Of all the legendary cars made by Porsche over the years, perhaps the most iconic is the 911. During the 1950s, the German automaker’s only real model was the 356, and it was the model upon which the company began to build its reputation. Replacing it posed risks, but the fledgling line of sports cars needed something new, bigger, and more powerful. The result was the Porsche 911. Today the 911 is a true legend in the automotive world, but it was a risk when the first one sold in 1964 as a 1965 model.
Porsche designed its first 911 to be more spacious and powerful than the 356 so that it could compete with other sports cars of the era. The move to replace the 356 was pushed by Ferry Porsche, the son of the company’s founder, and it was his sketches that led to the ultimate design of the first 911 models. Porsche outfitted its earliest 911s with a brand new six-cylinder engine that had room to grow over the years from a two-liter displacement up to well over three liters. The first 911 also included high tech elements such as an updated independent rear suspension, a five-speed transmission, and re-engineered struts and steering.
Over the years, Porsche has updated its 911 models to include the latest engineering and technology and to accommodate styling changes. One thing that has never changed is that the 911 always looks good for its time, and this is accomplished with only small tweaks to the overall look. No matter the decade, the styling of this popular sports car is modern and well-received by critics and consumers alike. The car has always been labeled 911, but internal model numbers, including 964, 993, 996, 997, and the most recent 991, are used to designate new generations.
The Porsche 911 has not only been popular with car enthusiasts, it has also been a successful racecar. As soon as it first hit the road in the 1960s, consumers began racing this fast little car. In addition to street racing and rallying, Porsche has developed and built different versions of the 911 specifically for racing. These include the 935s, the RSRs, and the 959s, all of which have been winners in races like the Targa Florio, Sebring, Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, just to name a few. Today, the 911 is an icon and early models are highly collectible, while new models are as popular as ever.