5 February, 2019

The very first: Porsche 911

Welcome to the inaugural post in what will be a monthly series of blogs focused on ‘the very first’ car made of a model that has gone on to become legendary.

It seems apt to start with the Porsche 911, which didn’t start life being called a 911. Originally, Porsche went with the moniker 901, but because Peugeot had rights over any X01 model name the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer decided to put a ‘1’ instead of an ‘0’, thus becoming 911.

The 911 entered series production in 1964 and just 82 units of the 901 were produced before the name change to 911. The model designation for the first series of 911 is known as the ‘F-series’ and it remained in production from 1964 to 1973, which is when the second-generation ‘G-series’ 911 was made. Porsche famously restored one of the very first 901s manufactured, number 57, which can now be found in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.

What made the very first Porsche 911 an instant icon, and in some ways the benchmark for all future sports cars, is its design and engineering statements, which have been carried over in almost every 911 since.

Powered by an air-cooled boxer flat-six 2.0-litre engine positioned over the rear axle, which again Porsche is famous for, the 911 was upped from its original 130bhp of the 2.0-litre to a 2.2-litre and then a 2.4-litre. It wasn’t until the first Porsche RS was launched in 1972 that the 911 had a 2.7-litre engine and 210bhp – not bad for a car that weighed less than 1000kg.

Originally built in Coupe form, Porsche introduced a “safety cabriolet" Targa with a permanently mounted roll-over bar and removable soft top in 1967 (it wasn’t until the late-Nineties that a convertible was available as a 911).

The first Porsche 911 started a racing revolution. It was the car to be seen in (and getting out of) by celebrities, royalty and is one of the most used cars on screen today. From Steve McQueen’s famous 1970 Porsche 911 S used in the film Le Mans to the 911-derived 935 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s often cited as the most successful and recognisable car ever.

Just over 70 years young, Porsche is a brand that unites automotive enthusiasts, none more so than with its 911.

Leave your favourite Porsche 911 stories in the comments box below and let us know what motoring legend you’d like us to feature in the next edition of ‘the very first’.