This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the most iconic sports car in the world, the Porsche 911. Over the period, Porsche has developed 7 generations – and has successfully baffled the minds of car enthusiasts around the globe with every example coming out of their designing studio.
By 2013, over 800,000 units has been produced in Stuttgart, and in celebration of the icon, Porsche Malaysia and Porsche Club Malaysia organised a grand gathering of Stuttgart’s finest at Stadium Merdeka last Saturday. This was a record breaking attempt for the largest Porsche gathering in Malaysia – with a target of 200 Porsches at the gathering.
Although the 200 mark was not achieved, the attempt still made it possible to officially enter the Malaysian Book of Records with 152 Porsches on the day. Making up for half the number were the Cayennes and Caymans, which is not a surprise as they’re Porsche’s best selling model on the market at the moment.
Of course, the gathering would be incomplete without the lights on the iconic 911. The sight was an absolute beauty as we watch the sun go down in the background, and the 911s watch the day turn into dark.
As this is a celebration of the 911, we thought it’ll be pretty cool to run through the 7 generations.
The 911 Classic
It all began with the 911 Classic…Genesis. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche to replace the company’s first flagship model at that time, the 356 – it was developed to be a more powerful, and comfortable sports car than its predecessor. Launched in 1963 as the Porsche 901, only a handful were built (82 units) until Peugeot claimed the rights to the name. When full production began, it was rebadged as the 911 and the legend was born.
After 10 years of production, the 911 classic was replaced by a facelifted version called the 930. The 930 carried a lot of 911s history as we know it. When it was introduced in 1974, it was set to be Porsche’s first production turbocharged 911 – which was the beginning of the 911 Turbo, setting the bug into character as one of the most challenging car to drive, due to its turbo lag. Down the line, Porsche introduced the Carrera series on the 930, which is also how the 911 is now famously known as.
After the 930, came the 964. Some refer to the 964 as one of the ‘ugliest’ 911 but history reminds us that it was born at a time of recession. The company was not able to rely on image alone to survive, and the 964 was developed under the technological direction from Porsche’s most recent Supercar at the time, the 959. The 964 was the first 911 to offer 4-wheel-drive, dubbed the Carrera 4. Although the 964 lead a short production life of only 4 years (1989-1993), it was an important step for the next model in line for Porsche.
The 964 example below is a very rare 911 Speedster. Only 134 were built and this is one of the 14 right hand drive units in the world.
Famously known as the last air-cooled 911, the 993 took the world by storm, reviving the 911 line-up. The 993 is one of the most sought after cars these days, as it was the perfect combination between mechanicals and electronics working in perfect harmony. It featured a more slung nose – to reduce drag, and Porsche introduced the multilink suspension for the 993 which improved the 911’s oversteering character.
When the Turbo and GT2 was launched, the 993 became one of the fastest cars on the road, logging heads with Ferrari’s F50 and Lamborghini’s Diablo.
This generation of 911 was the beginning of modern day Porsches. After 34 years of production, the 996 became the first water-cooled 911, fixed together with history’s most drastic design change in the family. Porsche lost its circular lights and came up with a flatter nose to generate a more aerodynamic body. Indeed it worked, reducing the car’s drag-coefficient to 0.30.
Many argue till this day that the 996 was the least connected 911 of them all, as it was completely different from its predecessor but – without a doubt, the 996 is the beginning of the 911’s crown as one of the greatest handling car of all time.
After a major rework, the 997 replaced the 996 with a more original and distinctive look. Although the shape remained similar to the 996, the 997 came with circular lights like the 993, going back to its roots. This generation defines the modern day sports car, with others just following it as a benchmark.
The 997 is the most successful 911 model, and in its lifespan, over 20 different variations were produced.
The latest iteration of them all, the 991. Keeping to its roots with the wedge-shaped front end and circular headlights, the latest generation has won the hearts of many with its precise handling. Although Porsche has installed an electric-steering, which some finds it questionable – nevertheless the 991 has not lost its feel.
At the same time, Porsche’s latest introduction of the GT3 and Turbo variants has delivered some very fast figures to blow the minds of enthusiasts. Expect the 991 model to last at least for another 6 years until the next generation comes, till then, we look forward for Porsche to keep producing the lustful 991.