Looking ahead to 1965, Porsche decided to cease production of its 356. Thus, the German company decided to cut ties with the past, launching itself headlong into the increase in performance represented by its six-cylinder engine installed in the new 911. Likewise , your new model was gaining more and more space among a clientele that, even despite its unorthodox handling, saw in this an effective sports car for combined use between track and road.
At this point, the expectations placed on the 911 had to be confirmed with the appearance of a more energetic version. Something that arrived in 1967 thanks to the appearance of the 911S with 160 HP from the factory. Clearly oriented towards competition, it not only incorporated improvements in the mechanics but also a series of new elements aimed at better dynamic behavior.
A very particular aspect in relation to the German sports car, which had to be handled in a specific way due to the inertia caused by the position of its engine as well as the lack of support on the front axle. In fact, and in relation to this last question, installing a skirt on the front significantly improved this aspect thanks to the increase in downforce. Likewise, the 911S would also incorporate one of the not only most effective, but also visually most powerful designs in Porsche history.
FUCHS WHEELS, HEEDING THE CALL OF PORSCHE
While researching how to improve the performance of the 911, Porsche technicians decided to opt for lighter wheels in order to reduce unsprung weight. In this way, around 1964 the German house expanded its claim among the auxiliary industry national in order to find a design thanks to which to overcome the old and heavy steel wheels. And yes, in a very few months it was quite successful, with numerous manufacturers having contacted Porsche headquarters.
However, the first proposals could not be more discouraging. And, aesthetic issues aside, the improvement in weight was paid for with great fragility. In short, no one seemed to know how make an aluminum wheel with a modern look and sufficient handling guarantee. However, the company Otto Fuchs AG had been applying its knowledge of light alloys to both the military and aeronautical fields for years.
Thanks to this, his experience was key to the development of a wheel cast in a single piece with 97% aluminum and 3% magnesium and silicon along with manganese, titanium and chromium. In addition, The piece was worked in demanding forging presses receiving, in some stages of the process, a force of up to 7.000 tons. Something, by the way, more typical of the naval industry than the automobile industry.
With all this, it was possible to go from the 8 kilos given for each steel wheel mounted on the first 911 to 5 for the Fuchs aluminum alloy wheel. All of this, in addition, without any loss of reliability They have proven themselves well in a multitude of races and driving situations at the limit of endurance. Of course, at Otto Fuchs AG they were unable to find the most appropriate aesthetics. However, for this there was the intervention of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.
Grandson of the founder - and better known as “Butzi”-, this was responsible for creating the fluid appearance with five spokes giving a more elegant appearance and appropriate for the Porsches of the time. Well, from the time and the subsequent years since, not in vain, The Fuchs rim has become one of the greatest visual symbols for the Stuttgart house. Without a doubt, an achievement of the auxiliary industry that, even after decades, endures as a design that has been able to adapt to new sizes and technical demands without losing its visual identity.
Photographs: RM Sotheby's /Porsche