Over the years, Porsche has provided a great sports car history. Long term
planning, relentless engineering, and consistent incremental improvements
have been the company’s mainstays.
The following is part II of Porsche’s innovations.
In 1975, the 930 entered production. A year later, the car came to the
U.S. as the Turbo Carrera, and it become universally known simply as
the Porsche Turbo. While a few other car makers offered turbos at the
time, the Porsche 930 was known for its unforgettably explosive
In 1981, the (PDK) Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe twin-clutch
gearbox was engineered at the company’s Weissach development center.
The transmission is now available on the 911 and the soon to be released
Panamera 4-door sports car.
In 1983, the TAG Turbo Formula I engine was fired up. This turbocharged
1.5-liter V6 engine making 1,000 hp would dominate the F1 Series for three
seasons. McLaren won the Constructors World Championship in 1984 and
1985. Niki Lauda also won the World Drivers Championship with it in 1984
and 1985. Additionally, Allain Prost drove the TAG Turbo to the driver’s
crown in 1986.
In 1985, the road running 959 was unleashed at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
The car had all-wheel drive and other technological innovations (variable
split front-rear power chosen by the driver for dry tarmac, wet tarmac, snow,
or off road: a 4-cam, 4-valve-per-cylinder engine fitted with dual turbos, variable
suspension height; run-flat tires; ABS brakes; tire-pressure monitoring, etc.).
The price of the 959 in 1985 was about $350,000 although it reputedly cost
Porsche about $500,000 to make each of the hand built cars. In the early 1990s,
the 959 was finally available for the U.S. Porsche built maybe a dozen such cars
for the U.S. and sold them for $1 million each.
In 2003, the Carrera GT received of all the technology of its decade. The
sports car has carbon fiber bodywork over a monocoque aluminum frame.
The front and rear suspension is packaged efficiently with race derived
pushrods actuating their inboard mounted springs and dampers. Additionally,
ceramic composite brakes are fitted. Furthermore, the car’s clutch is made
out of ceramic and titanium and is thus one-half the size and weight of the
the hardware used in the Porsche Turbo.
Several of the car’s innovations, such as ceramic brake discs and carbon
fiber bodywork, are now available on some Porsche models.
Over the years, Porsche’s innovations have gone from development to
the race track and then on to its production road cars. This why the
company’s sports cars are so popular with driving enthusiasts worldwide.
Innovation is a good thing indeed!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price…” He
welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: