First Porsche completed

First Porsche completed

On June 8, 1948, a hand-built aluminum prototype labeled “No. 1″ becomes the first vehicle to bear the name of one of the world’s leading luxury car manufacturers: Porsche.

The Austrian automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche debuted his first design at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900. The electric vehicle set several Austrian land-speed records, reaching more than 35 mph and earning international acclaim for the young engineer. He became general director of the Austro-Daimler Company (an outpost of the German automaker) in 1916 and later moved to Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart. Daimler merged with the Benz firm in the 1920s, and Porsche was chiefly responsible for designing some of the great Mercedes racing cars of that decade.

Porsche left Daimler in 1931 and formed his own company. A few years later, Adolf Hitler called on the engineer to aid in the production of a small “people’s car” for the German masses. With his son, also named Ferdinand (known as Ferry), Porsche designed the prototype for the original Volkswagen (known as the KdF: “Kraft durch Freude,” or “strength through joy”) in 1936. During World War II, the Porsches also designed military vehicles, most notably the powerful Tiger tank.

At war’s end, the French accused the elder Porsche of war crimes and imprisoned him for more than a year. Ferry struggled to keep the family firm afloat. He built a Grand Prix race car, the Type 360 Cisitalia, for a wealthy Italian industrialist, and used the money to pay his father’s bail. When Porsche was released from prison, he approved of another project Ferry had undertaken: a new sports car that would be the first to actually bear the name Porsche. Dubbed the Type 356, the new car was in the tradition of earlier Porsche-designed race cars such as the Cisitalia. The engine was placed mid-chassis, ahead of the transaxle, with modified Volkswagen drive train components.

The 356 went into production during the winter of 1947-48, and the aluminum prototype, built entirely by hand, was completed on June 8, 1948. The Germans subsequently hired Porsche to consult on further development of the Volkswagen. With the proceeds, Porsche opened new offices in Stuttgart, with plans to build up to 500 of his company’s own cars per year. Over the next two decades, the company would build more than 78,000 vehicles.

50 Years of the Porsche 911

There are a scant number of nameplates that have lasted half a century with uninterrupted production: Mercedes-Benz SL, Jaguar XJ, Chevy Corvette, Chevy Suburban, Ford F-Series. But there&rsquos only one car whose iconic design and sporting identity has remained truly consistent, only one whose recognition as among the best sports cars in the world has gone unmatched for 50 years&hellipthe Porsche 911.

There are a scant number of nameplates that have lasted half a century with uninterrupted production: Mercedes-Benz SL, Jaguar XJ, Chevy Corvette, Chevy Suburban, Ford F-Series. But there&rsquos only one car whose iconic design and sporting identity has remained truly consistent, only one whose recognition as among the best sports cars in the world has gone unmatched for 50 years&hellipthe Porsche 911.

This rear-engined sports car has been a legend since first arriving as a replacement for the 356 at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Its air-cooled, rear-mounted flat-six engine offered two more cylinders than the 356, and its more toned design was decidedly sportier. Every generation of 911 from that original 148 hp 911 to the current 350 hp 991 is a head-turner, garnering attention like a leggy supermodel taking a leopard for a stroll. The power, the allure, the sex in the machine &mdash all are present in surplus in this rear-engined marvel. It&rsquos on every car lover&rsquos list of all-time greats, has found its way onto every young boy&rsquos wall-based shrine of automotive dreams. It would not be a mistake to call the 911 the greatest sports car name in all of automotive history.

What&rsquos more, the 911 isn&rsquot losing any steam. Instead, its design language has officially pervaded every car in the Porsche lineup, and for good reason. The 911&rsquos DNA is a formula that&rsquos intoxicating, one that the car world respects and envies. The half-century mark for a car is a colossal achievement, and when that car is the Porsche 911, that much more so.

In this 50th year of the 911, we decided to take a deeper look into the generations and iterations of this remarkable car to see how far it&rsquos come. Not all of the car&rsquos modifications were good ones, but they will all be remembered as part in parcel of what it takes develop an icon through multiple decades.

MORE PLENTIFUL PORSCHES: The GP 100: Porsche Cayman S | Octane Icon: Porsche 917 | You Cannot Do It Alone: Helmut Bott&rsquos Porsche 959

(1963&ndash1998) Air-Cooled 911s

(1963&ndash1989) 901

Porsche was hellbent on replacing the 356 with something sportier and more powerful. The first 911 bowed at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show powered by a rear-mounted 128 hp flat-six engine. The 911 had a four or five speed manual transmission and was technically a 2+2, since the rear seats were only good for children or contortionists. The more potent 158 hp 911S was introduced in 1966, when the now famous &ldquoFuchs&rdquo wheels were also introduced. In 1967, Porsche made the Targa available with a single panel removable roof, created due to an erroneous interpretation of U.S. law supposedly outlawing true convertibles. The wheelbase of the 911 was lengthened in 1969 to improve handling engine displacement was increased to 2.3 liters (known as the 2.4-liter engine) in 1972, and a beefier transmission was added to accommodate the increase in the 911&rsquos power.

(1973 and 1974) 911 Carrera RS

The RS was built to fulfill homologation requirements for FIA Group 4 class racing. Even the name indicates racing intent: &ldquoCarrera&rdquo came from the Porsche victories at the Carrera Panamericana race in Mexico in the early 1950s, while the &ldquoRS&rdquo came from the German &ldquoRennsport&rdquo or &ldquorace sport&rdquo. The Carrera 2.7 RS had 210 hp, a beefed-up suspension, more powerful brakes, bigger rear haunches to accommodate the wider rubber and an upturned &ldquoducktail&rdquo rear spoiler. The RS 3.0 added twenty more horses, a racing chassis based on the RSR and brakes from the wicked 917 &mdash and also managed to reduce weight from its predecessor. Both the 2.7 RS and the 3.0 RS from these years are considered some of the most desirable 911s by collectors, largely because they were light, fast and pure in their design. Does any 911 get any better looking than this? We think not. It&rsquos no wonder that Singer Vehicle Design uses this as a base for their reimagined custom 911s.

(1974&ndash1977) 911 and 911S 2.7

A bump in engine displacement from 2.4 liters to 2.7 liters in 1974 gave the 911 a solid torque boost. Porsche also added K-Jetronic CIS Bosch fuel injection in the 911 and the 911S. Low-speed impact bumpers were added to accommodate crash requirements. Though this addition might seem undesirable for design on paper, Porsche did it in such a cohesive and unobtrusive manner that the design went essentially unchanged until 1990.

(1974&ndash1976) 911 Carrera 2.7

The Carrera 2.7 sold in America housed the 2.7-liter, 173 hp engine from the European 911S. It also offered the famous 1973 &ldquoducktail&rdquo spoiler as standard equipment, and later the iconic and much larger &ldquowhale tail&rdquo spoiler became an option on the Carrera, making the car look more aggressive and providing a more modern look. As a result, it was easy to confuse the Carrera 2.7 with the 930 Turbo, especially at a distance. A bit more sophisticated than the Ferrari-badged Pontiac Fiero, in our estimation.

(1975&ndash1989) 911 Turbo (930)

The 930 Turbo has certainly gone down in history as one of the most famous of the 911 breed, largely because it was the first 911 to make use of turbo power. In America it was first known by its internal &ldquo930&rdquo Porsche coding but shortly shifted to simply the &ldquo911 Turbo&rdquo. Everything about the car was made more performance-oriented. The fender bulges were enlarged for wider tires the huge whale tail was standard. The first models were powered by a 260 horsepower, 3.0-liter engine, and models from 1978 and after were upgraded to 300 hp, 3.3-liter engines with an intercooler added, providing better performance from the turbocharger. The 930 nabbed impressive racing chops in both FIA Group 4 and Group 5 racing.

(1978&ndash1983) 911SC

The SC was a new model for Porsche. It bore no &ldquoCarrera&rdquo name but instead carried over part of the 356SC name. The SC was powered by a 3.0-liter, 180 horsepower engine that was later boosted to 188 and then 204 hp. In 1982 Porsche capitalized on the SC by creating its first true 911 convertible, as opposed to the Targa: the 911SC Cabriolet. Far more expensive than the standard coupe, it sold quite successfully and marked the start of regular convertible 911 production for future 911 generations. Even more significant for Porsche&rsquos future was the decision to retain the 911 as an ongoing model. Porsche had originally planned to kill the 911 in 1982 and replace it with the front-engined 928. Instead, Porsche CEO Peter Schutz insisted that the 911 stay &mdash essentially, forever. A wiser move in the automotive industry was never made. Now, where is that 928?

