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Porsche 911 2.0 (1965 – 1968)

The original Porsche 911. Developed as a replacement for the highly successful Porsche Model 356.

Porsche 911 2.0 (SWB)
Porsche 911 "Base" 2.0 (SWB)
Model Years
1965 - 1968
4636 coupes, 986 targas
2.0 L Aircooled Flat 6
130 bhp @ 6200 rpm
128 ft lbs @ 4600 rpm
0 - 60 mph
8.3 seconds
Top Speed
130 mph

(1964 – 1968) Porsche 911 2.0 (Base Model) – Ultimate Guide

2.0 O-Series “Base” 911

The Porsche 911 was developed as a replacement for the highly successful Porsche Model 356. Porsche wanted the 356 successor to be powered by a six cylinder engine mounted in the back of a slightly larger 2+2 bodyshell. The Porsche 911 was introduced to the world in the fall of 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, as the Porsche 901 initially. This engendered a dispute with Peugeot, who held exclusive rights in the French market to three-digit model names where there was a zero in the middle. Rather than renaming the car for French consumers, Porsche simply changed the numeric designation to 911. Because production had already begun before the name was protested, 82 cars were built as 901s and the part numbers carried the 901 prefix for several years.

The Porsche 911 was larger, more powerful, more comfortable and more competitive on the track than any other comparable car on the market at the time. The original air-cooled, boxer-engined 911 was in production from 1964 through 1989 and spawned a myriad of successful variations.

The 911 employed a unitary steel bodyshell with a 2211mm wheelbase. This was 111mm longer than the outgoing 356 and ensured the 911 had a roomier cockpit and handled better. The suspension layout was designed to provide as much luggage and interior space as possible. At the front, each side used a compact MacPherson strut arrangement with a single lower wishbone, a 19mm torsion bar and telescopic shock absorber. An anti-roll bar was also fitted. The fully independent back end used a novel layout that comprised an independent semi-trailing arm, a transverse torsion bar and telescopic shock absorber on each side. It replaced the 356’s outdated swing-axle and meant the geometry responded to bumps in the road with minimal camber change. ATE disc brakes were fitted all round. They had a 282mm diameter at the front, a 285mm diameter at the rear and ran off a single hydraulic circuit that powered both axles. It came with 4.5 x 15-inch ventilated steel wheels and a nice chrome hub cap.

The first edition of the 911 was built around a 130 hp, 2.0 liter, flat-six, air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. The 911’s air-cooled all-alloy Flat 6 engine was derived from the Type 753 Flat 8 used in the 804 Grand Prix car of 1962. Designated Type 901/01, standard equipment included dry-sump lubrication, overhead camshafts, hemispherical cylinder heads and a forged seven main bearing crankshaft. Aluminium was used wherever possible but certain components required more a hard wearing material such as the cylinder walls (cast iron) and the connecting rods (steel). Thanks to a bore and stroke of 80mm and 66mm respectively, the over-square new engine had a displacement of 1991cc. It incorporated a vertically-mounted cooling fan, 9.1:1 compression ratio and two triple-choke 40PI Solex carburetors.

In this configuration, peak output was 130 bhp at 6200 rpm and 128 ft lbs at 4200rpm. Transmission was via a brand new Type 901 five-speed gearbox and single-plate clutch. Porsche quoted a weight of 1030 kg, a top speed of 130 mph and 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds. The quarter mile time was about 16.2 seconds.

The bodywork was designed by Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche who was the son of Ferry Porsche and grandson of company founder, Ferdinand Porsche. Airflow was a key consideration and the 911 proved to be the most aerodynamically efficient road-going Porsche yet. Clearly evolved from the 356, the 911’s basic profile was dictated by its unusual layout. By the 1960s most manufacturers considered the rear-engined configuration to be obsolete: however, it worked for Porsche. Curvaceous front wings, a neatly tapered tail and glassy five-window cockpit made the 911 instantly identifiable. Body panels were fabricated entirely from steel and the front wings were bolted in place.

Production began in August 1964. US deliveries started in February 1965 and the first right-hand drive examples were produced in May 1965.

