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Old 15th August 2004, 18:20   #16
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The Little #######.

Porsche 550 RS Spyder
Year:1953

The year 1953, venue Paris AutoSalon, Porsche unveiled to the world a silver prototype of it's core racing intentioned derivative of the 356s, the 550 RS Spyder. Constructed of an entire Aluminium body, the Spyder was designed by Wilhelm Hild, and the body was built by Weidehusen in Frankfurt. The 550 Spyder earned it's reputation because of two reasons. Firstly, the numerous victories achieved at several circuit races as well as those held on 1000s of kilometers of long, winding country roads, endurance racing if you please.

The second and rather more tragic publicity came through the death of the famous American actor, James Dean, but more on both later.

This fabulous two-seater was the first sports car from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen developed especially for motorsport. Weighing just 550 kilos or 1213 lb, the lightweight Spyder was destined to score numerous wins on racing circuits the world over and in road races so popular at the time. A particular highlight enthusiasts still remember to this very day is the 1954 Carrera Panamericana, Hans Herrmann finishing third overall behind two much bigger and more powerful sports cars, namely Ferraris, thus bringing home victory in his class in this fifth and last edition of the toughest road race in the world. This outstanding success was to be followed by a long list of further victories and successful entries in motorsport by both the works team and a number of private customer teams. Developing the 550 Spyder in early 1953, Porsche engineer Wilhelm Hild followed the example of a previous Glöckler-Porsche: Like this predecessor, the 550 Spyder featured a flat welded tubular frame, only the subsequent 550 A being upgraded by a "genuine" spaceframe. And contrary to common belief, the "550" model designation was not derived from the weight of the car. Rather, this was the 550th construction by Porsche.

A complex concentrate of power: the Fuhrmann engine

It is rare that an engine bears the name of its originator, and the 1498cc engine of the 550 Spyder does just that. The engine was designed by a young engineer Emst Fuhrmann, for whom the engine design was the object of his thesis for his doctorate, entitled "Ventiltrieb EIB schnell laufenden Verbrennungsmotoren." Professor Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann was bound to make a career at Porsche and in 1976 was appointed President of Porsche AG.
The four cylindered Fuhrmann engine, also called "driving Will square" was built between 1954 and 1965, and had all the traits of a good racing engine : increased power, increased drivability and a beautiful sound. The type 547 engine *with its twin cam, twin plug and dual distributors terrorized the larger displacements as well as its own class.

On April 2, 1953, the Fuhrmann engine was tested for the first time on the bench. The 547 developed 110 bhp @7800 rpm. In 1955, Porsche decided to use the engine on all sports cars in its range. So the 356s with the Fuhrmann engine delivered 100 bhp. In 1956 the power of the revised 550A climbed to a 135 bhp. The progress didn’t stop there. Tests revealed that the engine when bored out to 1600cc produced 164bhp. But the ultimate of the Fuhrmann series was engine type 587 displacing all of 2000cc and delivered 180bhp. A 904 GTS equipped with the same engine won the Targa Florio in 1964. In 1965 the combination of *Eugen Bôhringer/Rolf Wütherich finished second in the Monte Carlo Rally. The power output of the Fuhrmann engine would have been enough for the Porsche 911 presented in 1963. But to build this engine in a relatively significant number was difficult as the design was too complex and was thus not justified economically.

The works Porsche team had gotten it’s act together well before the 1953 rules and regulations for national and international competitions with an optimized 356. There were private entries too, such as Walter Glôckler, who built special competition vehicles long before the factory started. For the design of type 550 at the beginning of the year 1953, engineer Porsche Wilhelm Hild took as a starting point the Glôckler Porsche. Like the latter, the 550 had a flat frame out of welded tubes. All 550 models were equipped with an independent suspension and torsion bars. The front suspension, the steering, the wheels and the brakes were borrowed from the 356.

In 1956, the 550 A entered the scene. It had exchanged the flat frame for a lighter multi tubular frame and was definitely more rigid. The engine output had increased to 135 bhp. It is with the 550 A that Porsche could celebrate their first victory in the overall classification in the Championship of the World where the Italian Umberto Maglioli created sensation by winning the Targa Florio in 1956.

Racing Heritage.

