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UPDATED – A Story of the First Porsche 356 Toy

Is this the very First Porsche 356 Toy?

15-inch-long cast Gmünd replica

“My father took the prints and made a wooden pattern of the car from which the foundry made an aluminum sand casting. The first casting was a test pour, the second was a keeper, and the first Porsche replica toy was created  – based on real prints, no less!” – quote byJeff Gasparitsch

This story begins with a phone call to the front office at the 356 CAR – California Alta Region, vice-president Jim Reeder’s place of business in Fremont:

“There’s a guy on the phone named Jeff who says he wants to talk about Porsche 356s.”

Never one to pass up a Porsche conversation in the middle of his work day, Jim takes the call from Jeff Gasparitsch who said he found Jim on the 356CAR website and saw that they both lived in the same town. He was anxious to tell the story about his father Victor Gasparitsch and his personal history with Ferdinand Porsche and what turned out to be the Gmünd Coupe.

Jim listened in amazement as the following incredible tale unfolded from Jeff Gasparitsch.

Any idea what the very first Porsche toy ever made was?

It is very likely the 15-inch-long cast Gmünd replica made by my father. As a young boy I found an old and somewhat odd toy car on a family trip back to Austria back in 1976. It was used as doorstop at my grandparent’s house in Ledenitzen.

When we returned to Canada, I kept reminding my father on future visits to bring the “toy” back for me. At the time I had no idea what it was. It was just neat and different. It wasn’t until after several subsequent trips in the 1980s that he finally remembered to pick it up for me and bring it to Canada.

That is when I finally learned the real story behind my funny old toy car.

My father, Victor Gasparitsch, was schooled as a Mechanical Engineer at the Federal Engineering School for Mechanical & Electrical Engineering in Lundenbrg (which at the time I believe was Austria, and is now part of the Czech Republic). Then he apprenticed as a Pattern Maker at a company called KMF (Kärntner Maschinenfabrik) in Carinthia, Austria from 1945 until the spring of 1948.

It was during the latter part of this tenure that two gentlemen came to the shop in which he worked. They had a meeting with the foundry manager and after some time, they approached my father.

The gentlemen were Erwin Komenda (known to my father as Chief Engineer Komenda) and Ferry Porsche! As it turned out, the foundry manager and other senior people turned down the job proposal so Porsche and Komenda decided they would speak to my father directly, since he had a background in Mechanical Engineering and not just pattern making.

They showed him some drawings of what was to become the first Porsche 356 and asked if he could produce for them what became the metal-forming fixtures for the left and right doors. He accepted the challenge and KMF got the work from the fledgling Porsche Company.

As my father was completing the work on the first fixture (it was for the left door) he approached his management and asked to be paid a salary commensurate with the other senior tradesmen as he was doing the work the seniors would not touch while being paid substantially less.

The management turned down his request, citing the union pay scale rules. This was enough to make my father decide to leave KMF. He informed Chief Engineer Komenda of his intentions to leave. Komenda asked that he stay with KMF until the first assembly was complete, then roll the drawing up under his arm and they would follow him. My father did so, and Porsche followed suit as promised.

My father moved to what was a new pattern making division of the J. Fercher Company in Villach, Austria that was then a relatively small furniture making company. Porsche then placed the balance of the order with J. Fercher and that is where my father completed the right side door fixtures. J. Fercher then received additional work from Porsche including the firewall for the car.

It was during this time that my father requested a 1:10 scale drawing from Chief Engineer Komenda so he could build a small model for personal use. Komenda was happy to oblige. My father took the prints and made a wooden pattern of the car from which the foundry made an aluminum sand casting. The first casting was a test pour, the second was a keeper, and the first Porsche replica toy was created  – based on real prints, no less!

After Ferdinand Porsche’s death and the company’s move, the J. Fercher Company closed the doors on its Pattern Shop in 1952 to focus on the furniture business. I would have to assume that all the old patterns from the pattern shop were scrapped. Today J. Fercher (now operated as FRC Austria) is a very large furniture company in Austria. I visited the plant in 1976 with my father, but only recently learned what the connection was to his past.

My dad moved on to work in Switzerland and eventually immigrated to Canada. In 1966 he opened his own pattern shop, Cosmos Pattern Company in Stoney Creek, Ontario that he operated until 1994. Into the late ‘80s he still received requests for quotations from Porsche. The last I saw was for several large wind tunnel sections for work that I believe was going to be conducted in Toronto.

Victor Gasparitsch and the first Porsche 15-inch-long cast Gmünd replica toy

That one remaining generic toy casting became a play toy for various generations of kids visiting my grandparents over 40+ years. Of course no one was the wiser as to its origin. Unfortunately, somewhere over the course of the toy’s life someone tried to alter it to make it more of a toy than a casting. They used a drill to open one of the front windows and started on the second window but fortunately never finished the job.

My father will be 82 years old this year and I have made a point to return to his home in Canada to document several details of his life before it is too late.

One day soon we’ll drop by Stuttgart perhaps to find a spot on a shelf for it in the Porsche Museum. That seems to be a much more fitting place for it than where it previously resided for over 55 years! - Jeff Gasparitsch

UPDATE December 2012 – Jeff Gasparitsch recently was kind of enough to be in touch with me and he forwarded several photos from the visit to Stuttgart with his father and the model was documented at the Porsche Museum in the summer of 2010.

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SOURCE:  from  Porsche 356 Registry Newsletter Editor: Michael Hodos

 

 

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Porsche returns to Le Mans in 2014,Development program confirmed for LMP1 sports prototype

Porsche returns to Le Mans with a works-run LMP1 sports prototype. The first outing of the completely new developed race car is planned for the year 2014. With 16 overall victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in Le Mans

Porsche 911 GT1

With 16 overall victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer in Le Mans. The most recent win was in 1998 with the Porsche 911 GT1.

Porsche 911 GT1

“Motorsport was always an essential part of the Porsche brand,” emphasizes

Matthias Müller, President of the Executive Board at Porsche AG

Porsche 911 GT1

“So for us it was only a matter of time before we returned as a factory to the top league of racing. Porsche’s successes in Le Mans are unrivaled. We want to follow up on this with the 17th outright victory.”

Porsche 911 GT1

With the RS Spyder sports prototype that was run with great success from 2006 to 2008 by the factory-backed Penske Racing team in the USA and to 2010 by several customer teams worldwide, Porsche has set the benchmark recently in the LMP2 category.

Porsche RS Spyder

“With the RS Spyder we proved that our motorsport engineers in Weissach are at the forefront,” says Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG.

Porsche RS Spyder, 24h Le Mans 2009

Porsche RS Spyder, 24h Le Mans 2009

Porsche RS Spyder, 24h Le Mans 2009

Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG

Porsche RS Spyder

“For instance, we were the first to run a high-revving race engine with direct fuel injection, DFI, setting new standards in performance and efficiency. Recently, with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, we adopted a completely new drive technology for racing purposes and achieved a considerable reduction in consumption.”

