50 Years of the Porsche 911

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onFebruary 12th, 2013

The Porsche 911 is a sports car icon. Every car guy, including myself, grew up with car posters on their wall, one of which was the Porsche 911. For me, the 911 was my dream car for as long as I could remember. My dad was a car guy, and Porsche toys were scattered amongst my childhood. He was a huge 911 fan, and by influence, so was I. Much like the Porsche commercial with the kid at the dealership, I was in love the first time I sat in a 911. Everyone remembers the first time they sat in one. I was 9 years old, I was at my first car show, and there sat an 82 or 83 911 SC, which to this day is still my favorite 911 body shape. Like many kids at that show, I set a goal for myself that very day; to own a Porsche 911 by the time I was 30 years old. See you in about 20 years. As an incentive, my dad promised to wash my 911 every day if I met the goal.

It’s hard to believe that the 911 turns 50 years old this year. Throughout its history, over 820,000 Porsche 911’s were manufactured across 7 generations. Over those 7 generations, each 911 model is easily recognizable as a 911. Show a kid the models throughout the years, and they will be able to identify each one as a 911. You can’t say the same for a Corvette or a Mustang. The continual evolution of the 911 while maintaining its unique and striking looks plays a huge part in why the car is such an icon today.

The first 911 model was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963 as the 901, which was renamed to the 911 as a production model in 1964. Powered by a 130hp 6 cylinder air-cooled boxer engine, the 911 was able to achieve a 131mph top speed. In 1966, the 911S was introduced with a 160hp engine, and features the classic Fuchs forged alloy wheels. Later in 1966, the 911 Targa made its debut. The last of the first generation 911’s, the 911 Carrera RS 2.7 with 210hp and weighing in at a scant 2200lbs capped off the first generation of the Porsche 911 spanning 10 years.

The second generation of 911’s was the longest lasting generation of the 911. The G Series made its premier in 1973, and in 1974 introduced turbocharging technology to the line. Porsche had been toying with turbocharging on their race cars in the late 60’s, and needed to build road cars to comply with homologation rules, and thus the 911 Turbo was born. The 911 Turbo would become, in my opinion, the most important model in the 911 line, as it had the performance (and the handling quirkiness) to rival supercars of the era. The Turbo debuted with a 3.0L 260hp engine, and top speed was now up to 153mph. The Turbo was easily recognizable by its massive whale tail spoiler. By 1977, the engine had grown to 3.3L, an intercooler was fitted underneath the whale tail, and horsepower had jumped up to 300hp. Near the end of the G series run, the Cabriolet and the Speedster joined the 911 model range.

Next Page: Future Generations of 911 and Photo Gallery

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