Light weight and powerful engine enabled the 550 to attain a top speed of 220 kmph and go from 0-100kmph under 10 seconds. This resulted to wins at famed races including Mille Miglia one of the most celebrated road races in Italy. The 550's racing success has been a major, if not the major, contributing factor to Porsche's commercial success. The 90 car run had swept the global competition in its class with a mere 100 horsepower. From the LeMans in 1953 to 1955, the Porsche Spyder was a force to be reckoned with on the track. The 1954 LeMans proved difficult due to a piston failure. *Two cars raced at Le Mans that year, No. 45 driven by Richard von Frankenbuer and the well known writer Paul Frere took 15th, and No. 44 driven by Helm Glockler and Hans Herman placed 16 overall scoring double class wins. In the 1955 LeMans, the Porsche 550 secured a win in the 1.5 liter and a 1st - 2nd in the 1.1 liter classes. *Besides a 4th place overall finish, the Spyder was awarded The Index of Performance for the car with best combined speed and economy in the entire race field. *In 1956 an "improved" 550A Coupe won its class, placing 5th overall.
In 1956, the 550 achieved a major success by winning the Targa Florio with Umberto Maglioli at the wheel, 15 minutes in front of the second place Maserati, a 3 liter car. This is with a 1500cc flat-four Fuhrmann engine. Ideally for winding, country roads the 550 A Spyder also won the 1000-Kilometer-Rennen on the Nuerburgring 1956 with count Berghe von Trips.

Adding to the above list of race wins, another reason that made the 550 popular was the death of the famous American actor James Dean. On September 30, 1955, James Dean and the Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich were on the way to a race track, lost control of the car and crashed causing the death of Dean while Wütherich was seriously injured.



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Old 20th August 2004, 01:06   #17
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Hey pal, let me know when you're through. We can work out a coffe table book design. What say??
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Old 24th August 2004, 01:25   #18
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Whoa, you serious? That would be awesome. Though this list will take a while to be finished, but your idea is an awesome incentive. I have this ultimate dream, not about making money or that sort. Before i die, i want to write a book about cars, make a movie about cars, and a little far fetched but a song about cars too. Though i haven't decided whether i would be doing the vocals or an instrument.
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Old 29th August 2004, 02:05   #19
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Circa 1959. The world was to be introduced to sports cars *like none other. A marque that has enjoyed loyalty to the same three numbers for almost 50 years now. Maybe the most hallowed 3 numbers ever in motoring history. Ladies and Gentlemen, behold, the 911. Er.. first the 901, the predecessor to the 911 and literarily the 911. But technically not so.

On September 12, 1963, Porsche unveiled it's first new car since the 356s, a Yellow Type 901, so it was to be named, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. *Though the car didn't always start *out as a 901. It has a history to it too. So much heritage it makes me weep.

The car actually started as a Type 695, also known as the T7 prototype. The last of the 356s were known as the T6s, mind you. The T7 was supposed to be a change in direction from the aging 356s. The 695 has a wheelbase longer than the 356s by almost 100mm. The front half did make it to production, but there was no way the rear end would, so it was given a makeover by Butzi Porsche, Ferdinand's son.

Porsche engineered an all new Flat-six Boxer engine for the 901, the tradition carried over to the very finest of the 911s, even today. *The original engine, Type 901/01 was deemed to be an advanced and highly specified engine for a production car. Its breakthroughs included:

· Aluminium head and crankcase.
· Biral cylinders, i.e., cast iron cylinder liner with aluminium fins casting around.
· Cast aluminium pistons.
· Hollow, sodium-filled exhaust valve for better cooling.
· Forged steel crankshaft.
· 7 main bearings for fully counterweighted crankshaft.
· Hydraulic timing chain for valve gears.

But Porsche's achievement would but naturally attract attention and the wrong kind too. After the first prototypes were produced, Porsche for some reason decided to name it's new model 901. Little did they know, Peugeot was the first to pounce on them for infringement of copyrights. Peugeot had rights to the 901 beforehand, according to them,
because the combination of three - with a zero in the middle - was patented. Porsche immediately responded by changing the model number to 911, but by then a few 901s had already made it to the streets. Out of the four original prototypes one is believed to exist even today, and any of the 901s are highly sought after as collectibles. The 901 was sold in German and international markets for DM 21,900.