Porsche RS Spyder

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, is already prepared for one of the most challenging development programmes in the company’s history.

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport

“We’re looking forward to the task of developing new technologies and to continue on with the success of the Porsche RS Spyder. After the conclusion of our works-supported sports prototype programme in the American Le Mans Series we have kept up with the latest technological advances. Now we will begin with detailed research in order to evaluate the various concept alternatives for our new car. These obviously depend on how the regulations for the year 2014 look in detail. In principle, these regulations are interesting for us because the integration of our hybrid technology in the vehicle concept is one possible option.”

Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood claimed the first overall victory for Porsche in 1970 with the legendary 917 short-tail.

    Porsche 917 Kurzheck Coupé
    Porsche 917 Kurzheck Coupé

The 16th and by now last overall win was secured by Laurent Aiello, Stéphane Ortelli and Allan McNish in 1998 with the 911 GT1. In the years 2008 and 2009, the Porsche RS Spyder sports prototype won the title in the LMP2 category.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database
Please find the official trailer at www.porsche.com/lemans.
Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press

 

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Porsche Factory Drivers thrill fans with 1st Hybrid before start of 24 hour Nürburgring

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus” thrilled fans at the Nurburgring

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”, Porsche factory drivers Richard Lietz, Jörg Bergmeister, Marco Holzer, Patrick Long (l-r)

Click on photos for better viewing

Stuttgart. Two days before the start of the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, Porsche turned back the clock. At exactly 111 years.

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”, Porsche factory drivers Richard Lietz, Jörg Bergmeister, Marco Holzer, Patrick Long (l-r)

The motor sport fans in the Eifel region were presented with the Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”, developed in 1900 by Ferdinand Porsche, as the first functional vehicle with full hybrid propulsion.

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus”, Porsche factory drivers Richard Lietz, Jörg Bergmeister (rear from left), Marco Holzer, Patrick Long (front from left))

With the faithfully reconstructed ancestor of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, the Porsche Factory Drivers Jörg Bergmeister, Richard Lietz, Patrick Long and Marco Holzer  drove the Hybrid among the 24-hour Nürburgring fans to the Porsche autograph session – almost silently, because the hybrid is all-electric.

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus” with Porsche factory drivers

Ferdinand Porsche, the visionary of his time entered a new technical ground with the construction of “Semper Vivus”. The drive concept of the brilliant designer and pioneer, has been taken up by Porsche with the development of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, thus ushered in over a year ago as a new chapter in history of the Porsche 911.

Lohner-Porsche “Semper Vivus” with Porsche factory drivers

Porsche GT3 R Hybrid’s  first race in the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring in 2010 made worldwide headlines: eight hours into the race at the forefront of the field on victory course, was an impressive example of the ” Porsche Intelligent Performance ” More power on less fuel, more efficiency and lower CO2 emissions – on the racetrack and on the road.

Lohner Porsche “Semper Vivus”

Despite the much lower speed to drive the first hybrid car, is no less strenuous than full throttle on the Nürburgring Nordschleife with the 911 GT3 R hybrid. With a front axle weight of 1,060 kilograms – 830 kilograms  – and the steering without power assistance is hard work. But the Porsche drivers are well trained – and met with much applause by fans during the demonstration drive.

Source: Porsche AG Media database

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PORSCHE: 80 years of Porsche Designs – Porsche Engineering – Pioneering Technology and Trailblazing Innovations

Porsche Museum special exhibition
“Porsche Engineering – 80 years of Porsche design” Webspecial

For the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, the 80th anniversary of the Porsche engineering office founded in 1931 is one of the central themes of 2011.

From 7 July to 28 August 2011, the special exhibition “Porsche Engineering – 80 years of Porsche design” will be paying tribute to the most important and interesting third-party client developments of the past eight decades.

On display will be approximately 20 special exhibits extending from the development of entire vehicles via engines and gearboxes to remarkable industrial projects of the present day.

The ten third-party client vehicle developments include a 1931 vintage Wanderer saloon, the legendary Auto Union Grand Prix racing car and the Audi Sport Quattro S1 with the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) driven by Walter Röhrl.

         The Porsche Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00p.m.

For further information please visit www.porsche.com/museum

Porsche Engineering - 80 years of Porsche contract development

On 25 April 1931 Ferdinand Porsche founded an engineering office called “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Limited, construction and consulting for engine and automobile manufacturing” (Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, Konstruktion und Beratung für Motoren- und Fahrzeugbau). Porsche Engineering, contract development by Porsche, thus dates back to the oldest predecessor company of today’s Porsche AG and for more than 80 years has developed customised solutions on behalf of automotive manufacturers and suppliers from the automotive industry, but also for other industrial companies from around the world.

Discover the milestones of Porsche history and join Porsche in taking on the challenges of the future.

History

History

ServiceService

Porsche MuseumSpecial exhibition Porsche Museum

Stuttgart. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has been the leading manufacturer of premium sports cars for more than six decades. However, the historic roots of the Porsche brand go back much further than that. When Ferry Porsche built the legendary Type 356 in 1948, he and his engineers were able to look back on a wealth of comprehensive technological experience.

Back on 25th April 1931, Ferdinand Porsche founded and registered a design bureau named “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, Konstruktion und Beratung für Motoren- und Fahrzeugbau” in Stuttgart.

Since then, the Porsche company has experienced many highs and lows and has grown from a small design bureau to a world famous manufacturer of sports and racing cars. This success story is based on decades of development experience, stretching far beyond just building sports cars. Over an 80 year period, Porsche has built up a reputation as one of the best known and multi-faceted engineering service providers in the world. The tradition of customer development started by Ferdinand Porsche in 1931 is still successfully continued today by Porsche Engineering Group GmbH, based in Weissach.

Porsche Engineering carries out development work on behalf of car manufacturers and suppliers, as well as companies from other sectors, combining the skills of Porsche as a series manufacturer, technology company and engineering service provider and making these available to third parties.

The 80th anniversary of the founding of the Porsche design bureau in 1931 is one of this year’s central themes for the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. From 21st June to 11th September 2011 the special exhibition entitled “Porsche Engineering – 80 Years of Porsche Designs” will honour the most important and interesting customer developments from the last eight decades. It will display around 20 special examples ranging from whole vehicle developments, through engines and gearboxes to extraordinary industrial projects in the present. The ten vehicle customer developments on display include a Wanderer Limousine from 1931, the legendary Auto Union Grand Prix racing car and the Audi Sport Quattro S1 with Porsche dual clutch gearbox (PDK). The Porsche Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 6 pm. Further information is available on the internet from www.porsche.com/museum.

80 years of Porsche designs

80 years Pioneer Services

Discover the history of Porsche customer growth in the Webspecial.

