Porsche 911 Model History: The Legend Continues 50 Years & Counting

With its rich heritage and iconic design, the classic Porsche 911 for sale is one of the most celebrated sports cars in the world. The Porsche 911 model history dates back to 1963, when it was introduced as the 901, and has sold more than 820,000 units, worldwide making it the most popular sports car ever. The 2014 Porsche 911 represents the fiftieth-anniversary edition of the mass produced 911, a symbol of precision German manufacturing, which has so effectively stolen the hearts of millions of automobile enthusiasts over the past half-century.

1967 Porsche 911s Targa GreenPorsche 911 Model History – A Decade of Brilliance 1964 through 1974

1963 Porsche 911 — Birth of a Legend

The prototype Porsche 901 was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show, as the replacement for the 356 model. 901 was the name which Porsche had intended to place on the new grand touring sports car. At the 1964 Paris Auto Salon, high-ranking executives from French automaker Peugeot voiced their displeasure over Porsche’s intentions to use the nomenclature in this manner. It seems as though Peugeot claimed ownership of any three digit number, with a “0” as the middle digit (as it would pertain to an automobile model name). They had established proprietary licensing in key markets and sold many vehicles with such a moniker. Having constructed less than 100 of these cars already, Porsche simply altered the name of their sports car, changing it to the iconic 911. The cars which had already been produced were used in research and development, as well as for exhibition purposes. Private sales of these vehicles were strictly precluded but a few have recently surfaced in private collections. As you might imagine, these vehicles are rare and extremely valuable. In addition to the 901, a 904 Carrera GTS model and a 906 Carrera 6 model were produced. Three other racing modified vehicles were produced using a “0” as the middle digit. They were the 907, 908, and 909. They were for racing purposes, only and not intended for private sale.

1964 Porsche 911 — The Iconic 911

Officially, the launch of the German sporting machine known as the Porsche 911 began in 1964. The 911 was the more powerful successor to the wildly popular model 356. An air cooled 130-horsepower six-cylinder engine provided the propulsion for the mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car. The more comfortable interior, with a familiar 2 + 2 seating configuration, became an instant sensation among driving enthusiasts. The 1964 model featured the type 901 transmission, available in four or five-speed variations.

1965 Porsche 911 — Goodbye, Old Friend

Production came to an end for the Porsche 356 in 1965. Consumers who required a less aggressive sports car (than the 911) could opt for the model 912, a four-cylinder version of the 911. The 912 featured the same body as the 911 with the four cylinder engine from the 356. Many car buyers, especially Americans, found the 1600-cc 356 engine and the 911 sheet metal to be exactly the combination of fuel efficiency and performance they needed.

1966 Porsche 911 — “S” is for Speed

The introduction of the more powerful 911 S was received with loud hoorahs from car enthusiasts in every major market. In typical Porsche fashion, the 1966 911 S was equipped with the first set of production Fuchs brand alloy wheels and a 160-horsepower engine.

1966 also brought the inception of the Targa model, named after the Targa Florio road race in Italy. It was equipped with a removable roof panel and plastic rear window.  A roll-bar with stainless steel accents distinguished the 1966 Porsche Targa model from the competition. Believing that Federal mandates would end importation of convertibles into the U.S., Porsche designed the Targa to bridge the gap. It remained in the model lineup until 1992, despite the fact that no such legislation took effect.

1967 Porsche 911 – Cleaner Exhaust

The 1967 model year saw the 911T, which was equipped with a de-tuned six-cylinder engine that produced only 110-horsepower become the first German made automobile to comply with strict U.S. exhaust emission guidelines. Soon after, the 911 E and 911 S models would also comply. A full-race 911R model, which boasted 210-horsepower, was offered with lightweight aluminum doors, a magnesium engine crankcase, and dual spark plug ignition system. Only twenty of these full-race R models were produced. The Porsche 911 L (for luxury) was also introduced for sale as a 1967 model.

1968 Porsche 911 — First Production End

1968 marks the end of the first production design of the Porsche 911. The shorter wheelbase was replaced with one which was two-and-a-half inches longer.

