Porsche Speedster

Porsche seems poised to revive its famous Speedster nameplate from the 1950s for a special edition of its Boxster sports car.

A Boxster with “speed humps” behind the seats has been snapped on camera during high-speed testing at Germany’s Nurburgring race track.

The power bulges are similar to those used on the most recent, 911-based Porsche Speedster from 1994.

Porsche has only made three Speedsters in its history: the 356-based model 1954 to 1959, a 964 911-based model in 1989 and a 993 911-based model in 1993 and 1994.

If Porsche wants to make the 55th anniversary of the original then it has only until the end of this year to unveil the new model.

Our guess is that Porsche will unveil the car at the Los Angeles motor show in the first week of December given that Southern California had a special significance in the creation of the original Speedster.

According to the history books, the North American importer of Porsche cars in the 1950s requested a special, lightweight version of the 356 for customers on the West Coast “given the fair weather, cruising scene and lots of amateur racing”.

The Boxster Speedster is said to have a removable roof instead of its electrically-operated fold-away fabric top. This is said to save around 50kg.

Porsche is also believed to have given the Boxster Speedster more power.

However, it is unclear whether Porsche will squeeze more grunt out of the latest Boxster’s 3.4-litre six-cylinder engine, which has 228kW, or fit the 3.6-litre engine from the 911 Carrera, which has 254kW.

The current flagship in the Boxster range, the Boxster S, costs $145,000 plus dealer and registration charges. We’re guessing the Boxster Speedster would cost in excess of $160,000, the price of a Cayman S.

Of course, official pricing and timing are yet to be confirmed, but the Carsales Network understands that the Boxster Speedster will be in local showrooms within the next 12 months.

Over its five-year lifecycle, the original 356-based Speedster was powered by a number of engines ranging in size and power, from a 1300cc with 32kW to a 1600cc with 44kW. At the time, the cars weighed only about 760kg.

The 964-based model was powered by a 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine with 173kW which gave the car a 0 to 100km/h time of 6sec.

The 993-based model was powered by a 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine with 184kW which gave the car a 100km/h of 5.7sec.

The new model is expected to be much quicker than this, possibly in the sub-five-second bracket. The current Boxster S, when equipped with Porsche’s PDK twin clutch gearbox, completes the 0 to 100km/h dash in 5.3sec and has a top speed of 274km/h.

Was Hitler’s Beetle actually designed by a Jew?

Until now, it has been widely acknowledged that the ever-popular Volkswagen Beetle has a tainted history, having been originally designed and commissioned by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. But could the history behind one of the most fashionable production cars ever be more complex? Paul Schilperoord, a Dutch journalist and historian, certainly thinks so.

Schilperoord alleges in his new book Het Ware Verhaal van de Kever (“The True Story of the Beetle”), to be released later this month, that Ferdinand Porsche’s iconic Beetle, officially commissioned by Hitler, may well have been taken from a design by a Jewish engineer called Josef Ganz, who never received due credit.

In 2004, Schilperoord picked up an old edition of a magazine called Automobile Quarterly. In it, he discovered an article which claimed that, contrary to popular belief, the Beetle’s original designer was not Hitler but rather a Jewish man, Josef Ganz. Intrigued by this assertion, Schilperoord embarked on what ended up as five years of extensive research which ultimately led to him publishing his forthcoming book.

Over the course of his investigations, Schilperoord unearthed the Beetle’s true history – one vastly different from the one that the Nazi regime had us believe. Whereas the Nazi version of the Beetle’s origins is that Hitler came up with the idea of a “People’s Car,” a car that would both cost less than 1,000 Reichsmark and simultaneously carry up to five people across the country at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

But Schilperoord’s account differs sharply. He claims that Ganz had outlined the Beetle concept a decade before Hitler claimed to have conjured up the idea of the then-revolutionary automobile.

According to Schilperoord, “In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers for collaboration to build a Volkswagen prototype. This resulted in a first prototype built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (May-Beetle).”

Ganz’s design was greatly innovative, with features such as an independent suspension system for each wheel, which was “a revolutionary step for the 1920s,” Schilperoord notes. With a rear-mounted engine and a unique, streamlined chassis, his car was highly distinctive, too.

Although Porsche and Hitler made no mention of Ganz’s contribution, Schilperoord claims that “Hitler’s” Beetle, which came into production 10 years later, could only have derived from Ganz’s work.

Lacking the financial backing to put his project into action, Ganz was appointed editor-in-chief of a car magazine, Klein-Motor-Sport, and simultaneously took up positions as a technical consultant to both Daimler-Benz and BMW, where he “developed his first cars featuring independent suspension with them,” Schilperoord told The Jerusalem Post over the telephone last week.

