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It’s impossible to look at the sports car’s evolution over the last 60 years without including the Porsche 911. Despite its recent popularity with wannabe trendy schmucks with money to burn, the early air-cooled 911’s beginnings were anything but that. Pushed along by the drive to win on racetracks and nearly discontinued due to internal company politics, the beloved (and bemoaned) model has had a tumultuous history filled with revisions and reengineering just to stay relevant. There are multi-volume book series devoted to telling the 911 story, but not everyone has time for that, so enjoy this abbreviated explanation and brief history of the air-cooled 911. 

Porsche 911 Air-Cooled Generations Explained Table of Contents

Learn About The Water-Cooled Porsche 911 Generations Here

 

The Porsche 901 (1964-1973)

The aging Porsche 356 was reaching obsolescence by the early sixties, and its successor was to keep the same driving spirit but provide a bit more space, power, and comfort. Development was a long process as the new model featured a new unibody chassis, gearbox, engine, and suspension design. While it wasn’t a troubled development, there was much to work out. In 1963, after working through seven prototype versions, Porsche debuted the 901 at the Paris International Auto Show in September 1964. 

Development of Porsche’s new sports car began in the early sixties, before the first driving prototype of what we know today as the 911 became operational in 1963. Porsche debuted the production-ready 901. It was there that French automaker Peugeot argued and eventually secured a ruling from the French government that only they had the right to sell a car with a three-number designation with a “0” in the middle due to a trademark. France was a critical market for the small outfit from Germany, so they conceded to Peugeot, renumbering their new model, the 911. After years of research and development, the first 911s hit the American shores in late 1964.

Due to the later 911s receiving large bumpers for US safety regulations in the mid-seventies, the 901 series of cars, built between 1964 and 1973, are known as the “small bumper” cars, or F-chassis/series. Throughout the nine-year run, Porsche’s developments for the 911 nearly all came from racing development. The engine displacement increases came about from new FIA regulations, as did the growth in brake and wheel sizes. Suspension and drivetrain components grew beefier as the bodies grew wider to accommodate bigger tires. 

The first 911s carried a single-overhead-camshaft, 2.0L horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine that produced 130 hp and 129 lb-ft of torque. This engine was used from 1964 through 1968 in the base 911 and the 911L. 1967 saw the introduction of the 911S and the iconic Fuchs wheels. Its one-year-only engine (in the US) featured larger camshafts and different carburetors to help it produce an extra 30 hp. The forged aluminum Fuchs were made to be the performance wheel for the ‘67 S before becoming the 911’s standard. 1969 was the last year for the 2.0L engine and the first for the 911 lineup to feature three different models: the T, E, and S. 1970 saw the displacement jump to 2.2L, and the power figures jump up on every model. Displacement and power jumped again in 1972 when the engines were enlarged to 2.4L. Bosch mechanical fuel injection was used on the E and S models from 1969 until the end of their run in 1973. 

The gearboxes used in the 911 also underwent significant revisions through the F-series. All 911s between 1964 and 1969 used the gearbox designated “901.” It’s a five-speed manual transaxle that was available with a limited-slip differential. It uses a dogleg shift pattern, meaning the first gear is left and down rather than left and up. That was because the gearbox was developed specifically for racing. 1970-71 911s used the “911” gearbox; essentially, the 901 but with a pull-type clutch rather than a push-type. However, both boxes reached their limit under the bigger and more powerful engines in racing, so they were replaced by the “915.”

 The 915 uses a traditional shift pattern and a pull-type clutch, as well as strengthened internals to handle the abuse from the larger displacement engines. Additionally, Porsche offered their Sportomatic transmission. A rarely chosen option, it was a “clutchless” four-speed manual that would open its clutch once a micro-switch in the shift lever was activated. The switch was triggered by moving the lever, and pulling or pushing it into gear would operate the clutch at the right time. 

