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The Porsche 911

1963 Porsche 911
1963 Porsche 911

The Porsche 911 made by Porsche AG of Stuttgart, Germany was built from 1964 to 1989. The Porsche 911 is one of the most successful racing cars in the history of motor-sport.

While Porsche changes the internal project number for its cars, all 911 models have always been sold as the Porsche 911. The internal model number 911 was produced from 1964 to 1989. Here is a timeline of the internal model numbers referenced by Porsche and many Porsche enthusiasts.

  • Porsche 911 (1964–1989)
  • Porsche 964 (1989–1993)
  • Porsche 993 (1993–1998)
  • Porsche 996 (1999–2005)
  • Porsche 997 (2005–Present)

The Porsche 911 was developed as a replacement for the then aging Porsche 356, which was produced from 1948 to 1965. The new Porsche 911 made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. It originally was designated as the Porsche 901 however, french auto maker Peugeot claimed it had exclusive rights to car names with three numbers structured with a zero in the middle. Instead of marketing the new Porsche model with another name in France only, Porsche changed the name to 911 for all countries.

The initial 911s had a 128 HP boxer configured flat-six engine. These engines displaced 1991cc and were rear mounted and air cooled. The engine was attached to a four or five-speed manual transmission. The original Porsche 911 had four seats and the car is usually called a 2+2 instead of a four-seater.

Porsche introduced a more powerful 911S in 1966 with an increased engine power of 158 HP and Fuchs alloy wheels were included in the upgrade.

In 1967 the company introduced the Porsche 911 Targa. The Targa name came from the Targa Florio road race in Sicily, Italy in which Porsche had great success. The 911 Targa was designed with a removable roof panel and a removable rear window made of plastic. The 911 Targa was also offered with a glass rear window from 1968 on.

In 1968, the Porsche 911T was introduced to replace the 912 and the standard 128 HP model was rebranded the 911L. A light-weight racing version of the car was also produced under the 911R, but only 20 of these were produced.

The 911B was introduced in 1969. The 911S received fuel injection and the 911E was delivered as the new standard model. Despite the lower power output of 153 HP for the 911E versus the 178 HP of the 911S, the 911E accelerated faster from 0 to 100 mph.

From 1972–1973 the models were the same, but with a new, larger 2341cc engine. The 911E and 911S used mechanical fuel injection in all markets.

The 911T was carbureted in 1972 except in the U.S. and parts of Asia where emission regulations required Porsche to equip the 911T with mechanical fuel injection. In January, 1973, US 911Ts were switched to the new K-Jetronic injection system from Bosch.

The 911S model gained a small spoiler under the front bumper to improve high-speed stability. The 911ST was produced in limited numbers for racing from 1970 to 1971 with either a 2466cc or 2492cc engine that produced 266HP.

In 1974, the Porsche 911 saw several significant changes. The engine size was increased to 2687cc giving the 911 increased torque. Impact bumpers were added to conform with U.S. low speed protection requirements. The use of K-Jetronic Bosch fuel injection in the 911 and 911S.

Porsche introduced the first production turbocharged 911 in 1974. Labeled the Porsche 911 Turbo in Europe, it was branded as Porsche 930 in North America. Starting out with a 3.0L engine producing 258 HP, the early cars are known for their excellent acceleration along with challenging handling characteristics and noticeable turbo lag. The body shape is distinctive thanks to wide wheel arches to accommodate wider tires, and a large rear spoiler often known as a “whale tail”. In 1978, engine output increased to 298 HP, and an intercooler was added.

Porsche introduced the new version of the 911, called the “911SC” in 1978. It included a 3.0 liter engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and a 5 speed transmission. A Cabriolet concept car was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1981. The car a true convertible and featured four-wheel drive, but that was not included in the production version of the 911SC. The 911 Cabriolet launched in 1982, as a 1983 model and was Porsche’s first cabriolet since the 356.

For the 1984 model year, Porsche introduced the 911 3.2 Carrera to replace the 911SC. The 911 Carrera was the last year of the 911 series. This version of the 911 accelerated 0–60 mph in 5.4 seconds and had a top speed of 150 mph. In 1984, Porsche also introduced the M491 optioned 911 which was commonly known as the “Turbo-look”. It was a style that resembled the Porsche 930 Turbo with wide wheel arches and the distinctive “tea tray” tail. It featured the stiffer turbo suspension and the improved turbo braking system as well as the wider turbo wheels. Sales of the 911 Carrera “turbo look” were particularly strong for its first two years in the United States because the Porsche 930 was not available.

