Origins of the air-cooled Porsche engine

Posted 26th March 2020

Origins Of The Air Cooled Porsche Engine

The dream engine to power your Porsche

The Fuel Injection Festival or the Internal Combustion Gathering. Neither have much of a ring about them and as ideas for car festivals, they’re unlikely to catch on. Unlike Luftgekühlt.

Luftgekühlt has a cult-like status and pays homage to the iconic Porsche air-cooled flat engines. Its literal translation from German is ‘air-cooled’ and the Luftgekühlt brand provides a platform for all Porsche aficionados with a love of air-cooled flat engines to come together and celebrate their passion.

What is it about the air-cooled flat engine that still holds so much power over Porsche fans?

Origins Of The Air-Cooled Porsche Engine

An air cooled history of performance

The history of the air-cooled engine dates all the way back to 1896, when Carl Benz first came up with a flat engine. The flat engine was unique because its two cylinders worked in opposition to one another whilst lying flat on opposite sides of the crankshaft.

Porsche first joined the flat-engine fray when Ferry Porsche put a VW Beetle 1.1-litre, four-cylinder engine into his Porsche 356. In the hunt to find a new engine for the 356’s successor, a six-cylinder flat engine with an axial fan was developed. The 356 became the base upon which the Porsche 911 could thrive, and after almost 60 years, the 911 is still recognised as the quintessential sports car.

Possibly the most important part of the history of the Porsche 911 is the car’s reliance on the flat-six engine. In the beginning, the flat-six was a 2.0 litre air-cooled engine. Only in 1998, with the introduction of the Porsche 911 996, did Porsche stray away from traditional air-cooled flat-six engines, making the Porsche 911 993 produced from 1994-1998 one of the most sought-after models.

911 Carrera S 3.0 litre biturbo charged six cylinder flat engine

The flat-six engine was the ideal choice to fit the Porsche 911’s centre of gravity, creating a sporty driving style. Mounting the flat-six engines at the back of the chassis allowed for greater traction when accelerating. This has not changed to this day and remains an integral part of the Porsche 911’s construct. If you are interested in Classic Porsche, you will be pleased to hear that Porsche Centre Swindon is an accredited Classic Porsche Centre.

View Classic Porsche stock for sale

Unlike today’s modern water-cooled engines which are closed circuit and carry a liquid coolant through channels in the engine block and cylinder head, the air-cooled engine released engine heat directly into the air.

Origins Of The Air-Cooled Porsche Engine
It’s probably only a matter of time before there’s a club for water-cooled flat engine fans, but until then, the Luftgekühlt will continue to capture the hearts, minds, and souls of Porsche fans keen to embrace a true piece of automotive history. However, it is undeniable that the overriding factor that ties fans together is the iconic Porsche 911. Despite progressive changes over its 60-year history, the flyline remains instantly recognisable.

View Approved Pre-Owned 911 stock here

For more information, please contact your local Porsche Centre:

Porsche Centre Bristol -
01173 216 780

Porsche Centre Newport - 
02920 606 512

Porsche Centre Swindon - 
01793 398 525

Porsche Centre Tewkesbury - 
01684 880 104

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