Fahrtman Longstroke rants: Porsche 911

Introducing Fahrtman Longstroke, PetrolBlog’s new guest blogger. Longstroke promises to deliver a unique and honest view of the motoring industry, or at least that’s what he promised in his email! If this opening blog is anything to go by, he’s sure to ruffle a few feathers and he’s not afraid of telling it how it is. Needless to say his views are his own and not necessary those of PetrolBlog. Much. Over to you Longstroke…

The Porsche 911 is a truly iconic car. For many people it is a dream car, a legend in fact. But in reality it is a tiny bit s***. Let me explain.

The first 911 was basically a kit car made from the Volkswagen Beetle. Ferdi Porsche liked the air-cooled engine for its high power-to-weight ratio and simplicity, so he wrapped it in what he thought was an aerodynamic wrapping. You might think this was innovative, but actually he just ripped off Tatra, who later sued him.

Dr Porsche’s credentials are impeccable, or so we are told, which is why he designed a WWII tank that was so heavy it sank. I’m speaking about the Maus.

No matter, the 911 has been iteratively developed over many decades by highly skilled engineers. Sadly these engineers are heavily constrained by the finance department and are also told what they can and can’t do by managers and marketing zombies. Indeed when they tried to kill of the idiocy of the 911 in the eighties, the hype and legend of the 911 kept sales going and forced them to keep it as part of their future plans.

Just goes to show the power of the customer’s cheque book and the pathetic weakness of management.

Recently I drove a few current variations on the 911 theme. The lowest spec car is actually very fast and the top spec is a bit faster, which is nice. The turn in is crisp and the grip is substantial, even in the wet, which is again quite nice. The brakes are impressive, although the ceramic brakes are tedious on the road as to work at their best they need heat and they therefore might not be a strong as expected in an emergency.

But that is irrelevant, because if you are flinging the car around the lanes and a suicidal sheep springs out mid-bend you are going to crash anyway due to the utterly unnecessary lift off oversteer. Turn in to a fast corner, then back off the throttle and even before you press the brake, the back is drifting off to visit the scene of the accident.

Journalists will ‘explain’ this by saying the engine at the back gives it a rear weight bias, but as the engine is probably only something like 10% of the weight of any car then surely it would be possible to stick something else a little further forward to balance it out? How about the radiator or the battery?

Maybe they were worried about putting fragile components in the crumple zone? Mind you that’s where the fuel tank is! Anyway, other rear engined cars don’t do this. So there seems to be no technical reason for making it handle like a ‘suped-up’ Austin Metro, so they must be doing it deliberately. Some jumped up hacks talk about it being more ‘demanding’ or even more pretentiously ‘commanding more respect’, but just check out the lap times and you will find a Lambo or Aston is faster around a track and is a damn site easier to drive too.

Porsche 911 on PetrolBlogBut somehow the marketing still works. Even the fact that the 911 Turbo has a reputation for killing owners seems to have become a plus point! Maybe it’s a way for inadequate men to say ‘I’m hard, me’, but the very fact they are still alive shows they drive like a fairy.

However, the biggest problem with a 911 is that when people see you get out of one they instantly know beyond reasonable doubt that you have a really small cock.

More to come from Fahrtman Longstroke soon. You never know, he may even start using his twitter account.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Fahrtman Longstroke
Longstroke arrived in a blaze of glory on PetrolBlog, but after making just one post, he promptly disappeared. As a respected player within the industry, Longstroke has some interesting and revealing views, so hopefully he’ll return some time soon.

4 comments

  1. May 10, 2011
    Chris Claydon

    Never been a great fan of the 911 personally. It’s almost as though it hasn’t really evolved. The VW Golf is over 30 years old, but today’s Golf doesn’t look like the Mk1!

    Anyone got Hammond’s email address? I am sure he would want to comment on that post!

    Reply
  2. May 16, 2011
    PeterD

    I have to say that regurgitating the age-old criticisms of the 911 does not make for a very thoughtful nor insightful editorial. Saying that it’s nice to drive, but that this is irrelevant because of suicidal sheep and a lack of driving skill is like saying that you love pizza but cooking it can burn your face off and eating it can cause you to choke and die.

    And did Ferrari invent the mid-engined arrangement that eventually resulted in today’s sublime 458? No, they stole the idea from Lamborghini’s Miura, but no one cries bloody murder about it. Yes, Ferdi stole Ledwinka’s design, but what of it? Porsche took the idea and ran with it.

    Lastly, engineers in every company are told what to do by managers and marketers. It’s a necessary component of design that all stakeholders are consulted and all viewpoints considered. Otherwise a car company would be bankrupt and forgotten within a year.

    I understand the need to establish a voice by being critical and controversial, but I hope that you can learn from this article and be a little more thoughtful and logical in your next article.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2011
      MajorGav

      Thanks for the comment. I had a feeling Longstroke’s first blog would provoke a reaction.

      Hopefully he’ll respond shortly…

      Reply
    • September 21, 2011
      David Milloy

      Yeah, and Lamborghini nicked the mid-engined idea from Matra, who bought it (and his entire company) from Rene Bonnet.

      Reply

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