Page 1 of 2 Next >> To continue the manufacturer's stronghold in the sub-2 litre GT racing class, Porsche set out to design a completely new car in 1963. This decision was sparked by the introduction of new cars from Abarth and Alfa Romeo, designed specifically for the GT class. Porsche's line up for 1962 consisted of the 356 Carrera 2, which was equipped with a two litre version of Porsche's quad cam four cylinder boxer engine. It was basically a modified road car and the German manufacturer figured more was required to take on the new Italian competition.
For homologation purposes, at least 100 examples of the new car had to be produced in twelve months. This would require a road going version, because Porsche was highly unlikely to sell 100 full blown racers. In order to free resources for the project, the expensive Formula 1 program was dropped. In theory the development costs of the GT racer would be earned back by selling them. The F1 project on the other hand did not offer much in return, except for the potential strengthening of the manufacturer's racing heritage.
Porsche's engineers had to start with a clean sheet, because the spaceframe construction used on previous sports racers like the Type 718 was too expensive and time consuming to built for what was basically a production car. What they did carry over from the 718 was the mid-engined layout, until then reserved solely to the marque's full blown racers. A combination of a steel ladder frame and a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) body was chosen. This was the start of a long line of 'plastic' bodied Porsche racers.
Responsible for the design of the GRP body was Ferry 'Butzi' Porsche, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. He used some cues and the windscreen of the 718 Coupe and turned it into one of the best looking cars ever constructed. Production of the body was outsourced to airplane manufacturer Heinkel, who were able to produce two bodies per day, which was twice as fast as Porsche could produce the chassis. The body was bonded on the frame, which resulted in a chassis far more rigid than the spaceframe chassis used in the previous racers. Page 1 of 2 Next >>