Porsche is most famous for its flat-6 cylinder configuration, made famous by the 911. A similar flat-6 is still being used in Carreras, as well as Boxsters and Caymans. But did you know, that throughout its history of automotive engineering, Porsche developed a range of other motors. V8s, V10s, inline 4s and a variety of “boxer” configurations have all been used at one time or another.
Porsche has always been known for radical design concepts, and has never been afraid of pushing the envelope when it comes to extreme ideas.
One such an idea came about in the early 70s, when Porsche was racing with the 917. In order to better promote their product in America, the goal was to build a race car for the CAN-AM series. These races were held through-out the US and Canada, and included many famous drivers and cars from the era. Porsche’s 917 Le Mans winning race car did not have the power however, so Porsche’s engineers looked for a solution. One concept was to extend the 917s flat-12 engine to include 4 additional cylinders, for a total of 16! Believe it or not, the engine and car were in fact built. The car was run on the dyno meter for testing, as well as run for several laps at the Weissach test track in Germany, before the project was abandoned in favour of turbo-charging. Porsche would go on to dominate the CAN-AM series to such an extent, that’s its been argued that this success is what lead to the demise of the series.
So next time you have a look at a Porsche – whether it’s a Cayenne, 928, Carrera GT or 911 – you’ll be able to better appreciate the diversity and engineering expertise that has gone into these vehicle.