What are Porsche Fuchs wheels?
The story of the celebrated wheels that perfectly compliment the 911
1967 Porsche 911 S 2.0 Coupe beside aeroplane
In 1965, a brand-new wheel was presented for the 911 S, the sportiest version of the soon-to-be iconic car. The five-spoke design would eventually achieve legendary status of its own – and to this day remains one of the go-to wheels for classic Porsche 911 owners everywhere
Since its launch in 1963, the distinctive, sloping silhouette of the Porsche 911 has gone on to become one of the most iconic designs in automotive history. But if you were to think of other memorable Porsche designs, then the Fuchs wheel – first produced three years after the debut of the 911 – must also rank very high on anyone’s list. Nearly six decades on, its striking five-spoke design continues to be intrinsically linked with the sportscar it was first created for.
Early version and production version of 1965 original Fuchs wheel
Heinrich Klie’s prototype for the original Fuchs wheel (left) alongside the final production version, as refined by Ferdinand A. Porsche
Why was the Fuchs wheel developed?When Porsche began developing a lighter, more sporty model of the 911 – to be called the 911 S – just a couple of years after its new sportscar first appeared on our roads, the decision was made to introduce a more sporty wheel to match the car. But it presented something of an engineering challenge. Porsche was very specific about their requirements. The wheels for this new version of the 911 needed to be lightweight and durable to help reduce the unsprung mass, so it was clear that they would need to be constructed from aluminium and each would need to weigh in at around 3kg less than their steel equivalents, as used on the series-production 911 cars.Luckily, there was someone who could help – an alloy foundry that would lend the new wheels its name and one that they continue to be known by today. The foundry in question was OTTO FUCHS KG, based in Meinerzhagen, east of Cologne, who had developed an innovation that was perfect for the manufacturing of the new wheels.
Ferdinand A Porsche with model of 911 S 2.0 Targa
Ferdinand A. Porsche in 1968 with a scale model of a Porsche 911 S 2.0 Targa fitted with Fuchs wheels
What are Fuchs wheels made of?Rather than a traditional cast alloy rim – which would have been ill-suited to the kind of challenges that a dynamic sportscar like the 911 S sets – Fuchs devised a new production method that allowed the wheel to be manufactured in one piece. This all-new Porsche Fuchs wheel was made of 97 per cent aluminium, with the remainder composed of magnesium, silicon, manganese, titanium and other ingredients. It’s a formula that is still used in the manufacturing process for Porsche Fuchs wheels today.
Porsche 911 Classic Club Coupe with Fuchs wheels in warehouse
OTTO FUCHS KG developed these unique 18-inch forged wheels for the one-off Porsche 911 Classic Club Coupe unveiled in 2022
Who designed the Fuchs wheel?The now-famous clover leaf design was initially the work of Porsche designer Heinrich Klie, who at the tail end of the 1960s would go on to design the mid-engined Porsche 914 sportscar. That first Fuchs wheel was presented to Porsche in May 1965, at which point Ferdinand Alexander Porsche himself proposed an amendment to the five connecting pieces which, say the minutes from a meeting at the time, was “…for reasons of style and appearance”. It further added that “…the shape developed by Mr. Porsche Jr. appears more harmonious with the new vehicle”. It’s this production-ready iteration of the Fuchs wheel design that we still love and admire today.
A new Porsche Fuchs wheel being manufactured
The company who first made the Fuchs wheel for Porsche – and gave it its name – OTTO FUCHS KG, still manufacture it today
The first 911 sports cars fitted with the Fuchs wheels went on sale in 1966. For more than 20 years – up until 1989 in fact – Fuchs wheels were available as both standard and optional equipment on new 911 sportscars. They also made an impression in motorsport circles, appearing on the cars in which Vic Elford and Björn Waldegård (twice) won consecutive Monte Carlo Rally for Porsche between 1968 and 1970, for example. While the original 4.5-inch Fuchs wheel grew as wide as eight inches when fitted to the rear of the Porsche 911 Turbo (type 930), its five-spoke design hasn’t altered significantly since then.Porsche Classic Fuchs wheelsToday, the Fuchs wheel continues to embellish Porsche cars. Initially developed for the acclaimed one-off 911 Classic Club Coupe, Porsche Classic now also offer it for selected derivatives of the 911 (type 993 and 996) and the Boxster (type 986). Just like the first examples, they are still manufactured by OTTO FUCHS KG. Lifelong 911 fan, film maker Matt Page, has had a beautiful set of black Porsche Classic Fuchs wheels fitted to his 911 (type 996) Carrera 2. “They have instantly made my car look even more like a classic,” says Matt of the newly available 18-inch aluminium Fuchs wheels. “It’s given it a heritage look and a touch of drama.”
Silver Porsche 911 (type 996) with Fuchs wheels
Silver Porsche 911 (type 996) with Fuchs wheels
There’s a reason why so many of the exciting Porsche one-off and special edition cars have been presented sporting variants of the Fuchs wheels – they are an enduring, timeless design. In recent years, as well as the 911 Classic Club Coupe, they have also featured on the likes of the 911 S 2.4 Targa, the car restored as part of the 50 years of Porsche design celebrations in 2022.With their availability across a significant number of models that are part of the Porsche Classic family, the Fuchs wheels continue to inspire Porsche fans, old and new, today.
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