The evolution of the Porsche 911

Few cars are as truly legendary as the Porsche 911. Instantly recognised the world over, it is a car that has stood the test of time, whilst remaining highly desirable and as capable as almost anything on the road.

Ever since its inception in 1963, the 911 has been the people’s supercar, bringing the heat to the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini in terms of performance, yet remaining useable on a daily basis and of course being more accessible price-wise. In short, the Porsche 911 is an icon of modern motoring and one that has already cemented its place in the history books. We take a look back at its evolution, charting the most notable models during its 51-year reign.

 

1963 – Original ‘901’ 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.01

Designed by Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche, the original 911 produced 130bhp from its flat-six ‘boxer’ engine.

 

1969 – ‘C Series’ 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.02

The C series 911 was introduced with a number of improvements, namely its longer wheelbase, which was supposed to counteract the car’s unstable handling. Its 2.2-litre flat-six also produced more power, at 180bhp.

 

1973 – 911 Carrera RS 2.7

porsche 911 - TGJ.03

A racing car for the road, the RS 2.7 was a lightweight, stripped-out, 210bhp beast. Today, they are a collector’s dream and are considered by many to be the greatest 911 ever.

 

1975 – ‘930’ 911 Turbo

porsche 911 - TG.04

An icon in its own right, the original 911 Turbo was boosted to a mammoth 260bhp and was easily recognisable thanks to its radical wide rear-arches and ‘whale tale’ rear-wing.

 

1978 – 911SC ‘Targa’

porsche 911 - TGJ.05

In 1979 Porsche planned to replace the 911 with the 928, but thanks to strong sales from this and the fully convertible 911 introduced in 1982, the 911’s lifespan continued.

 

1989 – ‘964’ 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.06

Porsche completely revised the 911 for 1989. It’s styling was a natural development from earlier models, yet its chassis, engine and drivetrain were brand new. It now pumped out 246bhp and reached 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds.

 

1994 – ‘993’ 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.07

The final air-cooled 911, the ‘993’ was dramatically more powerful and featured a re-designed front and rear end, boosting aerodynamic efficiency. A Turbo (pictured) incarnation was introduced in 1995, featuring 4-wheel drive and over 400bhp.

 

1996 – ‘996 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.08

It’s fair to say the ‘996’ didn’t go down particularly well upon release; its strange ‘teardrop’ headlights and soft styling didn’t help. Its new water-cooled engine proved extremely reliable though, and its many variants including the GT3, GT2 and Turbo were still about as quick as anything on the road.

 

2005 – ‘997’ 911

porsche - TGJ.09

The ‘997’ was a relief for enthusiasts. Vintage-inspired details such as the round headlamps returned and whilst many classic 911 driving traits were still present, the car’s everyday usability was vastly improved. Once again, many variants were introduced including the GT3 RS4.0, which, in manual gearbox form, is considered to be one of the best driver’s cars of all time.

 

2012 – ‘991’ 911

porsche 911 - TGJ.10

The ‘991’ is the most technologically advanced 911 ever, boasting a number of new features and innovations including a torque vectoring system, active suspension management and four-wheel steering. The Turbo S was introduced last year, becoming one of the fastest Porsches ever, reaching 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds thanks to its 560bhp engine and clever 4-wheel drive system.

Further Reading