Auto Data:

Production: 1963-1964

Number Made: 87 units

Engine Type: Air Cooled Flat 6

Displacement: 1991 cc / 122 cu. in.

Compression Ratio: *9.1 : 1

Valve Configuration: 2 valves per cylinder, Overhead V, Chain Driven

Bore: 78.7 mm / 3.1 in

Stroke: *66.0 mm / 2.6 in

Power: * 130 hp @ 6100 rpm / 97 kW @ 6100 rpm

Torque: * 140 lb. ft. @ 4300 rpm / 190 Nm @ 4300 rpm

Redline: * 6800 rpm

Horsepower per Liter: * 65.3 hp/L

Weight: * 1000 kg / 2205 lb

Front Wheels: * 4.5J x 15

Rear Wheels: * 4.5J x 15

Front Brakes: 9.25 in

Rear Brakes: 9.50 in

Front Track: *1332 mm / 52.4 in

Rear Track: *1312 mm / 51.7 in


Chassis Layout: *Rear Engined / Rear Wheel Drive

Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

Body & Frame: *Unibody

0-60 mph: *~0-96 km/h: * 8.70 s

Top Speed: 209 km/h / 130 mph



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Old 16th December 2004, 12:29   #20
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This is just a reminder to all those who forgot about Porsche Model History and thought the thread was dead. It's back! For all those who were expecting the 911s next, that is not going to happen, sorry. I will be finishing the others in the line up such as the 914, 924, 928, 944, 968, before i get to the 911. That 911 series would be huge and would include the 930, 964, 993 and 996s, so it would take some time and pre-930s of course. So buckle up! Coming up, Porsche 914.
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Old 16th December 2004, 19:45   #21
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Default Porsche 912/912E

The Forgotten Love-child: Porsche 912
Year: 1965 – 1969 and 1975

By 1963, the Porsche 911 had already found it’s way to the showrooms, and is as much appreciated 40 years later as it was in 1963. While quite a few thousands found their way into customer garages, there was a certain Porsche model, that was working wonders for Porsche in it’s production run of four years, the Porsche 912.

What came to be known as the poor man’s Porsche, for those not fortunate enough to own the fabulous flat-six endowed 911, earned itself quite a cult following. The 912, was supposed to ease the transition from the 356s to the 911s, and was fondly known as the 356D. The 356 loyalists could swear by the same quality of construction, aerodynamics, ergonomics and quality of construction in the 912. The interiors were much reminiscent of the 356s design.

So much so, that in 1965, the 912 outsold the 911 by two cars to one. Any critics whatsoever, were easily dismissed when this feat was achieved again in the year 1966, this time the ratio being almost three cars to one. The ‘100,000th’ car built by Porsche was a 912 Targa Polizei car for the Badem-Wurttemburg state police. The 912 also won the 1967 Car and Driver’s ‘Reader’s Choice’ poll for it’s class. Production eventually slowed down in 1968 and 1969, when focus was shifted to the quicker 911s, and eventually was retired off the production lines in 1969, to give way to the Karmann-built 914. By this time, almost 33,000 of these 912 found their way into the hearts of enthusiasts. However much to the industry’s surprise, the 912 reappeared in the lineup, as the 912E, using the then new 914’s engine. But more on that later.


The two-door coupe, had a rear mounted four-cylinder , air-cooled Boxer engine, in true Porsche tradition, displacing all of 1582 cubes of air. This, for those can remember, was the same flat-four that did duty in the late 356s too. This engine resided in the external body which was same as the 911, albeit 250 pounds lighter. The engine produced 90 bhp and 86 lb/ft of torque, to lend the car brisk performance in the form of a 0-60 mph time of 11.6 secs, on to a top whack of a 115 mph. Porsche offered an option of a four-speed or racing pattern five-speed transmission. Disc brakes were standard all around, as was four wheel independent suspension with torsion bars. This made the 912 a much nimble handler and won acclaim for it’s traits. In 1969, the famous racing great Mark Donohue, tested the 912 for Car and Driver and said, ”And you've got to admire them [Porsche] for getting so much out of a relatively small engine, even the 912 - although I was most impressed with the handling. The cars have remarkable suspension systems.” Recaro seats were standard and the options included air-conditioning, three-point seatbelts and electric sunroof. The interesting bit about the 1965 and the 1966 912s were the Nadella halfshafts, which they shared with the notorious 904 and 906 racers. Advantages of the Nadella Halfshafts:
1). They can withstand high amounts of torque, hence the racing application.
2). The joints are sealed.
3). Extra points in a concours.
Of course they had their disadvantages too, they weren’t constant velocity joints and could not be easily rebuilt. Also, the integral mechanism to allow axial movement was not symmetric, so when extended they could be unbalanced, which could create extra vibrations.


