Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. In coming weeks, we’ll also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail email@example.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney.
Porsche Dream Shop
The €3-million Death Car
You don’t get to see a car like this very often. Looking at the 550 up close in the Porsche restoration shop made me realize how much hand craftsmanship went into the sports cars of the 1950s. Every weld was made by hand, and the aluminum body panels were shaped by craftsmen who used mallets, files, and wooden forming blocks.
The Bathtub Porsche
This 1950s Porsche 356 Speedster was undergoing a light touch-up in the restoration shop. I used to work on Speedsters back in the 1970s, but I don’t think I ever saw one as perfect as this – no body filler, no non-original parts. With the possible exception of the 911, the 356 is probably the most iconic Porsche ever made. Thanks to its rounded shape, it was known as the Bathtub Porsche.
Old School Brakes
The German Way of Speed
I spent a week driving through Germany in a 2014 Porsche 911 S. It was incredible on the autobahn, where I was reminded yet again of how much better Germans are at highway driving compared with North Americans. I spent hours cruising at speeds of up 245 km/h, and was rarely held up by slower traffic. (And only in Germany do you get passed by a minivan at over 170 km/h.)
The German Winnebago
I spotted this VW camper van in Stuttgart as I headed up to the Porsche plant. Europeans are used to living in a lot less space than we are - even in their motorhomes.
The Flying Pig
The World’s Worst Trunk
To meet the racing rules, the 917 race car had to be capable of carrying a specified amount of luggage. Porsche engineers met the letter of the rules by installing these fibreglass boxes under the 917’s tail. Located next to the engine, gearbox and red-hot exhaust, the luggage boxes would have been absolutely perfect for carrying a picnic lunch, would they not?
The Monster Motor
Near the Porsche 917 race car display was a disassembled example of its legendary motor: a 12-cylinder, turbocharged monster that produced 1200 horsepower.
The People’s Car That Wasn’t
The Swinging Sixties
I spotted this vintage Porsche ad in Stuttgart. Classic.
Not Your Average Rental Car
The Bavarian Drinking Suit
Old Room, New Technology
How to Park a Glider
Schempp-Hirth is located in Kirchheim, a small German town near Stuttgart. One of the required skills for a Schempp-Hirth worker is parallel-parking a 10-meter long glider trailer.
A Racecar With Wings
This is the final assembly room at Schempp-Hirth, where workers install control systems and digital instruments in gliders before they head out for a test flight and delivery to customers.