(1984&ndash1989) 911 3.2 Carrera series

In 1984 Porsche revived the Carrera nameplate for the first time in seven years. That year&rsquos 3.2 marks the end of the 911 Classic design. As the name denotes, the engine&rsquos displacement was increased to 3.2 liters. Power jumped to 207 hp for the states and 231 hp elsewhere (we were robbed!). The domestic version got to 60 in a respectable 6.3 seconds. When Porsche changed the fuel mapping and programming, the 3.2&rsquos output was raised to 217 hp, while the overall driving experience was improved with system upgrades like fuel and ignition controls.

(1989&ndash1993) 964 Series

Borrowing heavily from the 959 supercar, the new Carrera 4 was Porsche&rsquos first four-wheel-drive production 911. The new car also introduced a new chassis, ABS, power steering and a deployable spoiler. Most noticeable, however, was the revamped aesthetic. Save for the classic first-gen cues like vertical rear taillights and the iconic round headlights, it brought the 911 into the modern age with larger bumpers and a more rounded shape. Purists critical of the four-wheel-drive were appeased with a rear-wheel-drive model in 1990 that sold alongside the Carrera 4.

(1990&ndash1994) 964 Turbo

The 964 Turbo carried over the 930 Turbo&rsquos potent 3.3-liter engine, and power was upped to a very capable 315 hp. As if this wasn&rsquot enough, Porsche dropped a 3.6-liter turbocharged engine with 355 horsepower in the back for its final year of production. The 964 remains one of the more desired of the 911 line and is considered a true automotive find.

(1994&ndash1997) 993 Series

The 993 marked another significant change for the 911&rsquos design. The car was sleeker, angling the headlights and taillights under complete design revisions. The 3.6-liter flat six stayed, and power was rated at 268 hp. The internals of the car were seriously upgraded along with the new design, including new multi-link rear suspension, improved chassis and an industry-first variable intake system. As a result, the car handled more smoothly and was easier to drive hard. Porsche kept the Carrera 4 but introduced an improved four-wheel-drive system. The new Targa no longer had a removable roof panel, instead showing off a retractable glass version for the first time. Now that the roof didn&rsquot have to get stowed, no Targa owner really had anything to complain about anymore.

(1995&ndash1997) 993 Turbo

The turbocharged 993 was significant in its power output (402 hp) and in its use of twin turbos and full-time all-wheel-drive for the first time in a production Porsche. The 911 Turbo S, which increased boost and added the now Turbo-standard side scoops, was sold alongside the Turbo. Many Porsche cognoscenti consider the 993 Turbo the 911&rsquos swan song: it marked the end of air-cooled 911s. They remain iconic from a design standpoint and coveted due to the finality of their cooling system. Bookmark it may be, but the 993 by no means marked an end to the 911&rsquos legacy in the pantheon of performance cars.

(1998&ndashpresent) Water-Cooled 911s

(1998&ndash2004) 996 Series

The introduction of a water-cooled engine in the new 996 marked the most significant change in 911 history. Purists poo-pooed it, calling it was an abomination. The car also looked different. The interior was more modern, with virtually zero cues from the old 911, and the &ldquocracked egg&rdquo headlights deviated from the iconic 911 circular lights. But the 996 brought a new future for the 911, allowing for an increase in power and refinement thanks to the 4 valves per cylinder &mdash something the air-cooled version could not provide. Purists griped about the new cooling system and the Boxster-like front end, but the new and improved 911&rsquos power and drivability also enticed new customers. In 2002, 911 customers complained enough such that both the two-wheel-drive Carrera and the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4 got nosejobs (including clear lens indicators) to further separate them from the cheaper Boxster. Power came first from a 3.4-liter engine with 296 hp and then from a 3.6-liter making 315 hp in 2002.

(1999&ndash2004) 996 GT3

The maddening 996 GT3 was all business and designed largely for track use everything about it was leaner and meaner. The car was lower, lighter and more powerful for a more focused driving experience. The water-cooled engine derived from the 911 GT1 produced a whopping 360 horsepower, later bumped to 381 horses. Thinned-out windows and the complete removal of the 911&rsquos rear seats helped drop weight. So much for bringing your short friends for a track-induced vomit-fest.

(2001&ndash2005) 996 Turbo

Now that the Turbo was established in the 911 lineup, Porsche delivered a 996 version in 2000. Twin-turbo powered, it delivered 414 hp in stock mode. With the added performance package, you could get 444 hp and do 0-60 in a supercar-like 3.8 seconds. The 996 Turbo was sold in coupe and cabriolet versions.

(2005&ndash2012) 997 Series

Porsche wisely went back to the 993 for design cues in the 997 Series. Gone were the cracked egg headlights from the 996 the cabin saw retro nods while maintaining modern themes. Power numbers for the Carrera and Carrera S were 321 hp and 350 hp, respectively. The 997 had bigger brakes, a stiffer suspension and the new PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), providing adjustable settings to adapt to changing driving styles. The Carrera 4 and 4S emerged in 2006, and the glass-roofed Targa made its way to the market in 2006.

997 Turbo

The 997 Turbo is the car that brought the 911 into the territory of insanity. 473 hp from the 3.6-liter twin turbo engine meant the car could accelerate to 60 in 3.5 seconds with a top speed of near 200 mph &mdash all this with better fuel economy than the 996 Turbo. It also borrowed the Cayenne SUV&rsquos all-wheel-drive system with Porsche Traction Management (PTM), improving the car&rsquos performance and overall handling in varying conditions.

997 GT3 RS

The speed-focused GT3 craziness continued with the 2006 GT3 RS, which was homologated for the international racing circuit. From the bonkers engine to the orange or green paint choices, everything about the RS screamed for attention. Unlike its slightly lesser qualified GT3 brother, the GT3 RS utilized the 911 Turbo&rsquos stiff chassis and wide body structure for improved handling. With upwards of 500 hp, a wider rear track, and a giant carbon fiber wing that looked ready for takeoff, the GT3 RS was a street car built for the track. Interiors were lightened, and the Euro-spec version even had a lightweight plexiglass rear window and a fat roll cage for increased stiffness. The RS was light (2,998 pounds), and the aerodynamic elements created enough downforce to pull your upper teeth from their sockets.

997 GT2 and GT2 RS

With the kind of power that makes current sports cars quake in their brake shoes, the 997 GT2 was the first 911 to break the 200 mph barrier. The 523 hp, 3.6-liter flat-six also launched the GT2 to 60 in under 3.5 seconds. With rear-wheel-drive, a manual transmission and ridiculous amounts of power, this wasn&rsquot the car for the unskilled. The RS was good for 612 hp and weighed 150 pounds less than the standard GT2 (the equivalent of kicking your wife out of the car) and represents the ultimate expression of the 997 as a driver&rsquos car. Top speed was 205 mph, and 60 mph came in a little over three seconds. If you could afford it, you could also probably handle the hospital bills if the car got away from you.

(2012&ndash?) 991

The current model 991 represents another huge improvement to the 911. Though the 911 has always been stunning, the 991 represents the most attractive modern iteration of the 911 we&rsquove seen. Because it&rsquos wider and longer in overall length and wheelbase, the car is easier to drive hard. Those increased dimensions are also noticeable to the eye, making the new 911 a fuller, more attractive car. Still, the more slender taillights make the bigger car seem sleeker from the rear view.

The 991 also makes great use of Porsche design DNA, taking interior cues from the Carrera GT supercar with it angled and button-happy center console. The Carrera is powered by a 350 hp 3.4-liter engine, while the S makes 400 hp from its larger 3.8-liter powerplant. Not only is the 991 more powerful, its copious use of aluminum drops the weight of the 991 by 110 pounds over the previous car. It&rsquos faster (0-60 in 4.6 seconds for the Carrera and 4.3 for the S, both with the PDK transmission). The 991 also comes with a seven-speed manual that rev-matches by throttle blipping, making shifting nearly seamless. Handling is also improved with the brilliant use of a torque vectoring system that brakes the inside wheel in turns. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) further improves handling by keeping the car flatter in turns and more stable at high speeds.

