50 Years on and the 911 is still an icon…

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1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood & 1965 Porsche 911 Project 50The 911 has become one of the best known andf loved iconic sports cars in the world. There's going to be lots of press this year as the iconic car turns 50 years old in 2013. It all started in 1963 when the 901 - as it was known then - was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, wowing audiences with its unmistakable streamlined lines and impressive claimed performance figures. The following year, it was renamed the 911 for its market launch and the rest, as they say, is history. However, even then its turn of speed was impressive, with its air-cooled six-cylinder boxer engine developing 128bhp. Enough for a top speed of 131 mph and acceleration to match. In late 1966, the 911 Targa made its debut. With its distinctive stainless steel roll bar, it became, as Porsche put it, the world's first "safety cabriolet", and set in motion a trend for many of the models that are featured on this website. Through its seven different generations, the 911 has developed hugely in terms of performance, handling, refinement and luxury - but it has always been visually identifiable in the blink of an eye. Porsche celebrates 50 YearsPorsche is fond of reminding us that more than 820,000 Porsche 911s have been built, making it "the most successful sports car in the world". With race-bred technology, it has always delighted sports car fans the two-thirds of the 30,000 race victories achieved by Porsche to date have been notched up by the 911. This year's celebrations started with the Retro Classics car show in Stuttgart, where an early model 911 Turbo Coupe, a 911 cabriolet study from 1981, a 1997 road-going "street" version of the 911 GT1 and a Type 754 T7 all went on show. A 1967 model 911 is also on world tour, being exhibited at Pebble Beach in California, China, Paris, Australia and of course, Goodwood. Today, many 911 fans regard the latest GT3, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year, as the very epitome of the brand. Performance-wise the most modern 911 is a far cry from that early car that wowed crowds in 1963. The £100,540 GT3 is powered by a 3.8-litre engine developing a whopping 475bhp, sent to the rear wheels via a sophisticated Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) seven-speed automatic gearbox and it has a new chassis and body that weighs just 1505kg unladed. Its top speed is 196mph and 0-62 takes just 3.5 seconds! Despite the phenominal improvements over the years, it's still faithful to its original ethos, still a car that can be driven almost anywhere and in some style. As the designer Ferdinand Porsche said; "The 911 is the only car that you could drive on an African safari or at Le Mans, to the theatre, or through New York City traffic."Tags:,