Dr Ferdinand Porsche and his son, also Ferdinand (Ferry), found enormous success with the first Porsche, the 356. However, as the 1960s dawned, Porsche’s links to Volkswagen were creating limitations. The next Porsche phase started in 1963 when the 911 was unveiled. When the car reached lucky customers in 1964 (the 911 was always expensive), they found a radical evolution of the 356.
The stylish lines were an admirable attempt, by Ferry’s own industrial designer son Butzi Porsche, to keep the car as pure and as functional as possible. And an entirely new flat-six engine lay under the sloping tail. It was still air-cooled, in the Beetle tradition, and its 73ci (1,991cc) offered 130bhp. But the engine had enormous potential for increasing the power. This was the key reason the 911 remained in production, fundamentally unchanged, until 1996.
In its ultimate, twinturbocharged, four-wheel-drive form, it produced 408bhp. Back in 1963, Porsche showed off the car’s clever steering system which, because it ran along the floor, enabled a low frontal area, decent front luggage space, and easy collapsibility in a crash. Tail-happy handling due to the weight bias is part of the 911’s mystique; devotees relish the driving challenge that comes with sitting behind the wheel of a 911.
“In side winds, the 911 remains stable, a quality difficult to obtain on any car with a low-drag body, and particularly so when the engine is located at the rear.”
Road Test, Motor Trend Magazine, 1965
Video: Model of the car Porsche 911
Specification: Model of the car Porsche 911
YEAR REVEALED: 1963
PLACE OF ORIGIN: Stuttgart, West Germany
HISTORICAL STATUS: production car
ENGINE: flat-six-cylinder, 73–220ci (1,991–3,600cc)
MAXIMUM POWER: 408bhp
LAYOUT: rear-mounted engine driving the rear or all four wheels
BODYWORK: four-seater coupé, Targa-convertible and convertible
TOP SPEED: 180mph (290kph)
NUMBER BUILT: 456,047