On September 12, 2023, the iconic sportscar, that is the Porsche 911, will turn 60 years old. From the dust sheet being pulled off for the first time at the 1963 Frankfurt International Motor Show, very few would have been able to predict the impact that it has had on the motoring industry.
The 911 originally went by the name of 901 until it went on sale in 1964 with its name changed to 911, since then over 1.2 million have been made, each an example of the unique, innovative and barrier-defying nature of the Porsche brand.
The 901 was developed by the son of Ferry Porsche. It had an air-cooled flat-six engine, which developed 130PS, could accelerate from 0-100km/h in 9.1 seconds and had a top speed of 210km/h. These were massively impressive stats in the 1960s, but the comparison to what we have now demonstrates the innovative expertise that Porsche possesses.
For example, the new Porsche 911 S/T has 525PS and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 299km/h. The S/T does have a 6-cylinder engine which has remained similar to that of the 901.
In looking at the physical size of each 911, there has been many changes since 1963, as you can imagine. The current 992 Carrera (2023) sits at 2450mm wheelbase, 4519mm in length and 1852mm in width. On the other hand, the original 901 had 2211mm wheelbase, 4290mm in length and 1700mm in width.
So, this shows that the latest 911 models are wider and longer than its predecessor. This could be for several reasons, such as the wider base showing focus on increasing the downforce, which will allow for greater control round corners, but also increased comfort for the people in the cars, enabling them to have more space in their 911.
Nevertheless, the 901 being smaller allows for a distinctive and immersive driving experience. Its classic design is a rare occurrence today which makes 901 models so special 60 years after first being created.
One important thing to notice is that the height of the 901 is 1300mm compared to 1298mm of the 911 Carrera (2023). Despite being very similar, the more recent 911 sits at a slightly lower height due to developments in aerodynamics, which allows the Porsche to travel faster - The sleeker and sportier shape of the 911 Carrera allow for this to be the case as well. However, when driving a classic car, it’s important to know that many focus on the driving experience of a classic car, rather than purely speed, so the shape and size of the 901 can prove to be just as enjoyable for the driver.
Another difference between the 901 and the new 911 is that the 901 had an air-cooled engine whilst the new 911 has a water-cooled engine. But what does this mean?
Air-cooled engines used a combination of heat exchangers, fans and metal cooling fins to push air around the oil in the engine to cool it down and keep the engine running. Due to improved engine efficiency, Porsche opted to switch to new water-cooled engines. Emissions were lower and the engine was more efficient, with an increase in power which then made the 911 range faster. Generally, the sound of each engine differs, and preferences vary for what different Porsche enthusiasts prefer.
*Data determined in accordance with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) as required by law. You can find more information on WLTP at www.porsche.com/wltp . For Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) range and Equivalent All Electric Range (EAER) figures are determined with the battery fully charged, using a combination of both battery power and fuel.
Values are provided for comparison only. To the extent that fuel and energy consumption or CO₂ values are given as ranges, these do not relate to a single, individual car and do not constitute part of the offer. Optional features and accessories can change relevant vehicle parameters such as weight, rolling resistance and aerodynamics which may result in a change in fuel or energy consumption and CO₂ values. Vehicle loading, topography, weather and traffic conditions, as well as individual driving styles, can all affect the actual fuel consumption, energy consumption, electrical range, and CO₂ emissions of a car.
** Important information about the all-electric Porsche models can be found here