Grandes Marques


Grandes Marques have always  conceived in the backyard and grown up on race tracks. The event an outcome of an automobilist packed with passion and courage. From De Dion Bouton and Prince Henry to Royal Rolls and Ferrari, the automobile has come a long way.  The History and its events are breathtakingly beautiful, a saga of passion, obsession and triumph where dreams are turned into engineering marvels. The saga of the finest and the great cars this world has ever seen.


There isnít one wrong thing about these Sapphires from Stuttgart. They feel at home everywhere be it at autobahns, country roads, or race tracks. The evolution of Porsche is one of interesting struggle and shrewd fight. The fights to evolve against the horrible devastation of the world wars and that against those equally fascinating pieces of automobilia that ruled the world and were born in other parts of Europe and America. What is common between Prince Henry, Volkswagen Beetle, King Tiger Tank and Porsche 356...Itís just that they evolved from the same mind that designed and produced the first Porsche car. No wonder, the person who designed many a fascinating machines that stood against time and were regarded as the most perfect pieces of machineryfromtheirtimewasthebrainchildof356.

Itís the Porsche philosophy that was put into practice where excellence is the least qualification. Before the war Porsche design office and workshop had been in Stuttgart. An initial batch of 50 cars was built in Gmund, each one handmade with hand beaten body panels. The Reutter body plant was given the contract to produce to produce chassis and body while Porsche looked after the mechanical components of which most of them were from Volkswagen parts bin. Thus was born Porsche 356.


Simple, reliable and fast. It had a bathtub like shape, which made the car look squat and flat. Initially born with an 1100cc engine, which later was enlarged to 1300cc by the time the production started in 1950. Porsche cars have always relied on efficiency rather than size to extract maximum performance from the engine. Even the super fast and super performer Porsche 959, which easily bangs itself into the super car category, came with just 2.6 liters and twin turbo. The 1300cc version could do a decent 90-mph and 84mph with the 1100cc unit. Thanks to its rear mounted air-cooled engine and a flat nose that allowed minimum drag that gave the car better wind cheating characteristics.

Porsch 356 Frontal View



People who were quite happy with the reliability pitted it against almost everything that can be put under 4 set of wheels. The car participated in many a hill climbs and races where 356 gave a performance, that normally can be associated with larger engine cars. In 1951 a Porsche 356 driven by Vewillet and Mouche was the first ever Porsche entry in the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race since the war. The 1100cc unit was tuned to give 44bhp, with a special high speed axle and all the four wheels enclosed, the car touched an impressive 100mph thus giving Porsche the first ever Le Mans victory. The Le Mans success was soon followed by yet another success when Von Guilleaume and Count Von Der Munle raced in 1500cc class at Leige-Rome-Leige race finishing 3rdoverall.


Through out the 1950s Porsche saw most of the components built by them thus phasing out the association with Volkswagen. In 1955 the 356 was rechristned as 356A after the bore and stroke was enlarged to get the total volume of 1582cc. North American markets have always been happy hunting grounds for Porsche. The 50s saw a new boom in the quality of life of the American people. Here then the people wanted to express their quality of life in every possible way. This event coincided with the Porsche planning to launch a Cabrio version of 356A. It was 61 kgs lighter than the coupe version. This drop head version was named 1600 super. The super found a good acceptance in the sunny markets of California and Florida as it was equally popular with the autobahn police, as there were very few cars that could get away from a 1600 super on the autobahn. There have been very few cars that have installed an institution as strong as 356.


The success of this car is a tribute to the small gang from Gmund who began building cars just 10 yr. before the car reached its pinnacle of success in every possible sphere. And a tribute to the man too who has managed to design one of the most amazing machines, an automotive mind can ever think of. The mid 50s saw the scenario changing for 356.No longer was the old pushrod engine capable of winning mighty races and soon it became inevitable for Porsche to design a new engine with improved power and better dynamics. Racing world demanding a better power output. Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, head of the Porsche design team evolved a new engine. The flat four air cooled configuration was left untouched but now instead of push rods now the valves were operated by overhead camshafts. With the new engine the rev band was now standing at 8000rpm max providing the flexibility to fine tune a car for race needs. Porsche has always designed and built one of the most magnificent engines. It was impossible to over rev a 356 even
while driving down an incline. 



Even to this day its normal for a Porsche engine to run atleast a hundred and fifty thousand kilometers before stripping down the engine for the first time. The 356A/1500GS was ideal for GT racing and quite naturally the first batch of the cars with the new overhead cam went to the people who intended to race. The 356A/1500GS were named Carrera, which means 'race' in Spanish. The car did an impressive 185 kms/hr, which is quite impressive even by today's standards. Though the new overhead engine car was doing extremely well, equal attention to the old pushrod engine car was given. Soon a new version of the pushrod-engine car was launched as 356B and later over a period of time a C and SC was also released. The engine was steadily improved until 90 BHP could be churned out. This new 90BHP car was released as Super90. The overhead cam engine was later enlarged to 2 liters, but this car was manufactured for a short time as the company had plans to manufacture bigger and more powerful cars. Finally after 15 yr into production and claiming numerous victories in almost all the races, the production was halted in 1965 before Porsche started producing the new Porsche 911.


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