The earliest 901 from 1964 shares the same basic suspension layout as the 1973 models. A Macpherson strut front strut design was used with a lower control arm that houses a torsion bar spring. The rear suspension also used a torsion bar design but with a single aluminum trailing arm per side that carried the wheel hub and shock mount. As the cars got longer, wider, and faster, the torsion bars grew to keep the cars stable and sporty. Boge, Koni, and Bilstein shocks were all used throughout production. Between 1969 and 1971, standard front suspension on the 911E and optional on the T and S were hydro-pneumatic self-leveling struts. 

Major chassis changes were contained to a single one about halfway through the production run. All 901 911s ending with the 1968 model year have an 87” wheelbase, and while fine initially, increasing performance and an already spin-happy weight distribution necessitated a change. The following year, the 911 received a longer 89.3” wheelbase, increasing stability at the limit without sacrificing comfort or precision. 

The Targa model was introduced in 1967 as Porsche was receiving word that the North American market was looking for a convertible. Hesitant of possible future roll-over safety regulations in the states against convertibles, Targa became the solution. The earliest models used a zip-out plastic rear window, while a hard glass rear window was optional. By 1969, the “soft window,” as it’s known, was replaced almost entirely by the glass window, with only a few examples fitted with the old style in its final year of availability. 

FCP_Euro_Porsche_911_Air-Cooled_Generations_Explained

1972 models will occasionally be called the “oel klappe,” stemming from the oil filler door on their passenger side quarter panel, a one-year-only feature. 

All F-series 911s used a 2+2 seating arrangement. Inside the cabin, a large wood-rimmed steering wheel and wood-trimmed dashboard were standard. By 1973, the steering wheel was leather-wrapped, and the dashboard had aluminum or black trim. All models received five gauges; a large central tachometer was flanked by a speedometer and clock to the right, and an oil pressure/temp and fuel level/oil level gauge to the left. Standard seats were always trimmed in black or tan leatherette, while leather upholstery and Recaro sport seats were options. Other optional extras included an outside thermometer, an electric sunroof, a trunk-mounted Webasto gas heater, and a rear seat delete with storage boxes. Color options included Irish Green, Slate Grey, Sepia Brown, Ossi Blue, and Tangerine. 

Capping off the F-series was the first 911 to wear the RS badge, the Carrera 2.7RS. Executives laughed at the idea of the homologation special—and even feared its poor sales—but the initial 500-car production run sold so quickly that Porsche built an extra thousand. Its bulging flares, extra-wide Fuchs, iconic ducktail spoiler, deep chin spoiler, and Carrera graphics grabbed everyone’s attention, and the 2.7L mechanically injected engine was the biggest ever fitted at that point, culminating in a now legendary model.

The RS had two trim options: the Touring package or Lightweight package. The “Lightweight” RSs were given thinner glass and steel (0.8mm vs 0.88mm). They also had their interiors stripped; the rear seats, carpeting and mats, the clock, and even the glove box door were thrown away for maximum weight reduction. The Touring models were built with standard steel, glass, and carpets, making them closer to a 911S in weight and comfort. 

901 US Models and Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission

1964-1966

911

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

130hp/129 lb-ft tq

“901” Five-Speed




1967


911

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

130hp/129 lb-ft tq


“901” Five-Speed Manual


911S

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

160hp/132 lb-ft tq


“901” Five-Speed Manual



1968



911L

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

130hp/129 lb-ft tq

“901” Five-Speed Manual Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic




1969


911T

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

110hp/115 lb-ft tq

“901” Four-Speed Manual Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic or “901” Five-Speed Manual


911E

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

140hp/129 lb-ft tq

“901” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic


911S

2.0 L Flat-6

80mm x 66mm

170hp/134 lb-ft tq

“901” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic


1970-1971

911T

2.2 L Flat-6

84mm x 66mm

125hp/130 lb-ft tq

“911” Four-Speed Manual

Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic

Optional: “911” Five-Speed Manual

911E

2.2 L Flat-6

84mm x 66mm

155hp/141 lb-ft tq

“911” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic


911S

2.2 L Flat-6

84mm x 66mm

170hp/147 lb-ft tq

“911” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “905” Four-Speed Sportomatic



