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Porsche Toys and Miniatures, Design Studies and Wind Tunnel Models

Published on Wed, Feb 26, 1992

By: Len Frank

This is a very specialized book appealing to only those with interest in models. And Porsches. And toy Porsches. And Porsche styling. And Porsche racing. And Porsche history and memorabilia. Come to think of it, maybe it’s not so specialized. – Len Frank

Written by Ekkehard Zentgraf
Edited by Ulrich Upietz

First, the book is beautifully manufactured—superb color, printing, paper quality, binding. It’s exceptionally handsome. Except for a few archival photos, all photography was done in studio, fantastically lit, imaginatively staged.

Second, Porsche Toys and Models is accurate. I’m thought to be compulsive about accuracy (not true but I don’t work too hard to dispel the rumor) but I couldn’t find a single error–very unusual in this day of the “expert.” Further, for a book with very little text, there’s a considerable amount of information to be gotten from it–and not just about models (in scales between 1:220 and 1:5) or toys.

By comparing wind tunnel models with the real production cars (or some of the very accurate scale models pictured), it’s possible to learn something about aerodynamics. By comparing some of the styling exercises with real or proposed production cars (like the Boxster), it’s not too difficult to see where Porsche designers wanted to go. What’s left to wonder about is why it took so long to go there.

There are short text passages that introduce each section, short captions with each of the photos in the three hundred-plus pages, an equally short introduction by Ferdinand Alexander (Butzi) Porsche. Beyond the 320 pages of text and pictures, the book has a 185 page section that lists some 7000 toys and models—all of those ever produced that the author and editor could document.

OK—two hundred and fifty bucks for a book.

That’s half a set of pretty good wheels (without tires) or two and a half great tires (without wheels) or a billet camshaft or an exhaust system or a passable set of speakers or an average CD player.

If you’re reading this instead of trying to figure out why your GTI won’t start, or while waiting for the hole you mis-drilled to heal, probably book delights won’t interest you.

But there’s more to the automotive hobby than faster, lower, louder, shinier. Some people take just as much pleasure from owning a picture of a car, or a book about a car, or a model of a car as the car itself–and cost of ownership is certainly lower.

I’m really a generalist. Alongside my Porsche books, I have Mercedes books, BMW books, VW books, Renault books, Bugatti books, Alfa books, Volvo books…you get the idea. It was never my intent to know more and more about less and less. Not knowing the exact serial number when Lobro joints first appeared on the 911, or the exact lap on which a certain 924 Turbo running at Le Mans crashed and burned, doesn’t cost me much sleep. Despite that, and despite the fact that Porsche Toys and Models appears to be edging toward the ultimate in minutiae, I’m proud to put it next to Excellence Was Expected on my bookshelf.

Porsche Toys and Miniatures
Design Studies and Wind Tunnel Models

Written by Ekkehard Zentgraf
Edited by Ulrich Upietz

Published by Gruppe C Motorsport Verlag GmbH
U.S. distributor Paper Graphic International,
80 Route 101A, Amhearst NH 03031
2500 numbered copies only, dust jacket and slip cover 12″X9.75″

Len Frank
Len Frank

The late Len Frank was the legendary co-host of “The Car Show”—the first and longest-running automotive broadcast program on the airwaves. Len was also a highly regarded journalist, having served in editorial roles with Motor TrendSports Car GraphicPopular Mechanics, and a number of other publications. LA Car is proud to once again host “Look Down the Road – The Writings of Len Frank” within its pages. Special thanks to another long-time automotive journalist, Matt Stone, who has been serving as the curator of Len Frank’s archives since his passing in 1996. Now, you’ll be able to view them all in one location under the simple search term “Len Frank”, or just click this link: Look Down The Road. – Roy Nakano

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