Porsche 550 Spyder
In 1953, Porsche needed a race car more powerful than the
356. So they created the 550. This was the first true competition
car from Porsche. It was lightweight, it had two seats, aluminum
body, tubular frame and an open top. They were racing only with
Volkswagen. The initial pair of 550 dominated their class at Le
Mans finishing one-two in the 1500cc division. Then, one of the two
cars won its category in the famed Pan Americana Mexican road race.
Subsequent 550`s carried on what the initial 550`s had started.
They were fitted with the four-cam Carrera flat four cylinders. They
soon became dominant cars world wide. During races, it was fast
and easily maneuvered so no other car stand a chance. But people
loved it purchasing every one of these quick little cars they could find.
In 1956, Porsche started to produce the 550A, a slightly modified
Spyder. It was a hit, shocking the entire world by winning in its first
Appearance in Targa Florio, a brutal road race. It also humbled well-known
and more powerful rivals such as Ferrari, Maseratti and Jaguar.
In the next five years it won almost all the races in which it competed.
It became a car that attracted more attention for its occasional
losses than for the nearly non-stop victories.
Bmw Z4 Coupe Or Porsche Cayman?
Among the compact sports cars, the BMW Z4, Porsche Cayman and Porsche Boxster stand out. But which is you? And why did BMW and Porsche wait so long before making the coupes? There is no Boxster coupe, but the Cayman is almost the same thing – but uprated.
It might seem odd that the two German companies, well-known for high-performance and sporty cars, waited to announce their coupes at the same time. The answer lies in why they introduced the roadsters in the first place.
Porsche wanted a new, smaller model to increase its market coverage. Not everyone likes the 911, and not everyone wants a coupe. So it made sense to opt for the mid-engine layout – the 911 is rear-engined – and the better balance that gives in designing the Boxster. At the same time, the addition of an open-top roadster would also increase sales. And both tricks worked.
But what about BMW? Well, BMW wanted to build cars in the USA, and did not want to build the same cars it built in Germany as that would increase costs. So it decided to build a roadster for the US market, although it would be marketed elsewhere.
At that time there was more potential volume for a boulevard cruiser type of two-seater than an out-and-out sports car in the USA, so the BMW Z3 was born. It was a rather tall car for a sports car, and although a hardtop was offered, it looked odd, making the car look even taller than it was.
Z4 more sporty than Z3
The BMW Z3 did not really catch on in Europe, so the Z4 was designed as a more sporty car than the Z3, and with its 3-liter engine which develops 265 bhp, is a good match in performance for the Porsche Boxster. Meanwhile, Porsche decided to fill out its range with an extra model, to be priced between the Boxster and the 911. In fact, the Cayman is based on the Boxster, but has more sporty suspension, and has a larger engine. Now, though you can get a Cayman with a 2.7 liter engine as well as the 3.4 liter job. The Boxster gets 2.7 and 3.2 liters.
Because Porsche makes flat-six engines, it can easily produce engines of different capacities from 2.7 to 3.8 liters, and many parts are common to all of them.
If you are looking for a sporty car, then you will want to look at the Z4 3-liter, which produces 265 bhp, and reaches 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, a time matched by the Boxster 3.2. The Cayman is a fraction quicker, getting to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. Mind, if you want maximum performance from these cars, you can get the BMW Z4 M, with over 300 bhp on tap.
Choosing between Z4 and Cayman
But when it comes to the choice between the Z4 and Cayman coupes,you will be influenced by which one looks better. Although the Z4 looks a lot better than the Z3 it does have a few quirky lines, which don’t appeal to everyone, and the coupe is no better.
The Cayman has the usually slick Porsche lines, with a long tail and built-in spoiler which looks pretty good. On the road performance is not much different, and both have super engines and gearboxes, but they don’t do things in quite the same way. The Cayman is a beautifully balanced car that can be driven fast with confidence, but if you want to hang the tail out, the Z4 might be more to your liking.
Both are great sports cars, and will give you a lot of fun. What else should you consider? Nissan’s 350Z is also quite a car, with a lusty V-6, the Mercedes-Benz 350 SLK 350 and new Audi TT are also worth looking at.
