Funky motoring facts

It’s probably fair to say that if you have even a passing interest in cars or just motoring in general, you’ve had a sneaking interest in Porsche cars.

Although it is generally considered that Dr Ferdinand Porsche was responsible for the famous cars that bear his name, it was his son, Ferry who built the first Porsches.

These were built using many mechanical parts from the VW Beetle, which was the brainchild of his father along with a fearsome line of Tiger tanks during World War II.

From 1948 through to 1965, Porsche 356s were setting the pace in their class, and things really got serious with the introduction of the now iconic 911s in 1964 and the classic design and layout continues through to the present day.

It was not surprising then that with Porsche’s engineering excellence, their famous air cooled boxer donks attracted interest in the aviation sector.

From the early 50s, European light aircraft builders began adapting VW Beetle engines to aircraft, which naturally led to those who needed a little more power phasing in the 356 engine.

Porsche recognised the potential in this market and between 1957 and 1963 the factory-built an ‘official’ version of their little flat four, in 1.6 litre format, designated the Porsche 678, which had outputs ranging from 55 to 70 hp.

But it was the 911 engine that was to soon excite the market, and in 1981 Porsche now re-entered the aviation sector, their famous 911 engine now having evolved into its 3.2 litre version.

Putting out a lusty 210 hp in normally aspirated form or some 240 hp in the turbocharged T-series, they ticked all the boxes!

Officially designated the PFM 3200 it powered a variety aircraft, but with a massive downturn in the aviation sector in the late 1980s, Porsche pulled the pin in 1991.

Production ceased, and finally in 2007 surrendered to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), their all important ‘type certificate’ for the PFM 3200.

Essentially, this signalled Porsche’s intention to no longer produce replacement parts specifically for the PFM 3200, and once existing OEM parts were exhausted, the venture had run its course… kinda sad I reckon!

And before you ask, in the finest Teutonic tradition, the PFM designation is derived from the name of the aviation division, ‘Porsche-Flugmotoren’, or Porsche Flight Engines to you and me.