Porsche 911: 50 years and still waxing stronger
By Theodore Opara
For five decades, the 911 has been the heart of the Porsche brand. Few other automobiles in the world can look back on such a long tradition and such continuity as the Porsche 911. It has been inspiring car enthusiasts the world over since its debut as the model 901 at the IAA International Automotive Show in September 1963.
Today it is considered the quintessential sports car, the benchmark for all others. The 911 is also the central point of reference for all other Porsche series. From the Cayenne to the Panamera, every Porsche is the most sporting automobile in its category, and each one carries a piece of the 911 philosophy.
Over 820,000 Porsche 911s have been built, making it the most successful sports car in the world. For each of its seven generations the engineers in Zuffenhausen and Weissach have reinvented it, time and time again demonstrating to the world the innovative power of the Porsche brand. Like no other vehicle, the 911 reconciles apparent contradictions such as sportiness and everyday practicality, tradition and innovation, exclusivity and social acceptance, design and functionality.
It is no wonder that each generation has written its own personal success story. Ferry Porsche best described its unique qualities: “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theatre or through New York City traffic.”
In addition to its classic yet unique lines, the Porsche 911 has always been distinguished by its advanced technology.
Many of the ideas and technologies that made their debut in the Porsche 911 were conceived on the race track. The 911 was committed to the performance principle from the start, and motor racing is its most important test lab.
From the very beginning it has been at home on circuits all over the world, earning a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of Porsche’s 30,000 race victories to date were notched up by the 911.
For Porsche, the 50th anniversary of this iconic sports car is the central theme of 2013. There will be a wide variety of anniversary events, starting with the “Retro Classics” automobile show in Stuttgart in March.
The company is also sending an authentic 1967 model 911 on a world tour. Over the course of the year, this vintage nine-eleven will travel to five continents where it will be shown in places like Pebble Beach CA, Shanghai, Goodwood UK, Paris and Australia. As an ambassador for the Porsche brand, this vintage 911 will be in attendance at many international fairs, historical rallies and motor sport events.
The first generation 911 was built in 1963 followed by the G-Series in 1973 while third generation of the 964 classic modern was built in 1988.
This was followed by the 993 in 1993, (the last air-cooled model before the 996 in 1967 which was water-cooled). In 2004, Porsche introduced the 997 before rolling out the 991 in 2011.