2005 Porsche Carrera GT
Unofficially, the Porsche Carrera GT is a racecar, a racecar
built for the street. What makes it a racecar is not
necessarily the huge power produced by its V10 engine
or the carbon fiber construction that keeps everything very
lightweight – although these features surely make it a fast
car. It’s more the sum of its parts that make this car worth
every bit of its $440,000 price tag.
The Porsche Carrera GT was introduced as a 2004 model
and until 2005 there were already a few changes in order
to make the Carrera GT the new Porsche super car. These were
minor updates in order to make it a little more street friendly.
Between the supplemental bar hoops is now mounted a glass
screen. The seats height is adjusted along with the additional
bolstering in the thigh area. The Carrera GT is easy recognizable,
as it’s a low, sleek, lightweight roadster, very beautiful on the
outside as it is on the inside. Two removable panels that can
be stored in the front trunk make the foul weather protection
The car has unique features, among which are: 5.7 liter, 605
horsepower V10 engine, monocoque chassis with
Porsche-patented engine and transmission mounts made of
carbon-reinforced plastic and the first use of a ceramic
composite clutch in a production car. A very important aspect
is that The Carrera is safe and stable at speeds up to 205 mph,
thanks to its aerodynamic and race-bred suspension package.
The design of the suspension is so sophisticated that the
shape of its components improves the Carrera GT`s aerodynamics.
The designers used lightweight materials such as magnesium
for the car’s substantial wheels and the frames of its special sport
seats, the result being a faster and safer car. To prove so, The
Carrera GT accelerates from a standing start to 62 mph (100km/h)
in only 3.9 seconds reaches 100 mph (160 km/h) in less than seven
seconds, 125 mph (200 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, and can
achieve a top test-track speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).
What makes this car have these impressive results is it’s 5.5
liter, normally aspirated V10 engine for racing created in the
development center in Weissach, Germany. That engine’s bores
have been enlarged to displace 5.7 liters in the Carrera GT. It has
a very low center of gravity, a 68-degree V angle and four
valves-per-cylinder heads. Since the block, crankshaft and
camshafts are all made of light alloys, the engine weights
only 472 pounds (214 kg).
To stop this “monster” Porsche`s team used a high-tech
braking system. Developed for demanding motorsports
applications, ceramic brakes are the first to work for on-road use.
The massive 15 inch ventilated discs and six-piston calipers have
the amazing capacity of bringing the car to a sure and safe stop,
matched only by the stunning acceleration of Carrera GT.
Porsche Carrera GT is definitely a exotic appearance, a
car that can do it all: fascinate you with its good looks, astound
you with its performance and abilities on the race track.
Porsche 977 bodyshell
A new Porsche 911 is always fascinating because it’s interesting
to see how after more than 40 years of development the Porsche
team still manages to bring changes and improvements to this
The new 997 bodyshell combines the sleek modern looks of
the 996 series with the popular retro styling cues from older 911s.
The front end is completed with round lights and separate
parking/fog/indicator lights. This change, combined with wider
hips echoes the last of the air-cooled 911s, the 993. Other changes
in the bodyshell are the new door handles, wing mirrors and the
stylish cut of the rear wings into the bumper/lights.
Even if the 997 looks a lot like the previous model, the 996, the new
car is actually 38mm wider which creates a more aggressive
appearance. With each new model introduced, Porsche has aimed
to reduce the drag co-efficient helping the 911 slide through the air
more effectively, and so aiding performance. The same thing has been
done with the new car, and if we compare the 993 Cd of 0.34 to the
997`s 0.28 we can see how far the aerodynamic game has moved on.
The latest body shell and rear wing combine with new underbody
paneling to also offer increased levels of down force for this latest
evolution of Porsche’s finest.
The latest Porsche model is the best handling 911 ever. Improving a
car’s rigidity helps ensure the suspension can work more effectively
and while not making such a quantum leap as the team did with the
996. Porsche improved torsional rigidity by 8% and added as much
as 40% more flexural strength.
For the new car, Porsche wanted to improve crash safety so they
added two new air bags located in the side of each front seat back-rest,
designed to protect the thorax. They kept the previous two front and two
side airbags, which means that now there are six in total. For the same
reason, crash safety, the reinforced body shell features further protection
such as a more extensive use of super high strength steel.