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Second Drive: Porsche Carrera C2 at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway

I had a second opportunity to enjoy a private track day at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway in Munford Alabama over the spring. The stable of cars was again impressive. My Porsche Carrera 996 was joined by a Porsche Carrera 993, Porsche GT3, Porsche Speedster (with a true racing history), Two race-prepped Miatas, BMW M3 to name a few. We arrived at the track at 9:00 AM eager to spend the day blasting down the straights and sweeping through the turns. By the end of the day both drivers and cars had done their best. Everyone safe. Every car straight and still running. What more could you ask for? I again shot some video, but as you can see, the seat-belted tripod with my trusty Panasonic point-and-shoot did much better than the hand held attempt you see in the earlier post. I also decided to embellish the production of this second drive. I hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed the ride.

Porsche Carrera C2 at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway

I’ve had the opportunity to track my 1999 Porsche Carrera C2 at Little Taladega two times over the last three years. The race track is the first of its kind in the United States. Talladega Gran Prix Raceway was originally designed by Ed Bargy as a motorcycle road race course. Typical race tracks were designed primarily for car racing with motorcyclists merely being an afterthought. Talladega Gran Prix Raceway was designed to avoid the use metal or concrete barriers outside of corners, which for a motorcyclist could mean the difference between a major injury or death and just a scrapped up bike and set of leathers. This is the first time on the track. It was a blast, and I plan to return as much as possible. Enjoy!

The Porsche 356 Speedster

Porsche 356 Speedster

The Porsche 356 was the company’s first production automobile. Production started in 1948 when approximately 50 cars were built. In 1950 the general production of the 356 continued until April 1965. It is estimated approximately half of the total production of 76,000 Porsche 356s still exist.

The 356 was created by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche. The 356 was a four-cylinder, air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive car utilizing unitized pan and body construction. While the 356’s body was an original design by Porsche employee Erwin Komenda, its mechanicals were derived from the Volkswagen. Porsche quickly re-engineered and refined the car with a focus on performance. By the late ’50s many fewer parts were shared in common between Volkswagen and Porsche. The early 356 automobile bodies produced at Gmünd, Austria were handcrafted in aluminum, but when production moved to Zuffenhausen, Germany in 1950, models produced there were steel-bodied.

The basic design of the 356 remained the same throughout its lifespan, with evolutionary, functional improvements rather than yearly minor styling changes. A variety of models in both coupe and convertible forms were produced from 1948 through 1965.

Cabriolets were offered from inception, and in the early 1950s over 50% of total production. One of the most desirable collector models is the Porsche 356 “Speedster”, introduced in late 1954 after Max Hoffman, the sole US importer of Porsches, advised the company that a lower-cost, open-top version could sell well in the American market. With its low, raked windshield, bucket seats and folding top, the Porsche Speedster was an instant hit. Production of the Speedster topped 1,171 cars in 1957 and then started to decline. It was replaced in late 1958 by the “Convertible D” model. It featured a taller, more practical windshield, glass side windows and more comfortable seats. The following year the 356B “Roadster” convertible replaced the D model. Soft-top 356 model sales declined in the early 60s.

To distinguish among the major revisions of the model, 356’s are generally classified into a few major groups. 356 coupes and “cabriolets” built through 1954 are readily identifiable by their split windshields. In 1955, with several small but significant changes, the 356A was introduced. Its internal factory designation, the Type 1, gave it the nickname “T1″ among enthusiasts. In early 1957 a second revision of the 356A was produced, known as Type 2. In late 1959 more additional styling and technical refinements gave rise to the 356B. This was known as the “T5″ body.

The mid 1962 356B model was changed to the T6 body type. The twin deck lid grilles, an external fuel filler in the right front fender and larger windows are indicators.

The last revision of the 356 was the 356C which was introduced for the 1964 model year. It featured disc brakes as well as an option for the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had ever produced, the 95 hp SC. Porsche 356 production peaked at 14,151 cars in 1964. The company continued to sell the 356C in North America through 1965 as demand for the model remained quite strong in the early days of the 911. The last ten 356’s were assembled for the Dutch police force in March 1966 as 1965 models.