RAC Cars News


50 Years Of The Porsche 911

By raccars Published

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This year sees the 50th anniversary of one of the world's most beloved, iconic and desirable cars: the Porsche 911. This motoring great is equally fashionable bought as a classic or new as a status symbol. It is the ultimate in auto style and performance.

On the outside, the modern 911 has changed little from the 1963 original. The diagonally sloping roof line, angled windscreen and funky circular headlamps prove the adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' While new 911s have had their edges softened, the basic shape has largely been maintained through various facelifts and special editions. The other enduring element is the rear-sited engine, giving an at the time controversial rear-wheel drive, that made the Porsche stand out from rivals.

However, on the road there has been some serious updating. The earliest 911s were powered by a 2.0 litre, 130bhp engine for a 0-60mph speed of just over 9 seconds – good for its time but considered tortoise-like these days. The 2013 anniversary edition 911 comes with a 3.4 litre engine, returning 350bhp and will get you to 60mph in 4.8 seconds, almost half the original 911's time.

The cost new in 1963 was £4,095, which equates to about £68,000 of today's money, which is reassuringly consistent, as the latest 911 will lighten your wallet by about £73,000. Bearing in mind the weight of history behind these cars, it's not a bad price.

While the Porsche 911 represents success in the same way as a Rolex watch or a bespoke suit, it grew from the fairly banal origins of the VW Beetle, designed by none other than Ferdinand Porsche for pre-war Germany. The 911 was unveiled to the world after years of development at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show and at the time was named the 901. The 911 designation came about after Peugeot claimed exclusive use of three-digit model numbers using a '0' as the centre number.

Since then, the 911 has become a worldwide motoring icon, with more than 800,000 examples sold. It is beloved of drivers everywhere and is a particular celebrity favourite, with famous owners including US talk show host, Jay Leno, pop-star and well-known Ferrari-fanatic, Jay Kay, Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Beckham. American comedian and actor, Jerry Seinfeld, has a collection of Porsches numbering more than 50, of which many are 911s.

Porsche fans may be interested in a new book celebrating the car's anniversary, 'The Porsche 911 Book, 50th Anniversary Edition' by publisher TeNeues.

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