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The top seven coolest Porsche 911 prototypes of all time

Porsche has built some weird and wonderful prototypes over the years. Some have made it into production while others have disappeared under a silk sheet (many at Zuffenhausen’s ‘secret’ warehouse). Here are the seven coolest prototypes the Total 911 team has discovered:

Porsche 965
porsche-965

The ‘965’ tag is often erroneously bestowed upon the Porsche 964 Turbo. However, the real Porsche 965 was intended to sit below the 959. Based on the G-Series platform (hence the ‘Elephant Ear’ mirrors), the 965 looked like a smaller version of the Porsche’s supercar.

Development issues and cost-cutting measures meant that power was provided by a water-cooled Audi V8. Of the 16 prototypes, this is the sole remaining example; it’s not hard to see where the 993 took some of its styling cues.

Porsche 901 Cabriolet
Red Porsche 901 Cabriolet prototype

Porsche didn’t release a production version of the 911 Cabriolet until the last year of SC assembly in 1983. However, that didn’t mean Zuffenhausen hadn’t been trying, as this one-of-one prototype attests.

Beginning life as a Targa test mule, Porsche hacked off the roll hoop to test the structural rigidity of the 901’s chassis sans roof. You can read the full story in Total 911 issue 130, available to download here.

Porsche 959/C29
porsche-959-study

It may not look particularly pretty (the hand sculpted panels still show the fingerprints of those working on this particular prototype) but the C29 aerodynamic study is the car that helped to confirm the Porsche 959’s distinctive shape.

Representing the genesis of the integrated rear wing, 959/C29 was used extensively for wind tunnel testing in 1982, with Porsche’s engineers getting its drag coefficient down to an impressively low 0.31Cd.

Porsche 911/B17
porsche-911-pininfarina-2

Even before the 911’s inception, Porsche had been looking at developing a truly four-seat sports car. Even after the Neunelfer’s launch, the investigations didn’t stop, initially resulting in the 911/B17 prototype, styled by Pininfarina.

With a wheelbase stretched by 39cm (over 15 inches), 911/B17 could comfortable seat four but, the high roofline and angular rear windows didn’t prove popular, leading Porsche to try again with a new prototype, codenamed C20.

Porsche 953
porsche-953

While most of the prototypes on this list were never meant to see the light of day, the Porsche 953 definitely was. Starting with a 911 SC, Porsche’s motorsport engineers heavily reinforced the chassis for off-road rallying and fitted a newly developed four-wheel drive system that could be adjusted manually.

Used exclusively in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, the Rothmans-liveried 953 took overall victory in the hands of René Metge and co-driver, Dominique Lemoyne, while racing legend and Dakar pioneer, Jacky Ickx finished sixth, taking nine stage victories along the way.

Porsche 993 prototype
porsche-993-proto

The Porsche 993 Turbo revolutionised the forced induction Neunelfer concept, using many of the developments from the 959 (like twin turbocharging and four-wheel drive). Originally registered in 1993 – yes, really – this is one of the original 993 Turbo prototypes used for pre-launch testing.

Total 911 subscribers have been reading the full story of this incredible car since Friday but fear not. Issue 147 goes on sale in store and online tomorrow.

Porsche 918 prototype
porsche-918-mule

Okay, so this isn’t a Porsche 911. However, take a closer look at the rear end of this early Porsche 918 Spyder test mule and you’ll notice something familiar. Yes, that’s the rear bumper (complete with brake lights) from a 991.1 Carrera.

Split down the middle in order to house two fire extinguishers, this bareback prototype gives a great view of the 918’s underpinnings, including those brutally short top exit exhausts.

Which Porsche 911 do you think is the coolest? Join the debate in the comments below, or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Total 911’s greatest Porsche 911 rear ends of all time

The back end of the Porsche 911 has always been the iconic sports car’s real centre of attention, housing each successive generation of flat six engine since the Neunelfer’s launch in 1963.

The Total 911 team has picked their seven favourite Porsche 911 rear ends of all time so, in no particular order, here they are. What do you think?

Porsche 993 Carrera RS Clubsport
993 RS

How can you not love the sheer bravado of the Porsche 993 Carrera RS’s rear end, especially in Clubsport guise. The full-width reflector provides the inflated haunches with even more impact while that rear wing is pure Nineties aesthetical extravagance.

Porsche 911S 2.4
911S 2.4

This list wouldn’t be complete without a traditional, flat-back, pre-impact bumper Neunelfer. The 2.4-litre Porsche 911S gained subtle rear arch flares and marked the debut of the engine capacity decklid badge that would go on to become even more famous on the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS.

Porsche 997 GT2 RS
997 GT2 RS

Of all the Porsche 911s on our countdown, the 997 GT2 RS’s rear end is undoubtedly the least beautiful. However, it is certainly one of the most aggressive with those large air intakes on the rear wing struts and exit vents on the bumper giving the turbocharged Rennsport real purpose.

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR
911 3.0 RSR

Large wing? Check. Massively flared arches? Check. Giant slick tyres? Check. The 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 RSR must have given its competitors a fantastic sight as it raced off into the distance to take another victory. We especially love those exit vents. Subtle this Neunelfer is not.

