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Porsche 911 history
  1964 to 1973 911 models
550 Spyder
911 1964 to 1973

Porsche 901 1963

The 911 was introduced for the first time at the IAA in Frankfurt in 1963 as the Porsche 901. But a French car company claimed copyright infringement over the use of all model numbers with zero in the middle. Porsche therefore renamed the 901 the 911 – that three figure number which still raises the heartbeat of every sports car fan.
Porsche had been working on the shape of the bodywork for the 911 as early as the fifties, in the days when the 356 was still the marque's crowd puller. The prototype mutated over time to a four-seater but was not approved by Ferry Porsche. The final shape was the work of Porsche's son Ferdinand Alexander.


It was decided from the start that the successor to the 356 should also have a rear engine. The choice fell to the six-cylinder Boxer engine with axial fan and – due to the greater speed reserves – an upper camshaft on each side. The camshaft was driven via chains after vertical shafts and toothed belts were disregarded. The 356 frame and chassis were replaced by new designs.

The end of 1964 saw the delivery of the first of the 356 successors, launched the previous year at the IAA in Frankfurt. The first 911 brochure announced that the 911 would "demonstrate once again the old Porsche formula of driving at its most glamorous". In the back of the new Porsche there roared a six-cylinder Boxer engine with two upper camshafts and an eight bearing crankshaft. With 130 HP the 911 was as powerful as the former 356 Carrera 2, but the improved aerodynamics enabled a higher top speed of around 210 km/h. A five-speed gearbox was fitted from the start.
The 911 offered more space inside, more driving comfort and, of course, better road-holding than its predecessors. However, to retain good directional stability and adequate crosswind stability Porsche was obliged to employ a trick: ballast in the corners of the front bumpers improved axle load distribution.
By the way, chrome was a welcome enhancement to sports cars at the time and the original plan to supply the instrument surrounds and windscreen wiper blades in matt black foundered at the clamorous demands of the dealers.

1966 Porsche 911 Coupe

1966 Porsche 911 Coupe

Everybody said that the 911 was amongst the most attractive sports cars in many magazines 1964. Nothing had changed by 1966. One author lavished praise in a test report in 1965: "With which car can you change down at 170 km/h to get full engine performance in an accelerating gear?"
To enable such acceleration orgies to become pure pleasure in future and allow the speed-happy engine full scope, Porsche converted to Weber carburettors in February 1966. In the 1966 models the 911 logo on the back changed from slanted to straight and from gold to silver and instead of a wooden steering wheel the Porsche driver now had a leather wheel to grip. The double-kinked steering column also played a significant role in accident prevention. This welcome safety feature actually appeared accidentally because the steering rack link was mounted in the centre of the car and could therefore be used for the right-hand drive models with no modification.

1967 Porsche 911 S Coupe and Targa

1967 Porsche 911 S Coupe and Targa

The new 160 HP 911 S was a car whose outstanding performance led to its manufacture and use being described by a Munich judge by the name of Dr Paul Bockelmann as almost "criminal". For many at that time, the maximum speed of 225 km/h was simply absurd and inconceivable. Porsche had of course reconciled the chassis and brakes with the higher performance and the S could be spurred on with impunity.

For the first time in this model year the legendary alloy wheel rims appeared, developed by the Porsche Studio and manufactured by Fuchs.

In early 1967 the first Targa models were delivered after this new bodywork variant had been first shown at the IAA in Frankfurt in 1965. The Targa was marketed as the "first safety cabriolet in the world". The name was explained by a contemporary press release: "We named the Targa after the Targa Florio, that evocative long distance race track in the Sicilian mountains where for ten years our cars have been subjected to the most gruelling sports trials, but also to invoke images of the marvellous setting of this race track, of the Sicilian springtime, the southern sunshine, the summer temperatures and the blue sea." Furthermore: "Last not least the Italian word Targa also has the same meaning as the word shield, and the roll-bar is actually a type of safety shield for the passengers."

1968 Porsche 911 T/L/S Coupe and Targa

Porsche 110 HP 911 T model

Numerous innovations awaited Porsche customers. The new 110 HP 911 T model was to appeal to a larger audience. The T stands for touring. The previous 130 HP 911 stayed in the programme but was to be called the 911 L – due to its luxurious interior. The 911 S was also still available.

Porsche always had the safety of passengers in mind and sent the 1968 models onto the roads with ten new safety features: 1. lower door opening buttons, 2. matt windscreen wipers to reduce risk of dazzling, 3. optional belt fastening in the boot, 4. larger outside mirrors, 5. rubber ash tray handles, 6. composite glass windscreen with increased strength, 7. dazzle-free flexible dashboard, 8. halogen headlights, 9. wider wheel rims (1/2 inch), 10. dual circuit braking system for all Porsche models.

