This year the car world celebrates 50 years of evolution. The car world stands still at the 50th birthday of the introduction of The Porsche 911, half a century of an iconic rear-engine sports car.
The Porsche 911 a 7 generation long family with more than 820.000 cars build. Since its introduction every generation of the 911 has written its own success story. Ferry Porsche also describes the Porsche 911 as “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theater or through New York City traffic.”
The late Ferdinand (Ferry) Anton Ernst Porsche is the son of late Ferdinand Porsche who designed the world famous Volkswagen Beetle with a team of engineers, in order of no one else than Adolf Hitler. Though that’s a bedtime story for a next time. Ferry Porsche gained a lot of knowledge from his father who was one of the great engineers of his time. After the Second World War Ferry decided to build his own car. Or in the words of Ferry Porsche himself, “At the beginning I looked around, but I could not find the car I was dreaming of. So I decided to build it myself.”
At the Frankfurt IAA Motor Show in 1963 the Porsche 901 was presented as a prototype. Porsche later changed the name to 911 when Peugeot objected that they had rights on three figure numbers with a zero in the middle. Even though that was a turn for the better for Porsche, as Porsche 911 sounds better than 901, Peugeot got karma payback with the release of their Peugeot 1007 (originally 007). The first Porsche 911 was sold a year later in 1964. It had a cylinder boxer engine that delivered 130hp, giving it an impressive top speed of 210 km/h (131 mph), which was considered rather quick back then. Until today Porsche has always kept continuously improving the 911 towards perfection. Porsche always differentiated itself from its competitors through precision and innovation.
Just 10 years after announcing the first 911, Porsche delivered a completely improved and restyled second generation called the G-series, the longest continued series of the 911. It was equipped with a 3-litre 200hp engine. In 1988 the third generation, 911 Carrera 4 (964), was released with an air-cooled 3.6-litre boxer engine with 250hp. In 1993 Porsche release the stunningly looking fourth generation, last air-cooled 993, and first bi-turbo equipped engine. The 996 was released in 1997, of which the look was taken back to its roots. At around the release of the 997 in 2004 the Porsche 911 had now a 3.6-litre boxer engine with 325hp. The current Porsche 911 has a smaller 3.4-litre engine than its predecessor though has 330hp. Through 50 years of innovation and 7 different generations the Porsche ended up with a wider body, a set of wheels double the size, and yet remained at almost the same ride height.
It is hard to imagine, but the design of the 911 has been around for 50 years and developed into a truly timeless design. The 911 is the benchmark for other Porsche cars like the Panamera and the Cayenne. What makes Porsche 911 different from other super cars is the strife to perfection. The need to make the perfect sports car, is why the Porsche 911 is always evolving. It has come along for 50 years and should exist for another 50 years to come.