1972-1973


911T

2.4 L Flat-6

84mm x 70.4mm

130hp/145 lb-ft tq

”915” Four-Speed Manual

Optional: 905/20 Four-Speed Sportomatic

Optional: “915” Five-Speed Manual


911E

2.4 L Flat-6

84mm x 70.4mm

165hp/152 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic


911S

2.4 L Flat-6

84mm x 70.4mm

190hp/160 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic

 

The G-Body 911 (1974-1989)

 As beloved as the 911’s first generation is, the G-series cars are the icons. Comb through any 80’s movie or TV show, and you’ll likely see a 911 as a featured car.  The fifteen-year run saw three distinct generations and the addition of the turbocharged “widowmaker” that is the 930.

The Original G-Series (1974-1977)

New US safety regulations meant that the 911 had to change or disappear, so the 1974 models debuted with larger and chunkier-looking bumpers to meet the new “5 mph” standard. The larger impact bumpers necessitated a shorter trunk lid and different fenders, as the front of the trunk was redesigned to mount the bumper shock absorbers. In the rear, Porsche mounted two large rubber blocks to the rear bumper, called bumperettes—1974 was the only year to receive the smaller European-spec bumperettes. Lighting changes saw the front turn signals move into the bumper and a red reflector panel with “Porsche” in black lettering stuck between the taillights. Other than that, the chassis stayed relatively the same. 

In its first year, the G-series 911 had three variants in the US: the 911, 911S, and Carrera. Unlike the previous year’s Carrera, our car didn’t feature the mechanically-injected 210 hp engine. It remained 2.7L, but so was every other 911 engine in ‘74, and its 165 hp matched that of the 911S. What it did have was the flared rear arches, Carrera-script door stripe, and ducktail spoiler from the RS, but that’s about it. 1975 saw the US lineup drop the base 911 and add the Turbo Carrera. 

The Turbo Carrera was presented with huge flared fenders and quarters, providing it with a 2.8” wider front track and a 5.3” wider rear. Instead of the ducktail, the “whale tail” spoiler first seen on the Carrera 3.0RS was added. Additionally, the standard fog lights hung off the valance under the front bumper. Out back, a 3.0-liter, non-intercooled flat-six with a single KKK turbocharger mated to a four-speed manual made it Porsche’s first road-going model with a turbocharger. First-year models pumped out 260hp before emissions equipment cut that down by 15 for the next two years. The Carrera was dropped after 1975, leaving the 911S and Turbo Carrera as the only variants through ‘77. 

These early “big bumper” 911s were the last to feature the magnesium engine and transmission cases. At 2.7L, the standard engine matched the RS for displacement, but lower compression and emissions equipment meant the base 911 made 150 hp, while the Carrera and 911S received fifteen more. All US-spec engines utilized Bosch’s K-Jetronic fuel injection, also called CIS, and while not the best for big power, it was a solid and reliable system. A 915 five-speed manual gearbox was standard, with the Sportomatic remaining an option.

Interior options remained largely the same between ‘74-’77. Vinyl “leatherette” was standard on all interiors, while leather was an option. Additionally, Porsche offered several seat inserts if you wanted something different. Plaid tartan, tweed, basket-weave, and pin-stripe velour, to name a few. Standard colors included Mexico Blue, Lime Green, Light Yellow, Bitter Chocolate, and Sahara Beige.

