Porsche 911 A look at the history of this marvel
Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche 911 Carrera- If we’re talking about automotive icons, Porsche is undoubtedly a marque that won’t be forsaken. And the reason is plain and simple in 3 letters – the Porsche 911. Being one of the longest running sports car nameplates to exist, it was quite an engineering marvel back then in the 1960s, yet it remains to be plenty competent even when pitted against contemporary super cars.
Over 5 decades ago was the inception of a concept that Porsche itself would never expect to be so enduring. As a successor to the Porsche 356, the original Porsche 911 was known as the Porsche 901 and was meant to be a more practical variant of the 356 with an extra set of seats. Hence the ethos of a ‘daily sports car Porsche so keenly touts. While the original interpretation proved to be lacking in guts, Porsche and the crowd found the optimum to be the air-cooled 207 horsepower 911 Carrera RS, which was both lightweight and suitably zestful with an exhaust note that nothing else can quite match.
Of course, after the original Porsche 911 was the introduction of a variant often hailed as the ultimate 911 – the Porsche 930. Certainly, the melding of a turbocharger with a rear-engine rear-wheel drive sports car also conferred it the notorious title of the ‘widow maker’. While its acceleration prowess was unparalleled; the extreme turbo lag and frankly mercurial road demeanor translated to a capricious mistress to tame. However, it provided the predicate to some of Porsche’s finest Group 4 and Group 5 racing cars, notably the Porsche 934 and 935.
Following the initial success, about 3 decades of the same generation later in the late 1980s, Porsche finally released a major update: the Porsche 964. It’s an endeavor to modernize the 911 to bring it up to date for the recession. It was the first time any 911 utilized power steering, ABS, airbags and also marked the launch of the 4-wheel drive Carrera 4. And just 5 years after the 964, Porsche debuted the 993. Widely regarded as the best rendition of the air-cooled 911s, It also brought us the GT2, an even more fickle car than the 930 to domesticate.
But that was the last air-cooled generation. As 1998 rolled along, Porsche migrated to water-cooled engines and a significant exterior update. Purists, of course, scowled at such a move, but it was inevitable in the pursuit of performance. Known as the 996, people hated how it looked inside and out which prompted a vital face lift in 2001 to the 996.2. But people commented on how it lost its ‘soul’. A new model was introduced in 997 which was styled with cues to the classic 911, with the 997.2 following 4 years later along with the PDK dual-clutch automatic.
It’s not until the 991 in 2012 that Porsche made another controversial switch – electromechanical steering. While it originally compromised the extremely precise and communicative steering, the latest representation of the 911, the 991.2, refined it to a degree that most find it agreeable. However, the 991.2 was bestowed with another potentially contentious change itself: a total migration to turbocharged power. While turbochargers used to be reserved for the fastest 911s, it has now trickled down to even the humble 991.2 Carrera. It’s an understandably unavoidable step towards the future with increasingly stringent emissions law, and I think it’s one that pushes the 911 further towards the ‘daily sports car’ ethos. The delivery quality of power may be vastly dissimilar, but it’s still a great engine in its own regard.
So, why do the crowd covet the 911 so much? Even in its latest iteration, the 911 Carrera remains a valid option for those who value the driving experience more. The answer is simple, it is the quintessential sports car. The 911 Carrera isn’t a trailblazer, but its cornering finesse remains peerless. People love the shape of the 911, which isn’t found anywhere else other than the Volkswagen Beetle, and they adore how Porsche has made such a daft idea that is locating the engine at the rear function with spectacular results. The exhaust note of a flat-6 is also distinctive, a trait that many love.
Of course, the purists dote the classic 911 Carreras, but I reckon the latest 911 Carrera deserves a mention too. Porsche has never made the 911 Carrera so fast that it becomes scary, and instead offer limitless traction reserve, a darty responsive chassis, slick driver inputs and generous daily accessibility. And perhaps most importantly, Porsche still offers many 911 variants with a proper H-gate manual transmission, a perk that’s increasingly scarce to find nowadays.
You can certainly find cars with a much more impressive specification sheet nowadays for the same money for a Porsche 911, but then you won’t end up with a Porsche 911. If you want a Porsche 911, there really is no other alternative out there quite like it.