1969 Porsche 911 — Porsche de’ Elegance

The 1969 model year presented a longer 911 wheelbase platform. The overall length of the car remained unchanged, but the longer wheelbase helped to eliminate some of the nervous handling for which the 911 had become known. Porsche models and features were virtually unchanged cosmetically, however mechanically there were some significant improvements.

– The 911S was produced with a stronger 2.2-liter engine and fuel injection.

– The Sportomatic four-speed semi-automatic transmission was added to the lineup.

1971 Porsche 911 — No Substitute for Cubic Centimeters

’71 saw an increase in overall engine size for the 911 lineup. The all-new 2.4-liter produced 165-horsepower and was mated with the stronger “915” transmission which took its inspiration from the ultra-successful Porsche 908 race car.

1972 Porsche 911 — Aero Engineering

The ’72 911S, with a gross vehicle weight of only 2315-pounds, was manufactured with a discreet spoiler underneath the front bumper. The spoiler was designed to cut the air, yielding greater aerodynamic stability and improvements in high speed handling. Two 911 ST models, which were successfully raced at Nurburgring, Targa Florio, and Daytona, were offered for the 1971 and 1972 model years; they featured a horsepower rating of 266, at 8,000 RPM.

1973 Porsche 911 — The Best of the Best?

These two models are some of the most sought after and collectable 911 models in existence. The 911 Carrera RS (for Race Sport, in English) featured a 2.7-liter engine, which produced 210-horsepower and was equipped with Bosch multi-port fuel injection. The RS also had an improved suspension for greater control, larger brakes, wider rear tires, flared rear fenders, and a “ducktail” spoiler. For 1974, the RS was equipped with a 3.0-liter engine which manufactured 218-horsepower using mechanical fuel injection. The 911 RSR racing model was offered with the 3.0-liter engine, or a turbocharged 2.1-liter; signifying the beginning of Porsche’s commitment to turbocharging, not only racing cars but also in street cars as well.

 

1974 porsche 911Porsche 911 Model History – Decade number two – 1974 through 1984

1974 Porsche 911

The 1974 Porsche Carrera RSR, with its new 3.0-liter engine, had more cubic inches than that of its predecessor, but it was surprisingly heavier than the allegedly tamer ’ 74 911 RS 2.7.  The thinner lightweight sheet metal, which had been used in the early production RS cars, had run-out and standard thickness sheet metal was used in the 911 RSR 3.0 cars. The RSR was also upgraded with gas-charged Bilstein shock  absorbers, stiffer anti-sway bars, “whale-tail” rear spoiler, and a bulkier front spoiler with a large rectangular air intake. The 3.0-liter engine, in the ’74 Carrera RSR, produced 230-bhp and featured a top speed of 152 mph. More basic models, such as the 911, 911S, and 911 Carrera, were equipped with a 2.7-liter engine. All 911 models were equipped with innovative low-speed impact bumpers, which the U.S. had mandated. 1974, and newer, 911 models use an impact bumper which is attached to the body using aluminum struts. The struts were designed to bend with sufficient impact and then require replacement. Typically, Porsche designers found a way to make the cumbersome bumpers stylish by using accordion style pleated rubber boots to fill the gaps between the bumper and the body, then color coding the bumpers to match the paint.

1975 Porsche 911 Turbo (Type 930)

The type 930 is the insider name given the first production turbocharged Porsche 911 model.  Unveiled at the 1974 Paris Auto Show, the 1975 911 Turbo featured luxurious amenities like air-conditioning, electric powered windows, leather upholstered seating, and tinted glass. Its idiosyncratic styling with huge rear wing, widened wheel arches, and wider tires, accompanied by the more powerful 260-bhp turbo 3.0-liter engine, made the 1975 911 Turbo an instant classic with sports car enthusiasts. The huge whale-tail rear wing was functional, as well as cosmetic. It not only increased down force on the rear wheels, but also utilized two vent grilles to provide added cooling air to the engine.

