Classic Porsche 911 (1st Generation) Research Hub (1964 - 1973)
This is your center for all things Original Porsche 911. The ultimate reference center.
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The Porsche 911 was introduced to the world in the fall of 1963 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was developed as a replacement for the highly successful Porsche Model 356. It was larger, more powerful, more comfortable and more competitive on the track than any other comparable car on the market at the time. The original air-cooled, boxer-engined 911 was in production from 1964 through 1989, but on this page, we are focused on the original F-Body cars. Info on the G-Body cars is found here.
We all know the 901 story don't we? A prototype of the 901, as it was called for a brief period, was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Production slowly started in September 1964 and the 901 was shown at the October 1964 Paris Motor Show, barely one month after the start of production. Peugeot objected to the model number, saying that it had the rights to three-digit model numbers with a zero as the middle digit. Although this would only apply to sales in France, Porsche decided to just add a “1,” creating the 911. There were about 80 cars built and labeled 901 before the change.
It was decided to use the lower-cost 356 engine in the new 911 body and call the resulting model the 912. This was successful to the point that the 912 outsold the 911 two to one for a couple years. The last year for the 912 in this form was 1969. The first edition of the 911 was built around a 130 hp, 2.0 liter, flat-six, air-cooled, rear-mounted engine. In 1966 the beefier 160hp 911S was introduced as the first variation of the 911. The "S" which stood for "Super" boasted performance upgrades and modifications that included larger valves, a higher compression ratio, better porting and larger carbuerator jets. Along with the mechanical tweaks, the 911S also received chassis upgrades in the form of a rear anti-roll bar, Koni shocks, distinctive 5-spoke Fuchs alloy wheels and ventilated disc brakes. This really marked the beginning of the 911 as a genuine performance car. This was also the first year for the Targa.
For 1969 Porsche made the single biggest change to the 911 thus far by lengthening the wheelbase 2.5 inches to reduce the oversteer characteristics inherent to rear-engined cars. Pre-1969 cars are often referred to as the short-wheel base cars (SWB) and 1969 onwards called the long-wheelbase cars (LWB). In LWB cars, two 12-volt batteries were installed in each front corner in a further attempt to improve the handling, instead of the earlier bumper-weight solution. They also expanded the model range to three versions, which now included T, E, and S. The E and S got a new induction system in the form of mechanical fuel injection (MFI) to meet emission standard. The next two years, 1970 and 1971, can almost be taken as one step, since there were almost no differences in that time frame. The three model variants, T, E, and S, remained, but the 912 was dropped. Engine displacement was increased to 2.2 liters, the E and S retained mechanical fuel injection, and the T still met emissions with carburetors.
1972 and 1973 can also be taken as one group because there were very few changes from year to year. 1973 marked the end of the longhood 911, when, in 1974, the design of the original body style was changed in order to meet new bumper crash standards. The 1972 and 1973 engine displacement was increased again to 2.4 liters to gain back some power lost from compression ratio reductions to meet the new lower-octane lead-free fuel.. The Type 915 transmission was a totally new design. It was stronger and had a more user friendly H pattern for the first four gears, instead of the old dog-leg first gear that was down and to the left. 1972 was also the first and only time to date where the oil tank was mounted ahead of the right-rear wheel (other than the few 911Rs in 1967 and 1968) for weight distribution reasons.
We can't talk about the classic 911 without mentioning the most famous 911 of all. The 1973 911 Carrera RS was built largely to homologate the faster 911 RSR race car for GT racing and it may be the purest 911 ever made. It is still the GOAT.
F-Body Porsche 911 Basics
Generation: First Generation / Known As: F-Body or Classic 911 / Manufacturer: Porsche AG / Production Years: 1964 - 1974 / Model Years: 1964 - 1974 / Designer: Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, Erwin Komenda / Body Style: 2-door coupe, 2-door targa / Layout: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive / Engines: 1.6 L Aircooled Flat 4 (912), 2.0 L Aircooled Flat 6, 2.2 L Aircooled Flat 6, 2.4 L Aircooled Flat 6, 2.5L Aircooled Flat 6, 2.7 L Aircooled Flat 6, 2.8 L Aircooled Flat 6 / Transmission: 4-speed manual, 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic / Premiere: September 12, 1973 IAA Frankfurt / Successor: Porsche 911 (G-Body)
Porsche 911 (F-Body) Timelines & Details
This graphic breaks out the first generation Porsche 911 in terms of timelines and how to tell all the models apart. Click on the image to see it in higher definition. We split the timeline into entry level, standard level and sports-focused cars to make life easier visually.
Porsche G-Series Details
Porsche 911 2.0 O - Series
The original 911 had a steel bodyshell that was 111 mm longer than the outgoing 356, giving the 911 a roomier cockpit and better handling. The suspension layout was designed to provide more luggage and interior space. At the front was a MacPherson strut arrangement with a single lower wishbone, a 19mm torsion bar and telescopic shock absorber.
The fully independent back end was much more advanced than the 356’s outdated swing-axle set up. The 911’s air-cooled all-alloy Flat 6 engine was the Type 901/01 and had dry-sump lubrication, overhead camshafts, hemispherical cylinder heads and a forged seven main bearing crankshaft. The new engine had a displacement of 1991 cc, with a 9.1:1 compression ratio and two triple-choke 40PI Solex carburettors. Peak output was 130 bhp at 6100 rpm. The transmission was a new Type 901 five-speed gearbox.
The design was the work of Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche and it clearly evolved from the 356 and it was initially available as a Coupe. Porsche quoted a weight of 1030 kg, a top speed of 131 mph and 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds. Production began in August 1964. April 1965 saw production of the Porsche 912 begin. Powered by the four cylinder 356 engine, it was conceived as an entry-level 911 and initially outsold the considerably more expensive six cylinder variant. The Targa was introduced in late 1966 and a 1967 model year.
In July 1966, Porsche unveiled an uprated 911 S model. It had a Type 901/02 engine that still displaced 1991 cc, but came with a host of performance upgrades including bigger intake and exhaust valves plus hardened connecting rods and forged pistons. Compression was increased from 9.1 to 9.8:1 and two Weber 40 IDS carburetors were installed along with a more efficient gas-flowed three-to-one exhaust system. Power was 160 bhp at 6600 rpm. The 911 S also got Koni shocks as standard and a bigger front anti-roll bar. Ventilated disc brakes were fitted for the first time.
The O-series 911s were produced between August 1964 and July 1967 and during this time, 8520 standard Coupes were built and 3422 911 S Coupes. 718 911 Targas were also built, a figure that included both S and non-S variants. In August 1967, the O-series 911 was replaced by the A-series derivative.
Porsche 911 2.0 A & B Series
In August 1967, the original O-series 911 was replaced by the A-series derivative. The 1968 model year A-series 911 was available in four basic varieties: the entry level 911 T, the mid-range ‘normal’ 911, the slightly more luxurious 911 L and the flagship 911 S. All four could be ordered with Coupe or Targa bodywork and with either a manual or semi-automatic gearbox.
The chassis and suspension was unchanged. The big news was a much-improved dual circuit brake system that ran a separate circuit for each axle. The all-alloy air-cooled Flat 6 engines fitted to A-series 911s were dry-sumped with single overhead camshafts. In addition to the Type 901 manual gearbox, Porsche introduced a new Sportomatic transmission.
From the outside, the A-series 911s could be distinguished from earlier derivatives thanks to their black instead of chrome windscreen wipers, new door handles with recessed push buttons, thicker top and bottom cooling slats on the engine cover and separate instead of adjoined anodized gold Porsche lettering on the engine cover. US market derivatives typically came with bumper overriders and thicker headlight shrouds.
The A-series 911 was discontinued in August 1968 to make way for the 1969 model year B-series variant.
B-series 911s most notably featured a wheelbase that was extended by 57mm in an attempt to try and reduce the dramatic oversteer that could be experienced. These new long wheelbase variants were instantly identifiable as each torsion bar cover was now positioned further ahead of the rear wheelarch than before. Larger rear brake calipers were also fitted. Cosmetic changes included subtly flared wheelarches, narrower horn grilles with slightly larger indicators, reflectors next to the rear bumper overriders and bigger Durant wing mirrors.
Porsche also simplified the 911 line up by dropping the ‘normal’ 911 and 911 L in favor of a new mid-range variant: the 911 E. Significantly, the 911 E (as well as the B-series 911 S) was fitted with Bosch mechanical fuel-injection and CD ignition which meant both variants could be sold in the USA. The new Type 901/10 engine in the fuel-injected 911 S was further uprated with bigger intake and exhaust valves, a lightweight magnesium engine casing and an external oil radiator in the right-front fender.
B-Series production stopped in July 1969 to make way for the C-series 1970 model year 911 which came with a bigger 2.2-litre engine.
Porsche 911 2.2 C & D Series
With competition hotting up, the C-series 911 entered production in August 1969. These 2.2-litre 911s were manufactured for the 1970 and 1971 model years. This latest 911 was once again available as either a Coupe or Targa and customers could choose from engines in three alternative states of tune: there was the entry level 125 bhp 911 T, the more luxurious 155 bhp 911 E or the flagship 180 bhp 911 S.
The familiar all-alloy air-cooled Flat 6 with its single overhead camshafts and dry-sump lubrication was bored from 80mm to 84mm. Stroke stayed at 66mm for a displacement of 2195cc (a gain of 204cc over the outgoing unit). Porsche’s engineers fitted bigger valves, new head gaskets and more cooling fins on the cylinder barrels which had modified ends to clear the longer bolts required by stronger con rods.
The new 911 E came with softer cams to make it more appealing to the general public. The new 911 S developed 10 bhp more than its predecessor at 300 rpm less. Whereas the 911 E and 911 S came with a five-speed gearbox, the 911 T had only four-speeds. All variants came with a thicker diameter clutch and redesigned diaphragm to make pedal operation easier. Like the engines, gearbox type numbers were changed from 901 to 911.
For these 1970 model year C-series derivatives, the front suspension mounting points were moved 14mm forward to reduce front wheel castor and lighten the steering at low speeds. Front torsion bar adjustment was made easier on the 911 T and 911 S. The E kept its hydro-pneumatic struts. Ventilated disc brakes were now fitted across the board. Also standard were 6 x 15-inch Fuchs forged alloy wheels although 911 Ts destined for certain markets did still come with steel rims. Cosmetically, no major changes were made.
C-series production started in August 1969 and continued until July 1970. The subsequent 1971 model year D-series 911 came with another series of updates. In the fight against corrosion, bodyshells were now galvanized with a zinc coating applied to exposed underbody areas. Crankcase squirters were introduced to improve piston cooling. There was also a new type of sealed chain tensioner while minor detail alterations were made to the fuel-injection system. D-series production ended in August 1971 to make way for the new 2.4-litre E-series variant.
Porsche 911 2.4 E & F Series
Development continued on the 911 and, in September 1971, Porsche unveiled their latest iteration: the 2.4-litre E-series. These 2.4-litre derivatives were manufactured for the 1972 and 1973 model years. With their powerful, torquey engines and new Type 915 gearboxes, they widely came to be regarded as the best F-body 911s. 2.4-litre 911s were offered in three states of tune and two alternative body styles (Coupe and Targa). There was the entry level 911 T, the mid-range 911 E and the flagship 911 S.
The wheelbase was extended by 3mm thanks to altered rear suspension mounting points (an attempt to eliminate compound movement of the strut). The change had the happy side effect of facilitating extra suspension travel which further improved ride quality. The rear semi-trailing arms were revised to allow their removal without having to drop the engine out of the car.
The engines featured new camshafts, shorter and lighter con rods, reduced height piston crowns cooled by individual oil jet sprays, improved porting, larger big ends, full crankshaft counter-balancing, a crankcase stiffened around the main bearings and a new forged crankshaft. The 915 gearbox had a conventional gate pattern instead of the old dogleg first.
Cosmetically, E-series 911s came with a distinctive oil filler cap positioned behind the right-hand door which was opened by a button on the adjacent door pillar. Other universal changes included a black instead of aluminium engine grille and gunmetal model script rather than anodized gold. The 911 S now came with a new front spoiler said to reduce front-end lift by 40%.
Production began in August 1971 and continued for twelve months during which time just under 13,000 were built. Porsche’s 1973 model F-series 911s were produced from August 1972 and came with more upgrades.
The oil filler located behind the right-hand door was dropped after owners and petrol station attendants repeatedly mistook it for the fuel filler. For the first time, Targas, were available in right-hand drive. US-bound machinery came with black rubber overrider pads as dictated by ever-tightening American safety legislation. In January 1973, the fuel-injected US-spec. 911 T switched to a Bosch K-Jetronic Continuous Injection System and new camshafts were fitted with reduced valve opening timing. Production of the F-series 911 continued until July 1973.
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