Humble beginnings of the Porsche 356

When the first edition rolled out of the manufacturing plant in Gmund, Austria it started a tradition that led to a series of innovations and new generations of the flagship model. The Porsche 356 was born in a facility where just 50 cars were built in 1948. It would soon become one of the biggest successes in motor sports, gaining immense popularity throughout the world. But the first 356 was created during a time of tremendous political upheaval in the world.

Porsche: Excellence Was Expected : The Complete History of Porsche Sports and Racing Cars (An Automobile Quarterly Library Series Book)

Ludvigsen, Karl E.

Published by Automobile Quarterly, 1977

Used - Hardcover
Condition: Good

Condition: Good. Some corner dings. The cover has visible markings and wear. The dust jacket is missing. The pages show normal wear and tear.

  • Porsche 928 Coupe: Issued from 1978 to 1980
  • Porsche 928 S Coupe: Issued from 1980 to 1982
  • Porsche 928 S2 Coupe: Issued from 1982 to 1987
  • Porsche 928 S4 Coupe: Issued from 1987 to 1993
  • Porsche 928 GT Club Sport Coupe: Issued in 1980
  • Porsche 928 GTS Coupe: Issued from 1993 to 1994

Each of the models sought to achieve a revamp of the initial version in order to either improve performance or to improve its interior and exterior design. In some cases, buyers were able to specify certain features. One case in point was the 928 S2 Coupe, which featured luxurious interior equipment additions such as power leather seats, electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, cassette stereo in both AM and FM, cruise control and metallic paint. Another improved model was the European 929 S4 which featured a more powerful engine, better ergonomic seat design with Linen leather upholstery, and a much better transmission.

The last 928 update was released in 1992 in Europe and 1992 in the United States. The 928 had been a forceful presence in the supercar industry for 16 years. The last model was the most comfortable, featured the most powerful engine, and the most luxurious interior of all.

Though an average Porsche 928 sells for about $78,000 and up, the 1979 Porsche 928 driven by Tom Cruise in Risky Business sold for about $490,000 a few years ago. It was sold by Volo Auto Museum at auction in Calabasas Hills, California, and was the 5- speed manual transmission car that taught Cruise how to drive a stick shift.

With a top speed of 146 mph, the Porsche 928 S model was literally the fastest car sold in 1983 throughout the United States. In the film Risky Business, Cruise’s line, “Porsche. There is no substitute.” created an entire generation of Porsche lovers. The film was not only the film which many consider the one that launched Cruise’s career, but Porsche enthusiasts call the car he drove the world’s most famous Porsche 928. To say the film and the car were hot is an understatement. Almost everyone who saw the film wanted the car, or wanted to be Cruise, or both.

The Porsche Museum recently created an exhibit “The Transaxle Era. From the 924 to the 928.” This special 40th anniversary exhibit honors the unique place the transaxle powertrain configuration played in the 928 model and all others built with the front-mounted engine and rear axle transmission. The transaxle design brought significant success to the company, not only monetarily but in terms of prestige. The new design was built and sold to almost 400,000 customers around the world.

The concept car 928 S4 cabriolet was never produced, but this prototype car is being shown next to five additional 928 versions. Though the transaxle era lasted more than 15 years, its active production of new models eventually came to an end. However, the company recognizes this time period as being the one that changed the company’s path forever. Its innovative designs put Porsche in the forefront of supercar technology in a way that has not been duplicated. For this reason, the company has been participating in exhibits, showing the car models which created history.

There has been much speculation about future 928 concept cars either currently in design or scheduled for design. But, Porsche has yet to advertise along these lines on its main website. The company has opened a development center with three new buildings. These house the electronics integration center, a concept car construction facility and an aero-acoustic wind tunnel. Located in Baden-Wurttemberg, the Weissach center is said to represent German engineering expertise. The center is focused on technology that is cutting edge. The development center represents the largest monetary investment that Porsche has made to date. It is nearby the test track that the company has used since 1962.

One French designer, Anthony Colard, recently produced a new concept car design for a modern 928 Porsche. He used his design during a job interview with Porsche. He’s not an employee of Porsche. In fact, he was told that his designs were not clean or simple. So, he countered by taking two weeks to create the concept car which he said would bring the 928 model back into the current Porsche line. The designer believes that his car is the best of a blend of Porsche old and new. The concept car images and information was posted online in a 2014 article by Leith Porsche, for fans of the 928 to consider and enjoy.

It is the hope of many Porsche fans, that the company will indeed develop a new 928 concept car for the future. Until then, current and future Porsche owners may join groups such as the Porsche Club of America to access news and events related to the 928 and other classic Porsche cars.

The First Porsche: Ahead of It's Time

Porshce is finally getting involved with hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, and we think it’s about time, right? I mean, hybrid technology is now as old as the first 1997 Toyota Prius, right? Well… no, not if you’ve been paying attention. The truth is the first Porsche that Dr. Ferdinand Porsche created was a full electric car and his second was the first-ever gasoline-hybrid car created… and this was way back in 1898!

The first car made by Porsche for the Egger-Lohner company was, like most production vehicles of 1898, an electric car - its primary competition were steamies, as well as other electrics. Gasoline and diesels weren’t very popular yet, primarily due to the difficulties involved in starting them, the horrific smells that they produced, and the challenge of getting fuel. Porsche’s car was known as the Egger-Lohner electric vehicle C.2 Phaeton model, but is better known as the P1. Young Ferdinand etched “P1” into all the major components, standing for “Porsche #1,” of course. It hit the streets of Vienna, Austria, on June 26, 1898. It’s first serious test came in a race for electric cars in September 1899, the contestants had to complete 40km (24 miles.) With three passengers on board and Ferdinand at the wheel, the P1 smoked the competition with more than half the field failing to go the requisite distance. Only four electric P1s were produced and just the original is known to remain. After its discovery inside a warehouse last year, Porsche moved it to their recently-opened Museum in Stuttgart Germany. Much of the wood rotted while it was parked for 112 years, but the basics remains intact.

In order to give museum visitors a better idea of how the car looked in 1900, opaque panels were added, as seen in the above photo.

For his next trick, Ferdinand Porsche designed a truly radical car. His first car was simply a better, more economical and faster version of what was already around, electric cars. But this creation, known as the Semper Vivus, and later sold as the Mixte, by the newly renamed Lohner-Porsche company, was unconceivable - except in the mind of Ferdinand Porsche.

First, the prototype was front wheel drive with an electric motor on each front hub. Subsequent versions were all wheel drive, with all four wheels driven by their own motor. The Semper Vivus had two gasoline engines. Neither engine would actually power a wheel rather they each drove an electric generator supplying both the wheel-hub motors and accumulators with electricity. This is what has become known as a serial hybrid drive. Essentially, this means that you never had to find an outlet to plug in your car (although you could).

The gasoline engines on the prototype sat between the front and back seats, making it a less-than-perfect situation. The car had other issues, too – as anything so radical must. The electric motors, 44 batteries, and gasoline engines combined for significant weight, as well as the wooden structure of the car (this was before the invention of carbon fiber) -and the setup allowed road grime and mud to enter the vehicle. Still, the car was so amazing that it killed at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, with orders beginning to roll in. Customers would make special requests and Lohner-Porsche would fill them. This helped to change the design of the basic car, which soon had a single engine in the rear of the car, alleviating many of the prototype’s problems.

The name, Semper Vivus is Latin for “Always Alive” and is meant to allay range anxiety, a major setback for early manufacturers of electric vehicles. However, the high cost of the vehicle, which started at an equivalent of over $80,000 in today’s money, was too much for consumers and the automakers were forced to focus on more sellable products. And so the brand we all know today as Porsche evolved… and the rest is history. Porsche recently re-created a Semper Vivus hybrid as a tribute to its founder. The work began in 2007 and Porsche has provided the pictures of that build, led by coachbuilder Hubert Dresche, in the gallery below:

The Complete History Of The Mazda RX-7

The RX nomenclature has become a huge part of Mazda’s history and while there have been many legendary RX cars over the years, the most famous is almost certainly the RX-7. There were three generations of the RX-7 which were produced from 1978 until 2002, with over 810,000 cars being built in that time.

