Driving an early Porsche 911 provides an opportunity to experience Dr Ferdinand Porsche’s vision that ultimately evolved into what must be the longest model run of all time. Even a modern day 997 shares the same unmistakable teardrop rear side window profile.
Sit in one of these original cars and you immediately appreciate the thinking behind the concept. The Porsche 911 was after all a small compact 2+2 sports car with a clean and well-presented interior design that includes natty features like hot air vents in the sills, and a manual choke on the floor.
Turn the key and fire into life the small 2.0 litre 6 cylinder air cooled engine and a very distinctive noise fills the cabin. Despite its modest 108bhp output the engine still sounds eager, being every bit Porsche 911. Pulling away involves becoming accustomed to the competition inspired dog-leg gearbox with 2nd gear where first should be and first tucked out of the way opposite reverse. This is a feature that constantly reminds you of the Porsche 911’s strong competition pedigree. That and its lightweight diminutive frame, one that’s been completely lost over time.
Accelerating briskly causes the rear of the car to squat down nicely. It also explains the reasoning behind the gearbox layout with first gear very quickly dispatched with, to leave the remaining four forward gears in easy reach. Achieving a decent cross country pace is extremely engaging and then completely intoxicating to maintain.
As the engine out back is relatively small it never feels like it will unsettle the balance of the car and confidence soon grows on braking right into the apex of every bend before powering back out the other side. This flies in the face of the perhaps unjustified reputation that the Porsche 911 wants to kill you at every opportunity. The offset floor hinged pedals, once mastered, are also perfectly aligned for toe and heel downshifts for even smoother progress.
The steering on this car has got to be experienced to be believed. Absence of any weight over the front axle dispenses with the need for power assistance and so what is left is a very pure indeed. Coupled with the characteristic front to rear bobble, flat six throb, small external proportions, fantastic handling and the only conclusion is that an early 911 is nothing short of brilliant.
An early Porsche 911 is the ultimate rear engine sports car bar none.
How does this car make you feel?
In one word: In awe (two I know)
As a favourite meal: Mild Chili served with rice, chips and peas
Anything Else: Dr Ferdinand and his son Ferry are both legends
Key Ingredients: Unadulterated purity, particularly in how the steering feels
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