1. Preface

Dear Visitor,

in this guided visit we want to describe and tell you about the history of this legendary manufacturer of sports cars through models that reproduced on a 1:43 scale and similar the cars of the Stuttgart company manufactured between 1948 and 1978.

2. Brief history

The founder of the Porsche brand, Ferdinand Porsche, was born in Bohemia in Maffersdorf on 3 September 1875. As a young man he showed a great interest in new technologies so that at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris the Lohner-Porsche was presented. It was the first hybrid car of history equipped with a combustion engine and 4 electric motors placed on the wheels. Then he worked for Austro-Daimler and Mercedes. In 1923 the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart awarded him an honorary degree in mechanical engineering. In 1931 Porsche founded in Stuttgart the design and engineering studio Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH and very soon his son Ferdinand Anton Ernst Porsche, called Ferry, started working with him. In the following years the Porsche studio designed the extraordinary Grand Prix Auto Union cars that dominated in the years before World War II.

3. The birth of the Beetle and the Porsche Type 64

Adolf Hitler had great confidence in Eng. Porsche and commissioned him to design a car for people that would cost less than 1000 marks. So, he produced the Volkswagen Type 60 (called by Nazis Kraft-durch-Freunde-Wagen (KdF-Wagen)). The first cars saw the light in 1938, on the eve of the outbreak of World War II. Porsche also designed a sports version of Type 60 to take part in the Berlin - Rome race of 1940, known as Type 64, but the outbreak of war prevented its use.

4. The years of World War II and the postwar period

During the Second World War the Porsche Studio designed for the Nazi regime the Kübelwagen jeeps and the Schwimmwagen amphibious cars based on the Type 60. Porsche also designed, without great success, some tanks, the most tremendous of which was the Maus that weighed 188 tons, but remained at a prototype stage (only 2 of them were built). After the war Porsche was arrested by the French. Through the mediation of Carlo Abarth, Piero Dusio, who was the owner of Cisitalia, paid a sizeable ransom in exchange for the Type 360 project and Porsche was released.

5. The first Porsche manufactured in Gmünd

Once released Porsche came back to Austria and in Gmünd in Carinthia he realised his dream of building sports cars with his name. In small wooden shacks the Porsche 356-001, a roadster with central engine and the first Porsche 356/2 coupe with aluminium body saw the light. To reduce costs the newborn Porsche cars used Volkswagen engine and components. Only 52 cars, including coupe and roadster versions, were produced.

6. Back to Stuttgart

In 1950 the Americans return the goods to the Porsche family that can go back to Stuttgart and start an industrial production of the Porsche 356 in the historic plant in Stuttgart - Zuffenhausen. The new models are slightly different aesthetically from the Gmünd models and have the body of steel. In March 1951 the five-hundredth Porsche 356 car is produced.

7. The first participation in competitions

The first participation of an official Porsche 356 in a competition takes place in Le Mans 24 hours of 1951 and the car is a 356 Gmünd that Porsche considers to be lighter, more aerodynamic and torsionally rigid than the new 356 cars of steel built in Stuttgart.

8. The Porsche for the United States of America

Max Hoffman, the Porsche importer in the United States, and other prestigious European brands urge Porsche to build the Tipo 540, known as the 356 America Roadster, aiming to get a lighter, aerodynamic, compact and easy to handle car. The failure of the Heuer company, manufacturer of the bodyworks, puts an end to the project 540, a forerunner of the Speedster, after only 16 cars built.

9. Porsche 356: the evolution of the species

In the 17 years of production of the 356 model, about 76,000 cars in the 356, 356A, 356B and 356C versions were manufactured. The meticolous precision of the German engineers leads to a continuous improvement of the models pruduced so that, even within the same series, it is possible to find a lot of aesthetic and mechanical details that are different depending on the year of production.

10. Porsche cars in competitions: 1951 - 1960

Motor racing has always been in the DNA of Porsche. In the 50s, in addition to the 356 model, real racing cars such as the 550, the 718 RSK, the RS60 and the Fornmula 2 appear. There are countless victories around the world got by official cars and private pilots.

11. Not only sports cars: the Porsche tractor and the Porsche 597 "Jagdwagen"

During the 50s Porsche also produces tractors (like the Porsche Traktor Diesel “Junior” model of 1957 shown in the following card) and off-road vehicles (like the MINICHAMPS Porsche 597 “Jagdwagen” model of 1955).

12. Here comes the heir to the 356: the type 901 or rather 911

Starting from 1956 Porsche plans to replace the 356, manufactured using a lot of mechanical components of the Volkswagen, with a completely new car that doesn't, however, totally change the line of the 356, now known around the world. The need for a new model is required by the aesthetic and technical limits (the reduced space of the engine compartment allowed to house just a 4-cylinder engine) that now the 356 had revealed. At the Frankfurt Motor Show the 901 type is presented with its large windows, its sleek line and its 1,991 cm³ 6-cylinder boxer engine. Number 901 was abandoned in favor of number 911 following the formal notice of Peugeot which had registered the rights to a name consisting of three digits with a zero in the middle.

13. Porsche cars in competitions: 1961 - 1965

Porsche cars are more and more protagonists of all the race tracks around the world. The models used are the 356B Carrera GTL Abarth, the F. 2, the 804 F. 1, the RS61, the 718/8 spyder, the 2000 GS-GT coupe, the 904 Carrera GTS, the 911 and the 904.8 Kanguruh. The race tracks are: circuits, rallies and hill climbs.

