Units Produced: 81,100
The Porsche 911 was developed as a more powerful, larger and a more comfortable replacement for the 356. The new car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show and featured a new chassis, a brand-new air-cooled OHC flat-six “boxer” engine mounted in the rear of the car and coupled with either a four or five-speed manual gearbox.
Assembled in Leipzig, Germany, the 911 initially made 128 horsepower from its 1,991cc engine and had a top speed of 131 mph.
It originally was designated as the "Porsche 901" (901 being its internal project number). A total of 82 cars were built and badged as 901s, however, French automobile manufacturer Peugeot protested on the grounds that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. Instead of selling the new model with a different name in France, Porsche changed the name to 911. Internally, the cars' part numbers carried on the prefix 901 for years.
Production began in September 1964, with the first 911s exported to the US in February 1965. The styling was largely penned by Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche, son of Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche. Butzi Porsche initially came up with a notchback design with proper space for seating two rear passengers but Ferry Porsche insisted that the 356's successor was to use its fastback styling.
From a driving perspective the 911 was unique. Distinguishing the 911 from anything else on the road was its short wheelbase, rear weight bias and semi-trailing arm rear suspension and those things meant that from the start the 911 demanded a driver that knew what he/she was doing. With its relatively short wheelbase, rear-engine layout and semi-trailing arm rear suspension, it was an easy car to drive wide and have the tail totally slide out. Porsche tried a number of engineering fixes for this big issues including a set of front “bumper reinforcement” weights and a modest wheelbase stretch. It didn’t work.
The first Porsche 911 series came in five engine configurations, ranging from 2.0 to 2.4 liter and producing between 128 and 190 horsepower as time passed by.
Almost immediately the Porsche 911 was modified by numerous other companies and tuning firms for racing competitions, recording important wins in events all around the world.
The legend had begun.