By on June 4, 2013


The swan song of the 996 Porsche 911 was the “40 Jahre 911“, designed to commemorate the car’s 40th anniversary. Although it was a rear-drive, naturally aspirated Carrera, it shared the widebody look of the all-wheel drive and turbo cars, and inspired legions of badge concious buyers to check the option box the the “911” badge, rather than suffer the indignity of having “Carrera” without an accompanying “S”.

Now that the 911 is 50 years old, Porsche is introducing…you guessed it, the 50 Jahre 911, officially dubbed the “Porsche 911 50 Years Edition.” It follows the same rear-drive-that-looks-like-a-C4 formula, and there are retro touches abound. An old-school 911 badge, faux-Fuchs wheels and tartan seat fabric have all been deployed. Sadly, manual steering was decided to be too retro.

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17 Comments on “50 Jahre 911...”

  • avatar

    Let me guess, the tartan is a more expensive option than genuine hide!

  • avatar

    Since BS-san wrote his article about promotional photography adventures, I don’t look at these pictures the same.

  • avatar

    This article does have a mistake:

    The anniversary 996 had a C4S front end and a special silver paint, but remained a narrow body. (Not the wide-body look mentioned in this article).

    There were the special silver front grills and a few other items. It also had a few more horsepower and unique polished wheels.

  • avatar

    Clarkson was absolutely right: “Porsche design. The least a man can get.”

    How would the automotive press treat an American manufacturer that had the audacity to keep essentially the same design in service for half a century? Anyone?

    But because it’s Porsche, they’re allowed to get away with it.

    • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        Okay, Jeep, but you get my point, right?

        The automotive press is so biased against American cars that GM, Ford and Chrysler can seemingly do no right, while the myriad sins of the Europeans are reflexively swept under the rug.

        • 0 avatar

          In Porsche’s defense, they tried very hard to be free of the 911 by introducing better cars in the ’70s. It turned out that their buyers weren’t looking for great GTs. They just wanted 911s. Porsche also did an excellent job of keeping the 911 competitive in performance for as long as it lasted. When they replaced it with the 964 in 1989, it was still one of the quickest cars in its price range and had the best steering in production. Sure, they make bloated neo-classics now, but the alternative might have been to throw in towel when emissions and noise laws killed the air cooled engine.

          The Corvair’s styling had the potential to evolve for decades. Unfortunately, GM screwed up its launch through false economy and poisoned its market. BMW ran with the look until little more than a decade ago anyway.

          • 0 avatar

            Letting a motor vehicle evolve over time through continuing refinement sometimes works, but you can’t start with dreck in the first place. The 911, Jeep, Corvette, all three Detroit pickup trucks and many others have prospered using this kind of evolutionary approach.

            Personally, I see losing the PT Cruiser styling as a mistake. Same for throwing away the uncanny durability of the Ford Panther platform.

            Blaming the fawning US automotive press for any of Detroit’s problems is so…. pathetic.

  • avatar

    It just hit me (yes, I’m a tad slow)…having rented a VW Beetle a few weeks ago I just realized how much the 911 DOES look like a Beetle. And here I’ve been fighting that nugget of knowledge for decades.

  • avatar

    It’s hard for a rear-engined 911 not to look like a rear-engined car, in the same way that it’s hard for a front-engined Corvette not to look like a front-engined car. But while this dictates a limit on the possible profiles the car can take, it’s not a limit defined by a single absolute shape… as you can see in the differences between the 911, the Beetle, the Renault Alpine (which, IMHO, is still twenty times sexier than the 911), the DeLorean and the Corvair.

    In the years since it was first released, the Corvette has mutated greatly. Even though the styling was finally set in stone by the Stingray, further Corvettes have moved on, changing details as needed, keeping only certain styling cues.

    The 911, on the other hand, is so steeped in its own history that Porsche only dared change the headlights once, then quickly changed them back after people raised a stink. The profile has mutated to take into account aerodynamics and packaging concerns, but Porsche has very little wiggle room when it comes to the 911’s design. And this is not solely due to the rear-engined layout.

    • 0 avatar

      Porsche – there is no substitute. Stuttgart comes out with a new 911 platform about every six years – the 996 and 997 are the latest. They also offer a variety of rear engine sports car models – Carrera, Boxter, et. al.

      I was at my Porsche mechanic the other day for a routine oil change and maintenance. They had maybe 15 Porsches parked about ranging from a 356 (bathtub) show car, three or four air cooled 911’s (one identical to one I used to own), three 911 track cars, three or four 996 & 997’s, a Boxter and a few older trash Porsches (914’s and 924’s).

      Maybe I am like the aardvark who only sees beauty in other aardvarks, but I can tell the difference between them all at a glance. Now if you want to disparage the VW/Porsche SUV, OK. The Porsche sedan I know nothing about, although I don’t think it is as ugly as J. Clarkson says (I don’t think much of Clarkson’s barber either).

      Business-wise, recall that a few years ago the little specialty car maker, Porsche, reportedly almost bought VW. Now I hear it may be the other way round, but my point is that Porsche seems to know how to give the public what it wants. Again, the idea of valuing change just for its own sake means to me that maybe you ain’t got very much to start with – now trying to make a virtue of necessity.

      • 0 avatar

        The Panamera sedan looks absolutely smashing. Stunning, even. As long as you never have to see the rear end.

        I’m pretty sure Porsche will fix that with the facelift. Pre-facelifted Cayennes were horrible bloated frogs, the post-facelift ones look stunning.

        Can’t argue against a very successful formula. But they’re either severely hamstrung by customer expectation or extremely blessed by it. They’ve woven a story whose plot inexorably leads in one direction, and while the story sells, it limits what they can do with it.

        This limits how far in any direction their styling can go. Which is a shame. Because I thought the 944 and 928 looked fantastic, and the “slantnose” experiment was pretty interesting.

        This is the same trap MINI and Aston are running into… though the Porsche brand has managed to spread the family look in more directions than either of these two.

        • 0 avatar

          The 944 and 928, I think, are not just beautiful, but excellent cars overall. But, years later one forlorn 944 sits around my Porsche shop looking like a sad little orphan.

          After 60 years of success, I really doubt the 911 “brand” will trap Porsche. Look at the Boxter. It is, essentially, just another 911 variant, but it looks different and not too bad at that.

          • 0 avatar

            Hard to say, but Porsche, like Ferrari, certainly has a huge amount of inertia going… such that it’d be hard to imagine them failing.

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