PORSCHE 1600, roadster, $3780, Germany
If owner enthusiasm has any bearing on the fact, then the Porsche is a better-than-average sports car, for its owners are vociferous in their praise. And it doesn't seem to matter which of the three engine or four body styles is owned; praise is about equal.
The Porsche is a rear-engined, all-independent-suspension automobile, much as the Volkswagen in principle in that the engine is an air-cooled, flat Four. Of the three 96.5-cubic-inch engines, the Normal develops 60 DIN hp (about 70 SAE), the Super, 75 hp (about 88 SAE), and the Super 90 has 90 hp (about 102 SAE). Performance increases accordingly; top speed of the Normal is just over 100 mph with zero to 60 in about 15 seconds. The Super 90 can reach 60 mph in around 12 seconds and has a top end of 115 plus.
There are four bodies offered, each with any engine. The least expensive, called the roadster, is a true convertible because it has roll-up windows. It does not have the nicely upholstered occasional rear seat that is included in the rest of the line. The coupe is just that and can be had with a sunroof; the cabriolet is the line's plush convertible with a richly padded top and door vent panes to distinguish it from the roadster; and the hardtop has a removable solid top on the cabriolet chassis. In any Porsche combination the fit of panels, exterior paint, upholstery quality, shape of seats, and any other area of auto quality can scarcely be bettered at any price.
One of the most pleasing elements of the car is the wonderfully slick four-speed transmission. As it is coupled with feather-light steering, top-quality brakes and most pleasing ride, the combination is an enthusiast's delight.
The four-overhead-cam Carrera coupe, formerly a production item, is now a special-bodied racing car and available in limited quantity. In addition, the RS-61 Spyder is strictly for racing, and only a few are produced for sale to private owners who can uphold Porsche's winning ways. If a race fan wishes, it is possible to prepare one of the production Porsches for amateur sports car racing for a few hundred dollars and be competitive enough to win class trophies.
General specifications: Wheelbase, 82.7 inches; front tread, 51.4; rear tread, 50.1; overall length, 157.7; width, 65.7; height, 51.6.
Other versions: Super roadster, $3995; Super 90 roadster, $4320; coupe, $3920; Super coupe, $4140; Super 90 coupe, $4470; hardtop, $4170; Super hardtop, $4390; Super 90 hardtop, $4720; cabriolet, $4250; Super cabriolet, $4470; Super 90 cabriolet, $4800.
Motor Trend, April 1961