While we know Porsche as a premium sports car manufacturer that has been around for 70 years, a company such as theirs probably had to get their bearings somehow as they were starting out.
Interestingly enough, Porsche has had vehicles like a tractor and – odd as it may seem – a military service vehicle in their lineup. Outlying vehicles from Porsche’s humble beginnings further add to their rich history, and the Porsche 597 Jagdwagen ought to provide some interesting conversation about the carmaker from Stuttgart.
Supposedly designed as a response to the German army’s call to tender in the early 1950s, the Porsche 597 Jagwagen was created based off the concept of a trough-like monococque body with switchable all-wheel drive. It was built to withstand all kinds of terrain – both land and water – and was meant to have high load capacity as specified by the military.
The 597 was powered by a modified version of the flat-four engine found in the 356 at the time, and it sent power to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual gearbox. Matched with a switchable front wheel drive engagement, the 597 bears the distinction of being Porsche’s very first all-wheel drive vehicle.
The 597 weighed a spritely 870 kg and was able to take itself to a top speed of 100 km/h with only 50 PS on tap. As for its off-roading capabilities, the 597 is able to scale 65% inclines while only using 1,000 rpm. River crossings weren’t an issue for the 597 as it was able to float thanks to its monococque body.
In total, Porsche was only able to produce 71 units of the 597 Jagdwagen. With only 50 units still currently in existence, it’s safe to say that Porsche keeps good tabs on the status of the remnants of their unique piece of history.