Porsche 901 meets 991 Carrera 4S

Porsche famously changed the name of its 901 to 911 shortly before the 356 successor premiered at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt 50 years ago this autumn. Peugeot had already laid claim to triple-digit model designations with a zero in the middle, and you don’t want consumers to confuse a Porsche with a Pug.

Through potential replacements like the 924/944 and 928/968, the 911 name stuck to successively more modern iterations of the classic rear-engine Porsche. Air-cooled flat sixes survived for a long time, with emissions regulations finally prompting Porsche to water-cool the six after the last 993-model 911 in 1998.

Three generations later, modern engineering and electronic handling aids have virtually exorcised the rear-engine car’s inherent propensity to wildly slide its tail out at the mere hint of an injudicious lift of your foot from the throttle pedal. With the new 991-model 911, Porsche has stretched the wheelbase to 96.5 inches by pushing the rear wheels further back, thus moving the engine a few inches closer to the mid-engine ideal.

In case the technological reassurances aren’t enough, Porsche has offered the all-wheel-drive 911 Carrera 4 since the 964 model of 1989.

The original Porsche 911 parked next to the new 991 Carrera 4S in these photos illustrates how much larger and more sophisticated the 911 has grown over five decades while managing to maintain its core Bauhaus-like design. The flat six has grown, too, from 1991 cubic centimeters in original air-cooled form - rated at 128 hp and with a top speed of 130 mph - to 3800 water-cooled cubic centimeters rated at 400 hp and with a top speed of 180 mph. Ah, progress.

Call me crazy, I am fascinated by all 911s.
I only buy AWD, so I would only consider a 4 designation if I ever decided on a Porsche.  I would have to spring for the latest Turbo (in my dream world). To my mind, it is the best 911 ever. I'd take any year Turbo, by the way, but latest is bestest.
Vignesh Mecha
Eduardo Armendariz
Im glad that they have kept some of their root design cues.
Shad Bosh
Forebear...? Heck, why not make it a 356? They're all beautiful.
Porsches are not Porsches any more. I love the old air cooled motors with the wining sound, the LeMans dash, and the bug eyed head lights. The new 911's dont have any of those features. 
Lee Klein
Very beautiful photo. It's humbling how much better-looking the original one is, no offense. I'm all for the go-kart on roids, myself.
Stéphane Tarrière
il manque le rétro passager sur la 1ére 901 ... oups 911 .. le zéro au milieu c'est pour Peugeot ! :)
Brian Billings
kind of like people...the older we get the wider we become ;)
Gregory Easton
Over time, have the Germans widened the 911 to compensate for the growing obesity problem in the United States?
Collin Oskahpee
It only took them 15 generations to advance a car's appearance the amount that most manufacturers do in one or two generations. Bravo!
Panamera NH
Always in my dream (y)
El Stig
They both look like beetles
David T Wheeler Jr
Double love + me = Menage a trois. LOL
Tad Dunville
Rothaug's got it. Aside from the general configuration, the cars are really different. The 996-up drives like a 6er with less sound deadening. The A-series on left drives like a psycho go-kart on roids.
Tim Lucas
The width difference is amazing
Steve Rothaug
Call me crazy, I really think I'd rather own the one on the left.

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