The Porker Sow's Ear becomes a Porsche Silk Purse
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The Porker Sow's Ear becomes a Porsche Silk Purse

By JoeKenwright - 10 December 2012

Depending on who is telling the story, the first Porsche 911 examples that hit the road were either lethal or at least, severely compromised. It was unthinkable that the Type 901 as presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1963, still carrying Porsche’s internal development code, could ever achieve a fraction of its competition and sales success. Few models can match the almost 50 years of uninterrupted 911 production. Even fewer have so successfully retained a mechanical layout that seemed as futile and flawed as the Porsche 911’s when it first went into production in August 1964.

Type 901 was not defined by the loftiest of engineering principles. Just as Peugeot’s hold over three digit model codes with a centre zero dictated a last minute switch to 911, Porsche had to sacrifice engineering purity for market pragmatism. Porsche’s internal coding of parts stayed with Type 901.

It had to be a four seater but not a shadow of the Mercedes-Benz range thus dimensions and weight were pegged to those of a two seater.