A particular innovation was the optional extra available at 990 DM – the "new automatic gearbox for the sporty driver" as the brochure put it. The so-called Sportomatic was a four-speed gearbox which was operated without a clutch. "Avant-garde means being ahead of its time" announced the press department of this unusual extra for a sports car. The decision was justified; the winning Porsche in the 84-hour marathon on the Nürburgring at the end of 1967 was fitted with a Sportomatic.

1969 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

1969 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

"There will always be more people who dream about this car than own one", thus the Porsche advertisement underlined the exclusiveness of the 911. The ad pictured the 1969 model, known internally as the B model. New to the range was the 140 HP 911 E which replaced the L. Just like the 911 S, now boosted to 170 HP, the E was fitted with a multi-point injection system "a design which has been successfully used for more than three years in the Porsche racing vehicles", informed the press release, which also gave further reasons for this modification: 1. higher performance, 2. less fuel consumption, 3. better torque at lower speed range and 4. better exhaust basis for exhaust gas detoxification with regard to US market.

The new 911 was distinguishable by its slightly wider wings and also enjoyed bigger brakes and a wheelbase extended by 57 mm to 2,268 mm, which brought better axle load distribution. The front axle of the 911 E was fitted as standard with hydro-pneumatic suspension struts with level-control.

A test of the 1969 model in auto motor und sport ended with the words: "…there is not a commercial sports car produced anywhere in the world to match the Porsche in the sum of its qualities."

1970 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

1970 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

"They've got faster, all three of them", promised an English Porsche brochure showing the 911 model of 1970. In fact a capacity increase from two to 2.2 litres had increased the performance of the engines in the 911 T, E and S models, but the torque gain was predominantly responsible for increased thrust at the lower speeds.

911 E and S had a five-speed gearbox fitted as standard and it was available as an optional extra for the T model. The latter now also had internally ventilated disc brakes and Zenith or Weber carburettors while multi-point injection was standard for the higher-end versions. The two multi-function stalk switches on the steering column for washer/wiper and indicator/headlight functions were a practical detail. The Porsche designers hadn't just considered increased performance, they also made the vehicle particularly light to handle. The customers expressed their thanks, as Porsche mentioned in an advertising slogan: "70.5% of all Porsche buyers have told us exactly why they bought a Porsche. They already had one".

1971 Porsche 911
T/E/S Coupe and Targa

1971 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

The vehicles in this model series, known internally as the D-series, were introduced with only minor modifications. To comply with new exhaust laws in some European countries the engineers at Porsche had to modify some parts of the fuel injection system. Otherwise there was no reason to change the successful 911.

The advertising once again focused on the Porsche's racing experience and the ways in which this had benefited the production vehicles. The text of one ad in the Spiegel in March 1971 for instance, went like this: "Our cars are the most successful sports cars in the world. Our test tracks are the race tracks of the world."
The conclusions of auto motor und sport confirmed this image: "The 911 provides the active driver with driving pleasure like few other cars and can bask in the outstanding reflection of its recognised world class sports car".

1972 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

1972 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

"Germany's fastest average consumer", went the advertising slogan for the new Porsche 911 S. Just like the T and E models the 230 km/h S version was now powered by a 2.4 litre detoxed engine with reduced compression using standard petrol, which confused numerous petrol tank attendants.

The engines might have been detoxed, but they still retained the searing power they had always had and they now had added torque, which meant that the 911 was now fitted as standard with a four-speed gearbox. There was nevertheless a five-speed version available as an optional extra.

On the outside the 1972 models can be identified not just by the "2.4" emblem but also for example by the matt black grill in the engine bonnet and a flap in the rear left-hand wing, which concealed the oil filler cap. In the S version a new front spoiler increased directional stability at high speeds, while this part was offered as an extra for the other models. A larger petrol tank was also offered as an optional extra. In order to retain luggage space, Porsche supplied the 85-litre tank only in conjunction with a collapsible spare tyre which could be inflated with a compressed air cylinder.

1973 Porsche 911 T/E/S Coupe and Targa

enlarge picture

Factory Specifications
Engine: 2.4L air-cooled 6 cyl
Horsepower: 134 bhp @ 5700 rpm
0-60 mph: 8.9 sec
Top Speed: 129.3 mph
Transmission: Type 915 manual
Tires: 205/60-15 MICHELIN MXV4

Introduced to the public in 1963 as the successor to the legendary Type 356, Ferry Porsche's Type 911 has become the paragon of the most pure sports car concept of all time.

Shortly before the DOT mandated the installation of unsightly railroad-type bumpers to comply with US safety regulations, and the EPA required rather ill-conceived emissions equipment, there were a few cars built--now referred to as '73½ 911s--which came to be regarded as the finest of all the classic 911 Porsches. Unfortunately, due to attrition over the past quarter century (remember, these Porsches were built long before the factory decided to use galvanized steel for superior rust protection), precious few of these collectible automobiles are still available today.

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