History of the Porsche 911 - Seven Generations of 911
Wed, 08/21/2013 - 22:17 — admin
Few are the cars in the sportscar kingdom that are as well loved as the Porsche 911. Porsche claims that about 80 percent of all 911s ever made are still around today with the vast majority still clocking up miles. If there was any one car that is "legal tender" in the automotive world, its has to be the 911. Of course Porsche didn't know that when he built the 901 but by building the best engineered car at that time and at each and every time he created a cult following and an unshakable loyalty for the 911.
We take a quick tour through the seven generations of the 911.
As the successor to the Porsche 356, the 911 conquered the hearts of sports car fans right from the start. The very first 911 began life as the Type 901 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. The name was changed for its market launch in 1964. The air-cooled, flat-6 engine delivered 130 hp – enough for a genuine 210 kilometres per hour. Drivers preferring to go a little less fast could from the following year order the four-cylinder Porsche 912. In 1966, Porsche launched the 911 S. Producing 160 hp, it was the first 911 to sport Fuchs forged alloy wheels. The 911 Targa came onto the market at the end of 1966 and with its striking stainless steel roll bar became the world’s first super-safe convertible. From the following year, the 911 was available with ‘Sportomatic’, a semi-automatic, four-speed transmission.
Ten years after the car made its premiere, the Porsche engineers gave the 911 a comprehensive makeover. Known as the ‘G-model’, the new generation 911 was built from 1973 to 1989 – a longer period than any other. A particular feature of this evergreen was the striking bellows-style bumpers – an innovation created in order to comply with the latest US crash test requirements. Three-point safety belts fitted as standard and seats with integrated headrests also provided increased occupant safety. A further milestone in the car’s history came in 1974, when Porsche brought out the first 911 Turbo with a three-litre engine, 260 hp and a striking rear spoiler. With its unique combination of luxury and perfor mance the ‘Turbo’ became a synonym for the Porsche brand.
Many experts were already prophesying the end of an era, when in 1988 Porsche then unveiled the 911 Carrera 4 (Type 964). After 15 years of production, the 911 was given an 85% upgrade, enabling Porsche to offer a modern, future-proof vehicle. The air-cooled, flat 3.6-litre engine now delivered 250 hp. The main external differences between the 964 and the previous model were the aerodynamic polyurethane bumpers and the electrically powered extendable rear spoiler. In engineering terms, however, there was hardly anything left to compare.
This 911, internally known as the 993, remains to this day many Porsche drivers’ great love. That is partly due to its strikingly beautiful lines. The integrated bumpers underline the harmonious overall impression. The front section is flatter than on the previous models, made possible by the switch from round to poly-ellipsoid headlights. The 993 was also regarded as particularly well developed and reliable – and as agile too, for it was the first 911 to be given a redesigned aluminium chassis. For the first time the turbo version was equipped with a twin-turbo engine, which in 1995 ranked as the world’s lowest emission production car engine. Another innovation of the all-wheel drive turbo version was the hollowspoke alloy wheels, used here in car manufacturing for the first time. For fans of really fast sports cars Porsche offered the 911 GT2.
This was the great step-change in the history of the 911: the Type 996, which rolled off the production line from 1997 until 2005, was a totally new kind of 911 – while not sacrificing the classic version’s character. As a completely redeveloped car, this generation was for the first time powered by a flat water-cooled engine. Thanks to four-valve technology it produced 300 hp and was regarded as pioneering in its emission levels, noise and fuel consumption.
By July 2004 the time had come: with the 911 Carrera and 911 Carrera S models, Porsche launched a further 911 generation, which internally was called the 997 range. Its oval, clear glass front headlights with additional lights in the front-end section again reflect the tradi tional 911 design. However, the 997 impressed not only in its design – its performance was impressive too: the Carrera’s flat 3.6-litre engine produced 325 hp, while the newly developed 3.8-litre engine of the Carrera S delivered no less than 355 hp. Also extensively reworked was the running gear, which on the Carrera S was supplied as standard with Porsche Active Suspension Management.
Internally known as the 991, this sports car embodies the greatest engineering leap in the history of the 911. For generations the benchmark in its class, this 911 generation sets the bar another notch higher in terms both of performance and efficiency. A completely new chassis with modified wheelbase, greater track width and beefier tyres, plus an ergonomically optimised interior produce an even sportier and more comfortable driving sensation. In engineering terms this 911 is all about Porsche Intelligent Performance: even lower fuel consumption and even more power – created, for instance, by reducing the engine size to 3.4 litres on the base Carrera model (yet still delivering 5 hp more than the 997/II) and using a hybrid construction method (steel/aluminium), which leads to a considerable reduction in weight.