When Butzi Porsche designed the 911’s elegant and now iconic outline in 1961, an unlikely superstar sports car was born.
Its unique, horizontally opposed air-cooled flat-six engine famously acts like a hammer on the end of a rope when cornering, but the centre of gravity is low and it puts the majority of the weight above the driven wheels, giving the car fantastic traction. It triumphed in more areas of motorsport than any other car; Le Mans, The Dakar Rally, The Monte Carlo Rally, The Daytona 24 hour race, Euro Tarmac rallying – name a form of motorsport and at some point a 911 will have won it!
Porsche gradually refined the original package, making the handling more benign and the engine progressively more powerful until they had to start from scratch and design a water cooled model for 1998. But the air-cooled cars live on as the ultimate challenge for anyone truly interested in serious driving.
If there was ever a doubt about its cool factor, Paul Newman finished 2nd at Le Mans in 1979 driving a modified 911 and then cruised Hollywood Boulevard in his own road-going 911. How many cars can do that?