The Birth of the Porsche Ducktail
The Porsche 911 is famous for the various rear spoilers sitting over the engine at the rear. They have changed quite dramatically over years from the huge turbo whale tail of the 930, the 3.2 Carrera tea tray to the fold away versions found on the Porsche 964. But how and when did it all start. What gave birth to this iconic accessory of the Porsche type 911 and was it an aesthetic or functional addition.
Well, you have to go back quite a few years to about 1972. Race rule changes at the end of the 1972 race season now meant that the hugely successful Porsche 917 would be completely obsolete for the World Sports car Championship. Building a comletely new car to compete in the prototype class, which now counted for the World Championship, was not really a viable economic option for Porsche. They had to cast their racing aspirations elsewhere
In its search for a new competition to demonstrate the Porsche racing pedigree a new European GT Championship had been created, for which Porsche's iconic 911 model was eligible. So in 1973 Porsche motorsport focussed on the Group 4 GT class. Work was started on a production 911, that could take on the might of the much larger engined Farrari.
Rather than start a fresh, the car chosen to be the basis for the new Group 4 GT class was the Porsche 911 S. The 911S had already been successful in events like the Rally Monte Carlo. In order to compete the with the much larger capacity engines of Ferrari, Porsches main design and development effort was to both reduce weight and increase the output of the flat 6 boxer engine. This meant that the bore of the 2.4 litre 911S engine was increased by 6 mm to 90 mm taking the capacity to 2.7 litres. Along with the capacity increase came an additional 20 bhp taking the 2.7 to a total of 210 bhp. In order to best deliver the increased power to the track, Porsche fitted wider rear tyres than those on the front. This approach was a first for Porsche. Porsche also managed to strip out a lot of weight by getting rid of any luxuries and using fibreglass. A thinner gauge steel was also used for various body parts. The total weight saving was a huge 150kg taking the total weight to just under 1,000kg's. Other changes included revised and stiffened suspension, a 'ducktail' rear spoiler, larger brakes, larger wheels and larger wheel arches The result was the creation of one of Porsches most legendary cars - the 911 Carrera RS 2.7.
Porsche 911 2.7RS
Aptly nicknamed "ducktail", this new design feature for the 2.7, not only looked fantastic but worked aerodynamically to keep the rear of the 911 firmly planted at high speed by reducing lift from 145kg's to a mere 42 kg's. It also improved airflow through the engine-cover and moved the effective centre of pressure about six inches rearward as another aid to high speed stability.
The 997 Sport Classic
The Ductail didn't last long and later road going models of the 911 were fitted with very different looking tail spoilers. But the Ductail has certainly not been forgotten. Many enthusiasts consider the addition of a Ductail to their older classic 911's to be a proper upgrade, reminiscent of the early days of Porsche development. And they can't be wrong, as Porsche has released for 2010 the Porsche 997 Sport Classic, which features prominently at the rear the a modern incarnation of the 'Ductail' spoiler. Like father and son, these two 911's separated by 38 years are joined by the the Ductail lineage.
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