Though no one could have guessed it at the time, the Porsche Type 901 that made its debut at the IAA show in September 1963 would live on for five decades and become an automotive icon.
The amazing thing is that, the 911 survives to this day despite featuring an engine hung out behind the rear axle that may provide unparalleled traction, but is also a recipe for sudden oversteer due to the pendulum effect all that mass creates.
Yet in spite of many changes, this –seemingly illogical- configuration has remained constant in each and every one of the more than 820,000 911s that have been sold to date.
The other is the shape: it may have evolved significantly over time (as you can read in our 911 timeline special) but, when you put the original next to the latest 991-gen model, the continuity is obvious.
With 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of Porsche’s icon, the Stuttgart-based automaker has planned a series of events to celebrate the 911. They start with the “Retro Classics” show on March 7-10 at the Porsche Museum, where an early-model Turbo Coupe, a 1981 Cabriolet study, a 1997 road-going version of the GT1 and the pre-series Type 754 T6 chassis, designed by Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, will be on display.
Over the course of the year, an authentic 1967 model will be sent across the world on all five continents to be displayed at events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK. It will also attend historical rallies and other racing events; after all, the 911 has racked up an impressive two-thirds of Porsche’s 30,000 (!) race victories.
Moreover, from June 4 until September 29, the Porsche Museum will host an exhibition of the 911’s history and development while in spring its own publishing house will publish an anniversary edition with the title “911x911".
*Latin for “Day of Birth”
By Andrew Tsaousis