In 1933, Schilperoord claims, came the decisive moment when Hitler happened to be in attendance at the IAMA (Internationale Automobil- und Motorradausstellung) Berlin motor show in which Ganz unveiled the Maikäfer’s successor, the “Standard Superior,” which was built by German company Standard Fahrzeugfabrik.

Hitler liked what he saw, and tasked Porsche with the job of creating a similar car, but in line with his anti-Semitic philosophy, “he obscured the fact that a Jew was behind the car’s design,” Schilperoord told Post.

Schilperoord also claims that there are too many of Ganz’s hallmarks to be in any doubt that the Beetle that was eventually mass produced in the 1930s was derived from his original design. “Even the name Volkswagen was originally Ganz’s,” noted Schilperoord.

Ganz “was already working on the Volkswagen in the 1920s in Germany… already using the name [Volkswagen] in the Twenties,” he said.

Later on in May 1933, the Gestapo arrested Ganz on falsified charges, accusing him of blackmailing the German automotive industry. “Hitler had only been in power for a few months and was already setting about arresting people and creating the dictatorship he dreamed about,” explained Schilperoord.

Even though Ganz had friends in high places and was released soon after being taken into custody, his career had been dealt a fatal blow. His contracts with BMW and Mercedes were terminated, he lost his job as editor-in-chief at the magazine. The Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, which had recently released a new model with place for a family with two children, was now forbidden to use the name Volkswagen in its advertising; Ganz’s livelihood had been destroyed.

If the Nazis were discouraged by the setback of Ganz’s discharge from prison, they didn’t show it. During The Night of the Long Knives in June 1934, when the regime carried out a series of political executions, with most of those killed being members of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary Brownshirts, an assassination attempt was made on Ganz’s life. Fortunately for Ganz, his pet dog, an Alsatian, heard the would-be attacker enter the house and jumped on him, thus saving his master’s life.

Not long later, a second assassination attempt was made. Again Ganz had a lucky escape; he happened to be in Switzerland at the time on vacation. When friends warned him that it was not safe to return, Ganz decided to stay on in Switzerland till after the war.

While in Switzerland, Ganz fought to restore his name and claim ownership of the Volkswagen concept, to no avail. Schilperoord claims that even once the war was over and Ganz was free to work on “a new small car for Automobiles Julien, he could no longer compete with the German Volkswagen – his own vision – which was now conquering the world in its hundreds of thousands and within a few years in its millions.

“A weary Ganz,” according to Schilperoord, “moved to Australia in 1951 and lived there till his death in 1967. Hopefully now, history will restore his name as the true designer of one of the most revolutionary cars in history.”

2013 Porsche Spyder first pics

CarAdvice has today received two renderings of what we believe to be a very near representation of the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept based 2013 Porsche Spyder.

2013-Porsche-Spyder-001

Rumoured to share many of its components with the Audi R2, the much loved Spyder will return to roads boasting a “reputation for unrivalled driving dynamics, but in a much lighter, fuel efficient and affordable package than any model in recent memory.”

With a folding canvas roof like that of the current Boxster, the Spyder will also be significantly smaller than the current entry-level Porsche.

2013-Porsche-Spyder-002

Power is expected to come from a tuned version of VW’s four-cylinder turbocharged 2.0 TFSI engine (think Golf GTI) but with a slightly more exciting 210kW.

Porsche resurrects the 911 ‘ducktail’

Carerra S-based special gets more power, classic styling and will be limited to 250 examples

Porsche 911 Sport Classic

By Jack Rix

02nd September 2009

A legend is back from the dead! These are the first official images of the most exclusive Porsche money can buy – the 911 Sport Classic. Due to make its debut at the Frankfurt show this month, this stunning special edition will be strictly limited to 250 examples, but it’s so much more than a bodykit and a lick of paint.

Sure to send Porsche enthusiasts into a spin is the revival of the ‘ducktail’ fixed rear spoiler, last seen on the iconic 1973 Carrera RS 2.7. Other additions include a unique double-dome roof, a SportDesign front apron and a widened rear track and bodywork.

The interior too has been given a lift with woven leather on the newly-designed sports seats, as well as a dashboard wrapped in Espresso Nature leather, creating a strinking contrast with the Sport Classic Grey exterior.

And there’s more to this car than meets than eye. The 3.8-litre direct-injection flat-six has been turned up by 23bhp to 408bhp via a redesigned intake manifold. Ceramic brakes, PASM sports supension – lowering the car by 20 millimetres – and custom-made 19-inch wheels also come as standard.

Created by the firm’s in-house coach-builders ‘Porsche Exclusive’, this car marks a return to Porsche’s tradition of building exclusive models in extremely small numbers. And to reflect this exculsivity, the Porsche 911 Sport Classic will cost €169,300 (£150,000) when it goes on sale in January 2010.