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Friday, October 24, 2008

You've Got To Love The Porsche 914

Back in 1969 Porsche was about to make a lasting impression on the world with the introduction of the sporty, mid mount 4 cylinder boxer engine, two seater Porsche 914.

The design of the 914 was the result of the Porsche and VW working together to produce a new sports car for each of the companies. VW was looking to find a replacement for the Karmann-Ghia and Porsche was looking to use the 911 components but get a fresh new model.

In Europe Porsche took the 914 body and finished it as the 914/6s while VW took it and finished it as the 914/4s. When marketed in North America both were sold as the Porsche 914.

The 914 did not look like any other Porsche on the market. It featured pop up headlamps, flat deck lid over the rear engine, no backseat, and a vertical rear windshield.

The low profile seats mean you are almost sitting on the floorboards and the firewall is located right at your back. There's nothing fancy about the inside, in fact it is very basic. But it also has all the equipment you'll ever need.

It features a nice large tach which remained popular in many models. It has the same transmission that's used in the 928 where you'll find first down and over to the left.

The suspension is hard, the car rides low gripping the road, and the steering is nice and tight. This is a really sporty little car and when the suns out and the winds warm you can pop the targa top off, roll down the windows, and relax.

The flat 4 cylinder mid mount was available in a 1.7 L providing 80 HP, 1.8 L providing 79 HP, and 2.0 L providing 95 HP. All engines come with a 5 speed manual transmission. It has the independent front with lower control arms, anti roll bar, spring struts. The independent rear has transverse torsion bars and anti roll bars.

Wondering what kind of performance this little gem is capable of? You'll be just a little impressed. The 2.0 L used in the 1973 is probably the most popular of the three engines released. It's a blast to put the petal to the metal and listen to the sound of that rpm band and oh yes let's not forget the power.

From 1970 to 1972 the 914-6 was released but it didn't last very long with less than 3500 actually produced. There were also a small number of 914-6 GTs produced at the same time. They were given the higher performance 911 engine and suspension designed for the race track.

The 914-6 was agile with quick acceleration and good handling and breaking. In fact in many aspects it was considered superior to the 911. To drive it felt much like the 914-4 but in the upper RPM it definitely had more punch.

1974 the cars destined for North America saw the introduction of the 1.7 L engine which was bored to 1.8 L. It was combined with the Bosch fuel injection system for the emissions control required in North America.

1975 saw the end of an era when production of the 914 was ended. Eventually it would be replaced by the 924 and the 914's 2 L engine was continued in the 912E considered a level entry model.

When it comes to cool and "gotta have" the 914 definitely fits the bill. This is a great little sports car that's nice and peppy, has great handling, and lots of snap. And with today's high fuel costs it's a real treat in that department too. You do need to watch for rust though. It is the biggest enemy of the 914.

If you love the look of the sports cars from the 1970's, understand the value of a Porsche, and like to stand out in a crowd the Porsche 914 is definitely a car to consider. So is this the car for you?

By: Wayne Treister

Wayne Treister has been owned and ridden Porsches for 15 years. Visit his Porsche site at http://www.porschesworld.com to learn more about the different models.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Porsche 356 Timeline

The Porsche 356 was a sports car buffs dream. The Porsche 356 was the brain child of Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. The body style was the work of Erwin Komenda and the mechanical came off the VW Beetle the design of Ferdinand Porsche Sr.

When it first hit the market it was available as a roadster, cabriolet, and coupe and over the years it saw many changes both in power and style. You might be surprised to discover that the Porsche 356 was actually Porsche's first production automobile and one has to admit it was a great pick!This timeline is a bit rough around the edges but it will give you and idea of how the Porsche 356 evolved from start to finish.

Just after the war Porsche located to Austria so that they could be closer to parts suppliers. Ferry Porsche was the designer of the Porsche 356. He was the son of Dr Ing Ferdinand Porsche who was the founder of Porsche. The original car used a tubular chassis with an 1100cc engine so it was both light and quick. The gearbox was designed by Frolich and Komenda designed the body of the 356.

The original 001 raced at the Innsbruck city race and it won in the 1100cc class on its very first run. Not surprising! The original 001 sits in the Factory Museum.

The first Porsche 356 Cabriolet is built with alloy aluminum.

The factory moves to Zuffenhausen and begins producing the Porsche 356 where they will stay until 1965 producing around 80,000 cars.

Innovation continues to impress the world with the Porsche 356 Cabriolet and the new split windshield. The 1.3 liter was chrome plated with aluminum cylinders and the very first synchromesh transmission came to be. The Porsche 356-002 wins hands down at the LeMans in the 1100cc class.

At the age of 75 Dr. Ing Ferdinand Porsche Sr. died at the age of 75. By this time 1400 people worked under the direction of Ferry Porsche.

The 1488 cc 70 HP super engine is introduced.

A deal is made with New York's Max Hoffman which allowed for the introduction of the Porsche 356 in the United States. It wasn't long before Hoffman became the US importer for Porsche making arrangements for the Porsche line to be carried around the country. This was also the era where split windshields became bent windshields.

Hoffman convinces Porsche that they can gain more market share by producing a stripped down version of the Porsche 356 for less money specifically designed for the west coast where fair weather and amateur racing go hand in hand. And so the Speedster is born and an instant success with more than 4000 sold in just 5 years.

The 1600 motor makes it to production. The 1500 GS Carrera motor which is being developed for the race track suddenly finds its way into the Porsche 356 line. The A line is introduced which has several small changes to the body style.

