"I couldn't find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself"

- Ferdinand Porsche

Porsche 597 Facts

Manufacturer Porsche
Production Prototype 1953
Production 1955 – 1958
Predecessor None
Successor None
Class Off Road Vehicle
Body style(s) Cabriolet
Layout Rear Engine
Engine(s) Aircooled 1.5 L boxer
Aircooled 1.6 L boxer from 1955
Wheelbase #### mm (### in)
Length 3.7 m (145.7 in)
Width #### mm (## in)
Height #### mm (## in)
Curb weight 990 kg (2,183 lb)-1,090 kg (2,403 lb)
Designer need information

 

The Porsche 597 Jagdwagen (roughly translated as "hunting car") was a light military vehicle, designed to cover approximately the same remit as the Jeep, Kübelwagen and Land-Rover.

Originally developed as a prototype for a tender to the German Army after World War II, the car never reached mass production after the DKW Munga was chosen over it for reasons of economics.

The car was propelled by an induced air-cooled flat-four taken from the Porsche 356, sited in the rear of the vehicle like the VWs and Porsches of the period; first in an amended version of the 1.5 litre, with a later bump to 1.6 in the l-model. This engine had an output of around 37 kW (50 HP). Together with a vehicle weight of 990 kilograms a maximum speed of around 100 kilometers per hour could be achieved. For transmission, a 5-speed manual box with additional on-the-fly two/four wheel drive shifter was provided. With its short wheelbase of 2,060 mm, the vehicle had the ability to climb steep grades of up to 65%.

The prototype body of the car was manufactured by Porsche's own Stuttgart Body Works with later versions (stabilized with torsion bars) coming from Karmann coachworks. The monocoque shell came with no doors and high sills, meaning passengers needed to climb over them to enter and exit the vehicle; The upside of this design being that the body was buoyant and amphibious. Later versions of the body came with rigid doors and exhibit a more steeply dropping angle to the front wings/fenders and bonnet–hood.

The Porsche 597 'Hunting Car', alongside the Goliath Type 31 (by the German Federal Armed Forces) were never commissioned for mass production, since, (in the case of the 597), the production costs were too high and the company could not easily supply the sheer numbers of units needed in proposed timescale. Instead the Auto-Union-built DKW Munga model won out for its relative simplicty, lower cost and Auto Union's ability to meet the Army's demand.

A total of 71 Porsche 597s were manufactured, between 1955 and 1958, 49 of which were built for the civilian market (chassis numbers starting from 597-000101). Development costs for the vehicle amounted to approximately 1.8 million DM. In August 1959 there were still hopes within the Porsche company to produce an updated vehicle based on the 597 platform with a strengthened chassis, extended wheel base of 2,400mm that could be made available in five different body-styles. However, the project was eventually cancelled, and the new vehicle never saw the light of day.

 

 

