Few cars on the road today have a performance pedigree that can match the Porsche 911s. Since its introduction in late 1964, it’s been a consistent winner on the racetrack and formidable opponent on the street. With nearly 50 years of history behind it, the 911 is one of the longest-standing sports car nameplates in production.
From day one it was designed to replace Prosche’s successful 356, which was based on the blue-collar Volkswagen Beetle. With the people’s car as its foundation, the 356 inherited a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and treacherous swing-arm suspension.
Surprisingly, the company maintained much of that DNA with the 911. However, unlike its predecessor the new sports car featured a horizontally opposed six-cylinder powerplant instead of a four. It was also air-cooled and displaced just 2.0 liters. Output was 130 hp. A sophisticated rear suspension setup was also fitted to the car, fixing a major fault of its forerunner.
Today’s 911 is perhaps the quintessential sports car. More variants and racing models have been introduced over the last four and a half decades than can be counted. Perhaps as a nod to its heritage the car remained air-cooled until 1998.