Greatest Porsche vehicles ever: we drive the icons

Best Porsche cars ever: we drive the icons


Seventy 5 years is a big anniversary by itself, however for Porsche, it’s twinned with 60 years of the model’s most iconic automotive, the Porsche 911, and the agency has been in suitably celebratory type. For this yr’s Goodwood Pageant of Pace Porsche raided its personal museum, exhibiting off a group of a few of its most vital fashions – from the very first, 356 number one, to the latest iterations of the 911, with which that preliminary automotive shares some familial DNA.

In addition to celebrating the previous and current, the corporate selected Goodwood to disclose a glimpse of its future, with its Imaginative and prescient 357 Speedster. As ever, this presents greater than a reverential nod to Porsche’s historical past and purist, sporting driving enchantment – the latter one thing that’s all the time been demonstrated by way of the model’s motorsport actions. Unsurprisingly, Porsche’s racing vehicles featured prominently on the FoS’s well-known driveway. Rightly so, as a result of racing has lengthy dictated the trajectory of the road-car line-up, with developments comparable to turbocharging, four-wheel drive, hybridisation and full electrification all having been track-proven earlier than reaching showrooms. 

Regardless of a variety that now consists of SUVs and luxurious saloons – more and more being electrified by way of hybrid or pure-EV powertrains – Porsche nonetheless describes itself as a sports-car firm. Actually the 911 stays its most enduring and essential automotive, representing the agency’s engineering prowess; taking what must be a sub-optimal format, with the rear-weight-biased engine format, and finessing it to the purpose the place the compromises have been banished, all whereas retaining inside house, traction and aerodynamic type.

That is certainly not an exhaustive record of essentially the most important Porsches, as a result of to do this would fill your entire journal and extra – however right here’s our ‘high 10’ choose of among the best, with their significance outlined. Usually, we’ve pushed them, too.

1948 Porsche 356 nr.1

Key specs
Engine 4cyl boxer
Capability 1.1 litres
Energy 35bhp
High pace 84mph

The place to start out when speaking about important Porsches? Proper originally, with the model’s first prototype sports activities automotive, the 356/1, or 356 nr.1 Roadster. It’s uncommon to see such an essential mannequin outdoors the agency’s museum, and whereas Goodwood definitely isn’t a stranger to traditionally momentous vehicles, 356/1 actually is the genesis for Porsche as a producer of street equipment. Each avenue or observe mannequin since is ready to hint its roots to this very automotive. 

Ferdinand Porsche had, within the pre-war years, designed and constructed vehicles, prototypes and racers for shoppers, most notably being commissioned in the course of the thirties to engineer the Volkswagen Beetle. This may affect Porsche’s personal street automotive, laying the rear-mounted, flat-engined foundations that outline the corporate’s most well-known mannequin, the 911, to the current day. Unsurprisingly, then, 356/1 makes use of a VW-derived engine, circled. Not like the manufacturing 356s that will observe it within the late forties, nevertheless, the flat-four is mounted in entrance of the rear axle. 

Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand’s son, constructed 356/1 to be easy and light-weight, which means that even with solely 35bhp, it will be able to an 80mph-plus high pace. Ferry famously described the roadster’s conception by saying: “I seemed round and I didn’t see something I favored, so I constructed my very own automotive.” Good job he did, too, as a result of his singularity of thought set the sample for what the corporate has been doing ever since. What Ferry couldn’t presumably have predicted was that his best of a sports activities racer can be the inspiration of a automotive model that will, in a short time, dominate in racing and go on to turn out to be one of many world’s most recognised and coveted automotive producers. 

Over the 1.1-litre, air-cooled, four-cylinder, VW-derived engine and easy suspension, the 356/1 encompasses a mild physique that was designed by Erwin Komenda, then handcrafted in aluminium by Friedrich Weber. As with the early Porsches that adopted, it was inbuilt Gmünd, Austria. What’s exceptional is that its easy form is instantly recognisable as a Porsche at the moment, and the natural, easy traces defining the design are nonetheless evident within the form of the corporate’s present vehicles.

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The inside is equally prosaic, with a pair of low-backed seats that maintain you with stunning authority, whereas in entrance of the driving force is a thin-rimmed, calmly spoked steering wheel behind which sits a solitary, giant, clear instrument. Right here that’s a speedometer, fairly than the central rev counter that will later turn out to be a Porsche signature, however the inside, as with the remainder of the automotive, is outlined by its simplicity. 

That’s to not say it’s austere; certainly, contained in the 356/1 is the very definition of purity of function. Sadly, at the moment, we’re not driving, however simply to get close to, not to mention sit in, the automotive from which each Porsche advanced may be very particular certainly. For different fashions on this choice we are able to add drives to our expertise – and in lots of circumstances it truly is ‘pinch your self’ stuff – however all hint their heritage to the automotive that began the corporate.

Click on on to the subsequent web page learn extra of our record of the most effective Porsches ever…


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