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201428 Jan


Ferdinand Porsche with the original 911 (901) he created.


Till this very day, for most enthusiasts across the globe, the 911 remains the 'true blue' Porsche. By the late 1950s it was obvious to Ferry Porsche that the 356, which was a small and not particularly powerful in comparison to other sports cars at its lofty price level needed to be replaced. But it was also the car upon which the company was built and was essentially Porsche's sole product at that point in time. Replacing it was necessary, yet risky. Though Ferry Porsche thought his first six-cylinder production car would have a good long run when he showed it in late 1963, even he of all the people in the world, couldn't have foreseen that it would endure into a new millennium and keep going strong.


At the very inception, the Porsche 911 was not perceived as a replacement for the 356 but as a larger four-seater car with better performance. It was intended that other 356s carry on even after the Porsche 911 was launched, as indeed some did for a certain span of time. But Ferry Porsche changed his mind about the size, fearing a full four-seater would put his firm in the unaccustomed and uncomfortable position of competing with much larger companies, notably Daimler-Benz.


By the year 1959, work was underway on what emerged as the T-7 prototype. Styling was entrusted to one of Ferry’s four sons, Ferdinand Porsche III, fondly known as ‘Butzi’. Ferry wasn't a body designer per se, but he was clear about what he wanted. A family resemblance to the 356 was an absolute must, but so were a more spacious cabin and a luggage space that in his own words “could take an owner's golf clubs.” High performance was naturally a given, too, but Ferry put new emphasis on smooth and quiet running. Ferry decided on a 2.0-litre 6-cylinder engine because sixes were more comfortable and refined.




Without greatly extending the wheelbase, Ferdinand Porsche did a fantastic job of providing near four-seat interior room. On the outside, it showed a low beltline, lots of glass, and a sharply sloped hood. Front fenders remained high and prominent, something Ferdinand Porsche considered vital to the Porsche identity. With a huge wrapped backlight and stubby semi-notchback tail, the T-7’s styling from the B-pillars forward would survive almost unaltered to the production 911.


When Ferry Porsche decided on a more evolutionary look with Porsche's traditional 2+2 seating, Butzi revised the T-7 from the doors back, creating the now-familiar fastback with ovoid rear side windows and back-slanting B-posts.


The car had a split fold-down rear seatback for greater passenger and cargo carrying versatility and it offered enough rear room for one adult or two small children.


Internally designated 901, the Porsche 911 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963. Although the production began in the summer of 1964, Porsche was compelled to display the vehicle much earlier because there were so many rumours doing the rounds.


The Porsche organisation has never been strictly sequential in assigning project numbers and has skipped quite a few; so the ‘901’ internal designation was chosen simply to suggest a new direction.


Unfortunately, Peugeot claimed a ‘right’ to three-digit model numbers with zeros in the middle and threatened to prevent a ‘901’ from being sold in France. And therefore as luck would have it, ‘911’ badges were substituted before sales began.


Since its debut, the Porsche 911 has been at home on race circuits all over the world and earned a reputation as a versatile and dependable winner. Indeed, a good two thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date have been scored by the 911. Furthermore, many of the ideas and innovations that have been pioneered by the Porsche 911 over the past five decades were conceived on the race track.


Almost immediately after it went on sale in September 1964 (as a 1965 model) the 911 established itself as an icon which combined performance, sophistication, athleticism, power and cool quotient. And to this very day it remains an iconic sports car and certainly not without a reason. Long live 911. A true blue Porsche to the core.


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50 years of Porsche 911

Till this very day, for most enthusiasts across the globe, the 911 remains the 'true blue' Porsche.

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