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680 S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster
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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1928
Numbers built:12 (This body style)
Internal name:W06
Designed by:Saoutchik
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 29, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFerdinand Porsche moved from Daimler's Austrian subsidiary to company headquarters in Stuttgart to replace Paul Daimler as chief designer in 1922. His first task was to develop a new supercharged engine for Mercedes' top of the range models, which at the time were still powered by big and heavy airplane engines. Following his brief, Porsche created a new six cylinder engine that was available with a displacement of either 4 or 6.3 litre.

The new engines' first application was in big, heavy chassis that really were no match for the powerful 'sixes' in terms of both handling and braking. A racer at heart, Porsche was eager to develop a chassis that his engine more justice. Sadly resources were limited at the time but he did manage to create the 630 K (for Kurz or short). As the name suggested, this combined the largest of the two engine with a shortened version of the chassis that in its original form had been large enough to carry 7-passenger limousine bodies.

Additional funds finally did become available following the merger of Daimler and Benz in 1926. Porsche wasted no time and set about developing a brand new chassis that would do 'his' engine more justice. The new car was based around a pressed-steel ladder frame that kicked up over both the front and rear axle. This allowed for a much lower ride-height than the earlier Mercedes models. The suspension itself was of a conventional design with leaf springs and friction dampers on all four corners. The stopping power was provided by large servo-assisted drum brakes.

For this new application, the straight six was also further developed and enlarged to just shy of 6.8 litre. The sophisticated engine featured an aluminium alloy block with a cast-iron head. A single overhead camshaft was fitted, which driven by a shaft at the rear of the engine. Mounted vertically at the front of the engine was a Roots-type supercharger. This was only engaged when the accelerator pedal was pressed to the floor. It was advised to use the supercharger for no more than 15 seconds for reliability reasons. Once engaged, it freed up around 180 - 225 bhp depending on the tune of the engine.

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  Article Image gallery (61) 35949 Specifications