All Hail the Millionth Porsche 911

A brief history of the most enduring sports car ever made

By Shari Gab

 
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12 May 2017

“Hands down, a Porsche 911.”

If the question is “If you could buy any car right now, what would it be?”, that's my answer.

It would be a Porsche 911. It would be a Porsche 911 even if I already owned a Porsche 911. The legend. The icon. It is truly, as they say, “a sports car for everyday, but it's not an everyday sports car.”

And after 54 years of production, the millionth 911 rolled out of the Zuffenhausen factory today.

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Make no. 1,000,000 is an Irish Green throwback that pays homage to the very first edition, with Fuchs-style alloys, houndstooth interior upholstery, wood trim and custom gold badges. But let's take a trip down memory lane, to fondly recall the notable steeds that came before her.

The very first 911 came out of the gates in '64, a 2.0-liter 130-pony air-cooled flat six. The work of Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche’s son, the car was oon regarded not just as one of the greatest rides in the game, but as one of the greatest industrial design achievements of modern times.

From ‘72 to ‘74, the RSR solidified Porsche’s place in motorsports. The turbocharger carved the path for Porsche's most successful racing years, with track-ready cars coming off the same line as their road-faring comrades. The homologation RSs are about as pure of 911 DNA as you’ll find: to drive them is like drinking water straight from the source. They easily go for six-figures today.

Perhaps my favorite stint in the 911 timeline, though, is the early ‘80s, when the Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 arrived. The manufacturer had hit a sticky age of instability and this is what they created. Yes, the Carrera ushered in some minor changes, but in the midst of one of the worst decades for car aesthetics, Porsche managed to keep the design close to the vest (“If it ain't broke …”).

Above all, the 911 is a survivor. Of the one million rides that have come off the line, nearly 700,000 are still on the road right now. It’s one of the only cars that you can own for a lifetime. And — for devotees — that’s not because it’s a Porsche. It’s because it has soul. Remember, driving a car isn’t about the car itself: it’s about power, control, freedom. And the Porsche 911 will get you as close to those feelings as any machine that's ever been wrought.

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