20 years of Porsche 911 First presentation at the IAA 1963 in Frankfurt

Porsche werkfoto 1984

"Every new Porsche must remain a Porsche", Ferry Porsche told his son, the designer Ferdinand Alexander "Butzi" Porsche, when he commissioned him a new car as the successor to the first Porsche, the now legendary Type 356. At the 1963 International Motor Show in Frankfurt the time had come: the "911" celebrated its premiere. "For me, the reactions from our customers when we introduced this car were very remarkable," Ferry Porsche recalls today. "There were many who said that it was no longer a Porsche. But the exhibition was not even over, so we were able to find out that the vehicle was fully accepted as a new Porsche."

Incidentally, the fact that the "new" in its basic arrangement with an air-cooled boxer engine in the rear resembled its predecessor had little to do with the Porsche quotation mentioned at the outset. On the contrary, the Porsche engineers had all the engine technology and arrangement options checked and finally, for good reasons, opted for the 911 concept that has remained unchanged even after 20 years.

The competitive sports car requires such a high weight load on the drive wheels that a separate arrangement of the engine and drive seems less favorable, because the middle engine as an ideal engine arrangement for pure vehicle identification is out of the question for the civil sports car because it restricts the interior too much. The front-wheel drive is also unfavorable because high performance can only be insufficiently brought onto the road (spinning front wheels).

So only the motor arranged behind the rear axle would remain. In particular for competitive use, the arrangement of the engine in front of the rear axle, which costs space, has advantages. But that didn't pose a problem for Porsche, as the 904 racing sports car soon showed: for this purpose, the drive unit could simply be "turned around", and the device already had a mid-engine.

The Porsche 911 was to be equipped with six cylinders instead of the four in the old 356, so that the engine could meet the demands of both driving comfort and high revs in future future increases in lift capacity. The cylinder arrangement as a boxer engine was ideal as the rear installation. And Porsche thought it was senseless to cool a boxer engine with liquid; The inevitable intermediate space between the cylinders and the division of the block into two parts virtually oblige air cooling. In addition, there is the need to keep the weight of the engine behind the rear axle as low as possible.

When it came to developing the chassis of the 911, Porsche took a significantly new approach, especially with the aim of gaining space. The luggage compartment should be larger than the 356 despite the low bonnet, which is why the crank axle with transverse torsion bars was dispensed with and instead a McPherson front axle suspension used. Compared to the well-known McPherson principle, however, this was modified in the 911: the "suspension struts" only had the function of the third suspension point and shock absorption, while the suspension itself is used in longitudinal torsion bars.
This complex construction makes the front luggage compartment wider by the centimeters that the coil springs use on normal struts. The torsion bars were therefore not installed because a Porsche must have torsion bars. but because in the current arrangement they take up less space than any other spring element. At the rear, their transverse arrangement could be maintained, but made a trailing link suspension from the previous pendulum axle. The reason for this was of a technical nature: in the interest of optimum driving characteristics, the aim was to avoid changes in the toe and camber caused by the oscillating axle halves. The trailing arms (very slightly inclined) result in very correct wheel guidance. The complication was accepted that the wheels had to be driven by double articulated axles. The use of a new steering system also had plausible reasons. The rack and pinion steering requires little height, so it does not affect the front trunk. The steering gear required joints in the steering column, which was considered very desirable for another reason; they "disarm" the steering column in accidents. Porsche had developed a steering column that could be pushed together telescopically, but the new solution was undoubtedly simpler and just as effective. The steering wheel with the four horizontally arranged spokes also served to protect against accidents. There was no nostalgic reason for the fact that it was given a wooden wreath at the time: wood is far less heat and cold-storing than the otherwise usual plastic.

The 911 six-cylinder engine delivered 130 hp at the beginning of its career. For comparison: the first Porsche 356, which was built in Gmund aut Käier, had a maximum output of 40 hp, which helped the car to reach a top speed of 140 kilometers an hour. The engine of the last 356 SC, manufactured in 1965, produced 95 hp, and the small-series four-camshaft Carrera also produced 130 hp. The evolution of the then new six-cylinder machine brought a much greater increase in performance over the years. Porsche introduced the 911 S as early as 1966 - with 160 hp. In 1967, the customer could choose between three performance variants: between the 911 T with 110 hp, the 911 L with the original 130 hp and the "S" with 160 horses. The latter's performance rose to 170 hp a year later. In 1969 there was a choice of either 125 HP (991 T), 155 HP (9ll E) or 160 HP (911 s) with a 2.2 liter very large displacement. The 1971 grew to 2.4 liters, the performance data corresponding to 130/165/190 PS. And in 1972 the sport variant Carrera RS joined, which even shone with 210 PS,

So much did the 1973 Carrera, whose displacement was increased to 2.7 liters. And in 1974, in the middle of the first so-called "energy crisis", Porsche introduced the most-noticed sports car of those years, the 911 Turbo. This first series production car in the world with turbocharging spreads over the up to then most powerful and powerful version of the now ten-year-old six-cylinder engine. It produced 260 hp from three liters of displacement. Here too, as always at Porsche, racing development had borne fruit in series production. And at the IAA 1977, Porsche presented a further development of this type: Since then, the boxer engine in the 911 Turbo has produced 300 hp with a displacement of 3.3 liters. With its top speed of 260 kilometers per hour, it is one of the fastest production cars in the world. When the 911 Turbo was first shown to the public in 1974, the goal was a small series comprising 500 units. Menawhile, 9600 sports cars of this type have grown out of it.

Last but not least, the up-to-date model of the 911 basic model improved in the consumption values. The 911 SC with a three-liter engine and 180 hp, which was also introduced in 1977, was replaced two years later by the 188 hp version, which used an astonishing 17 percent less gasoline than its predecessor. The 911 sc was again more frugal from 1981 when its engine was already producing 204 hp. And the youngest 911, the 3.2 liter "Carrera" presented at the IAA 1983 in Frankfurt, produces 231 hp with a consumption of only 13.6 / 9.0 / G, 8 liters per 100 kilometers (in the city sweep / at a constant 120 / at a constant 90 km / h).

The functional, timelessly beautiful form that Ferdinand Alexander "Butzi" Porsche gave the 911 has essentially remained unchanged for two decades. Two noteworthy variants concern ottoman driving. After the 356 was discontinued in 1965, there was no longer a convertible. "That made us particularly worried," recalls Ferry Porsche, "because in the first production phase of the 911, no tools were planned for a convertible. This dilemma gave rise to the so-called Targa, which, as an open vehicle with a roll bar, did very well with the new one Security thinking corresponded and could be produced with relatively small changes in the tools. "This new body shape, first introduced at the beginning of September 1965, soon acquired a loyal following shade. The famous "Museum of Modern Art" soon put such a car in its department for industrial design. Nevertheless, many Porsche fans still wanted to drive completely open. Under the direction of Helmuth Bott, Porsche board member for research and development, a new Porsche Cabriolet was also created soon - but for quite some time only on paper. In the most important market for Porsche, in the U.S.A., a law based on safety considerations threatened for years, which was supposed to ban otten automobiles. It wasn't until around 1980 that it slowly leaked that this lawlessness was dropped. This made it easy for the new Porsche CEO, Peter W. Schutz, to make the decision shortly after taking up office in January 1981: "Porsche is building a Cabriolet". And today half of the daily 911 production is actually a Cabriolet.

"Volevamo scrivere qui un motto intelligente ma al momento non ci viene in mente nulla"