Without a doubt the most famous sports car in the world. The Porsche 911 has been around for what feels like the dawn of time and there’s a good reason: Because it’s good. Even the “bad” 911s weren’t that bad. So today I’m going to go over the history of this vehicle and what made it so good. Like my other blogposts in the “Through the Years” series (at least that’s what it’s turning out to be), I’m going to show each generation and give some details on it. I won’t go into massive detail because the post would be as long as my bill after I spend a year’s worth of cash on car parts for a car I don’t have. Without further delay, let’s get on with it.

Preview for the 911: The 901

The original 911 wasn’t really a 911. It was a 901. But as some of you may know, when Peugeot found out about the 901, they weren’t pleased. So Porsche changed it to the 911. Thanks Peugeot. Regardless, it made 130 horsepower from it’s 2.0L flat six and a weight of 2380 pounds.

First gen: 1964-1973 (911)

Coming up from the 901, the 911 was the follow-up to the 356 and featured the same 2.0L, 130 horsepower flat six that the 901 did, as well as a 4 speed manual (a 5 speed was optional) as well as 4 seats. However, like the 911s of today, the rear seats were tiny, thus being called a 2+2 rather than a conventional 4 seater. A couple years after the original 911 was launched, a sportier version came to the Earth, known as the 911S. The S model featured 28 more horsepower (for a total of 158) and weighed about 40 pounds less (18 kilograms). Another S model came out a year later with 20 more horsepower (for a total of 178) and weighed 90 pounds less than the previous model (40 kilograms). In 1967, Porsche introduced the Targa model (“Targa” meaning plate in Italian) which featured the 2.0L six pot.

Second Gen: 964 (1989-1994)

This has several firsts for the 911. For instance, all wheel drive (dubbed the “4”) was introduced as well as an active spoiler that rose up and down based on speed. Not only that, but ABS, power steering, and the Tiptronic transmission (which you can read about here. In March of 1990, Porsche also introduced a Turbo model, but rather than develop a new engine for it, they went with the same one used in the 930 Turbo. It made 320 horsepower. About a year later the first Turbo S was introduced as well. That model featured a 3.6L turbocharged flat six that made 355 horsepower. This is also one of the rarest 911s ever with 1500 units built between 1993 and 1994.

Third Gen: 993 (1994-1998)

One of the “sacred” Porsches, the 993 was the last of the air-cooled models (the 996, which replaced the 993 in the late 1990s, was water cooled). This is also the first 911 to be made completely from scratch. That’s right, the 993 had very little in common with it’s predecessors and was starting to turn towards the future. Another first for a 911? The transmission. Specifically, this car was the first 911 to have a 6 speed manual transmission (the 4 speed auto remained). The Turbo and Turbo S were also the first to feature a twin turbo flat six (making 402 and 450 horsepower, respectively). Another introduction to the 911 lineup was the GT2. Using fenders, too big for it’s own good and made 465 horsepower in the highest trim spec. The GT2 is also considered the second 911 to obtain the “Widowmaker” status (the first being the 930 Turbo back in 1987)

Fourth Gen: 996 (1997-2005)

The first major update of the 911, the 996 is also the most hated. Switching to a larger, heavier platform really aggravated the “purists” that think that the previous body style is the “be all end all.” Those are also the same people who hate the 996 because it switched to water cooling rather than air cooling. Regardless, Porsche kept with the larger platform, water cooling, etc. Another first for the 911 is the addition of a 4 valve head. The quad cam flat six (displacing 3.4 or 3.6 liters) now had four valves per cylinder, making it more efficient and more powerful. How much more powerful? Well, the 993 gen Carrera made 272 horsepower from it’s 3.6L flat six. The 996 made 296 horsepower from it’s 3.4L flat six (later boosted to 320.) Another introduction to the 911 lineup is the addition of all wheel drive for the Turbo models (power was at ~450). The GT2 made 456 (then 472 by 2004).

Fifth gen: 997 (2005-2012)

A larger update from the 996, the 997 had much to offer. The lineup had been strectched to 20 models with the re-introduction of the Targa, and the GTS and GT2RS making their debut. Here is the total model range of the 997 model 911

911 Carrera Coupe

911 Carrera Cabriolet

911 Carrera 4 Coupe

911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet

911 Carrera 4S Coupe

911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet

911 Carrera GTS Coupe

911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet

911 Carrera S Coupe

911 Carrera S Cabriolet

911 GT2 Coupe

911 GT2 RS Coupe

911 GT3 Coupe

911 GT3 RS Coupe

911 Targa 4

911 Targa 4S

911 Turbo Coupe

911 Turbo Cabriolet

911 Turbo S Coupe

911 Turbo S Cabriolet

With a variety of flavors, there was a 911 for everybody. Power was up across the range, with the base Carrera gaining 5 horsepower over the previous generation (to 325) and in 2009, up to 345 (increase of 25). A very important new addition to the 911 range was the 7 speed PDK (or Porsche Doppelkupplung, also known as “Porsche double clutch. Also, German speakers, feel free to correct me on that if there’s any mistake.) Not only did this replace the old 5 speed torque converter in the last one, because it’s a twin clutch, it can shift faster to improve acceleration. Coming back to the GT2, and more specifically, the GT2RS. The former made 530 horsepower (an increase of 58), then the brand new, only for 2011, RS model made 620 horsepower. To put that into some perspective, the then somewhat new Ferrari 458 made “only 562.” The McLaren 12C made 592 horsepower. Long story short, the GT2RS was the most powerful car that Porsche had ever made (that’s street legal). Another thing: because the GT2 was without most traction aids, it also gained the now infamous title “Widowmaker”

Sixth gen: 991 (2013-present)

The most advanced 911 would come in the year 2013 with the introduction of the 991 chassis Porsche 911. The base model Carrera still used the 3.4L flat six seen in the previous gen 997 and it still made 345 horsepower. The GTS, introduced in 2014, was a Carrera S with many of the expensive options standard (i.e. the powerkit, raising horsepower to 424, sport chrono package). This is the first, and as of right now only, GT3 not to come with a manual transmission. The 3.8L flat six made 475 horsepower and revved to 9000 rpm! The Turbo models were reworked so that their 3.8L twin turbo flat six engines made both 520 and 560 horsepower (560 and 580 in the 991.2 models.) The GT3RS model came out about a year or so after the original GT3 and had a 4.0L flat six, with 500 horsepower, and revved to 8800 (restricted by stroke). A year after the GT3RS was introduced, the facelift, dubbed the 991.2, was introduced. Now using a 3.0L twin turbo flat six, rather than the old 3.4, the new Carrera and Carrera S made 370 horsepower and 420 horsepower, respectively. Higher in the 911 tiers, the R was introduced, using the 500 horsepower flat six from the RS, however the R had less wing and more stick shift. The GTS model now made 450 horsepower from it’s 3.0L twin turbo flat six. The GT3 would now have a 6 speed manual option and the new GT2RS made 700 horsepower from it’s 3.8L twin turbo flat six (and it’s the current record holder at the Nürburgring. This is also the first GT2 not to have a manual.) A short while after the GT3 was announced, the GT3 Touring package was introduced. In short, it’s a mass produced 911 R. Using the same powertrain, same less wing and more stick shift.

With a new 911 (which will just be the same as the old one) on the way, it has massive shoes to fill. And if the new one is anything like the old one, that might be pretty easy. But for now, we all play the waiting game. If you have any suggestions for future blogposts, let me know down in the comments below. Until next time, bye!

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