History

When the German Army was allowed to be re-established, ten years after the end of WWII, the government solicited all of the manufacturers for a proposal for a military, light utility (Jeep type) vehicle. The Type 597 was Porsche's proposal. It featured many pioneering engineering features such as shift on the fly four wheel drive, five forward gears and it was truly amphibious. Unfortunately, all of these things came at a cost and the German government chose to go with the very basic and cheap alternative proposed by DKW, the Munga. After being turned down by the Germans, Porsche marketed this vehicle to the various NATO countries without success. As a last resort, they badged it as the Jagdwagen (Hunting Car) and tried to market to outdoorsmen and sporting people. Again, the cost of the vehicle was too high and the market too small to bring success. As a result, a total of 71 Type 597's were made, all in prototype stage with no two exactly alike. The Porsche Company could have been known today for its off-road vehicles, as well as for its sports vehicles had the unique 597 entered into large-scale production. An extremely rare vehicle, the Porsche 597 Jagdwagen was initially developed solely for the German army in the 1950's. Produced in very limited numbers, only 71 units were ever produced, originally as a military vehicle, eventually it was used for civilian use. Production began in 1954, nine years after the end of W.W. II at a time when the German army was being rebuilt. The nation was ready to assist in the defense of Western Europe and fulfill its NATO obligations. The German Government submitted requests for an all-purpose military vehicle that would feature both off-road capability and also be ‘simple, rugged, and reliable'. Porsche took the challenge, which came as a surprise to the public. This was the first big project assigned to Ferry Porsche by his father, the design of the WWII German army's jeep-type vehicle, the VW Kuebelwagen, but he succeeded. Porsche based the vehicle on early VW Beetle running gear, which eventually morphed into the amphibious VW Schwimmwagen; Swimming Car. Both of these vehicles enjoyed success and saw considerable use throughout WWII. Porsche designed the Type 597 Jagdwagen; Hunting Car with the combined elements of both the Schwimmwagen and the Keubelwagen. The vehicle was designed and built in the unlikeliest of places, in the race shop alongside 356GT's and 550 Spyders. Pronounced ‘Yahgt-vahgen', no two 597's were exactly alike. Visually similar to the original Keubelwagen, the 597's body was made of stamped steel with heavy embossings for additional rigidity. The first four cars to ever be produced were actually fully amphibious, equipped with a folding propeller and came complete with canoe paddles as original accessories from the factory. The rest of the models produced were not amphibious, but could still ford deep water with the aid of special equipment. The radios, lights and other military equipment were powered by two 12-volt batteries and a dynamo. The Jagdwagen featured a detuned 356A engine that produced 55hp. Like the VW's and the Porsches of the period, the induced air-cooled flat-four taken from the Porsche 356 situated in the rear of the vehicles. Originally it featured an amended version of the 1.5 liter with a later increase to 1.6 in the 1-model. It came with low-compression pistons similar to the Porsche industrial wagon and a single Zenith carburetor. Through an unconventional four-wheel drive system, the power was put to the ground which offered shift-on-the-fly convenience. The Porsche 597 Jagdwagen could climb an impressive 65-degree angle. The suspension was extremely firm riding, and not an especially comfortable ride at that as very few creature comforts were added. The 597 weighed 990 kilograms and featured a top speed of approximately 100 kilometers per hour. Manufactured by Porsche's own Stuttgart Body Works, the prototype body featured a monocoque shell that had no doors and high sills, so passengers had to climb over them to enter or exit the vehicle. Later models came with rigid doors and a more steeply dropping angle to the front wings/fenders and bonnet-hood. As unique as this vehicle was, unfortunately another company, the German carmaker DKW (later absorbed by Audi) was chosen instead to equip the German army with their entry, the DKW Munga. The Jagdwagen was considered too expensive and ‘terribly over-engineered'. In actuality the 597, typical of all Porsches, was just too technologically advanced for its time. The Munga was a very ‘throw-away vehicle' with a basic three cylinder, two stroke engine. Porsche was convinced that their entry had not been picked due to politics. Porsche couldn't easily supply the sheer numbers of units needed in proposed timescale. Porsche tried to recover from its considerable investment into the vehicle by offering the Jagdwagen to the public, but not many were introduced. No other car like this was sold anywhere in Europe, so the customer base was stagnant. As a last effort, the Jagdwagen was marketed to consumers a personal hunting vehicle for sportsmen, which is why the name roughly translates into ‘hunting car'. In 1958 production of the Jagdwagen ceased with only a total of 71 units ever being produced. The production of the 597 Jagdwagen was definitely an interesting development by Porsche unlike anything they had ever produced. Extremely expensive, the development costs for the vehicle amounted to approximately 1.8 million Deutsche marks. Some talks were made in August 1959 that an updated vehicle would be developed based on the 597 platform. It would feature a strengthened chassis, extended wheel base of 2,400mm that would be available in five different body-styles. Unfortunately this project never made it into production.

 

 

Motorsport

This vehicle was never intended for motorsports. It was purpose built to be an Army vehicle.

 

 

References

 

 

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