Earlier this week, Porsche threw a shindig in Manhattan to toast the one-millionth 911 to roll off the production line. That car — a breathtaking Irish Green Carrera S with features mirroring the original 911 from 1963 — was finished back in May, but has since been touring the world before it takes up permanent residence at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart.
Why all the hoopla over one million cars, you ask? Sure, it’s not uncommon for automakers to manufacture that many of one vehicle in a single year. But this is no mere Beetle or Corolla. A million top-end sports cars is a proper milestone, especially for one this unusual. Porsche’s engineers have turned what could conceivably have been a hindrance — an engine placed behind the rear wheels — into the 911’s greatest, most defining feature. It’s what gives the supercar its iconic silhouette, and makes it one of the fastest machines on the market. Very little about its formula has changed over the course of its 50-year-plus history.
On display in New York were various iterations of the 911 that the Stuttgart automaker has rolled out through the generations. It’s an absolute trip to see how much the iconic car has changed — and how much has remained exactly the same.
1964 PORSCHE 911: THE FIRST 911
Straight out of Jerry Seinfeld’s personal vault, this car — built specifically for Ferry Porsche with Black Metallic paint, a leather interior, and a sunroof — was the very first 911 to come off assembly line in October of 1964, after Porsche changed the 901 model designation. (The 911 originally debuted under the 901 moniker at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963. Production began in 1964.)
1979 PORSCHE 911 TURBO
The Porsche 911 Turbo debuted in 1974 as the first 911 with a turbocharged flat-six engine, taking the car’s performance to new heights. This 1979 version features unique Hellgelb (bright yellow) paint and a prominent rear spoiler, known in automotive parlance as the “tea tray” spoiler. This 100 point concours vehicle represents the first generation of 911 models to offer forced-induction via turbo-charging.
1992 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA RS
The Carrera RS model was based on the Porsche 911 “Carrera Cup” race car, and recalled the track-focused 2.7 RS, 3.0 RS and RSR models of the 1970s. It boasted a streamlined interior devoid of power windows or seats, rear seats, air conditioning, cruise control, or stereo system and included new racing-bucket front seats. This Maritime Blue Carrera RS was one of 2,282 RS models made in total during between 1991 and 1992, and is a special edition lightweight, rear wheel drive version of the 964 Carrera RS for the European market.
1998 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA 4S: THE LAST AIR-COOLED 911
This Carrera 4S was considered part of the 993 generation, which used a new chassis with alloy wishbones and coil springs rather than the time-honoured torsion-bar suspension – further improving the handling and driving dynamics of the 911. As evidenced by its in-car plaque, this is the last air-cooled 911 built by Porsche on April 29, 1998, before the advent of water-cooled engines. This bad boy was specifically built for Jerry Seinfeld with Mexico Blue paint.
2004 PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS
The 996 generation of 911s marked a new chapter in the car’s history with the water-cooled flat-six engine. Compared to the previous generation’s air-cooled engines, this was a huge adrenaline shot to the 911’s heart, taking the performance level up a few notches. The 2004 911 GT3 RS is a homologation model – a race car made road legal as required by FIA rules of the era. The 911 GT3 RS was sold worldwide with the exception of the U.S. and Canada. The Ingram family purchased this particular 9car new in Stuttgart and imported it to the U.S.
2006 PORSCHE 911 CARRERA S PCA 50TH CLUB COUPE
For the 997 generation, Porsche updated the 911 with more pronounced rear fenders and a number of new features, including optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM). To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Porsche Club America (PCA), the automaker created this exclusive 911 Carrera S Coupe featuring distinctive Azurro California paint, unique interior touches, and a beastlier engine. It was limited to just 50 cars and made available only to PCA members.
2017 PORSCHE 911 CARERRA S: THE ONE-MILLIONTH
The seventh generation of the 911 sees perhaps the greatest engineering leap in the history of the model. From the intelligent lightweight design to rear-axle steering to Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, the technology in this iteration raises the bar even higher for performance and efficiency. The one-millionth Porsche 911 was built in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany on May 11, 2017. It harkens back to the first generation 911 with its Irish Green paint, houndstooth seats, wood interior trim, and manual gearbox. A remarkably tasteful and classy addition to a breed of sports car that the world still hasn’t grown tired of, and likely never will.