The 10,000th Porsche 356 comes off the assembly line and it is celebrated at the factory.

More improvements saw the T2 prototype with the new transmission. The 644 replaced the 519 with a much better shifter, dual nose mounts, and much better synchros.

The Carrera engine continued to see improvements that produced higher horsepower. The Convertible came to market replacing the Speedster and it was much taller and luxurious than its predecessor.

The last Speedster is released and the 1300 engine is also dropped.

The Porsche 356B is given the Super 90 motor. The 90 has a counterweighted crank, Solex P40-II Carburetor, and sodium filled valves.


The hardtop is introduced and is instantly a hit and is fondly nicknamed the "Notchback". Over 1700 of these cars sold in less than two years.

Porsche is talking with Reutter about the purchase of the coach maker. The factory launches Christophorus which is a Porsche lifestyle magazine.

Porsche 356C is brought to market with the 95 HP SC engine. It has 4 wheel disc brakes, and it is available with an optional 12 volt electric system.

The Porsche 356 production has moved over the 10,000 a year number.

The final Cabriolets come off the assembly line.

After several evolutions the Porsche 356 came to be retired in 1965 but today the car still remains sought after and it is common to find them selling for over $175,000. Back in the 1950s you could buy that car new for $4000.

The Porsche 356 also made it big in the movies staring in Top Gun, 48 Hrs and Another 48 Hrs. And Janis Joplin has a psychedelically painted Porsche 356C. The Porsche 356 underwent many changes over the years some mechanical while others cosmetic but what remained consistent was its charm, style, sportiness, and speed. Still today this is a car that gets noticed.

By : Wayne Treister

Wayne Treister has been owned and ridden Porsches for 15 years. Visit his Porsche site at http://www.porschesworld.com to learn more about the different models.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Porsche 928

From 1978 to 1995 the Porsche 928 was the talk of the town. The 2 door coupe body was stylish with sleek lines, and very impressive. You simply couldn't help but get noticed. It was also their most expensive car to find its way to market. Today it remains a hot item and you can still expect to pay a pretty penny to own one.

The Porsche 928 quickly earned the name "land shark" because of its ability to eat up the road in little time. In fact it has earned the title of being the fastest road car in the entire world. And it was a title that it definitely earned.

The late 1960s saw Porsche reveal itself with a new look and feel from the earlier days. In fact there had not only been big changes to the company there had been quite a shake up in the executive too. And with shake ups come new idea.

Ernst Fuhrman was one of the new executives to come on board as Managing Director. He was quick to recognize the popularity of the Porsche 911 was about to wane and he wanted to introduce a car to the market that would be not only a great sports coupe but also a luxurious sedan. The design study was initiated in 1971 and 1978 saw the first Porsche 928 come to market.

Porsche 928 was a car that was going to have plenty of power and so the V8 5.0 L with 300 HP would become stock equipment. The first cars has four barrel carburetors but those were soon rejected for the Borsch K Jetronic fuel injection system. Although it was recognized as a real achievement surprisingly sales were initially slow. Over time it grew in popularity but nothing like predecessor models so in 1995 it was discontinued.

It is always all about design and the Porsche 928 is no different. The Porsche 928 offered a water cooled V8 engine mounted in the front of the car. It was rear drive and had a displacement of 4.5 L and it offered up 219 HP for North America.

This is a car that is relaxing to drive. In fact during its time it had the reputation of being the most relaxing car on the market. You could choose from the Mercedes Benz automatic transmission or the 5 speed dog leg manual transmission.

Lots of luggage space and you can access it with the large hatchback. The polyurethane bumpers were integrated into the tail and nose and they are paint matched to the body. It's classified as a 2+2 because it has 2 small seats in the rear. They may be more beneficial folded down for luggage storage but they are functional.

Porsche was one of the first cars to introduce all wheel steering. Years later Japanese auto makers came on board. It's a great feature and Porsche driver's got to experience it earlier.

In 1980 the Porsche 928S was introduced in the European market which eventually made it to North America. The 1987 model had a single disc clutch and an updated 5.0 L V8 engine.

In the latter part of 1986 the Porsche 928 S4 variant debuted with a new single disc clutch and new and improved 5.0 L V8 engine that was used in both the North American and European markets. The styling updates were significant and they gave the car a much sleeker, sexier look and feel. But it also made a considerable difference to the weight of the car resulting in a substantially lighter weight overall.

The 1987 model saw the new Porsche 928 S4 enter the market. It had a single disc clutch added and an updated 5.0 L V8 engine with an impressive 316 HP. It also has some sporty interior upgrades and a sleeker exterior. It was also considerably lighter than previous versions.

The S4 stayed in production until 1991 when the Porsche 928 GT was released. This was the sportiest of the Porsche 928s to ever hit the market. In 1993 the Porsche 928 GTS entered the scene with a complete makeover with an updated interior and the larger 5.4 L 345 HP engine. A loaded GTS cost more than $100,000 USD making it the most expensive car on the market for its era. Automatic transmission and 6 speed manual were both available. This is a car that today still holds its value on the market.

The Porsche 928 was certainly a car that evolved over its 18 years on the market. Some changes were subtle while others where much more bold. But no matter the changes the car underwent it maintained its reputation as a fast, fun, and sporty car to drive.

When it came to performance this was a predictable car with great weight distribution and the powerful V8 kept it a real player on the track easily able to outperform many of the other Porches.

By: Wayne Treister

Wayne Treister has been owned and ridden Porsches for 15 years. Visit his Porsche site at http://www.porschesworld.com to learn more about the different models.