5 Favorite 911s from 50 Years of Porsches
BOSTON ( MainStreet) The Porsche 911 turned 50 years old this fall, but the iconic sports car still boasts all of its youthful good looks and here's a rundown of five of the best 911s of all time.
"There have been countless variations of the 911, but some shine a little more brightly than the others," says Pete Stout of Panorama magazine, the official publication of the 109,000-member Porsche Club of America .
Car fans have loved the 911 since Porsche unveiled the original in September 1963. (The German automaker initially called the model the "901," but Peugeot claimed it owned the trademark to car names consisting of three numbers with a zero in the middle.)
Stout, who serves as Panorama's editor, says the 911 won auto enthusiasts' hearts by combining great styling and performance with unusual features. For instance, 911s to this day have their engines in back and their trunks in the front a design rarely seen in America since Volkswagen discontinued widespread U.S. sales of the original Beetle in 1977.
Stout also believes many consumers see the 911 as a less-flashy, more "attainable" luxury sports car than rivals such as Ferraris or Lamborghinis. After all, the 2014 Porsche 911 starts at just $84,300 relatively modest for a fancy sports car and has a more-muted look than many rivals offer.
"People like the 911 because it's beautiful, but subtle," Stout says. "The car doesn't stand out the way a Ferrari does."
Click below to check out Stout's picks for five of the greatest 911s of all time.
The expert says the cars below aren't necessarily the absolute best 911s in history, but represent a range of significant models from the line's 50-year run. All vehicles appear in order of their model years.
1965-66 Porsche 911
"This is where the legend started," Stout says. "While these earliest 911s don't have the major improvements that came to the 911 over the next few years, they are exceedingly beautiful."
He adds 1965 and '66 911s also boast "a smooth and exotic-sounding 2-liter flat-six [engine] that would redefine the 'Porsche sound' forever."
Collectors certainly love the early 911s.
Stout says that while good-quality 1965s and '66s sold for just $25,000 to $50,000 a few years ago, values have risen in recent years to $200,000 or more.
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7
This is a street-legal version of the Porsche Carrera RSR race car, which won three of 1973's top endurance-racing competitions: 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Targa Florio.
"The RS 2.7 was the first road-going 911 to show us where (the line) was headed with more displacement, wider rear wheels and aerodynamics that would tame some [earlier 911s'] troubling tendencies," Stout says.