Sunday, July 10, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Porsche Turbo

Originally appeared on

Book Garage

We look forward to the weekends when we can showcase yet another book in this series. There is always something new to learn about cars. It never ceases to amaze me how much automotive history is actually out there.

Porsche is one of the brands I am learning more about and Randy Leffingwell’s Porsche Turbo has proven insightful.

High Performance History

The book follows Porsche and their turbocharging prowess, with particular emphasis on the 917. If you can believe it, some variants of the 917 cranked out as much as 1,400 horsepower. At the time, big blocks were viewed as the ultimate in performance but Porsche challenged the norm. The company’s ideology focused on the connection between race cars and street vehicles, the result being a turbocharged version of their flat-six engine.

From here, the 930 Turbo was born in 1975, Porsche’s answer to the era’s more exotic rides and muscle cars. Porsche Turbo: The Inside Story of Stuttgart’s Turbocharged Road and Race Cars highlights fifty years of turbocharged, high-impact performance from Porsche.


Randy Leffingwell wrote his first book, American Muscle, in 1989 while still on staff at the Los Angeles Times. Since then, he has authored another 47 titles for Motorbooks, who we partner with for this series. Leffingwell is considered one of the top Porsche historians today, and he enjoys a close working relationship with Porsche AG.

Leffingwell also wrote Porsche 911: 50 Years, a book we recently featured. Both are excellent if you are just learning the brand like me, or are a lifelong Porsche lover. As of this writing, Porsche Turbo is available on Amazon for $37.40 USD.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.

Porsche Turbo Gallery

The Typ 917/51 engine in Leo Kinnunen’s 917-10 Interserie entry, shown in this cutaway drawing, produced 1,000 horsepower at 7,800 rpm from 4,998cc. It developed 730 poundsfeet of torque at 6,400 rpm and gave Kinnunen the Interserie championship in 1972 and 1973. Photo: Porsche Archive Penske’s mechanics went so far as to apply racer tape to the body seam ahead of the engine compartment. Donohue set a record of 221.12 miles per hour. Photo: Porsche Archive Manfred Schurti and Helmuth Koinigg shared driving duties during the 1,000 Kilometers of Nürburgring on May 19, 1974. The snorkel on the rear wing support captured engine intake. They finished seventh overall. Photo: Porsche Archive Following its debut at the Frankfurt show, this coupe went next to Paris for its unveiling in France. The engine was a mockup using a 2.7-liter production version with wooden pieces modeled and painted to resemble the production turbocharger. Photo: Porsche Archive The Typ 930/25 engine for the 934 race car displaced 2,993cc, although with the FIA’s 1.4 times displacement rule, it was classified as 4,190cc. It developed 485 horsepower at 7,000 rpm. Photo: Porsche Archive In advance of the 1977 Le Mans trials, Singer and Flegl returned to the wind tunnel. Here, on a 936/76 chassis, they experimented with a long nose and low, flat air box. For the race, they used the tall one. Photo: Porsche Archive In an interview in late 2014, chief modeler Peter Reisinger explained that in the late 1970s, everyone at Porsche was fascinated by the aerodynamic and styling opportunities offered when they thought about enclosing the wheels. Engineers discouraged it, arguing the difficulty of changing a tire. Photo: Porsche Archive Weissach engineers began to develop the 1980 Le Mans 924 car in October 1979. Diligent effort in the wind tunnel reduced drag to 0.35. Porsche entered three cars, one each with German, British, and American drivers. Photo: Porsche Archive The Typ 961 engine developed 640 horsepower at 7,800 horsepower for the 1987 entry. Porsche quoted torque at 456 pound-feet at 5,000 rpm. Photo: Porsche Archive For the 1986 model year, the Typ M44/05 inline four-cylinder 2,479cc engine produced 220 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 243 pounds-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm. Porsche sold the car for DM 50,950, or $23,480, before Value Added Taxes (VAT). Photo: Porsche Archive Porsche introduced the allwheel- drive Typ 996 Turbo in January 2000 as a 2001 model. In Germany, it sold for DM 234,900 on introduction (about $123,800 at the factory before VAT). Photo: Porsche Archive This model, labeled Turbo, used Porsche’s new 3,604cc aluminum V-6. Bore and stroke were 96 millimeters by 83, and the twinturbo engine developed 400 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The “base” model Macan S engine displaced 2,997cc and with two turbochargers it developed 340 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,500 rpm. Photo: Porsche Archive The Type 919, known internally as 9R9, presented orders of greater complexity than Porsche’s last prototype, the 9R6 RS Spyder that raced in LMP2. The intense reliance on energy recovery systems reflected the growing responsibility auto-racing organizations had accepted to serve as vanguard for automotive efficiency and environmental consciousness. Photo: Porsche Archive The 520-horsepower Turbo sold for $148,300 in the United States while Porsche sold the 560-horsepower Turbo S for $181,100. Despite the increase in horsepower, each engine delivered 16 percent better fuel economy. Photo: Porsche Archive Porsche Turbo Cover

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