Porsche: Then and Now

by J Kraus

Then (1943):

Porsche Panzerjager and Porsche Str

Now (2009):

Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Panamera

Am I the only one who detects a similarity between Porsche’s recent offerings and their World War II line-up?

While a wave of nostalgia has swept over the automobile industry for some time with cars like the New Beetle, Mini and Fiat 500 recalling the halcyon days of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Porsche has trumped them all by going back to the 1940’s and re-introducing¬†tanks.

First came the hulking 2350 kg (5,200 lb) Cayenne, and now the wide-body (1931 mm or 76″ in girth) “sports car for four” Panamera. To put that into perspective, not only is it wider than the already portly BMW 750i and Mercedes Benz S550, the Panamera is several millimetres plumper than even this vintage ‘full-size’ Chevrolet:

1990 Chevrolet 9C1 Police Special Caprice

1990 Chevrolet Caprice 9C1 Police Special


8 thoughts on “Porsche: Then and Now

  1. From where I live, for some time now, I have been able to feel the vibrations from poor Ferdinand Porsche, spinning in his grave.

  2. I live in the village of Peille in the Alpes Maritimes above Menton. Some of the best (twisty and narrow) driving roads are right outside my door (the Col de Turini lies just to the North) and are perfect for my 356B GT.

    I doubt anyone driving a Cayenne or Panamera could even reach my home unless the roads were closed to oncoming traffic!

  3. Porsches used to do more with less – that is what they were once known for.

    The 356 routinely finished above its class in motor racing. In 1966, when Henry Ford II entered Le Man with a phalanx of no less than eight 7.0-liter GT40 Mk II’s, Porsche came in right behind the first three of them with the 2.0-liter (2.0-liter!) 906. In 1973 the 2.8 liter RSR triumphed over the 4.4 liter Ferrari 365 GTB/4.

    Porsche used to build giant-killers. Now they build giants.

  4. Most Porsche owners I know used to deride the “bigger-is-better” ideology. Now it seems Porsche themselves have embraced the concept in a most lustful manner.

    It’s rather like a long-time vegetarian suddenly extolling the virtues of foie gras.

  5. To the Panamera’s credit, it -is- lighter than its competition by using aluminum throughout. At least that’s how Porsche is spinning it.

    Today I read about the Cayenne Diesel… 2.5 tons, 0-60 in just over 8 sec! That’s a tank I want to drive.

    Talk of diesel Porsches go back to the early 80’s, and 4 door 928s around the same time too. It’s just now that Porsche has the capitol to buy what it needs (VW) and put it to production.

  6. As a Porsche enthusiast and owner, I must admit I am slightly dissapointed to see some of the current offerings. I’m finally getting used to the Cayenne being around and thank God they redesigned it. But this Panamera is going to take some getting used to for sure.
    What I feel is the most unfortunate thing however, is that Porsche is building cars now that are very attractive to more buyers (that’s good) but, it there seems to be an ever growing rift between genuine “Porsche People” and “Porsche Owners”.
    I feel as if most Porsche owners buy Porsche’s becuase they like the name (which they probably mis-pronounce anyway) and don’t find any interest at all in the heritage of the company (though maybe they shouldn’t look into the 1940s too much). It irritates me a lot when I’d be driving by in a nicely restored ’74 914 2.0, and the guy in a Boxster coming the other way wouldn’t even give it a second glance.

    Ok, rant over. While I’m happy for Porsche’s success – which is no doubt thanks to their recent model line up – I’m sad that the community is divided.

  7. The Panamera is strictly an Autobahn cruiser. You can’t enjoy a vehicle that wide on curvy backroads with high slip angels on all four tires, balancing the car on the throttle, because there is no room to safely slide the car without crossing the center line or scraping against the rocks.

    People won’t be driving these, they will just be steering them.

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