Classic Porsche 911 (1st Generation) Research Hub (1964 - 1973)
This is your center for all things Original Porsche 911. The ultimate reference center.
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The Porsche 911 was introduced to the world in the fall of 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was developed as a replacement for the highly successful Porsche Model 356. It 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, but on this page, we are focused on the original F-Body cars. Info on the G-Body cars is found here.
We all know the 901 story don't we? A prototype of the 901, as it was called for a brief period, was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production slowly started in September 1964 and the 901 was shown at the October 1964 Paris Motor Show, barely one month after the start of production. Peugeot objected to the model number, saying that it had the rights to three-digit model numbers with a zero as the middle digit. Although this would only apply to sales in France, Porsche decided to just add a “1,” creating the 911. There were about 80 cars built and labeled 901 before the change.
It was decided to use the lower-cost 356 engine in the new 911 body and call the resulting model the 912. This was successful to the point that the 912 outsold the 911 two to one for a couple years. The last year for the 912 in this form was 1969. The first edition of the 911 was built around a 130 hp, 2.0 liter, flat-six, air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. In 1966 the beefier 160hp 911S was introduced as the first variation of the 911. The "S" which stood for "Super" boasted performance upgrades and modifications that included larger valves, a higher compression ratio, better porting and larger carbuerator jets. Along with the mechanical tweaks, the 911S also received chassis upgrades in the form of a rear anti-roll bar, Koni shocks, distinctive 5-spoke Fuchs alloy wheels and ventilated disc brakes. This really marked the beginning of the 911 as a genuine performance car. This was also the first year for the Targa.
For 1969 Porsche made the single biggest change to the 911 thus far by lengthening the wheelbase 2.5 inches to reduce the oversteer characteristics inherent to rear-engined cars. Pre-1969 cars are often referred to as the short-wheel base cars (SWB) and 1969 onwards called the long-wheelbase cars (LWB). In LWB cars, two 12-volt batteries were installed in each front corner in a further attempt to improve the handling, instead of the earlier bumper-weight solution. They also expanded the model range to three versions, which now included T, E, and S. The E and S got a new induction system in the form of mechanical fuel injection (MFI) to meet emission standard. The next two years, 1970 and 1971, can almost be taken as one step, since there were almost no differences in that time frame. The three model variants, T, E, and S, remained, but the 912 was dropped. Engine displacement was increased to 2.2 liters, the E and S retained mechanical fuel injection, and the T still met emissions with carburetors.
1972 and 1973 can also be taken as one group because there were very few changes from year to year. 1973 marked the end of the longhood 911, when, in 1974, the design of the original body style was changed in order to meet new bumper crash standards. The 1972 and 1973 engine displacement was increased again to 2.4 liters to gain back some power lost from compression ratio reductions to meet the new lower-octane lead-free fuel.. The Type 915 transmission was a totally new design. It was stronger and had a more user friendly H pattern for the first four gears, instead of the old dog-leg first gear that was down and to the left. 1972 was also the first and only time to date where the oil tank was mounted ahead of the right-rear wheel (other than the few 911Rs in 1967 and 1968) for weight distribution reasons.
We can't talk about the classic 911 without mentioning the most famous 911 of all. The 1973 911 Carrera RS was built largely to homologate the faster 911 RSR race car for GT racing and it may be the purest 911 ever made. It is still the GOAT.