For more than six decades, Dr. Ing. h.c. V. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has enjoyed a reputation as a leading manufacturer of sporty premium cars. But the Porsche brand has much deeper historical roots. When Ferry Porsche built the legendary Type 356 in 1948, he and his engineers were able to draw on a comprehensive trove of technical experience.As long ago as 25 April 1931, Ferdinand Porsche had established an engineering office in Stuttgart under the name “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, Konstruktion und Beratung für Motoren- und Fahrzeugbau“, (“Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Ltd., Design and Consultancy Company for Engine and Vehicle Production”) and had it entered in the trade register.

Since then, the Porsche company has experienced many ups and downs and grown from a small engineering office into a manufacturer of sports and racing cars that is known throughout the world. This success story is based also on decades of development experience extending far beyond sports car construction. Over an eighty-year period, Porsche has acquired the reputation as one of the world’s most illustrious and versatile engineering service providers. The tradition begun by Ferdinand Porsche in 1931 of third-party client development has been successfully carried on to this very day by the Porsche Engineering Group GmbH with its headquarters in Weissach. Porsche Engineering develops on behalf of automotive manufacturers and suppliers but also for companies from other sectors, bundling the know-how of the manufacturer, technology company and engineering service provider that is Porsche and making this available to third parties.

Ferdinand Porsche the automotive designer

The name Porsche has been associated with pioneering innovations in automotive engineering since the beginning of the last century. Ferdinand Porsche had been busy designing and developing his first cars as far back as 1896. The first fruit of this endeavour was an electric vehicle known as the “Lohner-Porsche” driven by steered wheel hub motors that caused a sensation at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. This was soon followed by ever more impressive proof of just how innovative Ferdinand Porsche was. A racing car boasting four wheel hub electric motors became the world’s first all-wheel drive passenger car, brilliant also for having four-wheel brakes. No less visionary was Ferdinand Porsche’s next idea: Again in 1900 he combined his battery-powered wheel hub drive with a petrol engine – the principle of the serial hybrid drive had been born.

With this first functional, full-hybrid car in the world, the “Semper Vivus” (“always alive”), Ferdinand Porsche had entered uncharted territory. In this vehicle, two generators twinned with petrol engines formed a single charging unit, simultaneously supplying electricity to wheel hub motors and batteries. As a full hybrid concept, the “Semper Vivus” was also able to cover longer distances purely on battery power until the combustion engine had to be engaged as a charging station. To save weight and create space for a petrol engine, Ferdinand Porsche used a comparatively small battery in the “Semper Vivus” with a mere 44 cells. In the middle of the vehicle he installed two water cooled 3.5 hp (2.6 kW) DeDion Bouton petrol engines for generating electricity, driving two generators, each producing 2.5 hp (1.84 kW). Both engines operated independently of one another, each delivering 20 amps with a voltage of 90 volts. The electricity generated by the dynamos initially flowed to the wheel hub motors, with the surplus power being forwarded to the batteries. An additional special side effect was that it was possible to use the generators as electric starter motors for the petrol engines by reversing the direction of rotation. Starting as far back as 1901 as the Lohner-Porsche “Mixte” and from 1906 onward as the “Mercedes Electrique”, Ferdinand Porsche brought his hybrid drive to the start of volume production.

 Ferdinand Porsche in the Lohner-Porsche

This was followed in 1906 by the next step in Ferdinand Porsche’s career. At the tender age of only 31 he landed the position of Technical Director at Austro Daimler in Wiener Neustadt, giving him product responsibility for one of Europe’s leading automotive companies. One of the greatest successes of this era was the so-called “Prinz-Heinrich Car”, in which the Austro-Daimler works team won the first three places in the 1910 running of the highly regarded Prinz-Heinrich Race. In the guise of the Austro-Daimler “Sascha”, he developed a small car which, thanks to its excellent power-to-weight ratio prevailed against its larger displacement competitors in the 1922 Targa Florio, notching up no fewer than 43 racing victories in total.

In 1923 Ferdinand Porsche moved to the Daimler engine company in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim as Technical Director. There, in addition to the Type 8/38 midsized model and the first eight cylinder engine Mercedes-Benz, the “Nürburg” Type 460, it was first and foremost the supercharged sports and racing cars that further consolidated his worldwide reputation as an automotive designer. The sports and racing cars developed under his guidance with the abbreviations “S” (Sport), “SS” (Super Sport) and “SSK” (Super Sport Kurz, or short) ranked among the most coveted cars of their time. In January 1929 he left Daimler-Benz AG. Following a short interlude at the Austrian Steyr works, at the end of 1930 he returned to Stuttgart and opened an engineering office.

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Ferdinand Porsche at the office

The founding of the Porsche engineering office

The “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung, Konstruktion und Beratung für Motoren- und Fahrzeugbau“ was entered in the Stuttgart trade register on 25 April 1921, at the height of the world economic crisis. In addition to Ferdinand Porsche, who contributed 24,000 Reichsmarks to the limited company’s share capital, his son-in-law Anton Piëch and Adolf Rosenberger also invested 3,000 Reichsmarks each as executive partners. From the outset, the work undertaken by the initial twelve strong team around Ferdinand Porsche spanned the entire gamut of motor vehicle technology. Legendary cars such as the Auto Union Grand Prix racing car or the Volkswagen “Beetle” were to emerge from this Stuttgart engineering office in the years that followed. Porsche’s workplace progressed to be one of the most important seedbeds of automotive technology, at the same time preparing the ground for mass car ownership in Germany.

As early as 1931, Porsche designed a six cylinder average mid-size saloon for the Chemnitz car manufacturer Wanderer as well as a new in-line eight cylinder engine. This was followed by a swing axle for the Horch-Werke in Zwickau and an air-cooled five-cylinder radial engine designed for the Phänomen-Werke in Zittau, intended for use in trucks. In addition, the engineering office developed a small car for Zündapp GmbH, which with its rear-engine, rigid tubular backbone chassis and transmission mounted forward of the rear axle was to prove to be decisive for the Volkswagen that came later. The torsion bar suspension patented on 10 August 1931 and used in international automotive manufacturing over many decades is also held to be a milestone in automotive history.

In the spring of 1933, Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned by Auto Union in Saxony to develop the Grand Prix racing car. The moment the contract was signed, the Porsche team led by senior engineer Karl Rabe began work on the Auto Union P racing car (P for Porsche), configured as a mid-engined vehicle. The first test drives took place as early as November 1933 and in the very first racing season in 1934 this vehicle set three world records and won three international Grand Prix races in addition to several hill climb races. Between 1934 and 1939, with drivers such as Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck or Tazio Nuvolari, the constantly refined Auto Union racing car became one of the most successful pre-war era racing cars . Its technical mid-engine concept proved to be a trendsetter for all modern racing cars and is used to this very day in Formula One.

