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Porsche History Rich With Making a Lot From a Little

porsche 356 SL

Size is Not an Issue Small Engine Porsches

It’s no secret that crowds always root for the little guy, so when Ferdinand Porsche designed the first race car for Austro-Daimler in 1922, it packed a small engine that delivered a lot of punch. The 4-cylinder motor was just a bit over a liter, but still generated enough horsepower to push the car to more than 87 miles per hour, an outstanding speed for the time. Know as Sascha in honor of the Count who was behind the production of the car, the little sportster dominated the European races for a time. Porsche has continued the tradition of getting a lot of performance out of small engines over the years, as you can see with a visit to Porsche of Tucson.

Porsche Continues Technological Advancements Through Years

While other companies where developing 8, 10 and 12-cylinder motors to produce the most power, Porsche continued to stick to a “less is more” philosophy to draw the most out of its small engine lineup. Although a big engine produces more horsepower, it also creates a lot of weight. Porsche has always been an industry leader in the development of power to weight, as evidenced in the 1948 356 SL. Packing a 1.1L 4-cylinder engine, the 356 was dominant on the race course during its time, scoring international victories for the Porsche badge. The 550 Spyder came along in 1953, packing the first iteration of the famous Fuhrman engine. At 1.5 liters, this 4-cylinder motor used four overhead camshafts and a vertical shaft drive to produce a healthy 110 horsepower. Among the victories was a win at LeMans in 1954. It was replaced by the 718, which also secured wins against cars with much larger engines.

Carrera Hits LeMans in 1974

The Porsche Carrera, which you can still buy today at Porsche of Tucson, first hit the racing circuit at LeMans in 1974. It placed second with its 2.1-liter engine to a Matra that was packing a 12-cylinder Formula One motor. The Carrera has evolved into eight different trim editions under the 911 model line starting at a little more than $89,000. The base engine of the 911 Carrera is a 3.0L, 6-cylinder twin turbo power plant with high compression that delivers the maximum amount of torque in the low RPM range. Step up to the “S” models and you’ll find that Porsche’s philosophy about getting a lot out of a little still rings true, as the same size engine is outfitted with upsized turbochargers to deliver 420 horsepower, an incredible number for a car that only weighs a little more than 3,000 pounds.

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