VW Vortex - Volkswagen Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35,288 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·


People who know me always think it's odd that my favorite air-cooled Porsche of all time is one which most Porsche enthusiasts have never heard of. In any case I have admired this thing more than the 356, 718, 911, 917-30, or other notable air-cooled models. The Porsche 909 "Bergspyder" was designed for hill climb racing. Porsche had to make this car as light as possible and give it an outrageous power-to-weight ratio. The car was designed to run for only a few minutes and make its way up a hill so many compromises could be made.



The brake discs were made from chrome-plated beryllium and were 75% lighter than standard brakes. The 909 chassis was an ultra lightweight aluminum space frame. The suspension used custom made titanium springs. The car's electrical system uses much lighter silver instead of standard copper for wire. In a further extreme weight-saving measure all the hardware was titanium or aluminum: no steel fasteners anywhere are used in this car's chassis.



In the quest for weight savings the Porsche 909 has no fuel pump. Instead of a pump Porsche used a pressurized 4-gallon tank which was built like an aircraft hydraulic accumulator. One side is pressurized with nitrogen and the other side is filled with fuel. When pressurized the nitrogen pushes against a rubber interface which then pushes against the fuel.

The Porsche 909 engine was built using Porsche's experience in Formula 1 racing. This little 2.0 DOHC flat eight cylinder engine puts out 275 horsepower at 9,200 RPM. The engine sucked air in through four Weber carbs. It was similar to the engine used in the 718, 904, 906, 908, and 910. These engines were hand built artwork and Porsche used their finest engine builders to construct them.


Here's a little video which shows you the wonderful music the little 2.0 litre flat-8 motor makes:

Covering all of this is an ultra lightweight fiberglass shell so thin that it was translucent before getting painted. What is the final result of all of this extreme weight saving measure? The 909 only weighed 850 lbs empty. Adding fuel and driver made the final weight right about 1,000 lbs. Remember that it had 275 horsepower to propel it. This ultra lightweight car unfortunately had few safety features and driver Ludovico Scarfiotti was killed when his 909 flew off the road and crashed. His death marked an end for the program.

Porsche learned a lot from the 909 program and used many of the techniques in their later racing cars. The chassis set the design standard which Porsche would use for the immensely successful 956 and 962 years later. Simply put the 909 was far ahead of its time and a stellar example of Porsche's perfectionist approach to engineering. This car always has been and always will be my favorite air-cooled Porsche.



obin :cool::beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,218 Posts
FV-QR

Thats an impressive little machine :thumbup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,241 Posts
The technology they had at the time was pretty amazing. And it's remarkable what they could achieve when there was no regard to driver safety! :D

That particular engine is Kugelfischer/bosch injected but really, the devil is in the details on a machine like that. Thanks for the post! :beer::beer:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35,288 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The photograph is of a similar engine from a later race car. Look and the image within the picture. The video shows a different injection setup.
Correct. These engines took a master engine builder well over 200 to make each one. There are small semantic differences between the Porsche flat-8 engines. They are all based on the same design but the power output, rev limit, and displacement slightly differs. There are NO videos of the Porsche 909 driving full bore in historical configuration. These cars are incredibly rare and honestly they're too damn dangerous and expensive even by today's standards.

Note the silver wire (expensive); chrome-plated beryllium brakes (expensive and TOXIC!); and the fact that there is NO front-impact protection at all. The driver's feet are ahead of the front wheels and the roll bar is only for decoration. Coupled with the ridiculous power to weight ratio and no traction control and this car is not for the timid. It was outrageously expensive even for Porsche standards and making one today would be an almost unfathomable expense. If you do the math the power to weight ratio would be like driving an ~825 horsepower Boxster Spyder today. That would be simply terrifying especially with no safety amenities.

Still. It's badass. It'll always be my favorite air-cooled Porsche.



obin :thumbup::cool:
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top