With times moving ahead and changing, some things manage to remain unchanged and become iconic. The same can be said of Porsche’s long-lasting relationship with wheel manufacturer Fuchs, which has been supplying Porsche’s cars for decades.
Its latest product, made especially for the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Edition continues the 911 tradition that is as much a part of Porsche’s legacy as its rear-engine layout or range of iconic steering wheels. The German sports car maker recently presented the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, which will go on sale globally later this year.
History of the iconic wheels by Fuchs
The first Porsche 911 to feature the “S” suffix in 1967 was distinguished from lesser models by a set of exclusive aluminium wheels among others. which were produced by Fuchs. The wheels are designed in the shape of a wing, or cloverleaf, and are reminiscent of the legendary Fuchs wheels that were first used on the 1967 Model Year Porsche 911 S. The faces of the wide spokes and the rim flange are polished and thereby stand out against the black-painted rim and black sides of the spokes.
The original Fuchs wheels: the cloverleaf-design first forged wheel
In period, Porsche simply referred to these rims as alloy wheels, which were part of the sports car’s standard equipment. The designation of the aluminium wheel is modest, but it reflects a logical idea, which was that the new Porsche 911 S was to have lighter wheels than the series-production 911 in order to reduce unsprung mass. The specification for this more powerful version of the 911 demanded that its wheels weigh around three kilograms less than their steel equivalents.
This was initially an insoluble challenge for traditionally produced cast aluminium wheels, which were just as unable to withstand loads as wheels made of several parts. The contradiction could only be resolved thanks to an innovation by Otto Fuchs KG, an alloy foundry in Meinerzhagen in the Sauerland region of Germany, who were able to supply a wheel that was light and yet, able to meet every requirement.
The company implemented a new production process for this purpose, in which the blank was forged from one piece while the complete rim area from outer to the inner horn was rolled. The ALMgSi1 aluminium alloy used is 97 per cent aluminium, supplemented by magnesium, silicon, manganese, titanium and other ingredients – a formula that is still valid today.
The original design of the wheel, with connecting webs that taper to a point, was created in May 1965. However, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche modified the wheel in favour of a more harmonious appearance. The minutes of the meeting notes the following: “Contrary to our proposal, Mr Porsche Jr. had changed the shape of the five connecting webs between the hub and rim for style and visual reasons. While our design was well adapted to the contours of the discontinued series-production vehicles, the shape developed by Mr Porsche Jr. appears more harmonious on the new vehicle.”
Ensuring Safety and Highest Quality
Since meeting the high standards of quality and safety of Porsche is the top priority, the wheels are subjected to extensive testing at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach. An example of these stringent test requirements for Porsche original spare parts is that the wheel trims featuring embossed and coloured Porsche Crests from the “Porsche special request programme” of the 1980s passed the cross-cut test with flying colours.
In this test, a cut is made in the wheel trim down to the base material, so that a grid-like pattern is created onto which a standardised adhesive tape is stuck, pressed on and then removed in a predefined period of time and at a specific angle. This test is designed to demonstrate the high quality of the Porsche Classic hub cap, as there is no peeling or flaking of the surface, and means that the wheel centre is ready to face the next 30 years.
Good news is that the wheels of the 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition are available for all current 911 models as part of the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur range. However, almost all variants of the classic Fuchs wheel are also available for historic Porsche models as the wheel designed by F. A. Porsche is part of the Porsche Classic product range. We hope the 911-Esque 2021 Panamera will be eligible too.