The 912 Targa

The Targa prototype was unveiled at the 1965 Frankfurt Motor Show. Porsche’s Targa assembly line took shape in 1988, and built one 912 Targa for every ten 911 Targa produced. The Targa was more expensive than the Coupe, but air conditioning was standard equipment and did not hamper engine performance. About 2500+ Targa were produced, which was less than 10% of all 912s made. The Targa had a flat ‘safety hoop’ rollbar which supported both a lift-off folding top and separate rear window. Wind tunnel testing revealed that the with the top down, and the windows up, resulted in minimum interior turbulence, even at high speeds. The 1967 910/6 racing prototype had appeared with the window up/ top off configuration.

The 912E (Type 923)

The fuel-injected 912 appeared in 1975 for one model year only and primarily for the USA. The 914 production had just ceased and the 924 was yet to arrive, so the 912E was introduced to bridge the gap. The 912E came with a 914-derived 2.0 litre flat-six engine. Power figures stood at a 90 bhp and 98 lb/ft of torque. Top speed came in at 110mph while 0-60 mph took a more earthly 13.0 seconds. The car was also heavier than its predecessor by almost 178 kgs. Five-speed transmission came as standard though. The 1976 fuel crisis and lowered American speed limits made the 912E a practical choice. With a 21 U.S. gallon fuel tank and a fuel efficient engine, it was probably the Porsche with the longest range ever too, at almost 600+ miles. Options offered included electric sunroof, limited slip differential and airconditioning. Only 2 Targa 912Es were ever built, and hence extremely rare. The 2099th 912E built, was the last air-cooled flat-four powered Porsche built.

Racing 912s

A Porsche that does not go racing, is not a Porsche. Like it’s predecessors the 912s had their share of racing heritage too, if not as glamourous as the 356s. Factory Rally kits were available which included anti-roll bars, racing brake pads and dead pedal rests. In 1967, a Polish racing driver by the name of Sobieslaw Zasada etched 912s name in Porsche racing history by winning the European Rally Championship for touring cars. In October that year he entered the Grand Prix of Argentina, a five-stage 3307 km grueling race patterned after the Carrera Panamericana, in which his 911 (rumours are it was a 912 with a different engine) was the sole Porsche amongst 376 competitors and he won. Today 912/E competition racers regularly take part in vintage races, autocross, rally events and the occasional hill climbs.

Last edited by ported_head : 16th December 2004 at 19:48.
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Old 18th December 2004, 00:37   #22
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Default Porsche 914: 1970-1976

Squared not stirred: Porsche 914
Year: 1970 – 1976

The Controversy.

The year was 1970. The Porsche 912 had just ended it’s reign, a reign that saw increased sales and higher profits for the company. Around the same time, also a steady increase was recorded in the sales of the 911. By this time, decades of development activities had already been undertaken by Porsche for VolksWagen. Ferry Porsche was also looking to further increase his cooperation with VW. Consequences were such, VW needed a replacement for it’s famed Karmann Ghia, when Ferry Porsche too was looking to introduce a sports car a level below the 911s on sale. As a venture between the two companies seemed inevitable, the engineers at Wolfsburg and Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen agreed on a mid-engined concept, good for a better weight distribution and a low polar moment of inertia. The design was the effort of Porsche in conjunction with Gugelot Design GmbH.

This join marketing effort of VW-Porsche was to be named the 914.
The mandate of VW-Porsche was to build vehicles out of VW components. The production of the 914 started in 1969. The 914/4 was produced by Karmann in Osnabruck while the 914/6 was to be produced by the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen.