It has become one of the most iconic cars of all time and made Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list five times. It has also become famous through film and video games as well appearing in the likes of Initial D, The Fast and the Furious Serious, Need for Speed, Gran Turismo and many others.

This is the complete history of the Mazda RX-7.

Mazda Savanna RX-7 (SA22C/FB)

Series 1 (1978 – 1980)

Mazda’s first RX-7 model was launched in March 1978 and replaced the Savanna RX-3. The car was designed by a team led Matasaburo Maeda, whose son Ikuo would go on to design the Mazda2 and Mazda RX-8. Compared to Mazda’s previous offerings, the new Savanna RX-7 was a true, hot blooded sports car, which followed the trend of other Japanese manufacturers.

The RX-7 also had an advantage compared to its competition. It was light, small and the compact rotary engine meant the power unit could be placed behind the front axle, improving the cars weight distribution. Another benefit of the RX-7 was that the rotary engine had financial advantages in Japan as the displacement was below 1.5 litres. This was a significant determination when paying the Japanese annual road tax which kept the RX-7 affordable to most buyers, while having more power than the traditional inline engines.

Mazda fitted the RX-7 with a 1146cc 12A engine that produced around 105hp and 144Nm of torque. The 12A was used in a number of Mazda’s other cars including the RX-2, RX-3 and RX-4. It was also the first engine built outside of western Europe or the U.S to finish the 24 hours of Le Mans.

The 105hp engine combined with the RX-7’s low 1,024kg kerb weight meant that the car could go from 0-100km/h in around 9.5 seconds and would go onto a top speed of 185km/h.

The Savanna RX-7 was regarded as one of the best handling and performing cars of its day. The 50/50 weight distribution combined with the “live axle” 4-link rear suspension and the low weight made it a blast in the corners.

Series 2 (1981 – 1983)

Mazda introduced the second series of the RX-7 in 1981. A number of changes were made to the RX-7’s body for the second series. These included integrated plastic-covered bumpers, wide black rubber body side mouldings, wraparound taillights and updated engine control components.

The four speed manual was dropped, leaving only a 5 speed manual option left and the automatic versions. Overall, the car was slightly longer but weighed in at 995kg now instead of 1,024kg. Four-wheel disc brakes were included in the GSL package, along with clutch-type rear limited slip differential.

Power was increased by about 10hp for the second series RX-7, making it 115hp at 7000rpm and 152Nm of torque. The weight reduction and increased power meant that the series 2 could go from 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 193km/h.

With the introduction of the turbocharged rotary engined Cosmo, Mazda decided to fit a turbo to the top end RX-7’s 12A engine. This was introduced in Japan in September 1983 and produced just over 160hp at 6,500rpm.

A new “Impact Turbo” was designed by Mazda to deal with the different exhaust gas characteristics of a rotary engine. Both rotor vanes of the turbine were redesigned and made smaller. The turbine in the new design had a twenty percent higher speed than a turbo used for a conventional engine.

Series 3 (1984 – 1985)

Mazda continued to offer the GSL package for the RX-7, but also introduced the GSL-SE. This had a fuel-injected 1.3 L 13B RE-EGI engine that produced 135hp and 183Nm of torque, a significant upgrade over the standard car. It also featured larger brake rotors than the GSL and upgraded suspension with stiffer springs and shocks.

In 1985 Mazda launched the last RX-7 Finale in Australia. This was to be the final RX-7 of the generation and it featured a brass plaque mentioning the number the car was as well as “Last of a legend” on the plaque. The finale had special stickers and a blacked out section between the window & rear hatch.

Altogether Mazda sold a total of 474,565 first generation RX-7s, with nearly eighty percent of those selling in the United States alone.

Mazda RX-7 FC

Launched in 1985 the second generation series 4 RX-7 continued down the same path as the first gen RX-7, but with some slight differences. While the first gen RX-7 was considered to be a pure sportscar, the FC tended toward the softer sport-tourer trends of its day, sharing some similarities with the HB series Cosmo.

Mazda upgraded the rear end suspension design by fitting an Independent Rear Suspension setup. This improved the handling of the car and reduced oversteer. Steering was also made more precise with the use of rack and pinion steering that replaced the old recirculating ball steering of the first gen.

Disc brakes also became standard on most models and Mazda introduced their Dynamic Tracking Suspension System (DTSS) in the 2nd generation RX-7. The revised independent rear suspension incorporated special toe control hubs which were capable of introducing a limited degree of passive rear steering under cornering loads.

DTSS was combined with the Auto Adjusting Suspension (AAS) system for the FC. AAS changed the damping characteristics of the car according to the road and driving conditions. The system provided anti-squat and dive effects, and compensated for any camber changes.

Mazda’s design team for the car, led by Chief Project Engineer Akio Uchiyama, wanted to create something that would appeal to the American market, as that is where the majority of the first gen’s sales were. The design team used the Porsche 924 and 944 as a basis for the FC as they were two of the most popular sports cars around that time.

The 12A engine was ditched for the FC and Mazda went with the fuel-injected 13B-VDEI for the series 4 RX-7. This naturally aspirated version produced around 146hp and the turbocharged model made around 182hp.

While the design of the FC was much heavier than the first gen at around 1,223 to 1,584kg (depending on trip and specs), the car continued to win accolades from the press. The FC RX-7 was Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year for 1986, and the Turbo II was on Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list for a second time in 1987.

Mazda increased the power of both the naturally aspirated and turbocharged models of the RX-7 for the Series 5. In naturally aspirated form the car produced 160hp, while the turbo model made around 200hp, with some RX-7 turbos putting out as much as 215hp.


In 1988 Mazda introduced a convertible version of the RX-7 with either a naturally aspirated or turbocharged engine. The convertible was available in all markets and it featured a removable rigid section over the passengers and a folding textile rear section with a heat-able rear glass window. The convertible assembly of the FC was precisely engineered, and it dropped into the RX-7 body assembly as a complete unit, which was a first in convertible production.

Production of the FC convertible lasted until 1991, with Mazda making a limited run of 500 cars for the Japanese Domestic Market.

10 th Anniversary RX-7

To celebrate ten years of the RX-7, Mazda created a new RX-7 model that was based on the Turbo II RX-7. Production of this car was limited to 1,500 units and it featured a Crystal White monochromatic paint scheme with matching white body side mouldings, taillight housings, mirrors and 16-inch alloy 7-spoke wheels.

Other features specific to the 10 th anniversary RX-7 include the all black leather interior, which included not just the seats, but the door panel inserts as well and a leather-wrapped 10 th anniversary edition MOMO steering wheel and MOMO leather shift knob. There were also 10 th anniversary floormats and the exterior glass is bronze tinted (for the North American model only).

Mazda made two series of the 10 th anniversary edition, with the most notable difference between the two being a black Mazda logo decal on the front bumper cover of the Series I, which the Series II did not have.

GTU (1989 – 1990)

A limited edition GTU RX-7 was introduced in 1989 to commemorate the RX-7’s IMSA domination. The GTU was a more stripped down version and manual windows were standard, with the sunroof and air conditioning being optional for buyers.

The car featured similar components to the Turbo RX-7, such as four piston front brakes, rear ventilated brake rotors, vehicle speed sensing power steering, a one-piece front chin spoiler, Turbo model cloth seats, a leather steering wheel, 16 inch wheels, 205/55VR tires, and a 4.300 Viscous-type limited slip differential (all other FC LSD’s were 4.100).

Only 1,100 GTUs were built in 1989, with a further 100 made in 1990. Thanks to the changes Mazda made to the GTU it had quicker acceleration than the non-turbo version of the RX-7 FC.

Japan and the RX-7 FC

The Japanese market only received the Turbo version of the RX-7, with the naturally aspirated version only being available for export. This was because insurance companies in Western countries would charge more for a turbo car.

Japan also received a special edition FC RX-7 called the Infini. This was limited to 600 units a year and featured a lighter weight, upgraded suspension, more power, a better ECU, 15-inch BBS aluminium alloy wheels, an aluminium bonnet with a scoop, a new bumper kit and bronze coloured window glass. The Infini was considered to be the ultimate RX-7 until the third generation FD came along in 1992.

