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History of the Porsche 911

Ah, the Porsche 911. The most popular car made by the company, and it’s not hard to see why. Earlier this year it beat rivals Mercedes and Jaguar to the coveted title of “best premium sports car on the market” by Car and Driver. 

But did you know the 911 almost never was? The original name was Porsche 901 (82 901s were manufactured), but Peugeot soon put a stop to the madness. They claimed that within France they have the exclusive rights to any car name of three numbers with a zero in the middle. It may seem petty, but we can’t imagine the 911 as 901. Thanks Peugeot!


This premium performance sports car was first dreamed up by Ferdinand Porshe in 1959. It was created to replace the Porsche 356 and aimed to be larger and more powerful. After its successful development, the 911 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The design is distinctive and today’s models remain fairly loyal to its origins. Two doors, rear-mounted six cylinder boxer engine and independent rear suspension are some of the key features. The engines were originally air-cooled until Type 966 was introduced in 1998.

A popular racing car, the 911 has been subject to modification by private teams for racing and rallying. And why not, it is one of the most successful competition cars ever. Things started to take off in the 70s when the 911 Carerra RSR stole the show at major world events including Targa FlorioDaytonaSebring and Nürburgring

Since then its popularity has continued to increase. 1999 saw the international poll for the award of Car of the Century, the 911 took fifth place. Perhaps it should have been bumped up the list, considering it is one of two in the top five that has since remained in continuous production.

It has continued to scoop up awards left, right and centre. In 2005, Sports Car International put it third as the Top Sports Cars of the 1960s. Automobile Magazine placed it second in it’s list of the “100 Coolest Cars”. And just last year it won World Performance Car of the Year at the World Car Awards.

Today it is one of the oldest sport coupe nameplates still in production; for its 50th anniversary in 2013 an incredible 820,000 had been sold. Interestingly, since its humble beginnings in 1964, the Porche 911 has only ever been manufactured at the Porsche factory in Stuttgart in Germany.

Tempted to get one? Top Gear is behind you, stating: “When you consider price, performance, economy and emissions, this is the world's best sports car,” scoring it a solid 9 out of 10. You can pick one up for around £73,000, but first, what colour will it be? Unsurprisingly black, red and white are the most popular (and sporty!) colour choices. Though Porsche will paint your 911 the colour of your choice, for an extra charge of course. 

Offbeat  08/05/2015 09:03:13

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