In the international poll for the award of Car of the Century, the 911 came fifth after the Ford Model T, the Mini, the Citroën DS and the Volkswagen Beetle. It is the most successful surviving application of the air (now water) cooled opposed rear engine layout pioneered by its original ancestor, the Volkswagen Beetle, having increased its original 25 PS more than tenfold, or 30fold in turbocharged race cars. It is the third-oldest sports car nameplate still in production, behind the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Nissan Skyline.
Not all of the Porsche 911 models ever produced are mentioned here. The listed models are notable for their role in the advancements in technology and their influence on other vehicles from Porsche.
The car was and is always sold as 911, although the articles below use Porsche's internal classifications:
- Porsche 911 classic (1964-1989)
- Porsche 964 (1989-1993)
- Porsche 993 (1993-1998) wide body
- Porsche 996 (1999-2004) all new body and water-cooled engines
- Porsche 997 (2004-Present)
"Carrera", "GT3", "Turbo", etc. refer to the specific model trim (they are all 911s).
The series letter (A, B, C, etc.) is used by Porsche to indicate the revision for production cars. It often changes annually to reflect changes for the new model year. The first 911 models are the "A series", the first 993 cars are the "R series".)
Porsche 911 classic (1963–1989)
Main article: Porsche 911 classic
The Porsche 911 classic was developed as a much more powerful, larger, more comfortable replacement for the Porsche 356, the company's first model, and thus essentially a sporting evolution of the Volkswagen Beetle. The new car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show (German: Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung).
It originally was designated as the "Porsche 901" (901 being its internal project number). However, 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. So, instead of selling the new model with another name in France, Porsche changed the name to 911. It went on sale in 1964, giving buyers their most competent alternative rival yet to the Jaguar E Type.