|Porsche Type 597|
|Production||Prototypes completed in 1954|
|Class||Military Troop Transporter|
|Body Style||Four-seater soft-top|
|Wheelbase||c. 2000 mm|
|Engine||1,600 cc flat-four, air cooled|
When the German Army was reformed in the early Fifties, it required equipment - namely transport. Porsche, viewing the military contract as a large benefit to the small, fledgling company, decided to enter the trials for the '0,25 Tonne Truck' category, which Porsche was already experienced in with its wartime projects of the Type 128/166. The new cross country vehicle was named the Porsche 597, after the internal design number dedicated to the project.
The vehicle, nicknamed the 'Jagdwagen', used a strong but lightweight steel platform chassis, and featured entirely independent suspension. The powerplant chosen was the 1.6 litre from the Porsche 356, and drive was sent to the wheels via a four-speed synchromesh gearbox - which had four on-road gears, and an additional low-range ratio for off-road driving. The 597 was either four- or two-wheel drive, which could be controlled by a lever in the cabin. Braking was controlled by a hydraulic setup, and aluminium drums were specified all-round.
The 597 was a competent performer. It returned reasonable fuel economy of 28 mpg, and was exceptionally light. It could tackle gradients of 65%, and drive across rough terrain at speeds of upto 62 mph. Due to the low weight, the 597 was able to float on water, without propulsion, which Porsche believed would aid transportation.
Despite showing real promise, the 597 was not chosen by the army - political reasons were at the root of the decision. Instead, the DKW Munga won the contract.
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|Ferdinand Porsche||Corporate website||A subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group|