1978 Porsche 911 Turbo

Again in 1978, an increase in cubic centimeters provided the 911 Turbo with more power. An engine upgrade of .3-liters, from 3.0-liter to 3.3-liters, along with the addition of an intercooler resulted in a gain of forty-horsepower. In order to accommodate the intercooler the rear wing was also reconfigured; the two separate air grilles were replaced with a single smooth surface and repositioned a little higher, then given a highly recognizable curled edge. A brake upgrade completed the package, making the 911 Turbo stop more efficiently, as well.

Additionally, the Porsche 911 SC was introduced in 1978. It featured a 3.0-liter engine, with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a five-speed manual 915 transmission. The 911 SC, with its more luxurious interior and higher torque rating, was a pleasure to drive despite a lower horsepower rating of 180-bhp. Plans to discontinue production of the 911, in favor of the 928 model, were sidelined after the 911SC outsold the 928 by a margin of more than fifty-percent.

1983 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

In 1981, at the Frankfurt Auto Show, a 911 Cabriolet Concept was introduced. The first Porsche 911 Cabriolet model was offered as a 1983 model. As the first true convertible, offered by Porsche since the 356 C, the 911 Cabriolet convertible was wildly popular and continues in production today.

1984 Porsche 911 Carrera

Absent since 1977, the re-introduction of the Carrera accompanied the introduction of a more powerful 3.2-liter engine, better braking system, and a more luxurious interior.  The 1984 model package made the 911 line complete, with the 911 Turbo, 911 Carrera, and 911 Targa. The 1984 911 Carrera, which was more economical than the 911 Turbo, was offered with the wide body package and spoilers of the Turbo. Now, Porsche enthusiasts could have the appearance of the popular 911 Turbo, without the expense. This feature was so well-liked by consumers that later, in 1986, the Targa and Cabriolet models were also offered with 911 Turbo exterior trappings.

 

1986 porsche 911 turboPorsche 911 Model History – The final decade (plus 2 years) – 1985 through 1996

1985 through 1992 Porsche 911 (964)

Despite predictions from automotive market speculators, who believed that Porsche was nearing the end, the 1988 Porsche Carrera 4 (Type 964) was introduced. It had been fifteen years since a dramatic change had overtaken the 911 platform, but a radically renewed, new and viable version was exactly what the doctor ordered. Using eight-five-percent new components, including an air-cooled 3.6-liter boxer engine that pounded out 250-horsepower and Tiptronic transmission, the all-wheel drive Carrera 4 model helped Porsche prove that they were here to stay. The 964 differed little from its predecessors in exterior appearance, other than the automatically extending rear spoiler and more aerodynamic polyurethane bumpers, but the entire chassis had been redesigned with light alloy control arms, power steering, and coil springs instead of torsion bar suspension. The interior of the 964 was designed to provide the driving enthusiast with an emotional and comfortable driving experience. Key safety features included an anti-lock braking system and airbags. Carrera Coupe, Cabriolet, and Targa versions of the 964 were offered, beginning in1988, and in 1990 a 964 Turbo version was added. The 1990 Turbo model was initially equipped with a 3.3-liter and then modified with a 360-horsepower 3.6-liter engine in 1992. Collectors are eager to obtain valuable Porsche models, such as the 911 Carrera 2 Speedster, the 964 Carrera RS, and 911 Turbo S, even today.

1993 through 1996 Porsche 911 (993)

Bearing the internal identification number 993, the 1993 through 1998 Porsche 911 models mark the end of an era. These vehicles are the last Porsche 911s to be equipped with an air cooled engine. This characteristic, alone is enough to help the 993 maintain the adoration of many Porsche enthusiasts, but there are other great features. The 993 features a particularly smooth and sleek appearance due primarily to the integrated bumper assemblies. The newly redesigned aluminum chassis gave the 993 a lower center of gravity, aiding in increased agility. Innovative hollow-spoke aluminum wheels were unique to the Porsche 911 Turbo all-wheel-drive. This type of wheel had never been fitted for any other car. The 1995 Porsche 911 Turbo featured the first twin-turbo equipped engine, giving the 3.6-liter the lowest emission rating of its day. Key models include the 911 GT2, a car designed to please even the most discriminating sports car enthusiast, the 911 Targa, which featured an electrically powered glass roof that slid backward and under the rear window when open, and the 911 RS which was sold as a lightweight, rear-wheel drive only model.