U.S. G-series 911 Models and Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission

1974


911

2.7 L Flat-6

90mm x 70.4mm

150hp/175 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic


911S

2.7 L Flat-6

90mm x 70.4mm

165hp/167 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic


Carrera

2.7 L Flat-6

90mm x 70.4mm

175hp/167 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic


1975


911S/Carrera

2.7 L Flat-6

90mm x 70.4mm

165hp/167 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Four-Speed Sportomatic


Turbo Carrera 

3.0 L Turbocharged Flat-6

95mm x 70.4mm

260hp/253 lb-ft tq

“930” Four-Speed Manual

1976-1977



911S

2.7 L Flat-6

90mm x 70.4mm

165hp/167 lb-ft tq

915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Three-Speed Sportomatic

Turbo Carrera

3.0 L Turbocharged Flat-6

95mm x 70.4mm

245hp/253 lb-ft tq

“930” Four-Speed Manual

 

The Super Carrera and the Turbo (1978-1983)

As the years went on, the 911’s future was uncertain. Many within the company viewed the new 928 as the future, but a few staunch supporters kept the old car alive. Part of that arrangement meant the 911 was to be simplified, so its several N/A variants merged into one: the 911SC. Standing for Super Carrera, the new model used the flared chassis and whale tail of the 2.7 Carrera with a new 3.0L unit. Sporting the same K-Jetronic injection as the earlier engines, it achieved 180 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. 

Along with the start of the SC line, the Turbo Carrera became the “Turbo.” The engine was bored and stroked to 3.3L and fitted with an intercooler. Porsche fitted the “tea-tray” spoiler to the Turbos as it was made to fit over the intercooler. The four-speed manual remained the only gearbox option, while larger four-piston front calipers became standard. The Turbo and SC remained the same until 1980 when the Turbo was dropped from American shores because of changing emissions and safety requirements. That same year, the SC became a “50-state” car, with all examples having catalytic converters and oxygen sensors for emissions purposes. Standard equipment comprised air conditioning, power windows, black window trim, and a leather-covered 380mm steering wheel. As with all other cars in America, an 85 mph speedometer was required. 

The only large addition to the lineup came in the SC’s last year when Porsche introduced the Cabriolet. Joining the Coupe and Targa models, the Cabriolet had a manually operated cloth top and a plastic zip-out rear window. Extra standard equipment included leather seats and heated electric mirrors. 

The SC’s engine remained the same throughout its production. The 915 remained the standard transmission, though the Sportomatic was eliminated after 1979. The brakes grew slightly larger over the early G-series models, allowing for a thicker disc.

U.S. 911 SC and 930 Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission

1978-1979

911SC

3.0 L Flat-6

95mm x 70.4mm

180hp/175 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “925” Three-Speed Sportomatic

Turbo

3.3 L Turbocharged Flat-6

97mm x 74.4mm

265hp/291 lb-ft tq

“930/34” Four-Speed Manual


1980-1983


911SC

3.0 L Flat-6

95mm x 70.4mm

180hp/175 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual

 

The 3.2 Carrera & The Return Of The Turbo (1984-1989)

1984 saw the final iteration of the G-series 911 debut. The bodywork was nearly identical to the SC, only featuring a new front valance with integrated fog lights. An engine update was the most significant change, growing to 3.2L thanks to the Turbo’s stroke. Smaller updates included a Bosch Motronic 2 DME engine management system, Bosch’s new LE-Jetronic fuel injection, and oil-fed chain tensioners. All of those updates were good for 207 hp. Wider front brake calipers were also installed to fit over 4mm thicker rotors. The 915 transmission remained in service through 1986 until a new Getrag unit—the G50—replaced it. It remained a five-speed gearbox but used a hydraulic slave cylinder to operate the clutch fork instead of a cable.

 Also new for the 3.2 Carrera was the M491 “Supersport” Turbo-look package. It fitted a standard Carrera with the European 930’s body, suspension, and brakes. It was available in Coupe, Cabriolet, and Targa trims.  

After being removed from the US lineup, the Turbo returned in 1986 with all the necessary emissions equipment. Using the same Bosch Motronic DME as the Carreras and some other minor changes, the Turbo pumped out 282 hp. It continued to use the four-speed manual transmission until the 1989 model year when the G50 five-speed became the standard equipment. In March of 1987, Porsche officially introduced the M505 option for the Turbos. Any Turbo with M505 became a 930S and donned the “slant-nose” fenders with pop-up headlights, wider rocker panels, and air-inlets in the quarter panels. 