In addition to developing racing cars, the engineering office had been equally hard at work since 1933 on the design of a low-cost small car commissioned by the NSU works – an idea that was also exercising other car designers such as Belá Barényi or Hans Ledwinka against the backdrop of the world economic crisis. When Ferdinand Porsche began work on designing the Type 32 compact car, this was already the seventh small car design of his career. A number of prototypes of this vehicle type were built, which with the air-cooled, flat-four, rear-mounted engine and Porsche torsion bar suspension exhibited distinct similarities with the later Volkswagen Beetle. The “Memorandum on the construction of a German people’s car” (Volkswagen) that he presented to the Reich Transport Ministry on 17 January 1943 was to prove critical to the breakthrough of the small car concept. Shortly thereafter, on 22 June 1934, he received the official order from the RDA, the “Reichsverband der Deutschen Automobilindustrie” (German Reich Automobile Industry Association) to design and build Volkswagen prototypes that were assembled in the garage of his Porsche villa in the north of Stuttgart in 1935.

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Ferdinand Porsche and Auto Union GP

Contrary to the initial idea of having the Volkswagen built jointly by Germany’s car manufacturers, the Reich government decided in 1936 to build an independent Volkswagen plant, the planning of which was entrusted to Dr Ferdinand Porsche. Since the incorporation of the “Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH” (Gezuvor) in May 1937, a company established to pave the way for the construction of the German “people’s car”, Porsche, as one of three Managing Directors, was officially responsible for technology and the planning of the future Volkswagen plant and, accompanied by his son Ferry, travelled to the United States of America to find out about modern production methods.

In addition to the Volkswagen project, the Porsche engineering office, located in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart since 1938, was working on numerous other development contracts from the automotive industry. For Daimler-Benz AG work included the development of technical engine components for the Mercedes “silver arrows” between 1937 and 1939 as well as the design of the Type 80 high-speed car for an attempt on the land speed record. The Type 110 compact agricultural tractor with an air-cooled two cylinder engine, developed for the “Deutsche Arbeitsfront” (German Labour Front) (DAF), was the model for the later “People’s Tractor” and the Porsche diesel tractor produced after the Second World War.

In 1938 the Volkswagen works awarded the Porsche engineering office the contract to develop a racing car based on the Volkswagen Type 60, which was to take its place on the grid for a planned long distance race from Berlin to Rome as a promotional stunt for the “KdF car” (“Strength through Joy” car). By the spring of 1939, the Porsche engineers had developed three sports car coupés under the in-house designation Type 64, for the “Non-stop speed endurance test” scheduled for September. As much of the more than 1500 kilometre long race was to be on the new motorways, particular attention was lavished on the vehicle’s aerodynamics. With a sleek streamlined aluminium body, shrouded wheel wells and a modified VW horizontally opposed engine, the would-be record-breaking car, weighing a mere 600 kg, topped 140 km/h (87 mph). When the outbreak of the Second World War prevented the race from being held, the Porsche engineering office used the completed sports cars as fast touring cars, achieving average speeds in excess of 130 km/h (81 mph) on long business trips.

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After the outbreak of the Second World War, other types of vehicle were spun off from the Volkswagen for military use. In addition to the Type 81 “VW Kastenwagen” the company, trading as Porsche KG since the end of 1937, developed the Type 62 “KdF off-road vehicle”, the Type 82, known as the “VW Kübelwagen” and the all-wheel drive Type 87 and Type 166 “VW Schwimmwagen” amphibious vehicle, among others. At the end of 1939, the Army’s Armaments Office also awarded the Porsche engineering office the development contract for a medium tank, the design of which however was temporarily shelved owing to the need for heavier types of tank. Initially employed by the Armaments Ministry as a consultant, Ferdinand Porsche headed the Tank Commission from 1941 to 1943. In 1942 Ferdinand Porsche received the contract to design a super heavy tank, the Type 205 “Maus” (Mouse), of which only two prototypes were ever built, however, and never saw action. During the war, development of the military derivatives of the Volkswagen as well as various tank prototypes – including the involvement of prisoners of war employed as forced labourers – took place predominantly in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. With the intensification in bombing raids, the Porsche KG engineering office, classified as important to the war effort, was relocated in autumn 1944 from Stuttgart to Gmünd in Carinthia, Austria.

New beginning with third-party client development and sports car construction

With the war over, the Porsche engineering office in its new home in Austria strove to attract new contracts from the automotive sector. But initially it was water turbines, cable winches, ski lifts, mowing bars and various types of tractor based on the “People’s Tractor” that were developed and for the first time also sold under the Porsche name. The most important customer in the early post-war years was the Italian company Cisitalia, whose car enthusiast owner Piero Dusio awarded numerous design contracts at the end of 1946. In addition to a tractor and water turbine, Dusio ordered a mid-engine sports car with hydraulic torque converter and a Grand Prix racing car. The upshot was the Type 360 “Cisitalia” completed in 1948, which technically was far ahead of its time on many counts. Unlike the front-engine Formula One racing cars of the post war year, which for the most part still featured rigid axles, the Type 360 was designed with a mid-engine layout. The suspension featured double trailing arms on the front axle, the rear axle being configured as a double-joint swing axle with torsion bar suspension. In terms of drive train, the single-seater featured a 385 hp (283 kW) 12-cylinder engine with compressor, achieving a maximum engine speed of 10,600 rpm. The 1.5 litre boxer engine’s four camshafts were driven by bevel shafts. The synchronised five-speed transmission – as with the gear change on a motorbike – could be operated with just two gearshift levels via a dog clutch. Thanks to the experience with the Auto Union P-racing car, there was an awareness of the traction problems with the narrow racing tyres that were customary at the time. Power transmission was therefore by means of all-wheel drive that could be activated by the driver if required. But financial difficulties affecting the client Cisitalia prevented the Type 360 from taking part in Grand Prix races.

In July 1947, independent design work began on the Type 356 “VW sports car”. The design concepts became reality in the first half of 1948 under the in-house design number 356 based on earlier designs such as the Volkswagen or Type 64 “Berlin-Rome car”. Once the chassis had completed its maiden drive in February, the finished prototype with the chassis number 356-001 received one-off approval by the State Government of Carinthia. The Porsche sports car brand had been born. Production of the rear-engined coupé and convertible versions of the Porsche Type 356/2 started in the second half of 1948. Series production of this sports car began after the return to Stuttgart in 1950, approximately 78,000 vehicles being built by 1965. The successor model, the Porsche 911, finally helped the company to make the breakthrough as one of the technically and stylistically leading sports car manufacturers in the world.

From the Weissach Engineering Office to the Weissach Development Centre

Despite the successful entry into vehicle manufacturing, third-party client development commissions remained a firm fixture in the then Porsche KG’s service portfolio. The most important client right into the 1970s was Volkswagen AG, with whom there had been an extensive cooperation agreement. Numerous detailed improvements were devised for the VW “Beetle”, which was produced in Wolfsburg in exchange for payment to Porsche of a licence fee of approximately DM 5 per vehicle. Porsche was also involved in developing the successor models for the successful Beetle. The Stuttgart-based company developed numerous prototypes on behalf of the Volkswagen Group, which were to prove groundbreaking for the Wolfsburg Group’s passenger vehicle programme. The best-known contract developments were the VW Porsche 914 unveiled in the autumn of 1969 and the Porsche 924 built in response to Volkswagen development contract EA 425.

