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Porsche Of The Day: 1955 Porsche Type 597 ‘Jagdwagen’ Prototype

After Porsche decided to participate in a state tender for a light military vehicle, a complete car was engineered and built in small series, but the tender was not won by Porsche. The Porsche type 597 off-roader had a rear-mounted 1.5-liter flat-four engine, 4-wheel-drive and a special transmission with low gear.

Built on a rigid steel monocoque tub, the Type 597 boasted a fully independent torsion bar suspension with shock absorbers, providing ample rigidity. Its amphibious design, characterized by a tall ride height and high-silled tub, allowed it to suitable for climbing hills and traverse bodies of water.

The manufacture of the Typ 597 began in 1954 on a unique assembly line that was also used for the 356 Carrera and the racing Spyder 550. The prototypes were equipped with 1,500 cc engines, and it is almost sure that the first two were also amphibians, complete with propellers and paddles as standard.

From 1956 to 1960, Porsche marketed the model to foreign militaries and domestic sportsmen, earning it the moniker “Jagdwagen,” or “hunting car.” Only 71 examples of the Type 597 are believed to have been manufactured, with very few remaining today.

Photos by Robin Adams courtesy of RM Sotheby’s