Mazda produced a total of 272,027 RX-7 FCs with 86,000 of them selling in 1986 in the USA alone.

Mazda RX-7 FD

Following the Mazda RX-7 FC’s production end, the Hiroshima based car manufacturer launched a new RX-7 called the FD in 1992. The FD returned to the lightweight design philosophy of the first generation RX-7, as the FC model failed to entertain drivers like the original.

Mazda’s new RX-7 FD was the work of designer Yoichi Sato and was one of the most striking designs to come out of Japan at the time of its launch in 1992. Its low-slung, shrink-wrapped bodywork was a complete contrast to the boxy lines of the FC. The FD featured a curb weight just under 1,300kg, which combined with the low-centre of gravity, increased power over the FC and the improved driving dynamics made the RX-7 FD one of the greatest sports cars on the market.

The car also featured the mighty 1.3-litre 13B-REW power unit, that was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan boosting power to 252hp in 1993 and finally 276hp by the time production ended in Japan in 2002. The first turbo (10 psi) kicked in at lower engine rpms (1,800), while the second one (10 psi) activated at higher rpms (4,000). A precise 5-speed manual transmission was offered for those who wanted the ultimate driving experience, as well as a 4 speed automatic option.

Mazda kept using the rotary engine for a number of reasons. The unusually high output for such a compact engine was impressive, as was its stratospheric 8,000 rpm rev limit. Additionally, since a rotary engine’s cylinders rotate around the crankshaft, it had no need for a big heavy flywheel, since there were no reciprocating components to cause engine vibration. This let Mazda keep the weight and size of the engine at a minimum.

The engine itself was based on the one used in Mazda’s Cosmo coupe (1990 until 1996). This was a Japanese domestic market four-seater GT that combined a turbocharger and a rotary engine for the first time, and also introduced the first application of digital sat-nav.

Series 6 (1992 – 1995)

The series 6 RX-7 had the highest sales of the RX-7 FD era and was exported throughout the world. Mazda sold the RX-7 through its luxury brand ɛ̃fini as the ɛ̃fini RX-7. ɛ̃fini was a luxury division of Mazda that operated between 1991 and 1997. Only the 1993 to 1995 model years of the series 6 were sold in North America.

RX-7 SP (1995)

Australia received a special version of the RX-7, named the RX-7 SP. This launched in 1995 and was developed to achieve homologation for racing in the Australian GT Production Car Series and the Eastern Creek 12 Hour production car race. Initially, only 25 were made with an additional 10 built by Mazda to satisfy demand. The car produced 274hp and 357Nm of torque, much higher than the standard model. Other modifications included a carbon fibre 120-litre fuel tank (the standard car had a 76-litre tank), a race-developed carbon fibre nose cone and spoiler, 17-inch wheels, larger brake rotors and calipers, a 4.3:1-ratio rear differential, a more efficient intercooler, a new exhaust and finally a modified ECU. Mazda also reduced the weight of the car to 1,218kg through the use of carbon-fibre and Recaro seats.

The standard RX-7 FD was no slouch when it came to performance, but the changes made to the SP version turned the RX-7 into a serious road-going race car. Mazda’s RX-7 SP could match the Porsche 911 RS CS and it even won the 1995 Eastern Creek 12 Hour, giving Mazda the winning 12hr trophy for a fourth straight year. The same car also gained a podium finish at the international tarmac rally Targa Tasmania months later. To celebrate the success of this car, the Bathurst R RX-7 was released in 2001 exclusively in Japan.

Series 7 (1996 – 1998)

Mazda made slight modifications to the RX-7 in 1996. These changes included a 16-bit ECU, an improved intake system and a simplified vacuum routing manifold, which increased power by about 10 horsepower. This power increase was only noticeable on the manual version of the car as it only came into effect above 7,000rpm, which was the redline for the automatic RX-7. The Type RZ model was also equipped with larger brake rotors and 17 inch BBS wheels from the factory.

Series 8 (1998-2002)

The Series 8 RX-7 was the final series and was only available in Japan. Mazda installed more efficient turbos and improved the intercooling and radiator cooling performance by fitting a new front fascia. On the inside, the steering wheel, instrument cluster and seats were changed for the Series 8. A new adjustable spoiler was also fitted to some models and the ABS system was improved to improve cornering ability while braking.

Three power levels were available with the automatic version getting 251hp, the Type RB came with 261hp and the top end models came with 276hp. The Type RS was fitted with Bilstein suspension, 17-inch wheels and also featured a reduced weight of 1,280kg. Mazda also released the Type RZ version that was essentially a Type RS, but with a weight of 1,270kg. This car also featured a custom red racing themed interior and gun-metal grey coloured BBS wheels.

Mazda increased the power levels for the Series 8 by installing a less restrictive muffler and more efficient turbochargers which featured abradable compressor seals. This meant that the power could be bumped up to 276hp and 333.8Nm of torque, which was the maximum Japanese limit at the time. They also increased the length of 5 th gear to reduce cruising rpm and improve fuel efficiency.

The most collectable of the all the RX-7s were the last 1,500 run out specials. These were dubbed the “Spirit R” and Mazda combined all the extra features they had used on previous limited-special RX-7s, along with new ones like cross drilled brakes. Mazda stated that “The Type-A Spirit R model is the ultimate RX-7, boasting the most outstanding driving performance in its history.”

The UK and the RX-7

The RX-7 FD went on sale in 1992 in the United Kingdom. Interestingly, sales of the RX-7 were poor upon launch and in a bid to increase sales, Mazda reduced the price from £32,000 to £25,000. They also refunded the difference to those customers who bought the car before that was announced.

Just 210 FDs were officially imported into the UK, with many more subsequently arriving from Japan in the late-’90s, courtesy of the Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) import scheme

Unlike previous generations of the RX-7, the FD no longer complied with Japanese Government dimension regulations, and Japanese buyers were liable for yearly taxes for driving the wider car compared to previous generations, which ultimately affected sales. Mazda also offered two new smaller sports cars in their range, the MX-5 and the MX-3, which also impacted sales of the FD. Altogether 88,589 RX-7 FDs were created.

The RX-7’s racing heritage is long with its first big test at the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the 13B version of the car failed to qualify by one second. Mazda wasn’t put off by this, with the company returning with a 12A-equipped RX-7 the next year. This time they managed to not only qualify, but finish in 21 st place overall.

The same car returned for the 1981 race, along with two other 13B powered RX-7s however, none of them managed to finish the race. Mazda returned again in 1982 with the two 13B cars, with one finishing in 14 th and the other not finishing at all. The RX-7 was retired from Le Mans racing in 1983 and was replaced by the 717C prototype.

Mazda’s RX-7 also made an appearance at the Spa 24 Hours race, with three Savanna RX-7s entering in 1981. These were run by Tom Walkinshaw racing and after hours of battling with several BMW 530i’s and Ford Capris, the RX-7 driven by Pierre Dieudonné and Tom Walkinshaw won the event.

The RX-7 was entered into the IMSA GTU series in 1979 in America. In its first year, the RX-7 placed first and second at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and claimed the GTU series championship. The car continued winning, claiming the GTU championship seven years in a row and took the GTO championship ten years in a row from 1982.

Mazda’s RX-7 has won more IMSA races than any other car model and Pettit Racing won the GT2 Road Racing Championship in 1998, with a 1993 RX-7. Pettit had 63 more points than the second place time. The car that won the championship in 1998 also finished the Daytona Rolex 24 Hour Race four times.

The winning didn’t just stop in Europe and America with the RX-7. It continued to Australia with Alan Moffat making a series of wins over a four-year span in the RX-7. Beginning in 1981, Moffat took the RX-7 to victory in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship, as well as a trio of Bathurst 1000 podiums, in 1981 (3rd with Derek Bell), 1983 (second with Yoshimi Katayama) and 1984 (third with former motorcycle champion Gregg Hansford).

Peter McLeod won the 1983 Australian Endurance Championship with his RX-7 and Moffat won the event in 82 and 84. The RX-7’s racing career ended in Australia when the country began moving to Group A regulations. Mazda did not want to homologate the RX-7 for Group A as it meant they would have to build 5000 units, plus a further 500 evolution models.