Initially the 911 was only available as a Coupe. In 1967 Porsche offered their version of an open-air 911 known as the Targa. Porsche had gotten wind of a rumor that the Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States was going to outlaw fully open convertibles. In order to maintain the high demand for the cars in the US market, the targa model was introduced. The roof panel was removable (and foldable) starting from a stainless steel cover that housed a roll bar underneath and extending all the way forward to to the windshield header. It also included a soft canvas cover in the back with a flexible plastic window that could be removed by unzipping it. A fixed-glass wraparound rear window version of the Targa was also offered beginning in 1968. These features gave the car convertible characteristics without technically being classified as such.

Porsche 911 cars produced between August 1964 and July 1967 were referred to as O-series variants. In August 1967, the O-series 911 was replaced by the A-series derivative. Thereafter, each model year was given a sequential annual suffix (e.g. A-series for the 1968 model year, B series for the 1969 model year and so on).

2.0 A Series “Base” 911

In its first three years of production, Porsche sold nearly 13,000 examples of their expensive new 911. The 911 effectively replaced the much-loved 356 and continued Porsche’s inexorable move upmarket; by the mid 1960s, practically any trace of the marque’s humble Volkswagen origins had been erased.

Unlike some other manufacturers that seemed to release new cars every few months, Porsche stuck with their tried-and-tested models and implemented a continual programme of upgrades that kept them ahead of the competition. In August 1967, the original O-series 911 was replaced by the A-series derivative. Thus began a policy of each model year being given a sequential annual suffix (A-series for the 1968 model year, B series for the 1969 model year and so on).

The 1968 model year A-series 911 was available in four basic varieties: the entry level 911 T, the mid-range ‘normal’ 911, the slightly more luxurious 911 L and the flagship 911 S. All four could be ordered with Coupe or Targa bodywork and with either a manual or semi-automatic gearbox.

Although this seemed a rather complicated line up, it was deemed necessary as two variants (the 911 S and 911 T) did not comply with new US emissions legislation. The 911 L was therefore created as a more upmarket version of the ‘normal’ 911 which otherwise would have been the only variant available in Porsche’s most important market.

The unitary steel bodyshell shared by all 911 varieties was unchanged in the transition to A-series specification. Suspension was again fully independent with torsion bars and telescopic shocks fitted all round. The front end used a compact MacPherson strut arrangement with a single lower wishbone while at the rear semi-trailing arms were installed.

The all-alloy air-cooled Flat 6 engines fitted to A-series 911s were dry-sumped with single overhead camshafts. They displaced 1991cc thanks to a bore and stroke of 80mm and 66mm respectively. One of the universal changes made was plastic instead of aluminium-backed timing chain guides. the base 911 had the Type 901/06 engine and was good for 130 bhp at 6200 rpm, with 128 ft lbs of torque at 4200rpm. It had 9.0:1 compression and two Weber 40 IDA carburetors. Note, that the base 911 and 911 L destined for the USA came with Type 901/14 engines equipped with exhaust air pumps but published output figures were unaffected.

In addition to the Type 901 manual gearbox, Porsche introduced a new Sportomatic transmission. Developed in conjunction with Fichtel & Sachs, the four-speed Sportomatic system enabled manual gear changes without the need for a conventional clutch. Sportomatic cars were equipped with just two pedals and the gearbox worked with a vacuum-controlled clutch that automatically engaged via a touch-sensitive gear lever. Base model cars equipped with Sportomatic transmission received a special engine number of Type 901/07.

A-series 911s could be distinguished from earlier derivatives thanks to their black instead of chrome windscreen wipers, new door handles with recessed push buttons, thicker top and bottom cooling slats on the engine cover and separate instead of adjoined anodized gold Porsche lettering on the engine cover. Anodized aluminium window frames were fitted instead of chromed brass. US market derivatives typically came with bumper overriders and thicker headlight shrouds.

The A-series 911 was discontinued in August 1968 to make way for the 1969 model year B-series variant. 1611 total coupes were produced and 521 Targas were sold of the base model. When Porsche released the B-series 911, they simplified the 911 line up by dropping the ‘base’ 911 and 911 L in favor of a new mid-range variant: the 911 E.

Porsche 911 Base Variant – Model Year Updates

1965 MY

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