Ferdinand Porsche’s Race Car Revs Up After 100 Years

Porsche Museum’s Oldest Drivable Vehicle: Austro-Daimler ADS-R Race Car

Before Ferdinand Porsche immortalised his moniker on a sports car, he held the position of Technical Director at Austro-Daimler. During this period of time, he supervised the establishing of the ADS-R race car, which was lovingly christened ‘Sascha’. After an intensive repairing process that took multiple months, the Porsche Museum eventually took their oldest operable motor car for a drive to its birthplace in Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

In response to a desire for Porsche to build something small as well as light, the ADS-R was developed. With encouragement from his companion and partner at Austro-Daimler, Alexander Joseph Graf Kolowrat-Krakowsky (more commonly referred to as Sascha), Porsche generated both a race car and an output version, the ADS-R.

The executive board had their doubts about the project; however, Kolowrat-Krakowsky took things into his own hands and backed the endeavour financially, causing Porsche to honour him by calling the automobile the ADS-R. With a 1.1-liter four-cylinder enginge able to provide approximately fifty horsepower, it was quite agile for that era with an astounding top speed of 89 mph.

Incredible Austro-Daimler ADS-R “Sascha” Hits The Road After Lengthy Restoration

In 1922, the maiden appearance of four automobiles happened at the esteemed Targa Florio; a contest which remains to be remembered as one of the most renowned in the 20th century. Nonetheless, none of the cars were able to complete the race, but were all made ready in time for the event. Of note, Porsche coated the aluminum bodies with red paint so they would not be recognisable or stolen in Italy. Additionally, Kolowrat-Krakowsky illustrated playing card emblems on them to enable them to be easily identifiable.

Three automobiles participated in the 1.1-liter division, with two emerging victorious and claiming a historic first and second place triumph. The third contestant, steered by Kolowrat-Krakowsky, was forced to retire owing to an engine mechanical issue. The fourth car featured a larger 1.5-liter motor and had to endure more potent contenders in the open category. Finally, it completed in nineteenth position overall.

Although not sounding particularly amazing, the Italian publications were enamored of the ADS-R. This was largely due to their efficient motor; despite its diminutive size, it stayed on a level with quickly paced models. The 1.1 liter editions had an average speed of 34 mph throughout the competition which was only 5 mph slower than the victor- a Mercedes fitted with a much brawnier powerplant.

Despite the remarkable accomplishment, the Austro-Daimler board did not budge despite the ADS-R claiming more and more prizes. Sadly, the finalized version was dismissed for monetary factors, leaving only existing examples to exist as prototypes. Unfortunately, Ferdinand Porsche had his heart set on manufacturing a lightweight vehicle which he achieved with the 356; if only he were still alive to see his title attached to the 911.

Jan Heidak, the youngest employee at the Porsche museum workshop, is the only person who has driven the vintage racer, the ADS-R, since its restoration – and it seems that the vehicle is still a pleasure to drive, even after all these years and progress. “Sascha was constructed for other road surfaces,” Heidak remarks. “The problem is that we have too much grip, are too fast, and have high forces. But it’s still really enjoyable. You can feel every vibration and hear how the engine’s running. And there’s no power steering, so you need a lot of strength and finesse.”

Doing mechanical repair, not to mention driving it, is arduous. Kuno Werner, Workshop Chief of Porsche Museum, expounds that the squad had to think like the technicians when doing work on the car. They even had to call a former-WWII engine specialist with regard to help, when custom-made tools had to be designed to carry out maintenance.

If you’re after a truly raw and visceral driving experience, the ADS-R is sure to deliver. It may not be the safest option, with no seat belts or lights, but this is reminiscent of the days when race car drivers wore leather caps for protection. Controlling this vehicle can be quite a challenge, as the accelerator is in the middle, with the clutch to the left and the brake on the right. “When we first began the project, we had no idea just how much there was to learn about the ADS-R.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *