|The new 6-cyl model has many
innovations but it is still unmistakably Porsche
BY HANSJORG BENDEL
IF WE EXCLUDE the special racing models, the new Porsche 911, née 901, is the first entirely new Porsche in 16 years. All previous models were developments of the Type 356 that first saw daylight in 1948. The 911 is also the first production Porsche designed as a model on its own, i.e., without direct Volkswagen ancestry. The original Porsche, you'll remember, was really nothing more than a tuned Beetle with special chassis platform and a 2-seater body.
When this car was first shown at Frankfurt in 1963, it was christened Type 901 because it happened to be the design identified by this number. Since then, because Peugeot has some sort of registered priority on type designations with three figures and a zero in the middle, the 901 became the 911.
The body of the 911 is completely new, with more glass, crisper lines and functional styling. At the same time, it remains unmistakably Porsche. In front, the luggage compartment lid is almost flat and plunges down sharply in the interest of forward visibility. The elimination of the VW-type torsion bar cross-structure made it possible to deepen the luggage compartment considerably and one of our fattest, most awkwardly shaped test cases was swallowed without protest.
|The height of the new car is practically
unchanged, wheelbase has grown by 4 inches, length by 6 inches and, significantly, width
has been reduced by 2.3 in. All this makes the car look lower, although in fact it isn't.
Usable inside width has increased, however, and each of the front seats is an inch wider
than in the 356. Porsche seats have always been good and those on the 911 are fortunately
unchanged in this respect. Lengthwise adjustment is adequate for the tall and the short,
and the seat backs can be folded down completely so that sleeping in the car becomes a
slightly cramped possibility. Rear seats are pretty much as before, with backrests folded
forward they provide additional luggage space and, if necessary, they can accommodate two
children. For grownups, they definitely remain a short-distance proposition.
Inside the car, the theme "completely new yet unmistakably Porsche" is played in many variations. The overall impression is that this car was built by men who know something about fast motoring and that it is destined for owners who feel the same. There is a full set of instruments, including gauges for fuel and oil tank (the engine has dry sump lubrication; there is no dipstick so you check the tank gauge after about half a minute of idling with the engine fully warmed up), for oil pressure and temperature and for speed and mileage. There is also a clock, plus, of course, a largedial tachometer in the middle of the curved instrument panel. The red sector starts at 6800 rpm and Porsche says to never, never exceed this engine speed.