|Designed to win at Le Mans; born in a butcher's shop|
Such men are also romantics. Why else would they yearn for a potentially unbalanced car design where the engine hangs out behind the back axle? Why else would Porsche continue to sell it? In uncertain and uncaring hands – especially in the wet – these cars can pendulum you straight into the brambles. Porsche have tried other designs but only the 911 and its many iterations has le pur sang circulating through its heart.
And why should I – not given to foulards – visit Porsche’s over-egged museum at Zuffenhausen, west of Stuttgart? For one thing I like Germans, for another I dislike national stereotypes. Germans are said to be steady and reliable; if so why didn’t Porsche long ago stop trying to design out the handling characteristics of a rear engine chassis and force something conventional on their customers? Guess they’re stubborn. Guess that’s why they make and sell an automotive legend. Or is it a myth?
Zuffenhausen also tackles another canard about Germans. There’s a model 917 that won at Le Mans. Generous dimensions led to a nickname, The Pig. Racing colour was pink, hence Pink Pig (above). But look closely at the words within the dotted lines: Haxen, Rippe, Schulter, Kotlett. Translating into: knuckle, ribs, shoulder, cutlet.
The door on another Le Mans winner fits so snugly, the gap between door and body is almost imperceptible. How can I be stirred by something that almost doesn’t exist?
|OS and VR came to Stuttgart for Christmas markets (see next post) but indulged me with visit to Porsche museum|