By on August 30, 2012

Lost in all the hysteria which surrounds the VW Type 1 and its descendants is the fact that Dr. Porsche chose a rear-engined car at least partly for reasons of traction and mobility. The roads of post-Great War Europe weren’t all butter-smooth Autobahnen, you see.

Porsche’s marketing machine would have you believe that you need to buy a Cayenne to drive over a speedbump, but as you can see in this video, a 1983 911SC with some chunky tires can do the business. Check it out… but turn down the volume on your computer, the soundtrack is by “DISTURBD” or “STAIND” or some other group of no-talent djent-whackers.

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33 Comments on “Turn Down Your Volume And Watch This Porsche Off-Roading Video...”

  • avatar
    el scotto

    I would’ve drove my Vega (winter car) through that. With three buddies and a case of beer. It’s not stuck until you need a tractor.

  • avatar

    A search of ‘porsche rally pure sound’ on YouTube will get you plenty of videos that will return plenty of better (sounding) clips. ‘Pure sound’ is used in a lot of titles to indicate that there’s no added music.

  • avatar

    It just seems big, slow, and clumsy in that environment. I’d take a quad over a 911.

  • avatar

    Speaking of rear-engined air-cooled off-roaders, didn’t Porsche put together a successful factory effort to win Paris to Dakar back in the mid-80’s?

  • avatar

    I think a modified 911SC won the Paris-Dakar ralley several times. I’m not sure it was even 4WD.

  • avatar

    Jack, you’ve highlighted the idiocy of the modern SUV. I was flying hang gliders 40 years ago and the off-road vehicle we used was a ’72 Datsun 610 station wagon with fat rubber on its stock 13″ wheels. Ground clearance wasn’t perfect, but it got us to the top of many mountains in Southern California without the need for 4WD or 35″ tires. As to snow and ice, I’ve found it particularly illuminating that when I visit Finland, a land of snow and ice, the SUV quantity is perhaps 10% of what it is here in Northern California. The Finns put winter tires on their RWD Benz’s and BMW’s and on their FWD Saabs and Volvos and simply motor on.

    There’s certainly a case to be made for a genuine 4WD truck when driving in hub-deep mud or very deep snow, but it’s rare that they’re ever used for these applications.

    • 0 avatar

      The 13 inch black and white tv we had with three networks 40 years ago really highlights the idiocy of today’s flatscreens and digital TV packages. What are people thinking?

      • 0 avatar

        I think you are missing the point. Using a 60″ flatscreen TV to watch crappy old home movies is more like it. WAAAAAAY overkill for the purpose.

        But you know, Mom NEEDS that “trail rated” SUV to go to the Mall…

        Porsche has won a crapload of off-road rallys over the years with 911s. There are some VERY nice examples of rally-prepped machines in the museum in Stuttgart.

      • 0 avatar

        What is wrong with overkill? If people care enough about something to spend more on it than they need to, then they are exactly like you and me.

        Citroen has won a metric ton of off road rallys in recent years with rally-prepped cars that in road trim make Toyota Yarises look like Lancia Fulvias. So what?

      • 0 avatar
        Sam P

        Most modern SUVs sold in the USA aren’t real 4WD trucks, they’re minivans with hinged doors. Aka crossovers.

        Most of which wouldn’t have a prayer of keeping up with this old 911 in the dunes.

      • 0 avatar

        Like Sam P said…modern CUVs in the US should not be confused with actual truck-based utility vehicles.

        In the early 2000s, manufacturers figured out the North American market didn’t want SUVs, it wanted station wagons that neutered Suburban dads didn’t feel emasculated in. Also, women wanted to sit up high where they could see stuff.

        The result is the current generation Ford Explorer.

        Aside from a VERY few models (4×4 Tacomas/FJ Cruisers, Jeep Wranglers, Nissan Xterras, and not much else), you can’t find ANYTHING on showroom floors with even a modicum of off road capability from factory.

