Tag Archives: Auto Union

Origin Of The Species

Darwinian principles can be applied as much to automotive design and manufacturing as they have been to evolutionary biology. “Survival of the fittest” has been the recipe of enduring success for a number of car marques but it has also seen the extinction of many more.

From the very first cars – certain marques have driven down developmental cul-de-sacs whilst others have, through inspired progressive improvement, survived to the present day.

As one of the most successful surviving marques – it’s interesting to analyse some of the factors and earlier designs that assured Porsche’s initial establishment, success and ultimate longevity as a manufacturer of road and race cars.

Continue reading Origin Of The Species

A-Z of Car Stuff: P is for Porsche 917

A-Z of Car Stuff

This is one in a series of posts on cars, drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years. I’ve bored my family and friends with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

See A-Z of Car Stuff page for more posts in this series.

So, what’s so special about the Porsche 917?

To my mind – the things that make the Porsche 917 special are:-

1) Form and function working in harmony. A perfect combination of a lightweight but beautiful body/chassis with a brutally powerful air-cooled flat 12 engine to fling it round race circuits.

2) The 917 took outright speed to new levels at Le Mans and it took outright power to ludicrous extremes in the Can-Am series. It was designed to reach 250 mph and it achieved this on the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans in K (K=Kurz-heck or short tail) form pretty well straight well out of the box. In Can-Am racing – engine power reached 1100bhp in race mode and a crazy 1580bhp for qualifying!

3) The 917 finally secured Porsche’s 1st outright win at Le Mans in 1970 in the capable hands of Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann. A further outright win came the following year when a 917 driven by Gijs van Lennep and Helmut Marko crossed the line first.

I think there are many  parallels between the development of the pre-war Auto Union race cars (Types A, B & C) and the Porsche 917. Both were bold and radical Porsche designs targeting domination of the new race formulae in which they were about to run. Both had well established and highly proficient competition in the form of Mercedes for Auto Union and Ferrari for the 917.

Both cars went through a phenomenally rapid design and construction phase and both attempted to mitigate risk as much as possible by utilising as many  tried and tested concepts, technologies and components as was possible at the time.

Continue reading A-Z of Car Stuff: P is for Porsche 917

A-Z of Car Stuff


A-Z of Car Stuff provides links to a series of posts on cars,  drivers, designers etc. that have interested me over the years.

The posts attempt to distill what triggered my interest and why this has been maintained. I’ll add new posts and I’ll refine old ones with corrections and more information over time.

A number of the items are a work in progress and will become accessible as soon as I complete and publish them as posts with selection from the A-Z of Car Stuff page.

In essence – I’ve bored my friends and family with this stuff for years – now it’s your turn!

A-Z of Car Stuff:

A is for:-

Allard - Coming Soon
Allard – Coming Soon
Auto Union - Coming Soon
Auto Union – Coming Soon

AMB is for:-

Aston Martin Bulldog

B is for:-

Derek Bell & Stefan Bellof at Silverstone 1000kms - 13th May 1984
Bell & Bellof
Bizzarini Strada

BP is for:-

British Plastic – Part 1
TVR Griffith 200
British Plastic – Part 2

C is for:-


F is for:-


G is for:-

Gordon Keeble
Gordon Keeble

H is for:-

"Hybrid" - coming soon
Hybrids – the Euro/US Variety!

P is for:-

1970 Le Mans winning Porsche 917K
Porsche 917