Porsche 996 Carrera 4S
996 C4S

Sometimes simplicity and a nod to the past are best. That is certainly the case with the 996 Carrera 4S, taking the Turbo’s wider bodyshell but removing the aerodynamic addenda for a cleaner rear end. The return of the rear reflector panel was well-received by enthusiasts around the world.

Porsche 930 3.0
930 3.0

Forget the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS from the previous year, the original Porsche 911 Turbo must have wowed the crowds at its motor show unveiling in 1974. A widened stance and that whaletail wing ensured that the 930 3.0 would be one of the Seventies iconic poster cars.

Porsche 991 Carrera GTS
991 GTS

We cant’ put our finger on what makes flat-back, widebody Porsche 911s work but they just do. The Porsche 991 Carrera GTS is a case in point, helped by the addition of the black trim strip between the brake lights and the revised, retro-look decklid grill.

What is your favourite Porsche 911 backside? Join the debate in the comments below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Total 911’s top seven favourite limited edition Porsche 911s

With the Porsche 911R (rumoured to be launched in a few weeks at the Geneva Motor Show) set to have a limited production run, we thought we’d count down our seven favourite limited edition Porsche 911s in a celebration of the rare and unusual:

7) Porsche 997 Sport Classic
_MG_8189

Launched alongside the 997 Speedster, the Porsche 997 Sport Classic was built to celebrate 25 years of Porsche Exclusive. Complete with a double-bubble roof, genuine Fuchs alloys and a ducktail, the Sport Classic was the ultimate embodiment of Zuffenhausen’s special build skills.
Number built: 250

6) Porsche 930 LE
_N8A9384

Mechanically, the Porsche 930 LE was essentially identically to the slantnose SE. However, the LE – shorthand for ‘Limited Edition’ – stuck with the Porsche 911’s idiosyncratic raised front wings but gained a deep, 934-esque chin spoiler. Just one example was delivered to each contemporary Porsche Centre.
Number built: 50

5) Porsche 991 50th Anniversary Edition
_AC_0877

Built to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Porsche 911 in 2013, the Porsche 991 Anniversary Edition was essentially a 991 Carrera S with a widebody conversion and a number of retro touches, including green-numbered dials, chrome decklid grill and ‘Pepita’ houndstooth seat centres. Achingly cool.
Number built: 1,963 

4) Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Clubsport
_DSC6963

The late Eighties never got their own official 911 RS, however, the 3.2 Carrera Clubsport was some comfort for Zuffenhausen fans. With its 2.7 RS-inspired aesthetics, the Clubsport came with a blueprinted engine and 50kg of weight saving thanks to rear seat delete and less soundproofing.
Number built: 340

3) Porsche 964 Carrera RS 3.8
P01_0986_a4

Built to homologate the 964 Carrera RSR for international competition (the first full-blown, new RSR since 1974), the 964 Carrera RS 3.8 featured the wider, Turbo body shell, a large rear wing and a new 3.8-litre, 300bhp flat six engine. Only 55 road-going examples were ever built making it a hugely rare sight.
Number built: 55

2) Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0
_AC_1196

To many the Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 is not just the ultimate limited edition neunelfer, it is the ultimate Porsche 911, full stop. Aerodynamically, it takes the Rennsport concept to new extremes with front dive planes an a Cup rear wing while the RS 4.0 marks the 500hp pinnacle of the legendary Mezger flat six.
Number built: 600

1) Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Lightweight
_AC_9699

Built by Porsche’s customer motorsport division, the Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Lightweight programme was Jürgen Barth’s way of keeping his department employed in the wake of Group C’s collapse. 130kg lighter than a 964 RS, the Carrera 4 Lightweight used the four-wheel drive drivetrain from the Dakar-winning 953 rally car and was originally envisaged for off-road use.
Number built: 22

Which is your favourite limited edition Porsche 911? Join the debate in the comments below, or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Total 911’s seven favourite underrated Porsche 911s

Compared to their contemporaries from other manufacturers, all iterations of Porsche’s iconic sports car offer up a scintillating experience behind the wheel.

However, some Porsche 911s never truly gain the respect that we feel they deserve. Here are the seven Porsche 911s that we believe should be more highly praised:

7) Porsche 911 (G-Series)
Porsche 911

As the entry-level offering of the new impact bumper era, the G-Series Porsche 911 was never a huge success with just 9,320 sold across three years. However, like many basic 911s, it encourages you to grab it by the scruff of the neck and rev the 2.7-litre all the way to its 5,700rpm redline in order to make rapid progress.

6) Porsche 911T (A & B Series)
Porsche 911T

Similar to the G-Series 911 above, the original Porsche 911T used cheaper parts than its more illustrious ‘S’ a ‘L’/’E’ badged brethren in order to cut costs. Yet, they still look cool and provide that classic neunelfer experience. They also currently offer the cheapest way into pre-impact bumper ownership.

