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The Porsche 911 50th Anniversary

Automotive evolution.

As Germans say: anfangen ist leicht, beharren eine kunst. To begin is easy, but to persist is art. The latter is certainly true for Porsche, which is celebrating the 50th year of its iconic 911 sports car.

Ever since its debut as the 901 at Frankfurt’s Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) auto show in September 1963, the 911 (renamed in 1964 for its market launch) has been the point of reference for all Porsche series that have come thereafter, from the Cayenne to the Panamera. With motor racing having always been an integral component of the Porsche marque, the vehicle was crafted with performance in mind. Many of the ideas and technologies that made their debut in the Porsche 911 were conceived on the race track, and a good two-thirds of Porsche’s 30,000 race victories to date have been notched up by a 911.

Nevertheless, as Ferry Porsche, the late Porsche designer and CEO, once famously said, “The 911 is the only car you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theatre, or through New York City traffic,” and people have agreed with him. Over the years, more than 820,000 Porsche 911s have taken to the road.

To acknowledge this milestone year, the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart is presenting a retrospective from June through September focused on the history and development of the 911. The company will also be touring an authentic 1967 model across five continents to international auto fairs, historical rallies, and motor sport events in Pebble Beach, Goodwood, and beyond.

Perhaps most exciting for Porsche diehards, however, is the upcoming release of a new 50th anniversary limited-edition 911. Like the original, it will also be unveiled at the IAA in September. A nod to the model’s half-century evolution, the 50th anniversary edition is a coupé with a flat-six rear engine and rear wheel drive, based on the 911 Carrera S. There are tributes to the original in the interior as well: green labelling on the instruments with white needles and silver pivot pin caps, just as it was 50 years ago, and a patterned interior fabric reminiscent of the “Pepita” tartan design from the 1960s on the centre panels of the seats.

Only 1,963 units will be produced, again denoting that important year in Porsche history; in Canada, a mere 50 enthusiasts will be lucky enough to get their hands on a set of keys.