Porsche 911 - Now and Then
08th Mar 2021
Birth of an icon
Porsche 911; undeniably the greatest sports car ever made. Although it could have been a slightly different story, as the car was originally unveiled to the world at the 1963 Frankfurt motor show as the 'Porsche 901'.
The Porsche '901' was the successor to Porsche's first ever car, the 356. It was not until September 1964 that Porsche renamed the '901', to the now legendary '911', after Peugeot trademarked numbers with '0' in the middle.
With the 'Porsche 911' name fully established, this unbelievable sports car has gone on to create quite a name for itself. We thought we would take a look back at the legendary history of the world's greatest sports car.
The original Porsche 911
A true icon is born. The original Porsche 911 consists of a 2-door, 2+2 coupe body with a flat-six air-cooled engine. These have since become legendary 911 characteristics, along with the engine being situated in the rear of the car. This concept, which seemed crazy to many, made the 911 all the more impressive as Porsche made it work so well, in this somewhat flawed configuration.
Today, the original Porsche 911 silhouette can be seen in each new 911 model produced throughout history. The iconic sloping roof line toward the rear of the car, and the 911's distinct round headlight set-up (aside from the 996) have been re-imagined on each new incarnation since first appearing on the sixties original.
Legendary and iconic are words which simply fall hand in hand with each generation of 911. The original gave the world legendary variants such as the 911 T, 911 S and the holy grail - the Carrera RS 2.7. This particular 911 featured the iconic 'ducktail' rear spoiler, which incidentally was the first rear spoiler ever fitted to a production vehicle.
Porsche 911 (G Series)
A decade passed before the original 911 was given its first update. The silhouette was still there for all to see, but this generation of Porsche 911 displayed much bigger front and rear bumpers, to meet new crash test legislation. It was produced from 1973 to 1989, making it the longest production period for a 911 model.
The G Series-generation also gave birth to one of the most recognisable 911 models ever, in the form of the incredible Porsche 911 Turbo. The Turbo featured 260bhp and a colossal rear spoiler - it was the bedroom poster car for that era.
This particular 911-generation also paved the way for the very first Porsche 911 Cabriolet, which was introduced in 1982 - allowing owners to enjoy a true open-top sports car experience.
Porsche 911 (964)
The late eighties saw a dramatic overhaul of the Porsche 911. So much so that 85 percent of the car had entirely new components. Yet the external silhouette was still 100 percent Porsche 911. Other initiatives included aerodynamic polyurethane bumpers and the cutting-edge inclusion of an automatic extending rear spoiler. These key features ensured the Porsche 911 was at the forefront of state-of-the-art sports car design.
Designed to fully captivate the driver, the 964-generation also featured a greater level of comfort - a trait to which some regard the Porsche 911 as the pinnacle everyday sports car. The 964 welcomed ABS, power steering and airbags too, further complementing the 911's ability to be able to excel at doing the regular everyday stuff, whilst still excelling as a superb sports car at the weekend.
The 964 was also the first 911 to feature all-wheel drive, in the form of the Carrera 4 model, with the '4' indicating the car's four-wheel drive capabilities, a trend which has remained in today's model line-up too. The 964-generation is hugely desirable and models such as the Carrera RS are hugely sought-after today.
Porsche 911 (993)
993-generation Porsche 911 models are perhaps some of the prettiest 911s ever made, thanks to elegant, clean styling. A lower-slug front end is one of the reasons for this, which also help in making the 993-generation another highly sought-after Porsche 911.
This generation of 911 was the first to feature an all-new aluminium chassis, ensuring weight was kept to a minimum, perfect for true sports car characteristics. Innovative hollow-spoke aluminium wheels appeared on the Turbo model of the 993, which was powered by a biturbo engine, giving big power and lower emissions.
Perhaps the biggest and most interesting factor concerning this version of 911 is that is was the last to feature an air-cooled engine.
Porsche 911 (996)
In the late nineties, just before the new millennium, Porsche unveiled the 996-generation of the 911. This was a completely new version of the iconic 911 sporting a quite substantial change in the form of the engine. This was because it was the first Porsche 911 to use a water-cooled engine.
Exterior styling also featured a key change, which was another first for a 911 and that was the inclusion of different headlights. These were no longer completely round, and featured integration of the car's indicators.
Many new model variations were introduced on the 996-generation too, which included a lot of high-performance focused models such as the 911 GT3 and an even more hardcore 911 GT2 (pictured). Ceramic brakes were also standard on the GT2.
Porsche 911 (997)
Perhaps the most obvious change for the 997-generation was the return of round headlights. It may seem like a minor change, but after the 996-generation stepping away, the 997 was a welcome return to a characteristic that had featured on every era of the 911 since the original.
New engines included a 350bhp 3.8-litre found in the Carrera S, along with Porsche Active Suspension Management coming as standard on this particular version too.
For those who did not want a full Convertible, a Targa model was a welcome addition too. High-performance models such as 911 GTS versions, and the legendary Turbo model also filled the range, along with many versions available with the choice of the rear and all-wheel drive.
Special models and GT models were also available, which again are still highly sought-after today.
Porsche 911 (991)
The 991-generation was all about setting new standards for technology. Porsche Intelligent Performance ensured lower fuel consumption, yet more power. This was done by reducing engine size of the standard Carrera to 3.4 litres, yet thanks to a steel/aluminium construction, Porsche were able to make the 911 lighter, thus ensuring the car was quicker than previous-generation 911 models.
A brand-new chassis with an enhanced wheelbase and increased track width, complemented by larger tyres, were additional enhancements made to the 997-generation. This ensured the world's best sportscar could once again display superb performance credibility.
Thanks to rear-axle steering and Porsche Active Suspension Management, along with those enhancements already mentioned, the 911 Carrera S completed a lap of the infamous Nürburgring-Nordschleife in just 7 minutes and 37 seconds.
Models such as the 911 R (pictured) caused a stir upon their launch due to their manual gearboxes, which became rare in this generation, and retro details.
Porsche 911 (992)
2019 saw the latest generation Porsche 911 unveiled. Quite simply the most technologically advanced and also the cleanest 911 ever, with 70 percent of the body being made of aluminium. Still staying true to the iconic 911 silhouette, the 992-generation 911 makes use of a recessed bonnet - a styling touch that celebrates classic 911 models.
Although classic details and of course the silhouette remain, a full-width light bar ensures the rear-end is very much the epitome of cutting-edge design. As a whole, the 992-generation features a more muscular appearance, with all variants featuring a wider body, which in previous generations has been reserved for the higher-performance models only.
The 992 also features staggered wheel sizing in its model choices, with 20-inch wheels at the front and larger 21-inch wheels at the rear.
Interior detail is state-of-the-art with multiple screens and beautifully laid out switch gear ensuring this sports car is as modern as it gets. Performance has also never been better with the entry Carrera S models delivering 444bhp and able to go from zero to 62mph in just 3.5 seconds.
Why not check out our blog on how to spec this particular 911?
Find your perfect Porsche 911 with Stratstone
We cannot wait to see what is in store for the next chapter of this legendary sports car.
With models offering more performance, unbelievable technology and Porsche engineers constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible - the future is bright for this iconic sports car.
The Porsche 911 story will continue to impress. Watch this space. In the meantime why not take a look at our used selection of Porsche 911 models, or perhaps a brand-new Porsche 911 may be the choice for you?