If you could only have one high-performance production car, what would it be? As soon as the question is posed, our answer is always the same.
The Porsche 911 made its glorious debut more than 50 years ago. Since then, the world has seen this iconic two-door grace the world’s most elite racing podiums (the 911 lays claim to more than two-thirds of Porsche’s 30,000 race victories) and is listed as one of the most successful four-wheeled competitors ever produced. It’s not bad for taking a leisurely drive down the coastal highway, either.
This German racer’s exceptionally unique design, coupled with its rear engine and rear-wheel drive, is exactly why the Porsche 911 has seen only mild design tweaks through the years. And while the first model was beyond advanced for its time, the evolution of its engineering is unparalleled.
Succeeding the Porsche 356, the 911 prototype was unveiled at the Frankfurt IAA Motor Show in 1963 as the 901. Renamed with its now-famous digits the following year, the 911’s air-cooled, six-cylinder boxer engine served up 130 horsepower (the current model boils 350 horses) and a top track speed of 131 mph.
The grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, known as “Butzi,” was actually the one to come up with the unique design for the 911.
Butzi, whose real name was also Ferdinand, added a more creative aspect to the team — rather than the engineering head his father and grandfather brought to the table. Adding this specific trait to the mix was obviously all that was needed, as the Porsche 911 recently came in fifth in an international poll for the Car of the Century. The timeless vehicle was also noted as one of only two cars that has continually remained in production. (The other was its predecessor, the legendary Volkswagen Beetle, which took a hiatus in 2003.)
To date, Porsche has sold more than 820,000 911 sports cars.
Of course, there will always be those who want to toy and tinker with a foundation as spectacular as the 911. The plethora of aftermarket companies that modify this specific Porsche need their own aftermarket.
Although the car’s engine was air-cooled until the introduction of the Type 996, in 1998, GQ magazine found one man who can change that.
The One & Only
From the 911 Turbo to the GT1 to the pre-series Type 754 T7 to the Cabriolet, seven generations of this car all contribute to the some of the most important designs and technologies in automobile history. Ferry Porsche best described the car’s unique qualities as this, “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theater or through New York City traffic.”
The German factory recently sent an authentic 1967 911 model on an international tour, and there are still a couple of stops left on the schedule this year. You’re welcome.