Porsche 597

Porsche 597 hunting car

The Porsche 597 hunting car is a SUV, the Porsche designed in 1953 as part of a tender for the future Bundeswehr, and the first self-produced by Porsche production car with all-wheel drive.

History of development

Tender, testing and implementation

On January 19, 1953, the bat " Blank Office " department Koblenz (later the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement ), headed by the State Secretary Theodor Blank, who later became Minister of Defence, the German Association of the Automotive Industry, determine which companies in the automotive industry interested and in would be able to develop vehicle types and models and possibly to manufacture at a later date result of this request ran in the automotive industry on various projects for the development of motor vehicles. Public funding for these tasks were not initially available.

Among other things, the desire for military purposes in the small class (0.25 tons) was to use a light, off-road jeep as a substitute for motorcycles with sidecar (→ Wehrmachtsgespann ) used in the Second World War. Be first to Auto Union in Ingolstadt applied for the project in this payload class, closely followed by the Bremen Borgward Group. The Stuttgart-based Porsche KG, later joined as a third competitor.

The car was powered by an air-cooled, in-vehicle rear four-cylinder boxer engine from the Porsche 356, first by a modified version of the 1.5-liter and later the 1.6 -liter engine. This engine had a power output of 37 kW (50 hp). At a weight of 990 kg, a vehicle speed of 100 km / h was reached. For the transmission of power was provided by a 5 -speed transmission with switchable front-wheel drive. The vehicle had a wheelbase of 2,060 mm and a gradeability of up to 65 %. Front and rear wheels were individually suspended (front crank -arm, rear swing axle ) suspension and torsion bars.

In the fall of 1955, only 2 1/2 years after the first request from Koblenz, the SUV for the testing of the British Army of the Rhine was shown in Germany. At this time, the electrical system was already designed for the future military standard voltage of 24 volts and it was the 50 hp 1.6 -liter engine fitted. Five synchronized forward gears, one of which applies to short off-road gear and the reverse gear were connected through a center crank. The rear axle was equipped with a fully automatic ZF differential lock. Around 5800 kilometers have been completed. Robustness, simplicity and good maintenance practices were the patterns attested. Disappointing were the suspension, engine problems in the lower and medium engine speed range and too small a space with a few storage options. The rear engine was assessed in the light of the chamber, the load capacity to be extremely negative. For the military operation, the motor was just considered to be insufficient as the housed in the front fuel tank ( mine protection ). Upon reaching the top speed of the steering characteristics were totally inadequate.

The Porsche SUV took from 15 January 1956 at troops and testing trial in Andernach part. The manufacturer had provided six vehicles for the teaching force of the Bundeswehr available. The trial had a major deficiencies to light. So it was among other things to a crack in the construction, starter defects Achswellenbrüchen in the field, oil leaks, wiper defects and a tear of the clutch cable. Furthermore, were objected to a significantly louder engine, too small a windshield, rattling seats, insufficient entry and exit as well as to small distance between the pedals. Even during the testing phase, the carburetor assembly has been optimized. The dimensions of the test samples were: length 3620 mm, width 1610 mm and height 1610 mm. With a turning circle of around 10 meters and a ground clearance of 250 mm is sufficient for the requirements of handling returned.

The self-supporting body of the car for yet smooth prototype was manufactured by the Stuttgart coachbuilders Reutter & Co.. The later stabilized with beading version came from Karmann. She was in an open design with a canopy made ​​of fabric. There were no doors, so the passengers had to get on and off over the vehicle frame over; only later versions had stiff doors. The body is buoyant due to their design. The models from 1957 have a more sloping front end.

The Porsche 597 hunting car as well as the Type 31 to the competitor Goliath never ordered by the Bundeswehr for large-scale production, as for the Porsche production costs were too high and the work in the scheduled time is not the volume required would deliver and do not guarantee the supply of spare parts sufficient can. In the joint meeting of the Defence Committee and the Budget Committee in May 1956, established to conduct further trials of the three brands. Contracts have been awarded to the company Auto Union GmbH of 5,000 units and over 50 pieces of the Porsche company and Goliath.

As the SUV competitor Goliath type 597 is procured only for testing experiments, while the Auto Union presented his model in the development time of foreign armed forces and offered in neighboring countries export vehicles. The Auto Union GmbH was considerably more agile. The Bundeswehr received a total of 50 units of this type; therefore still 44 vehicles were nachzuliefern after Andernacher test.

Furthermore, in this decision also played labor market policy interests in favor of the Auto Union a role.

A total of approximately 70 Porsche 597 were produced, including 1955-1958 for 49 vehicles ( chassis numbers from 597-000101 ) for the civilian market. (49 civilian cars and 50 for the Bundeswehr found around 100 vehicle units! )

The development cost of the vehicle amounted to approximately 1.8 million D-Mark. In August 1959 there were in the house of Porsche still conceptual approaches, an advanced 597- variant with reinforced platform frame and a longer wheelbase of 2,400 mm to produce in five different body styles. The project was not pursued further.