Believe it or not, the RX-7s motorsport career didn’t end on the tarmac. The car was entered in the World Rally Championship, with its first debut at the RAC Rally in Wales in 1981 where it finished 11 th .

The Mazda RX-7 is one of the greatest sports cars ever produced. It dared to be different and succeeded, making a lasting impression on the motoring industry. This is the history of the Mazda RX-7 and everything you need to know about the legendary car.

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History of the Porsche 911 Turbo

It was at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1973 that a silver prototype, perched on the Porsche stand, wowed onlookers with its distinctive appearance. From the familiar sloped 911 engine cover extended a new, wild-looking rear spoiler with air intake louvres and a thick rubber lip around its edges. Visually, the show car looked like the 911 Carrera RS 3.0, a car that had just become available for sale, but the badges on the rear wheel arches made it clear that, in reality, this was a thoroughly new model. The badges said ‘Turbo’, and from this point forward that motif would develop yet another Porsche tradition. Join us as we explore the history of the Porsche 911 Turbo.

Underneath the rear spoiler and explaining the turbo badges was a flat-6 engine with a single turbocharger. It developed 280 horsepower and enabled a top speed over 160 mph. These sounded like figures from a pure-bred racing machine, and that is essentially what the new car was.

Inspired by their motorsport program, engineers at Porsche already had been researching ways to increase engine power for a number of years.

Indeed, in 1969 the company built a 6.0-liter flat-16 naturally aspirated ‘Can-Am’ racing engine that produced 770 hp.

The engineers calculated that in eventual 7.2-liter form, 880 hp was possible, but in the end it never raced. In fact, it barely even ran because Porsche had another, more promising engine on the test bench, a turbocharged version of the 5.0-liter flat-12 found in the 917.

In time, this would become one of the most powerful racing engines in history, with 1,200 horsepower for racing and even more in qualifying trim.

It was with that ambitious program that Porsche’s long relationship with turbocharging began.

Following two consecutive championship titles in the unlimited Can-Am series, Porsche then applied what they had learned to the 911.

Back in 1969, a 2.0-liter turbo flat ‘six’ from a 911 had actually been tested on the bench, but it was not until early 1973 that road trials began with a 2.7-liter engine boosted by a single turbocharger.

It was in this form that the car made its public debut as a ‘concept’ shown at Frankfurt in September of that year, arousing interest everywhere with the huge ‘Turbo’ graphics on the rear haunches.

Undeterred by the political environment in the Middle East and the impending fuel crisis, Porsche forged ahead with the car’s development, and when the production car appeared at the 1974 Paris Motor Show the specification had evolved noticeably.

The engine was enlarged to 3.0-liters in order to bolster off-boost performance, and it made a claimed 260 hp at 5,500 rpm and 343 Nm at 4,000 rpm.

A new, stronger gearbox handled the torque, but featured only four-speeds, and there was no boost gauge in the cockpit. Even so, the motoring press immediately sang their praise for the new 911. Britain’s Motor magazine even called it “The finest driving machine you can buy”.

1974 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0

The car was clearly quite the performer, but it was also an ambitious step into the future.

Turbos were not unheard of in racing but were still very rare on the street, and the few road cars that did toy with the idea of turbocharging were ultimately unsuccessful.

The boost in power resulting from the turbo usually meant a drastic reduction in engine life, but Porsche did not shy away from the design challenges and the company’s engineers applied their characteristically advanced technical knowledge and practicality to the turbo concept.

Within Porsche, there had been debate as to what kind of car the Turbo should really be. Some were of the opinion that it should be more racing-oriented as was the case with the RS versions of the 911, but Chairman Ernst Fuhrmann felt that the Turbo lent itself to the identity of a high-performance GT, with significant creature comforts and a premium price tag. Fuhrmann was the boss, and ever since that has been the basic template for the 911 Turbo.

After a successful first run, for 1978 the 911 Turbo (all Turbos from 1975-1989 were known internally as the ‘930’) underwent a thorough update.

Engine displacement went up to 3.3-liters, an intercooler was added to the turbo, the drivetrain was upgraded, a new brake system was added and the tires were wider.

Thanks to the intercooler, the 930 made the magic figure of 300 horsepower, and the car became an instant classic. This 930 would last until 1989 with subtle modifications along the way, with the final year of production getting a five-speed gearbox.

Its replacement really marks the end of the first phase in life for the Turbo, and it wasn’t until 1991 that the 911 Turbo returned, this time based on the new 964.

1977 Porsche 930 Turbo 3.3

This new 964-based Turbo was clearly made with everyday livability in mind, as it had better cockpit ventilation and power steering, but engine power and aerodynamics were better as well, in keeping with Porsche’s tradition of gradual and constant improvement.

The new Turbo got a 3.6-liter, 964-based engine in 1993, but this was the last of the rear-drive, single-turbo cars.

The next 911 Turbo would take a bigger leap forward and set yet another benchmark for performance cars.

It began with the 993-based Turbo that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1995. The 3.6-liter engine now had not one turbocharger but two, and was controlled by an advanced engine management system.

Power jumped to 408 horsepower and 540 Nm of torque, much of which was available from surprisingly low down in the rev range. Just as surprising was the introduction of four-wheel-drive, a feature that has stuck ever since, as well as the new six-speed gearbox.

But possibly even more significant that all of this was the introduction of the 996 Carrera in 1997, the first all-new 911 to date.

It was also the first water-cooled 911, and a Turbo version was soon to follow.

In Porsche’s R&D center at Weissach, a new motor was concocted and eventually became known as the ‘Mezger’ engine after its designer Hans Mezger, who had actually helped design the engine for the 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’ of 1978, the most extreme racing 911 ever constructed by Porsche.

The new 911 Turbo produced 420 hp thanks to its two turbochargers, and top speed peaked just below 200 mph. Another new addition was PSM, the electronic Porsche Stability Management control system, although its intervention was rarely needed.

Once again, the 911 Turbo had redefined performance in a compact, usable package, and this was further developed in 2006 with the advent of the 997-based model, which featured up to 679 Nm through a temporary over-boost function on the turbo.

It also introduced the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) multi-plate clutch system to split the torque to the front axle instead of the old viscous coupling, a development like the ‘PSK’ system that debuted on the 959 quite a few years earlier.

In 2010 the second-generation 997 Turbo appeared. The ‘Mezger’ motor had been replaced by an all-new 3.8-liter one that featured direct injection. It made 500 horsepower and 700 Nm of torque on over-boost.

Porsche was also, after first developing the technology on its turbocharged racing cars a quarter of a century before, finally able to give their 911 Turbo a twin-clutch PDK gearbox. The Turbo S, with 530 horsepower, a 3.3 second 0-62 time, and PDK gearbox, was the ultimate expression of the 911 Turbo until the 991-based version of 2013 proved even more impressive.

History of the 911 Turbo, highlights:

  • The original Turbo features the ‘Whale Tail’ spoiler, developed from the 3.0 RS. Later 3.3-liter cars have the ‘Tea Tray’ intercooler spoiler, identified by a flat deck area and a thick rubber lip around the edge
  • Porsche overcame turbo lag, the pause in acceleration found lower in the rev, by charge pressure control via an exhaust bypass valve, which until then had only been used in motor sport. This complex control system made it possible to size the turbocharger so it built up more pressure at lower engine speeds and generated more torque
  • Production of the 911 Turbo 3.0 totalled 2,876 units by 1977
  • When Motor achieved 160.1 mph during its road test of the 3.3 Turbo in 1979, the car became the fastest production car the magazine had tested to date. At 12.3 seconds to 100mph from rest, it was also the quickest in terms of acceleration
  • Group B 911 Turbos finished 11th, 13th and 15th at Le Mans in 1983, winning the category outright. They were effectively just lightly-modified road cars
  • The original 1973 911 Turbo concept car from the Frankfurt Motor Show survives to this day. Its 3.0 RS body now houses a 3.0 RS engine
  • 930 sales in America were halted at the end of 1979 due to emissions regulations. The model returned in 1986 with a catalytic converter
  • When it was launched in February of 2000, the 996 Turbo was hailed as the ‘world’s lowest emitting automobile’. This was made possible by four valves per cylinder, water cooling, and the first use of VarioCam Plus variable valve timing.
  • The 997 Turbo was the first gasoline-powered production car to feature variable geometry turbochargers, hitherto only available on diesel cars
  • The first 911 Turbo to feature four-wheel-drive was the 993-based model introduced in 1995
  • The first 911 Turbo to be available with an optional automatic gearbox was the 996-based model introduced in 2000. PDK arrived in 2010
  • 20,664 of the original (930) 911 Turbos were built, split between 3,227 examples of the 3.0-liter model and 17,437 of the 3.3-liter. Later production included Targa and Cabriolet derivatives, along with rare ‘slant nose’ models incorporating pop-up headlights
  • The most powerful, air-cooled, production line built 911 Turbo ever was the 993 Turbo S model of 1997. It made 430 horsepower
  • Continuing the tradition of the 911 Turbo as a technology pioneer, the latest Type 991 model features the world’s first variable front spoiler – powered by pneumatic actuators depending on vehicle speed
  • The latest 911 Turbo S can lap the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in 7 min 27 secs – in 1997, the lap time for the Type 993 Turbo was 8 min 12 secs
  • The 911 Turbo had an especially prominent fan very early on. Professor Ferry Porsche drove his early 911 Turbo with chassis number 930 770 088 until 16 June, 1980, for a total of 8,200 kms. Equipped with a steel sliding sunroof, air conditioning, brown leather upholstery and many other extras, this car has since been part of the Porsche Museum collection

