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Porsche – The Heritage of a
Performance Engine Icon

Article by: Hannah in General - 27 August

There is something about the Porsche name that conjures up images in people’s minds. The iconic silhouette of the 911, that has changed so little through the many years and many incarnations of its production history, is one. But for those of a more mechanical mindset, it could just as easily be that famous flat engine.

At Fiennes Performance we have decades of experience working with both air and water cooled versions of these engines, and we can offer a range of performance upgrades and enhancements to further improve what is great to begin with. But where does this story begin?

The extraordinary thing, when you consider that Porsche is so closely associated with curing edge technology, is that that flat engine design goes all the way back to the earliest days of internal combustion. Carl Benz invented it in 1896. Called a ‘contra’ engine, because it had two cylinders positioned in opposition to each other, it could only deliver 5 bhp, but its basic design principles hold true in today’s Porsche engines.

Ferry Porsche (1909-1998), son of the founder of both Porsche and Volkswagen, took a 35 bhp 1.1 litre flat four cylinder engine from a VW Beetle and put it into his 356-001, at once creating a legendary association between car and engine that has endured ever since. Power and performance have been improved steadily over the years – the 3.8 litre engine in the mid-90s 911 Carrera RS, for example, could achieve an astonishing 300 bhp before the assistance of two turbochargers raised this to 450 bhp – but what has never changed is Porsche’s belief in the air-cooled flat engine’s being the perfect power source for a sports car.

Whether using four or six cylinder configurations, Porsche has long favoured the low- and rear-mounted position as the ideal for performance and handling. It gives the car an optimal center of gravity and improved braking, whilst its crank mechanism allows for an engine to cruise at high speeds for long periods without excessive strain on the mechanical components. The smooth running of particularly the six cylinder engine is legendary, and at Fiennes Performance we know everything there is to know about getting these masterpieces running at the peak of their performance potential.

Be under no illusions, these engines are by no means simple. Flat engines contain more parts than in-line equivalents, and working on them requires specialist knowledge and skill that is not easy to find. At Fiennes Performance we can service, repair and maintain any Porsche engine to give you total motoring peace of mind. Our aim is always to refurbish Porsche components, but if for any reason this is not possible we have the in-house capability to offer such specialist rebuild services such as laser welding, timesert or helicoil of damaged threads, and component straightening.

From here we can guide you through a range of possible modifications including twin spark conversion, MFI injector conversion, shuffle pinning, and many others.

If you are the proud owner of a Porsche there’s a very good chance that you already know you have a thoroughbred example of automotive engineering sitting on your driveway. We have the facilities, the skills and the knowledge to keep it in pristine condition for you, solve any problem, prepare it for road or track, and upgrade it to technical standards far beyond those at which it rolled off a production line.