In the USA, the 914/4 was to be marketed as a Porsche, while the rest of the world would see it as a VW. The 914/6 though, was to be marketed as a Porsche throughout the world. While not being very visually distinct, controversy ensued. In spite of the hovering controversy, the 914 turned out to be a successful sales venture. And a successor to keep the cash registers ringing would obviously be the next move. Work commenced on the car, which was to be known as the 914/6, to be equipped with a flat-six engine. This is when it all went wrong. Management change at VW meant the doom for the VW-Porsche venture. The project car on the other hand was almost complete and Porsche wanted to get it into production in a hurry. Porsche proposed to buy back the designs from VW-Audi, to which they happily agreed, and was carried out at bargain basement prices. Since Porsche didn’t have the resources to carry out production at such a scale, it looked to VW-Audi again. The car would be put together at the Audi plant in Neckarsulm while the bodies were manufactured by VW. The parts were sourced from the VW-Audi parts bin too. This meant that the 914/6 turned out to be too costly, partly because of the huge markup paid by Porsche to VW to manufacture the bodies. This meant the sales were horrible, and the 914/6 ran a production run of only two years. To replace the model, Porsche introduced a de-tuned 2.0 litre flat-four from the 911, and was sold as the 914S in the USA.

Financial woes for Porsche didn’t end there yet. The 924, which was being readied as a successor for the Audi Coupe, was left hanging with a sword above it’s head, when Audi pulled out of the deal. Porsche put it’s own badge on the car, but limited resources again meant that the production would have to be carried out at VW. So while VW got a profit center, Porsche in return got quality problems that took them years to sort out and clean their reputation up. Porsche has since learnt it’s mistakes and the Cayenne/Touareg plant in Bratislava plant sees Porsche hold an equity stake and a veto decision for developmental issues.

The Car.

This was a Porsche without the usual Porsche design cues, without the usual Porsche elegance, without the smooth curvaceous lines that had graced the occupants so far, a Porsche without the evolved teardrop shape the world had approved of, a Porsche without the usual Porsche flamboyance. The looks at first are mighty hard to digest, while many complained that sometimes it was hard to distinguish whether it was coming or going. It’s ‘square’ boxy looks could at best draw comparisons to a tool, something that has spent a lot of time at the grinding machine. But, looks are subjective and there are plenty of 914 owners out there who are more than happy with their car. Most were to be roadsters, with a removable Targa top, which made them quite the choice in the USA.

The views were mixed when it came to performance too. With respect to true Porsche values, the car was made to have a mid-engine configuration due to the demand of the Porsche engineers, which gave them excellent cornering ability, the sour part was the engines. The first of the 914s out in the 1970s came with a flat-four engine displacing 1.7 litres and was supplied by VW. This entry level configuration offered a 76 bhp output and 96 lb/ft of torque. Combined with a weight of 970 kgs, this translated to a top speed of 108mph and a 0-60 mph time of 13 secs. It was this entry level 914 that earned maximum respect from the press for being rewarding drive. 1970s also saw another variant of the 914, although a much reduced life cycle, the 914/6.

The 914/6 was supplied with the detuned version of the 2.0 litre engine doing duty in the 911T. This engine produced a 110bhp and 119 lb/ft of torque to see the car to an improved 0-60 mph time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 115mph, thanks to a 30 kg reduction in weight too. This model was to inject some fresh ‘Porscheism’ into the 914, but as it turns out, Porsche’s bad fortunes meant that the car turned out to be expensive for the segment. Dying sales made sure that the 914/6 was discontinued in just two years time. Specific to the 914/6 models were larger 911 disc brakes, different gear ratios, front suspension straight off the 911s, Weber carbs, higher calibrated instruments and a 911 steering column. The 914/1.7 on the other hand hade to make do with McPherson struts at the front. Both the variants were shod with trailing link rear suspension. The 1972 914/6 is considered very rare as only 240 were produced and were officially never exported to the USA.
1973 saw one more engine being added to the range 2.0L flat-four producing 95 bhp and 105 lb/ft of torque. Top speed dropped to a 115 mph but was still the fastest 914 yet. For 1974, the 1.7 engine was replaced by the 1.8 L engine, which essentially a worked upon 1.7L engine. The engine produced 76 bhp for the American-spec models as they were supplied with Bosch L-Jetronic, due to strict emission regulations. The European-spec models had the engine fitted with dual Weber carburetors and saw the horsepower rise to 85 bhp and featured a higher compression ratio compared to it’s American counterpart.