History of the Porsche 911 Turbo – Photo Gallery

/> Five generations of the 911 Turbo: 1975-2000 /> 1975 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 Coupe /> 1975 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.0 Coupe
/> Porsche 964 Turbo /> Porsche 993 Turbo /> Porsche 993 Turbo
/> Porsche 993 Turbo /> Porsche 996 Turbo /> 1980 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3 Coupe
/> 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.3 Coupe /> Five generations of the 911 Turbo: 1975-2000

Porsche 356 C

The fourth and final model in the 356 series was produced in 1964-65. A total of 16,678 units of the 356C were produced until production ceased in 1966. Porsche held on to the four-speed manual transmission, but new disc brakes were added.

1965 Porsche 356 C 1600 C Coupé by Karmann
Tom Gidden ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

There were no visible changes to the new T6, which was also referred to as the SC. The model came with an option for an upgrade to a more powerful engine. The following engines were offered:

  • 1.6 Liter Type 616/15 B4 (1600 C)
  • 1.6 Liter Type 616/16 B4 (1600 SC)
  • 1.6 Liter Type 616/26 B4 (1600 SC, police car version)
  • 2.0 Liter Type 587/1 B4 (Carrera 2)
  • 2.0 Liter Type 587/2 B4 (Carrera 2)

There was a major redesign of the 356Cs engine. A new 95 hp SC engine was used that became known as the most powerful pushrod engine offered by the company. First releases of the 356C were limited to Europe, but later shipments went to the U.S.

1965 Porsche 356 C 1600 C Coupé by Karmann
Tom Gidden ©2019 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The final ten models of the Porsche 356 were made special-order for the Dutch police. The car was chosen because it had the power and excellent performance that met the demands of Dutch law enforcement. The cars were 1965 models but not assembled until 1966.

Porsche 356 C 1600 SC (1964-65)

Distinctive features of the Porsche 356 C 1600 SC include:

  • Raised bumper with bumper guards with pronounced tapering at the top.
  • One-piece curved windscreen.
  • Flat hub caps
  • Logo on the rear with additional 󈭊”
  • Front baggage compartment hood slightly squared off
  • Air grille in front of the windscreen.
  • Filler flap in the right front wing

Valuation of 1965 Porsche 356 C 1600 SC

Condition Value
Concours $176,000
Excellent $144,000
Good $110,000
Fair $65,000
Valuation of 1965 Porsche 356 C 1600 SC as of September 2020. Courtesy of Hagerty

With the final police Dutch Cabriolet models, production of the Porsche 356 came to its end. The car established a deserved reputation for its speed, style, and excellent handling. When 356 production ended in 1965, approximately 76,000 cars had been produced.

The Porsche 356 has a unique place in automotive history. The car arrived on the scene during a time when the world was recovering from intense chaos. The popularity of the car soared to great heights and then was succeeded by the 911, another outstanding member of the Porsche family.


Couple of things….. the “reason” for the 356 was not so much the fun of driving a smaller, nimble car (although that “fun” part is true)…but instead…..the reason was more forced upon them due to purely economic realities of a fledgling company getting off the ground after the war….. by using as many common parts and pieces from the VW as possible. Let’s not get too poetric here for the reason.

That all said, still a nice and concise summary that otherwise would require a deep-dive into Ludvigsen’s book… good job.

In 1974 I owned #10572, sold it to John Bond Jr. It was a project vechicles at that time, sure wish I could’ve kept it but having cars like this takes money and I have none.

Very nostalgic for me as my first vehicle was a1953 1500 super. It was of course wonderful. That was in 1966. In 󈨈 I bought a 1963 356b. It had been owned by Tom Countryman who had been scca national champion running another 356 he had set up the engine and suspension and ordered it with what t was told were airport gears. At any rate, it topped out at 125 mph and cruised comfortably at about 105. I won’t say how I know this, but in the late 1960’s at least several western states seem to had no speed limit on the highway. This Porchw, set up as it was handled like it ran on a magnetic set of rails. Absolutely outstanding.

Porsche 911 GT2: Everything You Need to Know While Celebrating 25 Years of Brutality

Remember how shocked we were when the 911 GT3 turned 20 last year? Now imagine how we felt when we realized the Porsche 911 GT2 just turned 25. Yes, Porsche's most hardcore, focused, hair-ripping, face-melting, wallet-busting 911 is a quarter-of-a-century old this year, and seeing as Porsche fastidiously maintains its classic archive, this is as good of an excuse as any to pore over images and details associated with the rarest of the production "GT" badges—GT1 notwithstanding. Let's start from the top.

Honor Your Ancestors: Special 964 911 Turbos

Prior to the 993-generation Porsche 911 GT2's debut in 1995, the 911 Turbo—as the name implies—was the only way to step into a turbocharged 911. Barring special order one-offs or extremely limited-production roadgoing RS models, a Turbo was usually the most powerful, expensive, and fastest thing on a Porsche dealer's showroom floor.

Of course, a regular Turbo wasn't enough "car" for some over-moneyed, hard-eyed, amphetamine-addled enthusiasts. For those with healthy connections to Stuttgart and a brimming bank account, Porsche surreptitiously released a series of hopped-up Turbos during the 964-generation 911's run. The most widely known of the special 964 Turbos is the 3.6 and the rare Turbo S 3.6, but the 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo S "Leichtbau" (Lightweight) is the closest to a 964-generation GT2 as there ever was.

Next to the standard 964 Turbo 3.3, the Lightweight cut a shocking 400 pounds compared to the regular car, leaving out heavy stuff like the air conditioning, power steering, rear seats, insulation, sound deadening, and radio. Thinner glass was installed, along with aluminum doors (compared to steel), and both hood and trunk were made from carbon-composite.

Powering this hardest-of-hardcore Turbos was the same 3.3-liter turbocharged flat-six engine found in the aforementioned Turbo 3.3. Modified intake runners, fuel injection, ignition timing, camshaft profiles, and higher boost resulted in 376 horsepower and 375-lb-ft of torque, all on-tap through a five-speed manual transmission. A 0-60-mph sprint of 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph were spectacular for the era.

Sound like your dream 911? Hope you manage a hedge fund or recently sold off a tech company, because if you somehow find one of the 86 produced up for sale, expect to pay more than $1 million for the privilege.

Proto-GT2: The 964 911 Turbo S LM-GT

While road-bound Porsche superfans ripped around in their hot rod Turbos, the factory developed a motorsports program of 964 Turbos that essentially evolved into the subsequent 993-generation Porsche 911 GT2. The so-called Turbo S LM-GT for the 1993 race season made its debut at the 1993 12 Hours of Sebring, packing a 475-hp 3.2-liter twin-turbo flat-six. After a relatively unsuccessful season, the LM-GT returned in 1994 with a 3.6-liter turbo mill yanked from the nascent 993-generation 911 program. It was highly successful, winning almost every race it entered. This provided a testbed for Porsche to develop …

The GT2 is Born: The 1995-1998 Porsche 993 GT2

Like many of the greatest sports cars in history, the Porsche 911 GT2 was born entirely out of the necessity of FIA homologation. That is, if Porsche wanted to use the newly developed 993 platform for the highest echelons of GT racing, it had to produce a set number of roadworthy cars to qualify for the starting grid.