In addition to the numerous orders for the Volkswagen Group, Porsche’s third party client development engineers developed numerous other innovations for domestic and foreign clients in the 1950s and 1960s. Porsche developed the amphibious all-wheel-drive Type 597 Jagdwagen vehicle in response to a Bundeswehr invitation to tender. Although the Jagdwagen proved to be technically superior, the contract was awarded to car and motorcycle manufacturer DKW for labour market reasons. Overseas customers as well, such as the Studebaker Corporation, put their faith in Porsche KG’s experience. Between 1952 and 1954, the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer developed a four-door saloon with self-supporting body and modern ponton design for the American carmaker.

In 1971, Porsche’s Development Division with its Construction, Testing and Design Departments relocated to the newly constructed Development Centre in Weissach, 25 kilometres to the north-west of Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Ferry Porsche had already had a so-called “skid pad” built there 10 years earlier, which had been used ever since for conducting suspension tests. In addition to a large test track, the 1970s and 1980s saw the building of high-spec installations such as wind tunnel, crash facility, emissions testing centre and a wealth of engine test rigs that are available for third-party contracts and in-house developments alike. The Development Centre spanned virtually all areas of civil and military engine technology. Large orders from the German Army were also handled as were future automotive studies for the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology. The client portfolio was recruited from virtually the whole of the world’s automotive industry, which drew on Porsche’s know-how for its own vehicle programmes, from detailed technical solutions to entire vehicles.

Industrial projects and series development

Breaking new ground is a tradition with Porsche’s third-party client development. For example, in the early 80s, Weissach engineers and aircraft manufacturer Airbus joined forces to design a cockpit layout for wide-bodied aircraft, setting a trend by using displays in place of the conventional analog instruments. The project sought to achieve discernible improvements for the pilots’ working environment through optimised styling.

Another major project was the “TAG Turbo made by Porsche” engine developed for the British McLaren International racing team, with the aim of causing a sensation at the very pinnacle of motor sport. Unveiled in the summer of 1983, the 1.5 litre, six-cylinder turbocharged engine dominated Formula One, with 25 Grand Prix victories and three world championship titles between 1984 and 1986. The secret of the Formula One high-performance engine’s success lay in marrying the turbocharger technology with an electronic engine management system. As a consequence, the racing car’s fuel consumption was particularly economical, which critically influenced the racing strategy

A milestone in the development of vehicles for industry was the beginning of the tie-in with Linde Material Handling, which continues successfully to this very day. Having already designed slewing gears and chain drives for Linde, in the 1980s the sports car manufacturer Porsche was retained to design a new generation of forklift trucks. In addition to the functional design of the machine, the Porsche engineers paid particular attention to developing a new ergonomically designed driver workstation concept. The symbiosis of technology and aesthetics also proved beneficial to sales: Sales of the stylistically distinctive Linde forklift trucks increased by approximately 15 per cent in the mid-1980s. In addition to steering axles and lifting masts for every conceivable forklift truck weight class, an electric forklift truck model line was also jointly developed with Porsche to the point of market launch. The Porsche styling of Linde’s conveyor systems has since become an award-winning trademark. For example, the Linde T20 pallet truck received the coveted “Red Dot Award for Product Design” from the prestigious North Rhine Westphalia design centre.

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Linde forklift truck

But Porsche Engineering also regularly worked for other carmakers. From 1990 onwards, Porsche’s third-party client development team worked for Daimler-Benz AG on the design and test aspects of a W 124 production saloon fitted with the 5 litre, V8 four-valve M 119 engine. The result was impressive performance. With the four-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard, the Mercedes-Benz 500 E reached the 100 km/h mark (62 mph) in only 5.9 seconds with the top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (156 mph). In the process, the contract far exceeded the usual development activities. Series production together with the assembly of the body shell and final assembly took place at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen works. The Daimler-Benz works in Sindelfingen were responsible for the paint finish and delivery. Production of the Mercedes-Benz 500 E kicked off in the spring of 1990. The sales success of the speedy GT saloon testified to the successful outcome of the collaboration: 10,479 units had been built by April 1995.

In the early 1990s, Porsche’s third-party client development department entered into a joint venture with Audi to develop a high-performance sport estate car, which caused a sensation. The Audi Avant RS2 unveiled in the autumn of 1993 came into being in Weissach based on the 315 hp (232 kW) variant of the all-wheel drive Audi Avant S2. This borrowed numerous Porsche components, such as for example wheel hubs, high-performance brakes and rims. Exterior parts such as fog lights and indicators as well as the exterior mirrors also came from the Porsche 911 of the then current 993 model series. The Audi Avant RS2 was built at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen works between October 1993 and July 1994. The “Porsche estate car in Audi clothing” – as “Auto Bild” magazine put it – enjoyed keen customer interest. The planned production run of 2000 vehicles was exceeded by 895 units.

In 2001, under the development name “Revolution Engine”, Porsche Engineering started work as a development partner on developing a new V2 engine for the American motorbike manufacturer Harley-Davidson’s “V-Rod” model. Against the backdrop of a collaborative relationship stretching back to the 1970s, Porsche engineers designed a water-cooled, 1131 cc power unit based on a racing engine which delighted discerning Harley-Davidson customers with its performance and engine sound in equal measure.

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Harley Davidson V Rod

Into the future with tradition and innovation

Today, as in the past, Porsche Engineering is grappling with the engineering challenges of the future. Be it the conspicuous expertise in the electromobility arena that Porsche Engineering displayed in the Boxster E research project in 2011 or in the development of the Seabob production water sport sled, experience in the lightweight construction and downsizing arenas but also thinking outside the box with the development of a premium outdoor grill in 2008 – Porsche Engineering’s engineers dedicate themselves to each project with the same commitment to ultimate quality, innovative concepts and customised solutions.

Nowadays, all development projects for clients worldwide are controlled by the Porsche Engineering Group GmbH (PEG) founded in 2001 and headquartered in Weissach. Thanks to Porsche’s own distinctive development network, PEG is able to call on the services of its subsidiaries Porsche Engineering Services GmbH in Bietigheim and Porsche Engineering Services s.r.o. in Prague. By networking all its locations and sharing information closely between project teams, PEG offers interface competency and lateral thinking, ensuring that client projects are delivered consistently and productively and without a hitch.

The combined expertise of Porsche Engineering’s engineers and the comprehensive resources at the Weissach Development Centre’s disposal are behind innovative services to the highest quality standards.But the public only gets to see the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to draconian confidentiality, Porsche Engineering protects its clients’ product strategies and brand identities with the greatest care at all times. Only very few projects are known of, and only with the clients’ explicit consent. Because Porsche’s third-party client development will only succeed if a customer returns. This maxim prevails to this day – as it has for more than 80 years.

