the years, performance increases, and behavior is made more accessible. Even if the first generation evolved a lot, it was not officially replaced until 1989 with the 911 Type 964.
At a time when the 911 was especially appreciated for its contained weight and agility, Porsche decides to throw a stone in the pond by adding a turbo in 1974 to his legendary flat-six. The performances are astounding for the time, with 260 ch for a little over 1,200 kg. In the 1970s, turbos were still very rare, especially on the road. Porsche is adapting here its technology developed for its racing 911s, in particular the devilish 935s which prevail in the general classification of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 911 Turbo has earned over the years a sulphurous reputation, due to the sharpness of its engine, and sometimes treacherous reactions that the surge of power can cause. But by rubbing shoulders with supercars like the Ferrari Testarossa, it secures a place in the pantheon of the most respected sports in history.
Like many legends of the 1980s, the Porsche 959 was initially a car designed for theGroup B homologation. And if the Porsche 959 retains the overall look of the 911, it is in fact a completely different model. With its twin-turbo engine with water cooling of the cylinder heads, its four-wheel drive, its adjustable ground clearance and its worked aero, the 959 is a real technological jewel. In short, the complete opposite of its rival at the time, the Ferrari F40.
When it came out, the Porsche 959 was the fastest car in the world: the 317 km/h are achieved thanks to the 450 hp of the flat-six derived from the competition. 100 km / h is reached in just 3.7 seconds, a figure that is still impressive today. And if Group B was canceled before the 959 could participate, it was still able to shine in competition, especially at the Paris-Dakar and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Presented in the form of a concept car at the World Auto 2000, the Porsche Carrera GT created the sensation. This is a real supercar, as evidenced by V10 in the central-rear position and the carbon shell. The V10 in question is derived straight from a engine designed for Le Mans, and dominates the character of the Carrera GT. The 612 ch are handled through a manual gearbox, unlike the Ferrari Enzo which faced it at that time. If her look is less spectacular than the latter, it was at the time celebrated as being more successful from a behavioral point of view.
Since then, it has quickly become a cult, especially as many consider it to be the last purely analog supercar, in the tradition of the McLaren F1. The Porsche 918 Spyder, which will take over in 2013, is an automatic transmission hybrid.
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