Fundamentally, the 993 GT2 set the standard for the rest of the GT2 lineage going forward. Visually, it was the most aggressive street-legal 911 made up until that point, with bolt-on plastic wheel arches accentuating the Turbo-esque widebody, fitted with a thin body-hugging front splitter and a massive rear wing. See those triangular inlets on the outside of the rear wing? Those are partial air intakes for the 993 Turbo-based 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six under the rear decklid.

An impressive 424 hp and 398 lb-ft spun only the rear wheels, as the Porsche 911 GT2 ditched the 993 Turbo's all-wheel-drive system on account of weight, though it retained the Turbo's beefy brakes and transmission. Most niceties were cut to shed 440 pounds compared to the Turbo, and other changes included aluminum front trunk lid and doors, thin glass, manually operated windows and mirrors, and removal of sound deadening. For those who intended to hit the track (or were particularly masochistic), an optional Clubsport package added a roll cage, six-point harness, kill switch, fire extinguisher, heavy-duty clutch, and upgraded race-spec seats.

With little to impede that turbo-six, the 0-62-mph scuttle took only 4.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 183 mph. Two years later, the Porsche 911 GT2 was updated with bigger turbochargers for a total output of 444 hp and 431 lb-ft, bumping the top speed to 186 mph. Porsche made only 161 roadgoing 993 GT2s, so expect to pay somewhere between $1.25- and $2-million greenbacks to park one in your driveway.

Wassergekühlt: 2001-2005 Porsche 996 GT2

In sharp contrast to the prior 993 GT2, the following 996-generation Porsche 911 GT2 was developed entirely as a road car, mostly due to Porsche turning its competition focus on the naturally aspirated GT3. Introduced in 2000 for the 2001 model year, the 996 GT2 retained the same essential ethos of the 993 GT2 hot-rod the 911 Turbo's engine, cut the all-wheel drive, and go on a crash diet.

For the 996, this meant Porsche augmented the 3.6-liter water-cooled twin-turbo flat-six from the aforementioned Turbo with more boost, free-flowing mufflers, and bigger intercoolers, resulting in a 41-hp bump to 456 hp and 457 lb-ft. Again, rear-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission were the only options, and all the standard GT-division upgraded suspension, brakes, aero kit, and weight-saving measures stiffened things up and pared 220 pounds when compared to the 996 Turbo.

Performance was stunning 0-60 mph took 4.0-seconds, and the GT2 wouldn't stop pulling until it hit 195 mph. For the 2003 model year, power jumped to 476 hp and 472 lb-ft, while 0-62 mph took just 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 198 mph. According to Porsche, a perfect lap of the Nürburgring behind the wheel of a 996.1 GT2 would take just 7 minutes, 47 seconds—not even close to the top-tier sports cars of today, but quick enough in that era to dispatch supercars along the caliber of the Ferrari F430.

When production ended, the company had built 1,100 examples of the 996 Porsche 911 GT2.

Evolution: 2007-2009 Porsche 997.1 GT2

No surprises here. With the arrival of the 997-generation 911 eventually came a new GT2. The 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six is familiar, as is the lightweight rear-wheel-drive layout, but the 530 hp and 505 lb-ft of torque on tap is not. 0-60 mph is now well less than 4.0 seconds, thanks to newly developed launch control, with the time now rated officially at 3.6 seconds. Top speed also exceeds 204 mph, all thanks to a 6-psi increase in boost versus the standard 997 Turbo.

This is also the first generation to offer a full suite of active driving systems, including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), stability control, and traction control. With all of this extra power and sophistication, the 'Ring time drops to 7:32, a time Porsche claims is right on par with the Carrera GT.

Don't tell collectors, but this is also the generation of GT2 that time (and the market) forgot. The prior 996 GT2 has already hit the many "underappreciated" lists, and while the 997.1 GT2 is still close to or exceeds the $200,000 mark, it's got quite a way to go before appreciation peters off. Fill a warehouse with these things before it's too late. You don't have to hunt too hard to find the right car, either—Porsche built 1,242 examples between 2007 and 2009.

Exeunt GT2, Enter 2010-2012 Porsche 997.2 GT2 RS

From the moment the 997.2 GT2 RS replaced the 997.1 GT2, there hasn't been a "regular" non-RS Porsche 911 GT2 since. Considering the GT2 sits squarely at the top of the 911 heap, it only makes sense to skip the formalities and offer superlatives straight out of the box.

The 997.2 911 GT2 RS turned everything we knew about Porsche and performance on its head. Again, that 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six was poked, prodded, and coaxed for more power—specifically with larger turbochargers with more boost, larger intercoolers, and forged internals that wound outputs to 620 hp and 516 lb-ft. Still, the only transmission option was a six-speed manual.

In typical RS fashion, everything was lightened, stripped, and sanded down. Porsche used carbon fiber for the trunk lid and rear wing, while lightweight door panels, battery, and flywheel helped cut a total of 155 pounds when compared with the preceding 997.1 GT2, down to an impressive 3,020-pound curb weight.

Of course, the RS also incorporated a reworked suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, and a more aggressive aerodynamic profile that dropped the 'Ring time to 7:18. Zero-60 mph took only 3.4 seconds, and the top speed ticked up to 205 mph.

Aside from the original 993 GT2, the 997 GT2 RS is the rarest of the family, as Porsche only built 500 of these cars before production ended.

Today's New (For Now) 2018-2019 Porsche 991.2 GT2 RS

If you haven't seen the latest and greatest of the Porsche 911 GT2 family, you must have been living under a pile of discarded race slicks. The GT2 nameplate skipped over the 991.1-generation 911, instead landing like a cannonball on the supercar landscape for the 991.2. This was also the generation that broke with more than one long-held GT2 tradition: The twin-turbo flat-six out back is now 3.8-liters instead of 3.6-liters, and the manual transmission is out for good, with a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK sliding in as the only transmission option.

Well, now that there's 691 hp and 553 lb-ft to play with, we're not complaining. Those figures make this the most powerful 911, ever—a title it will likely keep until the 992-generation GT2 (or GT2 RS) makes its debut. Zero-60 mph takes a staggeringly quick 2.7 seconds, and the car tops out at 211 mph. Water injection to cool down inlet gasses debuts for the first time on a 911, so make sure to keep that water tank up front topped off.

But there is more than just power at play here. The 991.2 911 GT2 RS expounds on the very best aerodynamic cues from the prior 991.1 GT3 RS, incorporating an absurdly large rear wing and revised front and rear bumpers—the former featuring a splitter purloined from a GT3 Cup race car.

Following the precedent set by the 997 GT2 RS, carbon fiber is slathered over a significant portion of the body panels, including composite front hood, fenders, and rear wing. The ascetic weight-saving lengths Porsche went to is impressive the 991 GT2 RS features stuff like lightweight carpets, wiring harnesses, intercooler brackets, and wing supports. Spring for the wild Weissach Package, and Porsche adds carbon-fiber front and rear anti-roll bars, carbon tie-rod end links, carbon shift paddles, and magnesium BBS wheels that cut an additional 24 pounds. For cars sold outside the U.S., the Weissach Package will also change the optional steel roll cage to titanium.

The sum of all this go-fast know-how is a record-setting 6:47.3 'Ring time, barely beaten a year later by the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. A few months after the Italians claimed the title, Manthey Racing launched an aerodynamic, suspension, and wheel package for the 991 GT2 RS called the "MR" that cut seven seconds from the production Porsche 911 GT2 RS' time. Now, we're not saying the MR is an official Porsche product, but considering Porsche owns a 51-percent stake in Manthey Racing and bills Manthey "the most successful Porsche racing team in the world," we'll say the GT2 RS MR is just about the closest to OEM as possible without actually being so.

Looking over our handful of GT2 RS drives, it's safe to say we liked the 991 GT2 RS quite a bit so much so, we named it one of our Automobile All-Stars when it was new. Hopefully, the next Porsche 911 GT2 will get a crack at the crown a few more times in the next 25 years.