This Ain’t Porsche’s First Four-Cylinder Rodeo


People with not much better to do have recently had their feathers ruffled over “reports” that Porsche is working on four-cylinder engines again. The trouble is, my myopic friends, Porsche have done this before.

This is much in the way that the internet masses are scratching their collective heads today about the Ferrari FF, just announced to be the first four-wheel drive Fezza, and be the first official shooting brake too. Oh, and it’s a genuine four-seater. But let’s keep it between us that the 1986-1987 408RM was the first 4×4 Ferrari…

Although being the company’s first four-seater shooting brake is certainly notable because it demonstrates why Ferrari doesn’t need a sedan or SUV to appeal to those customers. No, Ferrari have their own way, and it’s better. Anyways, the point is that a little historical perspective goes a long way. With cars, as in life. But back to the Porsche.

I suppose the four-cylinder forum furry shouldn’t come as a complete surprise; Porsche enthusiasts are some of the most zealous adherents to tradition that exist in automobiledom today. If it doesn’t stay true to the intent of Hans Ledwinka’s original design (that is, “Ferdinand Porsche’s original design”), Porschephiles run to the internet forums faster than a moth to a flame. But, this time at least, they needn’t worry.

While Ferdinand Porsche’s earliest stolen idea work, the inimitable 356, housed a 4-cylinder engine in the rear, and later cars such as the 924 even sported them up front. The most recent 4-cylinder engine from Porsche serves as our memory’s best blueprint going forward. As such, a look at the 1992-1995 Porsche 968 is in order. Specifically, in light of Porsche’s rumoured development of turbocharged 4-cylinders, let’s look back at the 968 Turbo RS: The Ultimate 4-cylinder Porsche.

For those interested in Stuttgartian Nomenclature, the Turbo RS’d 968 remains the only Porsche to receive both of those qualifying monikers: “Turbo” and “RS”. Perhaps knowing that this might confuse the masses, Porsche only made 4 units of the front-engined racer.

Car Number 1, seen here pursuing a Porsche 962 at the 1994 Le Mans, was the prototype and development car. In 1993, it raced in two German ADAC GT races before being painted yellow and taking to the harrowing Le Mans in 1994. This, the only 968 to ever compete at Le Mans, ran 84 laps before crashing out of the GT2 class and the race. It was car #58, driven by Thomas Bscher, Lindsay Owen-Jones and John Neilson.

For more info on Car Number 1, as well as 2-4, visit 968Turbo.

So fear not, ye of little faith, Porsche may occasionally stumble over the exterior design of a car, but you can never accuse them of botching an engine design (their first water-cooled six not included).

If it’s good enough for Le Mans, a four-pot Porker is good enough for me.