Together for the first time in a long-long while! In 2015 the Berlin-Rome car IIIA0701 (ex. Mathé) was finally re-united with its original engine 38/43, a mildly tuned E60 kdf engine.
A little over a year ago I did write about the origin of the ”V-heads”, that is the very special cylinder heads used on the type 367 Porsche prototype as well as on one of Peter Max Müllers race cars. Since then I have come in contact with a long time kdf-collector based in Central Europe who have provided me with very interesting information.
As it seems, my expression “V-heads” was not a good one. What I thought was basically versions of the same head proved to be three very different designs. But my guess that the design principles of a V-headed VW/kdf-engine stems from the time of the Berlin-Rome Wagen seems to be correct though.
Reading in books and articles there are a lot of confusing and sometimes contradictive information related to this mythic car and the race that never happened. Some state very detailed information that, upon a closer investigation, turns out to be totally wrong. However, I will focus on the engines only and try my best to avoid using unreliable sources.
All VW/Porsche history writers tends to agree that the engine that in the end made it to the sleek Berlin-Rome car was a tuned version of the normal kdf engine using dual carbs. A qualified guess is that the engine needed to be recognized as a kdf-one for propaganda/marketing purposes. The Berlin-Rome Wagen needed to be perceived as a sports version of the peoples car rather than an exotica.
A teaser for the next blog post in which the technical specifications of the Type 115 will be revealed.
But, it's doubtful if this whole race car program was started for just one single race. Most likely they had future events in mind. In parallel with the preparation for the September 1939 Berlin-Rome race Porsche did develop a far more exotic engine based on the kdf platform. This project, type 115, will be the topic for my next blog post. Stay tuned.
*Images courtesy of my anonymous Central European contact