Credits: Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

 

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Porsche Reveals New Panamera Models at New York International Auto Show

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NEW YORK — April 20, 2011 – Marking a North American premiere at the New York International Auto Show, Porsche today showed two new versions of its highly acclaimed Panamera four-door sports sedan, including the company’s most fuel-efficient car ever — the 2012 Panamera S Hybrid — and its highest-performance Panamera ever, the 2012 Panamera Turbo S.

“Today we are unveiling two new, dynamic and high-performance Panamera models,” said Detlev von Platen, Porsche Cars North America’s President and CEO. “One is a highly advanced hybrid and the other is a car that raises the bar higher than ever in the premium sports sedan segment.”

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Powerful New Panamera Turbo S is Revealed

With its new four-door Panamera Turbo S, Porsche is establishing a new benchmark for its competitors by delivering ultra high performance and efficiency, sports-car-like driving dynamics, and first-class comfort in a purely Porsche package.

The power under the hood of the new top-of-the-line Panamera is based on the proven twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engine in the Panamera Turbo. In the Turbo S this powerplant generates 550 horsepower, 50 more than that of the Panamera Turbo. The torque is also increased significantly over the Turbo from 516 lb-ft to 553 lb-ft. Even more torque — 590 lb-ft — is generated temporarily by the “Sport” and “Sport Plus” overboost mode of the standard Sport Chrono Package Turbo.

The increase in power in the Panamera Turbo S is the result of a quicker, more responsive turbo response and modified engine control unit. With the help of Launch Control, the newest Panamera can reach 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. The top-track speed is 190 mph. And despite this increased performance, fuel consumption is expected to remain comparable to the Panamera Turbo that delivers an EPA estimated rating of 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.  Official EPA fuel economy estimates for the Panamera Turbo S will become available prior to the car’s on-sale date later this spring.

Even for a world-class luxury car, the Panamera Turbo S offers an extraordinarily high level of features. In keeping with its sporty concept, it comes equipped with the most important driving-dynamic control systems. For example, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) is an active anti-roll system that significantly reduces lateral body movement during corning, which enhances stability, handling and overall occupant comfort.  Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) is also standard and works to help ensure superior traction and higher-performance cornering by applying a variable torque split to the rear wheels in combination with an electronically controlled rear differential lock. Also standard is Porsche’s advanced speed-sensitive Servotronic® steering system, a sports exhaust system, and the Sport Chrono Package Turbo that further tunes the engine and suspension at the touch of the “Sport Plus” button.

While the sporting character of the new Panamera Turbo S is most apparent behind the wheel, the car’s exterior tastefully exudes its high-performance ambitions. The new 20-inch Turbo II wheels with increased rear axle track width, side skirts from the Porsche Exclusive range, and the adaptive four-way extending rear spoiler express the car’s elite performance abilities. Inside, the fusion of exclusivity and sportiness is conveyed in the interior by the standard bi-color leather finish. A new combination of black/cream is offered exclusively for the new Panamera Turbo S with Agate Grey/cream also being added as an exclusive option later this year. Agate Gray Metallic will also be an exclusive exterior color.

The new Porsche Panamera Turbo S will have a base MSRP of $173,200 (excluding destination).

Porsche Expands its Hybrid Lineup with the Panamera S Hybrid

The debut of the Panamera S Hybrid adds another important chapter to the Porsche Intelligent Performance philosophy of committing to build new cars that strive to deliver sportier performance with more fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Without sacrificing high-performance or luxury and comfort, this new Panamera model produces 380 horsepower with fuel consumption of only 6.8 L/100 km on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), making it the most fuel efficient Porsche of all time.

Official EPA fuel economy estimates for the U.S. will be available closer to the car’s on-sale date late this year.

As you would expect from Porsche, the Panamera S Hybrid sets new standards in terms of performance as well as hybrid efficiencies. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds and has a top track speed of 167 mph (270 km/h). Its range in purely electric mode is approximately one mile, with electric-only acceleration possible up to just over 50 mph (85 km/h).

The Porsche parallel full hybrid system also reduces consumption at high speeds thanks to its ‘sailing’ or coasting mode. When the driver lifts off the accelerator at normal highway cruising speeds, the gasoline engine is completely switched off and disengaged from the drivetrain by a decoupling clutch. This eliminates the combustion engine’s drag forces and braking effect in the interest of lower resistance, fuel consumption and emissions. As soon as the driver presses the accelerator, to pass another vehicle for example, the gasoline engine smoothly starts within fractions of a second and engine rpms are increased to match the current vehicle speed. It does this seamlessly thanks to the Hybrid Manager, which also helps the Panamera S Hybrid accelerate dynamically in gears at higher speeds.

The Panamera S Hybrid employs a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine that delivers 333 horsepower. It is supported by a 47-horsepower (34 kW) electric motor. Depending on driving conditions, either drive unit can operate independently or together to drive the rear wheels. The electric motor, which also serves as the car’s generator and starter, combines with the decoupling clutch to form the compact hybrid module located between the combustion engine and the transmission. The electric motor is connected to a nickel metal hydride (NiMh) battery that stores electric energy recovered from braking and other driving situations. The transmission is the same eight-speed Tiptronic S fitted in the Cayenne models, with a wide range of gear ratios.

The Panamera S Hybrid has an even higher level of standard equipment than the V8 Panamera S that includes Adaptive Air Suspension with the Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adaptive shock absorber system, Servotronic® variable-assist power steering and a host of other features. This new model also features an innovative display that provides the driver with relevant information about the status of the vehicle’s hybrid drive systems.

The Panamera S Hybrid will go on sale in the United States later in 2011 at a base suggested retail price of $95,000 (excluding destination).

World’s First Hybrid is Incredibly Recreated

In 1900, history came to life when Professor Ferdinand Porsche built the first functional hybrid car. Aptly called Semper Vivus, which means “Always Alive” this historic car has been resurrected 111 years later by Porsche as a tribute to this acclaimed engineer’s visionary thinking.

The fully functional Semper Vivus replica, based on original drawings and exhaustive research, is a collaborative effort between Porsche Engineering and Karosseriebau Drescher, a coachbuilding company based in Hinterzarten in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Its masterful design impresses onlookers to this very day, and for the first time in the United States it is on display at the New York Auto Show press day on April 20.

In November 2007 the Porsche Museum embarked on one of the most interesting and challenging projects in its history: the construction of a faithful replica of the 1900 Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus. Even 111 years after its invention, building the world’s first functioning hybrid car was a great challenge for all. Ultimately it was not just about an extreme attention to visual details but also achieving the same driving performance as the original.

The Porsche Museum entrusted the workmanship to a team of experts led by coachbuilder Hubert Drescher, who had already proven his competence in numerous difficult restoration projects. As with a number of racing car projects, the aluminum body of the Porsche Type 64 museum exhibit originates from the Hinterzarten coachbuilder workshop, as well.

