£3538 (in 1963)
Rear engine, rear- or four-wheel drive
RANGE OF ENGINES
MOST POWERFUL ENGINE
430bhp (911 Carrera GT2, 3600cc)
184mph (911 Carrera GT2, 3600cc)
BEST OVERALL FUEL ECONOMY
26mpg (911T, 2341cc)
NUMBER OF SEATS
Hmm: say “Porsche 911” and you could be talking about any of dozens of different rear-engined sports cars from Stuttgart, but we’ve drawn the line for out data panel at 1997, when the venerable road racer-cum-status symbol underwent the most radical change ever to its winning formula – the switch from air-cooled to water-cooled engines.
Even then, the original Porsche 911 came in myriad varieties. When Terry Davey produced this beautiful illustration of the Porsche 911 in the 1970s, he was using the stunning 911 Carrera 2.7 as his subject – not quite the seminal example of the period (because of those energy-absorbing bumpers fitted to the car from 1974), but almost.
Spoilers and fat wheelarches cluttered the Porsche 911’s elegant profile as the 1970s wore on but performance also developed apace, as there seemed to be almost limitless development potential for the superb flat-six that hung out the other side of the rear wheels; there’s a massive 200bhp difference, for instance, between the original Porsche 911 Turbo and the last air-cooled car.
Rewarding, tail-happy handling has always been part of the Porsche 911’s mystique, although those with worries could go for the late-model Carrera 4 with grippy power to the front wheels too. Build quality and reliability are more than legends, though: since the mid-’70s all 911s have been built from non-rusting galvanised steel. Porsche 911s were always costly, but generally worth it.