        The video is relatively entertaining, but there’s nothing surprising there really…lots of sand buggies are 2wd, and dunes aren’t exactly a difficult environment to wheel in. Air down the tires, press the go-pedal, and the tires will either have enough traction or dig you into a hole. That’s it.

        Show me that Porsche on the Rubicon Trail and we have something to talk about.

  • avatar

    Corvairs were awesome in less-than-perfect conditions, too. Rear engined cars make great winter beaters…unfortunately, the heaters tend to be problematic.

    Check out some of the old Chevrolet PR footage from the 1960’s on the Corvair…see them slogging through conditions that would make a Jeep owner balk!

  • avatar

    Looks totally doable. Then there’s this.

    “Crown Vic on Hell’s Revenge- Moab, Utah”

    The guy in the Rubicon says, “There’s a guy in an H2 Hummer that’s too scared to come up here…”

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Given that Eng. Porsche stole his ideas for the beetle from Hans Ledwinka ,it comes as no surprise that the Tatraplan is like a giant Beetle in both concept and design (you can even bolt beetle wheels onto them) and they were designed for use on the Czech roads of the post WW2 period.

    • 0 avatar

      Not quite as clear-cut as this recurring meme. There was definitely cross-pollination, but Porsche had developed Type 12 for Zundapp one year earlier, and Type 32 (for NSU) was concurrent with the second Tatra prototype.

      Amazingly, neither Porsche nor Ledwinka had any proper higher education, yet both had highly impressive engineering track records. The world has changed since then …

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        “Amazingly, neither Porsche nor Ledwinka had any proper higher education, yet both had highly impressive engineering track records. The world has changed since then …”

        Ledwinka held a real PhD (Porsche’s was honorary), so I think your definition of ‘proper higher education’ is somewhat severe.

      • 0 avatar

        Ledwinka didn’t receive his PhD until 1944, long after he did his Tatra designs. At the time he did those, he had only a mechanic’s training.

  • avatar

    Quite lame considering the steep gravel pits we drove our dirt bikes up in the 70s . With only 5 inches of suspension travel we would climb near vertical inclines to put rear wheels 3 feet or more off the ground . I realize that is nothing nowadays , but those bikes had less than half the suspension travel of the modern dirt bikes . And this video is almost 40 years later – sigh !

  • avatar

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the Lancia Stratos–a formidable beast of rally in the ’70s, and mid-engine RWD. What people often forget is that we’ve been driving cars in questionable circumstances since long before we had AWD to do it with. Rallies ran for decades before Gene Henderson won the 1972 Press On Regardless rally in a Jeep Wagoneer (which led to the FIA banning 4WD in the then-new WRC until Audi convinced them to reverse the decision for the Quattro).

    By the way, that Crown Vic video is absolutely awesome–I hope Sajeev has seen it! I remember a couple running the Son of Sno*Drift rally (a TSD rally, not a stage rally) in a Crown Vic in 2008. I don’t remember how they placed, but I seem to recall that they didn’t do badly at all.

    mechimike, I dream of rallying a Corvair some day. I just need space where I can put it, time so I can work on it, and luck so my wife doesn’t kill me… By the way, Corvairs won overall in Press On Regardless in 1961 and 1962, although it was a TSD rally then (like it is today) and not a stage rally.

    • 0 avatar

      AWD became legal for the 1981 WRC season … yes, Audi supported legalizing it, but no one really opposed it as they didn’t think the Germans would be able to do anything much with it. History showed otherwise, though.

  • avatar
    01 ZX3

    Did Disturbed or Staind offend you in some way in the past Baruth?

  • avatar

    This video was pretty cool and I had no issue with the music, loud, yes, compressed to within an inch of its life, definitely yes, but it’s dynamic compression for the sake of loudness and nothing more, much like techno, though this isn’t quite that.

    As for less than good driving conditions, the very early automobiles had no paved roads to drive on, and the very earliest coast to coast car road trip took place in 1903 in a red Windsor Touring, I think it was, and took 63 days to complete, and it was a 2WD car with tall, uber skinny tires and lots of mud, ruts and block and tackles to get to their destination.