Exhaustive research in various archives the across Europe was the first step. The outcome was a handful of black-and-white photos and an original technical drawing serving as the project’s foundation. As with Prof. Porsche, the Semper Vivus replica initially began as a blank sheet of paper.

This meant that in addition to a good deal of imagination, the project required extensive research and calculations in order to be faithfully recreate an accurate and working likeness of the electric wheel-hub motor. Since no specifications or other helpful records had survived, experts initially created ready reckoners and design drawings on graph paper in the time-honored fashion. This involved the painstaking study and laborious measurement of photos and drawings. As there was no functioning wheel hub motor in existence, technical details such as performance and range had to be resurrected and calculated from scratch.

The replica car’s genius rivals what it took to build the original. What can be seen now took three years to build and ingenious engineering and craftsmanship, as well as a treasure hunt for original parts, including some for the combustion engine.

Today, Prof. Porsche’s innovative spirit lives on at Porsche, as a priceless historical creation and as an inspiration for the company’s commitment to developing new and ever-more advanced hybrid systems.

About Porsche Cars North America

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, the Cayenne SUV and Panamera Gran Turismo. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 196 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand’s 63-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency. At the core of this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.

SOURCE: Porsche AG / Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

Follow Porsche:  facebook.com/Porsche  twitter.com/Porsche

 

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PORSCHE: Prof. Ferdinand Porsche Created The First Functional Hybrid Car

The name Porsche has been associated with pioneering innovations in automotive engineering since the beginning of the last century. In 1900 Ferdinand Porsche, founding father of the present-day Dr. Ing. h.c. F.Porsche AG, Stuttgart, entered uncharted territory. With the first functional, full-hybrid car in the world, the ‘Semper Vivus’ (‘always alive’), the principle of the serial hybrid drive had been born. In a four year project the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart had the Semper Vivus recreated. 111 years after this ground breaking innovation by Ferdinand Porsche the Semper Vivus will again drive into the limelight of future appearances as part of the Porsche Museum collection in Stuttgart.

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Source: Porsche AG

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He developed the world’s first hybrid car, advanced electric car, and all-wheel drive car a century ago, and now Porsche brings a recreation of his Semper Vivus to New York

NEW YORK – April 20, 2011 – The name Porsche has been associated with pioneering automotive engineering innovations since the beginning of the last century. In 1900 Prof. Ferdinand Porsche unveiled his Lohner Porsche, an electric car with wheel-hub motors driving the front wheels. Soon after, this car featured all-wheel drive and four-wheel brakes, another world first. A highlight of his early years as an automotive designer was the Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus that went down in history 111 years ago as the first functional hybrid car.

Video: Fox Car Report @ New York

Porsche’s Semper Vivus (Always Alive) recreation is a tribute to Prof. Porsche’s visionary invention. The fully functional Semper Vivus replica, based on original drawings and exhaustive research, is a collaborative effort between Porsche Engineering and Karosseriebau Drescher, a coachbuilding company based in Hinterzarten in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  This faithful replica, whose visionary design impresses to this very day, is on display at the New York Auto Show press day on April 20.

 

Source & Credits: Porsche

The history of the Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus

Prof. Ferdinand Porsche was busy designing and developing his cars as early as 1896. The first fruit of his endeavors was an electric vehicle known as the Lohner-Porsche. It was driven by steered wheel-hub motors, and it caused a sensation at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. This was soon followed by an even more impressive example of Prof. Porsche innovative spirit. A racing car boasting four wheel-hub electric motors became the world’s first all-wheel drive passenger car and marked the automotive engineering debut of four-wheel brakes. No less visionary was Prof. Porsche’s next idea; in 1900 he combined his battery-powered wheel hub drive with a petrol engine, thus creating the serial hybrid drive principle.

Prof. Porsche had entered uncharted territory with the Semper Vivus, the world’s first functional, full-hybrid car. In this vehicle, two generators paired with petrol engines formed a single charging unit, simultaneously supplying electricity to wheel-hub motors and batteries. In autumn 1900, Prof. Porsche set to work on a first prototype with petrol-electric hybrid drive. Presumably he based the world’s full hybrid car on a conversion of his electric racing vehicle from the Semmering-Bergrennen race. To this end he combined his electrical wheel-hub motors with two combustion engines and no mechanical connection whatsoever to a drive axle. Instead, they each drove an electric generator supplying both the wheel-hub motors and accumulators with electricity. This was the birth of serial hybrid drive. As a full hybrid concept, the Semper Vivus was also able to cover longer distances purely on battery power until the combustion engine had to be engaged to recharge the batteries.

To save weight and create room for a petrol engine, Prof. Porsche swapped the original 74-cell accumulator in his electromobiles for a smaller battery with only 44 cells. In the middle of the vehicle he installed two water-cooled 3.5 PS (2.6 kW) DeDion Bouton petrol engines — driving two generators to create electricity — each producing 2.5 hp (1.84 kW). Both engines operated independently, each delivering 20 amperes with a voltage of 90 volts. The electricity generated by the dynamos initially flowed to the wheel-hub motors, with the surplus power being sent on to the batteries. An added bonus was that it was also possible to use the generators as electric starter motors for the petrol engines by reversing the direction of rotation.

In practice, Prof. Porsche still had to contend with the principal problem of his wheel-hub cars – the vehicle’s heavy weight. Although the Semper Vivus hybrid car’s total weight was only 70 kg more than the original version, the 1,200 kg prototype was a challenge for the pneumatic tires’ soft rubber mix. In other respects as well the hybrid concept was still a long way away from being ready for series production. With its bodiless chassis, exposed petrol engines and unsprung rear axle, the Semper Vivus may have impressed visitors to the Paris Motor Show in 1901 but potential car buyers must have felt the bare-bones prototype was not for them. The interaction of engine, batteries and control system also still needed a lot of development and in addition to the ambitious control technology, a constant problem was dirt being thrown up and fouling of the accumulators. Yet the hybrid concept pointed to new possibilities that Prof. Porsche resolutely set about turning into reality.

The road to the Lohner-Porsche Mixte

In 1901 Prof. Porsche developed the revised concept of his ‘petrol-electric hybrid car’ into a variant that was ready for series production under the Lohner-Porsche Mixte name (borrowing the French term ‘voitures mixtes’). With a four-cylinder, front-mounted engine, this model mirrored the Mercedes vehicle concept just recently designed by Wilhelm Maybach but with its two wheel-hub motors still conforming to the concept of a serial hybrid car. Prof. Porsche was now using a powerful 5.5-liter, 25-hp (18 kW) four-cylinder engine from the Austrian Daimler engine company as an electrical generator. The engine was connected by a driveshaft to the electric generator located under the seat, with control handled by a primary controller next to the steering wheel.