In 1974, Porsche created a "Special Edition" or "Can-Am" version of the 2.0L 914. This car had all of the "regular" options, with one or two differences. There were three choices of paint scheme--white with orange trim, white with green trim, or black with yellow trim. A different front spoiler was added below the front bumper. Specially painted alloy wheels were used, with accents matched to the trim color of the car. They had bumpers painted the trim color instead of chrome or black, as on the other 74 914s. Porsche cars apart from enthusiasts would more than delight the anoraks too.

914 Specials.

Porsche 916

In 1972, the Porsche factory made a number of cars that were intended to be a prototype for a "super-car" 914. These were the 916s. They had the mechanically-injected 2.4 liter engine used in the 72-73 911 S, the large flared fenders, fixed steel roofs for added structural rigidity and 15x7” wheels. It had fiberglass bumper panels, that were car-color.

Underneath was the 911S's 6 cylinder, 190 hp engine (210 hp in 1972), giving the 916 a top speed of 233 kph. Stiffer springs, pressurized competition shocks, front and rear swaybars, and 4 wheel vented discs added to the package. Weighing 165 lbs less than the 911S, the 916 became the quickest accelerating Porsche yet, going from 0-60 in well under 7 seconds. The Porsche 916 never made it to production. 11 models were produced in 1971 and 1972, and all were considered "pre production."


Porsche 914/8

The rarest of them all. Just two ever made, using eight cylinder engines from the Porsche 908 race car. These cars had 2997cc engines producing varying power outputs, 260bhp and 300 bhp.

The 260 bhp 914/8 was gifted to Professor Ferry Porsche on his 60th birthday. The information on these cars at the most is extremely limited.

Racing 914

In 1970, a privately entered 914/6 GT entered LeMans and won it’s class and finished fourth overall. The engine was a competition version of the six cylinder engine and is rumoured to produce around 200 bhp.



Some pictures of 914s running in races in their prime:




Disclaimer: All pictures are properties of their respective owner. A great deal of thanks to all of them.
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Old 18th December 2004, 10:01   #23
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i learnt a great deal bout porsche history thru NFS 5 porsche unleashed its an awesome game still is my fav.very comprehensive history indeed.
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Old 8th March 2006, 12:15   #24
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Getting this thread running as part of Retro week for those who might have missed it
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Old 27th July 2006, 00:11   #25
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absolutely brilliant stuff...herr porsche would be proud...did u know they had coins minted in his honour?



heres james dean and his infamous 103...the "lil *******"



on my pilgramage to the vw factory last year, i spotted this very early pre a 356...






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Old 27th July 2006, 09:37   #26
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Hey Ported.. AMAZING THREAD DUDE.. dunno how I missed it.
Correct me if I am wrong.. but while Porsche was launching the 911.. the prototype name was 991 and I think that PEUGEOT had a similar model out with that numbering.. so Porsche decided to change the numbering.. and the rest as they say time and time again.. is HISTORY!
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Old 27th July 2006, 10:37   #27
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Porsche wanted to number their car 901, but couldn't do so because Peugeot had patented the three digit numbering with a '0' in the middle.
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Old 30th July 2006, 16:47   #28
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Man you are a true porsche fan loved your collection amazing stuff
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Old 30th July 2006, 16:55   #29
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2l8, Joz is right, it was the "0" in the middle that the Peugeot guys had registered.

Karlos, any more interesting pics to be please sent this way.

I apologise to all for not doing this thread enough justice. There is so much left to document, but not enough time these days. I hope to get back to it soon...Stay tuned. Only on Team-BHP.
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Old 6th August 2006, 00:52   #30
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Default 356 in india!

i couldnt belive it till i saw it myself...a 356 in india! snapped her at the bombay rally (VCCCI) this year...

am told she was imported to india a few years back by an NRI...lovingly maintained, by an englishman356 specialist specially brought down i believe...



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