New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

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Tony Z
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New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

Post by Tony Z » Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:43 pm

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n the 1950s and 1960s, Porsche put their stamp on racing with the stunningly sexy 550 Spyder, the fast 718 RSK, the seemingly standard 356 Carrera and the svelte mid-engined 904. What did they all have in common? Four gear-driven overhead camshafts.

While they were wickedly powerful for such small displacement in their day and when run hard they still make great sounds today, they were not exactly the most durable motors. At first, Porsche warned drivers not to drive above 6,500 RPM for extended periods (redline was at 7,500 RPM) and later when they found engines not surviving due to drivers lugging them below 2,500 RPM, they considered that limit only acceptable for “for brief periods.” It was a stunner, to be sure, but it was fragile.

Plenty of four-cam engines were swapped out for pushrod powerplants in 356 Carreras back in the day when the repair or replacement was too expensive or parts were not abundant. Made in sizes from 1.1 to 2.0 liters, the four-cam, four-cylinder Porsche type 547, 587 and 692 engines were remarkable for their day, with specific output of 75hp per liter and even more for race engines. Rebuilds are expensive and parts have become scarcer than sensitivity training classes in Genghis Khan’s camp.

Capricorn Automotive, a German-based maker of components and provider of services for vintage racers aims to change all of that. Long in the Porsche four-cam business, they now make enough components to allow you to buy a new, complete Carrera engine. But it won’t come cheap. With a current price of €120,000, or $157,000, a new Carrera engine is a significant investment. Fortunately, as prices have skyrocketed for four-cam Porsches the past decade, a new engine at that price may be a good investment for the right buyer looking to replace a pushrod motor in his Carrera.

Capricorn not only manufactures pistons, cylinder liners, connecting rods and crankshafts for both OEM and race-car preparation, they are also produce composites for clients, including the chassis fabrication for the 2010 Team Lotus (now Caterham) F1 car. Their list of involvement in motorsports includes working with championship teams and drivers in F1, World Rally, Indy Racing League (and ChampCar/CART), NASCAR, MotoGP, Le Mans, DTM and even Paris Dakar.

The company got their start with historical restorations and vintage race car preparation. Today, they still help maintain and even store and transport vintage race cars to the track.

Capricorn has its headquarters in Germany, but maintains a presence in several countries, including the U.S, with an office in Charlotte.



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Re: New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

Post by Piet » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:29 pm

The original was designed by Ernst Fuhrmann who played a huge role at Porsche in the early days. He was a watchmaker by trade, and you can see it when you look at the complexity of the engine.

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Re: New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

Post by eben » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:00 pm

Nothing shouts complexity like bevel-gear ended shaft driven camshafts :D

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Re: New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

Post by Piet » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:47 pm

Clive Winterstein rebuild an original for his Elva Porsche, and is racing it in historics. I wonder if there are any other in SA?

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Re: New, complete four-cam Porsche Carrera engines now available

Post by fig » Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:25 pm

There are several original 4-cam Carerras in SA. I understand the owners remove the engines and ship them to Europe for tune-ups and repairs.

Good call for this company to offer reproductions of these engines, as they have a captive market through being the only ones on earth who know how to make them run properly.
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