The latest model is also 50 kg heavier than the 996. The reason is that
modern crash safety regulations kind of force the new cars to come with
increased weight, despite the usage of a large range of weight saving
measures, including an aluminum bonnet.
Aside from the crash safety improvements, much of the additional weight
can be attributed to the higher standard specification of the new cars.
Power to weight is similar with the latest car offering 233 bhp per tone
against it’s predecessors 238 and the new models improved aerodynamics
must help it post Porsches claimed performance figures, which are
identical to the 996.
Porsche vs Ferrari
Porsche and Ferrari are German and Italian sides of the same
coin, interpretations of the sports car idea. Both founded by a
dominant patriarch, both honed in racing, both more than 50
years old, both with engineering and styling integrity. Whether on
the track of Le Mains or on the streets, the two have always been
put head-to-head and compared. Even the most naive motorist
associates these two names with both performance and style.
We’ve decided to compare the methodical Porsche 911 Carrera
4S and the passionate Ferrari F430 because both of them astonish
with their performance while attempting to maintain a reasonable
amount of practicality but do not pretend to be anything other than
A modern sports car should feature these characteristics: it should be
started easily, maneuvered around town, blasted on a couple of
country roads, it looks and performs the part on a racetrack but at the
same time it is very safe.
The easier way to separate the two cars is by measuring figures since
both of them have mastered the modern sports car requirements and
basically there’s no other way to choose between these two phenomenal
What initially impresses is Ferrari’s lightning fast 4-second 0-100km/h
acceleration and thrilling exhaust tone. As the occupants are pinned to
the seats, the new generation 4.3-litre V8 pushes out 368 snarling
kilowatts. Porsche’s acceleration also offers that kick in the pants a
super car should deliver, although it is 0.8 seconds slower at the 100 km/k
With such acceleration performance, it comes natural for both cars to
excel in the braking department. The two cars offer optional ceramic
discs for impressive stopping.
Porsche’s engine gets the upper hand as it is more refined and on
the economy rank leaps ahead Ferrari with a 11.8 liters per 100 km
as opposed to 18.3 liters. Both cars deliver the power through impressive
6-speed gearboxes and offer top rate handling performance.
Both F430 and Carrera4S offer great interior comfort and even if the
space is limited, the occupants don’t feel claustrophobic and flustered.
Although an impressive mix of suede, carbon fiber and aluminum abound
in the Ferrari, the Italians stand no chance when it comes to the high finish
level attained by the Germans.
Speed and silence are key elements for any super car. The look and
appearance is the biggest draw card. The Carrera 4S is a typical Porsche,
despite the new proportions. It is a great looking car, like any other 911 but
somehow the styling no longer creates the jaw dropping reaction that the
Ferrari does. Indeed, traditionalists may say that Porsche pays homage to
its roots, but the truth is that Ferrari F430 simply draws the attention.
However, even if Ferrari F430 takes your breath away with its appearance,
the super car title goes to the Porsche Carrera 4S with a more complete all
In 2009 is set to be launched a four-door, four-seat coupe,
called Porsche Panamera. The car, powered by a modified
version of the 4.5 L V8 found in the Cayenne, equipped with
the FSI system will be front engined and rear wheel drive.
Although it is extremely unlikely, rumors is that an option
for the Panamera will be the V10 engine from Porsche’s
limited-run Carrera GT supercar.
Porsche Panamera will be produced in the new plant at Leipzig
alongside the Cayenne. It is the first V8-engined sports car built
by Porsche since 1995, when the 928 was discontinued and
some consider it a suitable successor to the two-doored 928.
The company built the new model as a direct competitor to the
Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 AMG and Maserati Quattroporte and
(to a lesser degree) a less expensive alternative to expensive
vehicles such the, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, Bentley Continental GT
and Aston Martin Rapide.
Like Porsche Carrera`s name, the Panamera`s derives from the
Carrera Panamerican race. Before it, there were other four-door
sedans prototypes, such as the 1991 Porsche 989 prototype
or the even earlier 4 door prototype based on the 911, but they
never went into production.
