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Porsche 911

by

Antonio Eiras

The 911 marked indelibly the last 50 years of the Porsche and of the History of the automobile.

 

It was designed to replace the 356, the first model to be produced and marketed a few years after the end of hostilities of the 2nd World War, with the name of the Company founded in 1931 by Professor Ferdinand Porsche and that introduced it in the automobile world and motorsport.

 

Since it was a sports version of the Volkswagen Beetle, the 356 revealed, in the early 60s and despite constant evolution, the inexorable passing of over 20 years of the original project.

 

Presented to the public in the 1963’s Franfkfurt Motor Show, with the designation of 901 and with production to start in the following year, the new model of Porsche quickly earned a sporty image and an aura of prestige and distinction that still holds today. To this contributed the success of participations in competition and its competitive commercial positioning, but also the fabulous design of its bodywork.

 

Its captivating aesthetic, designed by an inspired Ferdinand Alexander "Butzi" Porsche, grandson of the founder of the Company, is a true icon of industrial design and proved an unique success in the automotive industry.

 

Although there are on the market, superior longevity models, no other vehicle maintained so long duration of the same bodywork design. Somewhat curiously, Porsche has become hostage to the success with the image of the 911, having failed in several attempts made ​​to replace this one by others of different design, as was the case with the 928 or 944’s models. Conformed, the Stuttgart manufacturer assumed the timeless aesthetic of the Porsche 911 and developed a whole range of different models, where the same line of design is easily recognizable.

 

The 911’s mechanics was a logical evolution of its predecessor. With the decision of maintaining a coupé 2 + 2 configuration and a steel unit chassis, it had a distance between shafts 10 cm larger than the 356, a new front suspension, McPherson type and maintained the same rear placement of the new 2-liter engine of 6-cylinder opposed, air-cooled, like its predecessor and that, in its original version delivered 130 hp at 6,100 rpm.

The original 911 was found to have an unstable and capricious behavior due not only to the fact that it had been decided to keep the same type of rear suspension of the 356 model, but also to the heavy weight of the engine, higher than expected. Once resolved these problems of youth, the 911, like its predecessor, was tested in competition. The first appearance of this model in the 24 Hours of Le Mans took place in 1966 and, as it had been promised by the management of Porsche, the car was sold after the event, where he finished in an honorable 14th position.

 

Its land of predilection has always been the asphalt, especially on the circuits, where he earned notoriety and has built an impressive history, which continues to grow. To the numerous victories in the classes, were added absolute victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (two: in 1979, with the 935 K3 and in 1998, with the GT1-98), in the 24 Hours of Daytona (ten: in 1973 , 1975 and 1977 with the Carrera RSR, between 1978 and 1983, six straight wins with the 935 and in 2003 with the GTR3-RS), in the Monte Carlo Rally (four: in 1968, with the 911T, in 1969 and 1970 with the 911S and in 1978 with the Carrera) and in the Paris-Dakar Rally, (two: in 1984, with the 911 and in 1986 with the 959 4-wheel drive).

 

The evolution of Porsche 911 had an odd effect on sharing the experience of its participation in competition. Thus, during these first 50 years of production the model was developed in a constant search for perfection, by the technicians of the Company, which, to do so, took in consideration the huge amount of experience of the 911 different versions in motor racing all around the world.

 

The drawings that I present in this work were made in 1993, in close collaboration with the magazines "Turbo" and "Motor 16". The work about the 911 will be complete with a 2nd part dedicated to the 935 "Moby Dick" of 1978. With this work we intend to remember the first 30 years of the fabulous racing career of the Porsche 911 and, to his achievement it was of the utmost importance the precious documentation that I received from José Vieira and Manuel Domenech, this one a big fan of the 911.

 

To make this text it was crucial the information on the fabulous book " Eternelles Porsche 911", of the Belgian journalist and driver Paul Frére, written with passion and full of curiosities and technical data, which I recommend reading.

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