14. The evolution of the Porsche 911: 1963-1970

As usual Porsche continue to work feverishly and the models are constantly modified and improved. Since its debut, in 1963, the 911 has increased its power from 130 to 160 hp with the S model introduced in 1966. Given the high cost of the 911, Porsche introduce in 1965 a cheaper model with a 1,582 cm³ 4-cylinder engine: the Porsche 912. In 1966 the Targa version appears while in 1967 the 911 range consists of 4 models: the 912 with a 90 hp 4-cylinder engine, the 911T (Touring) with a 110 hp engine, the 911L with a 130 hp engine and the 911S with a 160 hp engine. In 1969 the engine displacement is increased to 2,195 cm³: now the 911T has an engine that develops 125 hp, the 911E has 155 hp while the 911S has 180 hp.

15. Porsche cars in competitions: 1966 - 1970

In the second half of the 60s Porsche continue to participate and win in competitions all over the world.The models used are the 911, the 906, the 907, the 910, the 909, the 908 and the 917. The race tracks are as usual circuits, rallies, hill climbs and the Can-Am championship. At Le Mans 24 hours, after so many victories, Porsche are able to get the first place in the edition of 1970, although with a car of the Salzburg private stable.

16. A new model: the Porsche 914

Deepened studies made by Porsche lead to the conclusion that the mid-engine is the best solution for a sports car that can be technologically advanced for many years. Thus, in collaboration with Volkswagen, the project 914 is developed. It is a 2-seater coupe with mid-engine and removable roof available in 2 versions: 914-4 with Volkswagen 4-cylinder engine of 1,679 cm³ developing 80 hp and 914-6 with Porsche 6-cylinder engine of 1,991 cm³ developing 110 hp. In 1972 the 916 appears, that is a version of the 914 with Porsche 6-cylinder engine of 2,341 cm³ developing 190 hp, but does not come into production. Only 11 cars were manufactured.

17. Porsche 911 1971 - 1978: more and more powerful

In the 8 years between 1971 and 1978 the Porsche 911 continues to evolve into more and more powerful and performing versions. In the two-year period 1971 - 1972 the engine capacity increases to 2,341 cm³ and the engine of the 911S reaches 190 hp. In 1972 - 1973 the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 is produced, with engine of 2,687 cm³ developing 210 hp, easily recognizable by its rear "duck tail" spoiler integrated in the plastic bonnet. The Carrera RS 2.8 (1973) and the Carrera RS 3.0 (1974) are also produced in a very limited edition. Starting from 1973 and until 1977 a version is introduced with engine of 2,687cm³ developing a power range between 150 and 210 hp. From 1975 to 1977 the 911 Carrera 3.0 is also produced and in 1978 the 911 SC 3.0 comes into production. At the top of the Porsche production there is the 911 Turbo 3.0 (type 930) produced between 1974 and 1977, replaced in 1978 with the version 3.3 that reaches 300 hp.

18. 1971-1975: circuit racing in the World Constructors Championship

In the 1971 season Porsche used in the World Constructors Championship the Porsche 917 cars and the 908.03 cars both equipped with 2 rear fins. At Le Mans Porsche also used the new long-tail 917 cars with a more aerodynamic body (one of them reached a record speed of 387 kph on the straight road of Hunaudières) and the experimental 917/20 nicknamed "pink pig". In 1972, bcause of the exclusion of the 5,000 cm³ cars from the World Constructors Championship, Porsche withdrew from this championship to reappear in 1973 with the Carrera RSR, often used in the Prototype category to gain experience to be transferred to the Carrera of the following year. In fact, in 1974 Porsche, in view of the new regulations that should have been put into effect for the year 1975 with the introduction of a new category called "production cars", used in the World Constructors Championship the 911 Carrera RSR equipped with a 2,142 cm³ 6-cylinder turbocharged engine that developed about 500 hp. Despite its extra weight compared with the prototypes it competed against, the turbocharged RSR, driven by Gijs van Lennep e Herbert Müller, got the 2nd place at Le Mans 24 hours and at Watkins Glen 6 hours. In 1975, waiting for the next World Constructors Championship for Group 5 and Group 6, Porsche did not use official cars in races.

19. 1971-1975: Porsche cars in the American Can-am Championship

The American market has always been very important for Porsche and the FIA decision to limit to 3 litres the engine capacity of the cars allowed to the World Constructors Championship starting from 1972 pushed Porsche to step up their participation in the Can-am championship. The 1972 and 1973 seasons were dominated by the official 917/10 and 917/30 Porsche cars. Because of the excessive power of the 917/30 for the 1974 season the regulations were changed by reducing the capacity of the tanks (in 1973 the tank of this Porsche car could hold 400 litres of gasoline), thus preventing the 917/30 from winning again. In 1975 the car was dusted off to try a speed record on the circuit of Talladega (Alabama, U.S.A.) where the 917/30 driven by Mark Donohue broke the lap speed record.

20. 1971-1978: Porsche cars in rallies

In the rallies of the 70s Porsche officially participated with their 911 cars in competitions such as Montecarlo and especially the Safari rally. The attempts, however vain, to win this famous African rally were 4: in 1971 (5th place), in 1973 (no car at the finish line), in 1974 (2nd place) and in 1978 (2nd and 4th place).

21. 1976-1978: circuit races (Group 5 and Group 6)

For the 1976 World Constructors Championship Porsche presented the 935 (Group 5: cars derived from the standard production) and the 936 (Group 6: Sport Prototype cars) that continued their winning career also in the following seasons.

22. Two new models: the Porsche 924 and 928

The car that would become the Porsche 924 was a project initially commissioned by Volkswagen to Porsche to replace the 914 and have economical sports cars. When Volkswagen gave up the project Porsche used it and for the first time they realized a car equipped with a liquid cooled front-engine and rear-wheel drive.

At the same time Porsche designed the 928 that was a car equipped with a water cooled front-engine and rear-wheel drive to add to the 911. The gestation was very long, partly because of the oil crisis, and it was only in 1978 that the 928 model was put into production.