The Porsche 356 is the first Porsche production automobile
and it was sold from 1948 through 1965. Although many
consider Porsche 64 as being the first automobile produced
by the German company, the 64 was never mass-produced
and it was only a drivable test-mule. The 364 was created by
Ferdinand Porsche and his son, Ferry Porsche, designed by
Erwin Komenda and its engine features derived from the
Volkswagen Beetle, deigned by Mr. Porsche Senior.
The models available were initially coupe, cabriolet (luxury
convertible) and then roadster (a stripped down convertible).
Before being withdrawn in 1965, it went through several
changes. The most desirable versions were 356 “Carrera”
(often sold for well over $150,000), “Super 90” and “Speedster”.
In the late 50`s, the original selling price for a Porsche was
In 1954, Max Hoffman, the only importer of Porsches into
United States needed a lower cost, racier version for the
American marker. Therefore, the company created 356
“Speedster” that became a instant hit thanks to the low, raked
windshield (easily removable for weekend racing), bucket seats,
and minimal folding top. These days, this car is still very
appreciated as it is sold for over $100,000 and it has been used
in several films, including 48 Hours, its sequel – Another 48
Hours and Top Gun. In 1957, the production of Speedster
peaked at 1,171 cars. In 1959 it was replaced by the Convertible
D model, which featured a taller, more practical windshield,
glass side windows, and more comfortable seats.
Year after year, the basic shape of Porsche 356 remained the
same and was easily recognized and remarked, even though
changes were made, especially in the mechanical area. Coupe
and cabriolet models were produced every year up to 1965,
with the last 356B Roadster built in early 1963. The final model
build was 356 C that featured disc brakes and the most
powerful pushrod engine Porsche so far: the 95HP “SC”.
In the year that Porsche launched 911, 1964, Porsche 356 production
peaked at 14,151 cars. Still, the company continued to sell the
356C in North America through the end of 1965 as a lower-cost
vehicle. When the customers complained the price for 911 was
too high (almost twice the price of the 356), Porsche started
producing the 912, using the 356 engine. The 912model was
sold between 1965 and 1969.
56 years after the beginning of the production, Sports Car
International named 356C number ten on the list of Top Sports
cars of the 60`s. Today, the 356 is a respected car among the
collectors, as it stood the test of time. Worldwide, thousands of
356 owners maintain the tradition, preserving their cars and
driving them regularly.
Porsche 968 is basically the successor of the Porsche 944.
It has a low nose and wide wheel arches that helps accentuating
the beautiful lines of this classic shape that in a Porsche Guards
Red is a real head turner. It has also the classic GT front engine,
rear wheel drive layout with the added advantage of a rear transaxle
giving almost perfect weight distribution.
Instead of the hidden headlights of the 944, the 968 has visible
pop up headlights, similar to the Porsche 928. This brings the
look of the car inline with the new Porsche 997-911. This change
has also a practical advantage: the headlights can be washed
along with the rest of the car instead of having to pop them up to
As for the interior, it remains the same as produced in the 944,
keeping the famous “oval dash”. The designers used the same
robust materials which have given all Porsche owners many years
of trouble free motoring.
The exterior has a few differences: the door mirrors have
been streamlined with the tear drop effect and the wheels
have 5 spoke Cup design alloys. The rear bumper is more
blended and with integral rear light clusters, making it almost
indistinguishable from the bodywork. All these bodywork changes
made the 968 look a lot like the 928, and added the engine heritage,
some people have referred to it as “the daughter of 928”.
The engine is a version of the one first used on the 944 S2: it is a
4 cylinder, 3 liter, 16 valve unit. And they added VarioCam for
optimum power throughout the speed range. It has 240 HP
at 6200 rpm and a torque of 305 Nm at 4100 rpm, given by the
improved combustion chamber and inlet manifold design. At the
time of production, it was a remarkable engine, having the highest
displacement per cylinder of any car engine and also the highest
torque output of any unblown 3 liter engine. Clearly, the result of
Porsches investment in this engine paid off.
The rear-mounted gearbox is a 6-speed manual or 4 speed tiptronic.
It is the first ever mounted on a production car. The chassis has
almost perfect weight distribution and very stiff characteristics.
