Dean Clough

November 8, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Times Even Porsche F'd Up


2 Minute Read

It's Wednesday, and what better time than to peer into my inner wannabe? 

Today, I express my love for Porsche automobiles, but also showcase their miscues.  It's a great reminder that not even the best get it right every time.   Plus, it was fun grabbing these photos.

It's also fun being an elitist snob, so a reminder:  "Porsche" is a family name, and as such, has a particular pronunciation.  Once and for all:  that pronunciation is "POUR-sha," not "poursh."  Two syllables, not one. 

Got it?  Here's a useful video just in case. 

With that important matter out of the way, let me begin by stating Porsche is almost literally in my blood.  This is my grandmother, Elsie Slow Clough, next to my parent's 356, in a photo from the 1950s. 
Suffice it to say there weren't a whole heck of a lot of these around Albany or the meat packing plant, at the time or really ever.

And then I was born and the days of my parents driving Porsches came to an end. 

But I've been a fan ever since this masterpiece, the original 6-cylinder 911, was introduced, in 1964.  OK, I was one year old then, but still.

Now?  Heck, we pulled over in Palm Springs in 2020 so I could snap these - these were/are the most recent 911s.  And the most beautiful yet?
But now, the duds.  Yet for the record, the first is now actually considered a classic, and most of their other misses eventually got better.

Porsche 912
This was the 4-cylinder, entry-level 911 nobody was asking for upon the 912's debut in 1966.  Yawn.  Not really, and they sold quite a few, but I want the real thing, thank you very much.

Porsche 914
Ugh.  This was a shared project with Volkswagen - obviously.  But even these are thought of as being OK now.

Porsche 924
There's a theme here.  Before a complete commitment in recent years to being a premier luxury brand, Porsche always wanted something entry-level.  But neither of their efforts to date, the 912 and 914 above, were particularly well-received.  So someone said, "I know!  We'll change everything!  That's bound to work!"

Uh, no.  The original 924, introduced in 1976, while fine in many aspects, was woefully underpowered (95 horsepower!) and was seen as an embarrassment.  Later models, like usual, were better, but wow did the original not get it done.  Indeed, this and the similarly front-engined 928 nearly took the company down.

Dishonorable Mention
They never really quit going for the general population, even those buying SUVs.  So in 2002 we got a VW SUV with a Porsche badge, called the Cayenne.

Did they ever get it right?  And by that, I mean a true Porsche, but one accessible to the masses?

Yes.  They actually got there earlier, in 1996, with the introduction of the original Boxster, a real Porsche by anyone's definition.

The lesson in all of this? 

There are two. 

The first is to not select as a business partner the type of person that, upon your triumphant return from London in 1998, wouldn't let you take her new Boxster for a spin.  True story, but I'm not bitter.  Much.

The second is to not quit. 

Trite, I know, but if you go and look it up, you'll see that Porsche almost went out of business in the early 1990s.  They've done pretty well since, including an IPO last year that raised billions of Euros. 

Oh, and Porsche also won 3 straight 24 Hours of Le Mans races, from 2015 - 2017, with the 919 Hybrid.
Now:  how do you pronounce Porsche again?


Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


German metal, but not too heavy for the track?  Done. 

In their first appearance on KLUF, here are Scorpions and my Killer playlist of their best songs.

About Dean Clough