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Auto blogThu, 01 Aug 2013
The Bearable Lightness Of Being
Start with a standard Porsche 911 Carrera and its 350-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine. Bore a crepe-thin slice of aluminum from each cylinder to get to 3.8 liters, add a wider track out back and two extra exhaust pipes and voila, you can append an S to the Carrera's name. Hang two sets of wet, multi-disc clutches along its spine and you can make that a 4, or a 4S. Bolt on two forced-induction compressors and piping, add two fender vents and comically wide rear tires and you've redeemed your ticket to a Turbo. Increase the boost pressure and swell the corral to 560 horses and you have the Turbo S, which is the Virginia Slims of the 911 line-up because it's come a long way, baby.
Or you can go in a different direction. At that second stop, grab the 3.8-liter and cart it over to the engineers at Porsche's development center in Weissach, Germany. If racing were meat, they would be among the alpha carnivores. The baseboards in their homes are probably painted with miniature billboards for motor oil and vintage cigarettes along the straights, red-and-white stripes around every corner.
Porsche is beginning to realize that it's sitting on a goldmine of automotive history with its secret vault full of rare cars. Autoblog toured it a few months ago, and we were amazed at all of the curiosities hidden inside. Now, it's starting to let more folks in thanks to a new series of YouTube videos. The first covered the 965 prototype that shoved a water-cooled, Audi V8 into one of its cars. Next up, a mid-engine 911 that acted as the powertrain test mule for the Boxster.
The Porsche 911 is inextricably linked to its rear-engine layout. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, at the time Porsche was developing the Boxster, the company didn't want to lay all of its cards out of the table during testing. As opposed to using camouflage, it put a whole different car on top. The prototype looked just like any other 911 Targa of the day, but the biggest giveaway that something was amiss was the heavily tinted rear window. By obscuring it, inquisitive journalists couldn't peak at the new engine that replaced the backseat.
It might not look like anything too important on the outside, but this is a major piece of Porsche Boxster history underneath. Scroll down to watch the video about this fascinating prototype.
The world of collector cars is fairly tight-knit when you get down to individual models. Need proof? Just take a look at this latest video from Jay Leno's Garage. The subject is a gorgeous 1963 Porsche 356 Carrera 2. Jay, being known as quite a collector, got a call from someone looking to sell. While doing his due diligence and looking for a 356 expert to go over the car with him, he came across John Willhoit.
Where the story gets weird is when Leno is asked the license plate number - it turns out that Willhoit, owner of Willhoit Restorations, had restored the exact same car more than 30 years prior. He then sold it to the same person that was looking to give it to Leno. What follows is a truly interesting video on the little quirks of the 356, along with Willhoit's personal history on a car he hadn't seen since 1976.
This is a bit more mechanically detailed than Leno's normal videos, but it's on a very interesting subject. Take a look below for the entire film.