Usually, most cars start to fail when it comes to breaks and the
reason is that it doesn’t matter how fast the car is in a straight
line if you can’t take a bend (turn) at the right safe speed. But Porsche
brakes have always been the envy of most road sports car
manufacturers. You will notice little or no or no discernable fatigue
even under harsh use of Porsche 968. ABS adds even more
safety to the already excellent braking system. Also, what makes
the brakes so effective is that the wheels themselves are designed
to prevent the tire from coming off the rim in the event of a sudden pressure
Porsche Or Ferrari?
Porsche and Ferrari are German and Italian sides of the same coin, respectively. Each represents an unique interpretation of the concept of a sports car. Both were founded by a dominant patriarch, both designs are more than 50 years old, both honed their craft in racing, and both possess engineering and styling integrity. Whether they are on the track of Le Mans or on urban streets, the two brands have constantly been put head-to-head to be compared and contrasted. Even those motorists unmoved by sports cars associate these two names with both performance and style.
Take for example the methodical Porsche 911 Carrera 4S and the passionate Ferrari F430. Both cars astonish the driver with their performance while successfully maintaining a respectable amount of practicality, but neither pretends to be anything aside from a sports car.
There are certain characteristics every modern sports car should possess. It must be started easily. It must maneuver around town competently and politely. It must be able to, when demanded, blast along country roads. It must, both in looks and performance, echo it’s roots on the racetrack while at the same time being perfectly safe on any road.
Since both cars meet and exceed these expectations with aplomb, and all the various intangible qualities are largely decided by personal taste, perhaps the easiest way to compare the two cars is by measuring the facts and figures.
One number that immediately impresses is the Ferrari’s lightning fast 4-second 0-100km/h acceleration. The new generation 4.3-litre V8 pushes out 368 snarling kilowatts, pinning the occupants to their seats. While the Porsche’s acceleration also offers that amusement park ride thrill a super car should deliver, it is 0.8 seconds slower at the 100 km/k mark.
Of course such acceleration performance isn’t worth much unless the cars also excel in the braking department, which both do. Each car comes with optional ceramic discs brakes, allowing for impressive stopping.
In the engine department Porsche gains the upper hand. With its more refined motor, Porsche scores points for economy, earning 18.3 liters per 100km while the Ferrari brings up a distant second with a mere 11.8 liters per 100km. Both cars deliver the power through impressive 6-speed gearboxes and stay glued to the road with top rate handling performance.
Even if the space is somewhat limited, both the F430 and Carrera 4S offer great interior comfort. Occupants won’t feel cramped or claustrophobic. Although Ferrarri sports an impressive mix of suede, carbon fiber and aluminum, the Italians simply can’t answer the precision fit and finish attained by the Germans.
Key elements for any super car are speed and silence. The car’s styling and stance draw buyers more than raw numbers. True to its Porsche roots the Carrera 4S, despite the new proportions, is visually recognizable as a member of the 911 family. While it is certainly a great looking car, somehow the styling no longer creates the jaw dropping reaction that it once did. Even though traditionalists may insist that Porsche pay homage to its roots, the truth of the matter is that Ferrari F430 draws the attention and turns heads.
Regardless of whether the Ferrari F430’s stops you dead in your tracks with its appearance, the super car title must go to the Porsche Carrera 4S, which represents a more complete package.
Many consider the Porsche 64 (also known as the VW Aerocoupe,
Type 64 and Type 64K10) as being the first automobile by
Porsche. It was built mainly from parts from the Model 64 VW
Beetle and there comes the model number. Its flat-four engine
produced 50 bhp and gave a top speed of 160 km/h.
Porsche Burro designed the body after wind tunnel tests made
for the Type 114, a V10 sports car that was never produced.
Dr. Porsche wanted to enter the car in the 1939 Berlin-Rome
race. The bodywork company Reutter built three cars in
shaped aluminium. Out of the three, one was crashed in the
early World War II by a Kraft durch Freude (Volkswagen)
bureaucrat. The two remaining were used by the Porsche
family. Later on, they put one of them in the storage and used
only one. In May 1945 American troops discovered the one
put in storage, cut the roof off and used it for joyriding for a few
weeks until the engine gave up and it was scrapped. Pinin
Farina restored the remaining Porsche 64 in 1947, as it was
owned and driven by Ferry Porsche. In 1949, the Austrian racer
Otto Matte bought it and won the Alpine Rally in 1950 in it.