To solve his vehicles’ weight problems, Prof. Porsche was constantly reducing battery size while also attempting to design a dust-proof battery housing. While the Lohner-Porsche Mixte was only able to drive a few kilometers on electric power alone because of the reduced battery capacity, the unladen weight of the four-seat touring car including body fell to around 1,200 kg. In normal driving mode the petrol engine and generator ran at a constant speed, feeding the wheel-hub motors and battery with electricity at a constant voltage. In addition to his drive concept’s high-level of efficiency, the car offered other advantages as well. By reversing the polarity, the generator could be used as an electric starter motor, eliminating the need for the strenuous and hazardous hand cranking of the engine.

Before the end of 1901, Ludwig Lohner and Prof. Ferdinand Porsche had pulled off a respectable result by selling five Lohner-Porsche Mixte cars. With a selling price of approximately 14,000 Krone each, this made the cars very exclusive commodities. The purchaser of this initial series was Emil Jellinek, the well-known general agent of the Daimler engine company in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim and the inspiration behind the first Mercedes (named after his daughter) only the year before. Despite this contact, a cooperation agreement to supply Mercedes engines failed to materialize and only seven Lohner-Porsches with Daimler engines were built. From 1903 onwards, petrol engines from Panhard & Levassor were used because the large French automotive manufacturer had acquired the license rights for France, Great Britain and Italy from Ludwig Lohner.

At about the same time, Prof. Porsche again significantly modified his cars’ drive concepts. For the weight reasons and to reduce production costs he dispensed with the purely electric driving capability and shrunk the battery to a minimum for initiating the starter motor. He replaced the missing energy storage unit with another innovation. The generator, designed as a stationary armature machine, was fitted with an electro-mechanical speed regulator patented as a “device for automatically regulating electric generators.” Prof. Porsche also ushered in a further development in wheel-hub motor technology. A redesigned hub casing allowed the kingpins to be relocated closer to the center of the wheel. This steering geometry, patented in May 1902, significantly reduced the effect of road impacts and the effort needed to turn the steering wheel. To reduce the unsprung mass of the wheels, Prof. Porsche also reduced the diameter of his wheel-hub motors, which he compensated for by using wider windings.

In April 1902, having incorporated these improvements, Prof. Porsche took his place on the starting grid for the Exelberg race. His two-seat Mixte racing car was not only visually impressive due to its modern proportions but impressive on the track, as well. His Lohner-Porsche seemed to cope effortlessly with even the steepest gradients of the 4.2-km gravel road leading up to the Exelberg, and it emerged as the victor in the large car class. Porsche received additional high-profile publicity in the autumn of 1902 when he chauffeured Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the Lohner-Porsche during a military maneuver. The aristocratic passenger seems to have liked the vehicle with its elegant touring body. Soon after, Prof. Porsche received a thank you letter testifying “just how satisfied in every respect his Imperial Majesty” was after the ride.

Despite these impressive demonstrations, sales of the Mixte production variants remained far lower than expectations. With only 11 hybrid cars sold, the return on investment was not on par with the enormous technical development costs between 1900 and 1905. The main problem was undoubtedly the high sales price. Depending on design and equipment, a Lohner-Porsche Mixte cost between 14,400 and 34,028 Krone, in some cases making it almost twice as expensive as comparable, conventionally powered motor vehicles. This was compounded by the high maintenance cost of the complex drive system that was unable to keep pace with the ever increasing reliability of normal petrol cars. Pure electric vehicles, however, were economically more successful. Approximately 65 Lohner-Porsche electric cars were sold during the first five years of series production to the end of 1905.

The reincarnation of the Semper Vivus

In November 2007 the Porsche Museum embarked on one of the most interesting and challenging projects in its history: the construction of a faithful replica of the 1900 Lohner-Porsche Semper Vivus. Even 111 years after its invention, building the world’s first functioning hybrid car was a great challenge for all. Ultimately it was not just about an extreme attention to visual details but also achieving the same performance as the original. The Porsche Museum entrusted the workmanship to a team of experts led by coachbuilder Hubert Drescher, who had already proven his competence in numerous difficult restoration projects. As with a number of racing car projects, the aluminum body of the Porsche Type 64 museum exhibit originates from the Hinterzarten coachbuilder workshop, as well.

Exhaustive research in various archives the across Europe was the first step. The outcome was a handful of black-and-white photos and an original technical drawing serving as the project’s foundation. As with Prof. Porsche, the Semper Vivus replica initially began as a blank sheet of paper. This meant that in addition to a good deal of imagination, the project required extensive research and calculations in order to be faithfully recreate an accurate and working likeness of the electric wheel-hub motor. Since no specifications or other helpful records had survived, experts initially created ready reckoners and design drawings on graph paper in the time-honored fashion. This involved the painstaking study and laborious measurement of photos and drawings. As there was no functioning wheel hub motor in existence, technical details such as performance and range had to be resurrected and calculated from scratch.

When it came to selecting materials, coachbuilder Drescher took his inspiration, among other sources, from coaches and carriages from the dawn of the 20th Century. This required the assistance of experienced suppliers who were entrusted with the manufacturing of the special materials. The fully functioning Semper Vivus replica, which took approximately three years to build, does not solely include replica components. For example, it was possible to fit some original components including combustion engines.

Today, Prof. Ferdinand Porsche’s innovative spirit lives on at Porsche AG’s Research and Development Center in Weissach, Germany where the company is applying its engineering strength to develop various hybrid systems. Porsche’s first production hybrid, the 2011 Cayenne S Hybrid SUV, is on sale in many markets including the United States. Its parallel full hybrid system will be adapted for use in the Panamera S Hybrid that goes on sale later this year with a U.S. MSRP of $95,000 (excluding destination). Porsche engineers are busy developing its 911 GT3 R Hybrid racecar for further competition while continuing work on the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid super sports car the company first showed at the Geneva Auto Show in 2010.

Semper Vivus Facts and Figures

Year Units
Engine: 2x Single cylinder De-Dion-Bouton combustion engine
Output: 2.5 hp (1.85 kW) per cylinder
Electric motor output: 2.7 hp (2 kW) per wheel
Top speed: 35 km/h (22 mph)
Range: 200 km (124 miles)
Overall width: 1,880 mm
Overall length: 3,390 mm
Overall height: 1,850 mm
Total weight: 1.7 tons
Front wheel weight (single): 272 kg (with wheel hub motor)
Track width front: 1,350 mm
Track width rear: 1,540 mm
Wheelbase: 2,310 mm
Ground clearance: 250 mm

About Porsche Cars North America

Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga. is the exclusive U.S. importer of Porsche sports cars, the Cayenne SUV and Panamera Gran Turismo. Established in 1984, it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche AG, which is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and employs approximately 220 people who provide parts, service, marketing and training for 196 dealers. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers a best-in-class experience that is in keeping with the brand’s 63-year history and leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety and efficiency. At the core of this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000 motorsport wins to date.

Source & Credits: Porsche Press Database

Contact: Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

 

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