The predecessor to the Porsche911 was the 356, which had its origins as a Volkswagen Beetle modified for sports car capabilities. However, by the 1950s, the once-popular 356 had begun to lag behind the competition in both popularity and power. The designers at Porsche knew they had a job to do: remove the Porsche 356 and introduce something new in its place, something that would dramatically improve upon its ancestor.
Thus, the seeds of the Porsche 911 were sown.
The Porsche 911 wouldn’t debut until the next decade, when it launched as a 1965 model at the tail end of ‘64. It quickly established itself as a mainstay in the market, exuding the cool, laidback vibe that became iconic in the 1960s.
This was followed by the 911’s particularly prosperous era in the ‘70s, easily adapting to the popularity of muscular cars, then again reinventing itself as the ‘70s moved into the ‘80s to become a more refined, sophisticated vehicle. This trend has carried on until modern times, as the 911’s power and ability to adapt and appeal to current drivers and their tastes seems unparalleled.
Much of the Porsche 911’s incredible innovation and ever-changing design is due to its long career as a successful racecar. There’s common wisdom in the auto industry that if you really want to push the limits of what a vehicle can do, you have to put it on the racetrack. From casual tracks like autocrosses and hill climbs to professionally-sanctioned races such as Paris-to-Dakar, the 911 has been all over the world showing off its power and precision.
Of course, through all the radical changes and dramatic upgrades, the thing that makes the Porsche 911 so iconic is its ability to stay true to itself. No other vehicle on the market has retained such a distinct personality since its inception, with no major overhauls to its look. Maybe that’s what makes the 911 so great.