latheGerman engineering takes as much pride in precision as anywhere on the planet. In the automotive world, that translates to some serious machines. Porsche kicks it up a notch. Not only does the company pay careful attention to detail on its factory floor, it carries that passion to the gift shop as well.
According to Porsche, one of the hottest items in its Porsche Museum gift shop in Zuffenhausen is a flat-six boxer engine model kit made by Franzis Verlag. Called a miniature masterpiece by its fans, the engine is run by a small, concealed electric motor that fires off tiny light diodes which each stroke of the six-cylinders. It even comes with a tiny little speaker that helps give it a realistic engine sound.
The 1:4-scale model consists of 290 pieces and takes about two hours to put together. One unique feature of this little gem is there’s no need for hobby glue. The whole model can be put together with tiny little screws. Porsche reminds folks that this is exactly how the original six-cylinder Porsche 911 engine from 1966 was constructed.
As with all things car-related, there are even people who have taken to modifying the little model motors. One guy turned it into a fully functional model that can crank up to 3,000 rpm. Another guy used a small lathe and a bit of brass to put some bearings on the crankshaft.
The little kits are such a smash hit that Porsche is looking to expand the line. It's currently working on a model of Porsche’s legendary Fuhrmann engine. It's already managed to put together a 1:3 scale prototype complete with a vertical shaft camshaft drive.
Even the model manufacturer is surprised at how popular the little engines have become with hobbyists. Martin Koschewa, Head of Marketing at Franzis Verlag, said, “They were our first model kits. They were really only intended to illustrate how an engine works.” Well, now it looks like they’ve found themselves a nice little revenue stream.