    Car travel with largely paved roads didn’t become common until the late teens and into the 20’s.

  • avatar

    The video was astonishing, as was the accomplishment of that Porsche. And the Porsche can be an on-road champ as well. I began to feel sorry for all the Jeep Wrangler fans (having been one)…..

    But this has shown me two things:
    1) 4WD/AWD may be overrated. A decent rear-biased weight-balance with good suspension and fat /aggressive rear tires can do 90% of what 4WD can do. For example, in winter conditions, Mike Miller, writing for Roundel Magazine, has always maintained that a 2WD BMW with Blizzak winter tires on all 4 wheels can perform equally as well as (or better than) the “x” version of the same car that uses all-season tires.

    2) Experienced, skillful driving in ANY vehicle can go a long way toward not getting stuck. In fact some results are surprising. In 1972, my cousin and I took an off-road trip up a boulder-filled creek bed with a Ford Bronco in Colorado to reach a special little waterfall. What did we find at our destination hours later? A bloody Cadillac! Don’t even ask. But the occupants were certainly smiling at our incredulity! (No, there was no other way to get in there, except by helicopter…)


    • 0 avatar

      But why would you compare a 2WD version of the car on snow tires with the AWD version on all-seasons? Is there something that’s incompatible between AWD and snow tires? Do people really see snow tires and AWD as mutually exclusive alternatives?

      At least up here in the (soon to be) frozen north, the use of snow tires is steadily increasing, including use on AWD models.

      • 0 avatar

        th009, strangely enough, a lot of people I meet do seem to see it that way. “I don’t need snow tires, I have AWD!” The only reasoning I can understand for this is if people draw a parallel between the cost of buying snow tires and the cost of buying AWD and figure if they’ve done the latter they shouldn’t have to spend the money on the former.

        Also, NMGOM, fat may not be the way to go for snow tires. Conventional wisdom that I’ve heard over the years is that a narrower tire is better in snow. If you compare WRC tarmac, gravel, and snow tires, you’ll see that they seem to follow that pattern. (My own experience agrees as well, but I’d say WRC is better evidence!)

      • 0 avatar

        th009 and vyk….

        Please note that I said “winter” tires, and not “snow” tires.

        Modern tires for us Northern inhabitants who must deal with driving December through March have evolved greatly over the years. Those tires are no longer just deep-cut, land-and-groove designs with summer rubber: the current extensive use of sipes coupled with silica gel and “sticky” compounds make for much greater traction, especially on ice and thin films of snow or even slushy water.

        Hence, the old rule of “thinner tires = better traction”, really applies to thick, deep snow much more than ice or snow films. For that driving situation, larger tires give more contact area for friction; and yes, thinner tires would work better in deep snow. So, what do you get? Check the area you are in and estimate the type of winter conditions you most anticipate that you’ll drive in.**

        No, 4WD/AWD are not incompatible with using winter tires. But they don’t get used! Reason: it’s psychological. Many people think that just because they have all-season tires and 4WD/AWD, they have done all they need to do; are invulnerable; and have escaped this nasty (and expensive) chore of changing wheels and tires every spring and fall.

        I had commuted though amazing winter stuff for 22 years. The first cars that were off the road were small FWD cars; the 2nd most prevalent were large SUV’S! Go figure. I attribute the first to the lack of feeling with FWD: you don’t easily know how close you are to the limit. I attribute the 2nd group to over-confidence, excess speed for conditions, and the use of all-season tires. Here’s the funny part: the cars that were NEVER off the road were old-fashioned, big, RWD American sedans and station wagons..why is that?

        (Maybe the fact that they start fish-tailing a bit when things get slippery is an automatic “canary-in-the-gold-mine” that tells the driver to slow down…)

        ** If you check the Tire Rack website, you’ll see that, for Winter performance, tires are rated in categories of “Light Snow”, “Deep Snow”, and “Ice Traction”. They are all different, and a good tire for “Deep Snow” may NOT be ideal for “Ice Traction”, for example.


  • avatar

    I didn’t know that rednecks were into German cars…..

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