The boxy Volkswagen Transporter arrived on American shores circa 1949. Using regular Beetle mechanical components, Transporters quickly evolved into mini people carriers.
Dubbed the Microbus, Volkswagen’s unique vehicle became the trademark of a burgeoning hippie counterculture. The combination of economy and practicality made them an instant hit with the flower-power generation. Before long, their slab sides were adorned with Grateful Dead decals and painted flowers.
One of the rarest and most desirable buses built in this era Read More
The first car to carry Ferdinand Porsche’s name was the 356. With aluminum fastback coachwork, pressed-steel chassis and the engine behind the rear axle, manufacture began late in 1948 and the 356 made its debut at the 1949 Geneva Show.
Its power came from a 40 bhp, 1086cc engine mated to a four-speed gearbox, with independent torsion bar/trailing-arm suspension and drum brakes all round. Fuel economy due to good aerodynamics and low weight was excellent. In 1951 1290cc Read More
The Carrera ‘RS’ was the first phase in Porsche’s production car racing program, started in 1972. The ‘RS’ was based on the 911S, and one of the first concerns was to save weight. This was accomplished mainly by removing the rear seats, by making the body of thinner steel and by using fiberglass bumpers. Another concern was to improve aerodynamics and handling, and this is where the ducktail and front air dam played important roles. The engine, also from Read More
n the mid-1970s, a production-based formula (which would result in the dominant Porsche 935) was instituted by the FIA in Europe for Group 5 (Grand Touring) racing. BMW proposed to build a flagship car which would compete in this series and join the ranks of the World’s “supercars.” The M1 was the result.
Contracted out to Lamborghini first, and then Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Ital Design, the M1 featured a multi-tubular space-frame into which was inserted BMW’s magnificent four-valve per Read More
A completely different Porsche emerged for the 1970 model year to replace the rather short-lived 912. This one carried either the 1679cc Volkswagen four-cylinder or the earlier 2.0-liter Porsche flat six with its 125-horsepower rating. The big difference was that the engines were mid-mounted. The 914 was born out of a joint venture between Porsche and Volkswagen with bodies created by Karmann. The two-seat Targa-topped coupe was built to a Porsche design with suspension components adopted from the 911. Read More
he Porsche 911 is probably the single most recognizable car shape in the world, an instant “Classic.” For those who wanted to feel the wind in their hair while enjoying 911 motoring, Porsche manufactured for many years a “Targa” version of their immortal coupe. This “Targa” incorporated a rollover bar behind the cockpit as crash protection.
In the early 1980s, Porsche, like many other car manufacturers, believed that bureaucracy, particularly in America, would prevent a truly open car Read More
The 300 series, introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1951, was designed specifically for the export market. Germany’s postwar economy was desperate for hard currency and at the same time, the U.S. economy was booming. It was only natural for Mercedes to design a car to meet the needs of that market. Although not flamboyant, the 300 was nevertheless very attractive, with a modern wraparound windshield and flush-mounted headlights.
The 300S variant was introduced in 1952, and Read More
The Mercedes-Benz 450SLC is unusual in that a version was made as a homologation special to compete in the marathon rallies which were popular from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Unlike modern rallies, where the leading cars are redesigned and rebuilt to Formula One standards, these marathons imposed strict regulations on the entrants and, consequently, the cars were recognizably close to showroom specification, give or take additional safety measures. In 1978, a 450SLC, driven by Andrew Cowan Read More
This superbly presented Porsche Carrera 6 began life as the Racing Team Holland car campaigned in World Championship of Makes-qualifying races by Ben Pon and fellow Dutchman Gijs van Lennep. The first time out at significant level in this 2-liter 6-cylinder air-cooled coupe, they finished seventh overall and first in class in the ADAC 1,000-kilometer race at Nurburgring. After winning a home event outright on the Dutch Zandvoort circuit, Ben Pon was asked to partner with works driver Vic Read More
The 220S Mercedes-Benz was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in April 1956 and was the first model from this famous manufacturer to have a unitary construction body shell. It succeeded the 220 model of 1951 with its traditional tubular chassis frame, and it shared some of its mechanical specifications. After two years in production, a Bosch fuel-injection system was added to the basic 220S engine to create the 220SE. This not only added 15hp but also increased engine Read More