From road cars to flat-12 race cars, this is the countdown air-cooled purists have been waiting for.
Mention air-cooled engines in the automotive sense, and everyone immediately things of Porsche. Rightfully so – there have been other brands with air-cooled production cars but none can come remotely close to the long history and pedigree that Porsche holds in this segment. Taking things a step further, the iconic 911 is the car that forever burns in the soul of air-cooled fans around the globe. It’s certainly the best-known air-cooled Porsche, but it’s not the only one on the block by far.
That’s the subject of Porsche’s latest Top 5 episode, which counts down the automaker’s top 5 air-cooled cars of all time. In this case, all time also refers to all models, be it street cars or full-on racing machines. To help inject the list with a personal touch, Porsche turned to its factory driver and LeMans champ Patrick Long to count them down, but he’s not just fulfilling some manufacturer contract requirement to promote the brand. Long legitimately loves air-cooled Porsches, so much so that he’s a founder and driving force behind Luftgenühlt – perhaps the most epic air-cooled Porsche gathering in the world.
We suspect casual Porsche fans will be rather surprised by this countdown, as it only includes a single 911. There are certainly plenty of viable 911 candidates; the 1973 Carrera RS springs to mind, or the 930 Turbo. The manufacturer’s choice, however, is the last air cooled 911 – the epic 450-horsepower (336-kilowatt) 993 Turbo S. We’re just fine with that.
Seeing the 356 on the list probably won’t come as a significant surprise either. Porsche singles out the 356B 2000 GS Carrera 2 Cabriolet, which aside from being a mouthful to say packed a 2.0-liter engine making 155 hp (116 Kw) in an extremely lightweight package. Dedicated race cars with flat-8 and flat-12 engines fill out the rest of the list, including the car that gave Porsche it’s lone victory in the world of Formula 1.