Classic vs Modern: Porsche 911

Born in 1963, the Porsche 911 has become a legend. An iconic design that is constantly evolving. The slope-shouldered sports car is arguably one of the most recognizable automobiles in the world. The car itself has undergone 56 years of evolution, changing ever-so slowly over its eight generations that no one could possibly question its lineage. Easily considered a timeless classic and arguably the most sensible yet desirable super car around, with the 911 providing practicality and pragmatism with performance.

The 911 is a two-door, high performance rear-engined sports car. It has a rear-mounted flat-six engine and all-round independent suspension. The car has remained popular for 56 years due to Porsches ability to preserve what is unique and distinctive about the car while updating what is considered old or flawed.

However, the Porsche 911 story actually started with the 901 back in 1963. It was designed by Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who was famed for designing the Volkswagen Beetle. The 911 originally had a 2.0-litre air-cooled flat six engine, mounted, of course, in the rear of the car. Butzi’s 901 design, in essence, lasted until 1993.

In 1988, the 911 Classic was replaced by the 964, the most radically altered 911 since its introduction. With a more modern design, the 964 followed the same 911 recipe until its replacement in 1993 by the 993.

Due to it being the last air-cooled incarnation, 993 is loved by devoted Porsche fans as “the last true 911”. However, the 996 replaced it in 1998, again with the boast of being the most thoroughly overhauled 911 model since 911s began. It also went on to become the best-selling 911; over 170,000 were sold.

The 911 then went back to its trademark ‘bug-eye’ headlights when the ‘teardrop’ headlighted 996 was replaced in 2004 by the 997. It had remarkable longevity, lasting over eight years albeit slightly broken up by a 2009 facelift. The 997 also spawned the special edition Sport Classic, celebrating Porsche’s long heritage and featuring a ‘duck-tail’ spoiler and Fuchs alloys.

Since its unveiling at the 1963 Frankfurt motor show, one million 911s have been built, and Porsche claims that 70% of these are still roadworthy. The millionth 911 has been kept by Porsche, and will reside in its collection after a world tour.

56 years later, the 911 remains an unimpeachable icon, an object of automotive passion and desire.


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