Porsche followed their successful 356 with the 901 show car in 1964. However, thanks to a trademark infringement being handed to them almost straight away, the 901 never saw the light of day and was instead renamed the 911.
Debuting in 1964, the 911 was sold alongside the 356 for its first year. An evolution of the 356 rather than a brand new car, the 911 retained the same air-cooled rear-engined layout and was very similar in shape (as it was drawn up by the same team who came up with the 356). There was a main difference though – parts were no longer donated by the VW Beetle.
The new engine developed 130bhp from its flat-6 2-litre air-cooled layout. As the engine was mounted in the rear, Porsche were able to design an aerodynamically optimised front end that allowed the car to hit 130mph, while the rear seat was able to fit taller people than the 356 could accommodate. With rear seats that folded flat and a large luggage area in the front of the car instead of the engine, whole families could go along for the ride.
The engine that Ferdinand Piech drew up was matched with Piech’s manual transmission and also benefited from disc brakes all round. However, handling was an issue despite Porsche’s attempts to tame the breakaway tendencies of the rear end with a revised rear suspension layout that replaced the 356 swing-axle approach with a semi-trailing arm system. With the engine slung out past the rear axle, the laws of physics would inevitably raise their head when the car was driven hard around a corner. However, the 911 was an instant sales success, thanks to its driving characteristics (when not being driven fast around a corner) and exceptional build quality.
Porsche announced the 911 Targa, which had a lift out roof panel between the windscreen and rear window. The vertical pillar acted as a rollover bar in case of disaster and this idea was such a success that the Targa model has been on sale since then. A semi-automatic transmission also debuted this year.
The 911S appeared, with the famous 5 spoke alloys and a tuned engine that now produced 160bhp.
The wheelbase was lengthened by 2.2 inches to allow for better weight distribution with flared body work adopted to accomodate wider wheels. MacPherson strut front suspension was installed which paved the way for more powerful engines to expand the range – the 911T (110bhp), 911E (140bhp) and the 911S (170bhp and a fuel injection system).
All engines increased in size to 2.2 litres.
All engines increased again, this time to 2341 cc. Power for the three variants was now 130bhp (911T), 165bhp (911E) and 190bhp (911S).
The Carrera RS was launched with a capacity of 2.7 litres and producing 210bhp, with the rest of range becoming a base 911 producing 150bhp and the 911S producing 175bhp.
The bumpers fitted for the American markets were adopted across the entire range – these were capable of absorbing a bump at speeds up to 5mph. A new heater was provided as standard as were better seats and headlamp washers. The Carrera RS engine was expanded to 3.0 litres.
The 911 Turbo made its first appearance in 1975, aimed at road going race drivers with 260bhp and a 0-60 sprint time of 6.1 seconds. This really sparked the market’s imagination and sales rocketed.
The Turbo was upgraded to a 3.3 engine producing 300bhp, while spoilers front and rear provided better stability and improved the cornering abilities. A Getrag G50 5 speed manual transmission was available and later became the standard – these cars can be identified now as a 930 G50.
The 911 Carrera became the standard offering, with a 3164cc engine producing 231bhp.
The Carrera Cabriolet was launched at the Geneva Motor Show.
The Carrera SE was launched – essentially this was a Turbo without the turbocharger, and produced 231 bhp.
The 250,000th 911 was completed, while the Carrera Clubsport was announced. This was a lightened version of the standard car that used the same 231bhp engine.
1978 Porsche 911 Turbo (930) – Vital Statistics
|Power||221 kW (296 bhp) @ 5500 rpm|
|Torque||412 Nm (304 lb/ft) @ 4200 rpm|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||5.1 seconds|
|Maximum speed||251 km/h (156 mph)|
|Fuel consumption (average)||12.8 l/100km (22,1 mpg)|
|Fuel type, tank capacity||Petrol, 80 litres|
Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection,
Air to air intercooler
|Cylinders and valves||Boxer 6, 12v|
|Transmission||4 speed manual,|
5 speed Getrag G50