5) Porsche 964 Carrera RS
Porsche 964 Carrera RS

You may be surprised to see an RS in this list but, compared to other Rennsports, the Porsche 964 Carrera RS is relatively underrated. While, on paper, it may look little more than standard 964 Carrera 2, behind the wheel it provides an electrifying drive and is one of the most usable 911 RSs around.

4) Porsche 930 3.0
Porsche 930 3.0

Too much turbo lag, not enough braking force and one gear too few. These were the major criticisms of the original Porsche 911 Turbo. Yet, for us, these aren’t flaws; these are traits that define the experience of piloting a 3.0-litre 930. Driving one requires skill and more than a little nerve, as should all 911s.

3) Porsche 911 SC
Porsche 911 SC

Often overshadowed by the car that replaced it – the 3.2 Carrera – the Porsche 911 SC’s 3.0-litre engine is, to many, actually a perkier powerplant than the latter. An early non-Sport example may only offer 184 air-cooled horses but it is the epitome of late Seventies cool.

2) Porsche 996 Carrera Gen1
Porsche 996 Carrera

Often the doyen of unloved Porsche 911s, the first generation 996 Carrera was lambasted for sharing 50 per cent of its parts with the cheaper Boxster. Look beyond that though and it provides a thoroughly modern 911 experience for sensible money. And the IMS issue is often overplayed…

1) Porsche 930 SE
Silver Porsche 930 SE

The Porsche 930 SE is the only car on this list that doesn’t look unmistakeably like a 911, and that’s often its problem. However, in our eyes, it doesn’t come much cooler than a factory-built 911 Turbo inspired the fire-breathing 935 racers. Mechanically, these are the best 930s around too.

Do you agree with our list? Or is there another Porsche 911 you feel is criminally underrated? Join the debate in the comments below, or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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Total 911’s super seven Porsche motorsport posters

Porsche is a company synonymous with not just motorsport but motorsport success too. Over the years, Porsche racing cars have won at all the major international sports car events, from Daytona to Le Mans.

To mark each milestone victory, Zuffenhausen used to create celebratory posters (a tradition it recently revived after win number 17 at Le Mans) with their designs almost as legendary as their successes.

With thousands of international triumphs, there have been plenty of posters over the years. We’ve whittled it down to a top seven. Which is your favourite?

Three-time European Hillclimb Champion
P01_1392_a4

Believe it or not, in the Fifties and Sixties, hillclimbing was hugely popular, especially in mainland Europe (where there are plenty of ‘Bergrennens’ to compete in).

Between 1958 and 1960, Porsche stormed the field with, Wolfgang von Trips, Edgar Bärth and Heini Walter taking three consecutives championships. This dramatic poster features a superbly stylised mountain motif that really catches your attention.

1968 24 Hours of Daytona
P01_1398_a4

Porsche may be famous for its 17 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but its first twice-around-the-clock triumph actually came stateside in the 1968 24 Hours of Daytona where three factory 907 longtails finished 1-2-3.

The bold text and star-and-stripes inspired design looks truly awesome draped over the famous photo of the Porsche trio crossing Daytona’s finish line for the final time.

1969 Tour de Corse
P01_1401_a4

Winning in motor racing is big business. However, that didn’t stop Porsche from taking a light-hearted look at its 1969 Tour de Corse victory (the island of Corsica was the home of French hero, Napoleon Bonaparte).

At the height of its rallying pomp, a Porsche 911R won in the hands of French all-rounder, Gérard Larrousse (who would go on to win at Sebring and the Nürburgring in Porsche prototypes).

1970 World Rally Champions
P01_1406_a4

World championship success? Check. Big bold text? Check. Porsche 911 going sideways? Check. There’s really not much to dislike about this poster from 1970.

Before the introduction of the RSRs, most of the Porsche 911’s success came on the special stages, helping Zuffenhausen to secure the world manufacturers’ championship at the start of the Seventies.

1975 24 Hours of Daytona
P01_1412_a4

By the mid-Seventies, dedicated prototypes ruled the roost in most major endurance races. However, at Daytona in 1975, Porsche’s 911 Carrera 3.0 RSRs scored victory in spectacular fashion.

A “triumph of reliability” saw, six Porsche 911s lockout positions one through to six, with five of them taking the chequered flag in a neatly arranged line. Sometimes, you’ve just got to be in the right place at the right time to get the photo…

1981 12 Hours of Sebring
M09_0231_fine

This victory poster from Brumos’ 1981 12 Hours of Sebring triumph is a true case of keeping it simple. The red, white and blue text references both the American flag and Brumos’ iconic livery, with the collegiate typography a clear reminder of the era.

The list of top Porsches adds some extra dynamism to the design while any poster that features a Porsche 935 is a winner in our eyes.

1982 24 Hours of Le Mans
P01_1416_a4

This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one poster celebrating a Le Mans victory and, while the 1970 triumph was iconic, the design for the all-conquering 1982 win – the first for the new Porsche 956 – won out in the style stakes.

The bold striped lines neatly reference both the French tricolore and the legendary Rothmans colour scheme worn by the three 956s. It’s a crisp design that has stood the test of time, and it always helps when a car carrying the no. 1 finishes first…

Which is your favourite poster? Join the debate in the comments below, or head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages now.

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