During the production run, various minor updates and changes were made to the 911. For 1985, the steering wheel remained leather-wrapped but moved to a four-spoke design. The radio antenna moved into the windshield channel, an updated Boge shock replaced their old design, and Porsche added an oil cooler behind the passenger’s side headlight. Starting in ‘86, a third brake light was required and added to the Carrera via a periscope-style light mounted externally above the tail.  Porsche also remapped the ECU for another ten horsepower to accompany the transmission change. The following year, the brake light moved into the cabin, behind the rear window, and a power convertible top became standard. 

Along with the standard 3.2 Carrera and Turbo models, American buyers were also given the opportunity to purchase a couple of special models. Most recognizable is the 1989 Speedster, with its low-cut windshield and humped fiberglass roof cover. Porsche built examples with the Turbo widebody and Carrera narrowbody, though all were essentially 3.2 Carreras underneath it all. A couple of years prior, Porsche quietly introduced the 3.2 Carrera Club Sport for those missing the stripped and simple 911s of old. It featured a blueprinted and lightly tweaked 3.2 mated to a short-ration G50 gearbox in a much lighter package. Thanks to RS-like weight-saving measures, including deletion of the sunroof, rear seat, A/C, power windows, and most sound deadening, it dropped 155lb over a standard Carrera. Just 28 examples made it state-side. 

U.S. Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera & 930 Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission

1984-86


911 3.2 Carrera

3.2 L Flat-6

95mm x 74.4mm

207hp/192 lb-ft tq

“915” Five-Speed Manual


Turbo

3.3 L Turbocharged Flat-6

97mm x 74.4mm

282hp/287 lb-ft tq

“930/36” Four-Speed Manual


1987-1989


911 3.2 Carrera

3.2 L Flat-6

95mm x 74.4mm

217hp/195 lb-ft tq

“G50” Five-Speed Manual

Turbo

3.3 L Turbocharged Flat-6 97mm x 74.4mm  282hp/287 lb-ft tq

“930/36” Four-Speed Manual

“G50” Five-Speed Manual (1989 Only)

 

The Porsche 964 (1989-1994)

Halfway through the 1989 model year, you could stroll into a Porsche dealership and purchase the “87% new” 964. While it may not have looked like it, the 964 brought about the largest change to the 911 at that point. Most apparent is the updated appearance. New bumpers and rocker panels were made with aerodynamics in mind. The old fixed rear spoiler became the electronically retractable one we know today. Even the iconic Fuchs wheels were ditched for the Design 90 wheels. Under the car, Porsche fit the 964 with a flat bottom for greater aerodynamic efficiency. 

Beneath the skin is where the 964 differs most from the previous generations. While the front suspension mounting points remained the same, Porsche ditched the torsion bar spring setup for a modern coil-over spring setup. The rear was the same, swapping the torsion bars for coil springs without changing the architecture. For the first time on a 911, ABS brakes and power steering were standard, the power steering being a first for the 911. Not to be outdone by the rest of the chassis, the engine received an enormous update. Revolutionized engine management systems allowed engineers to push the old air-cooled engine much further, culminating in its most drastic update.

Although the same overall design as previous variants, the new engine was full of updates. Internally, displacement jumped up to 3.6L, while larger valves and bigger camshafts ensured the extra displacement could flow more air more efficiently. Bosch electronics controlled fuelling and the twin-plug ignition with help from a knock sensor. Altogether, the M64/01 engine made a reserved 247hp. 

Debuting in 1989 was the first 964, the Carrera 4. Another important first for the 911, the 4 designated the all-wheel-drive system. Utilizing a design derived from the 959, the front wheels were driven through a differential connected to a transfer case on the G50 transmission. The standard operating torque split was 31% front and 69% rear, but it was electronically and automatically adjustable. A wheel speed sensor on each wheel detected spin, relaying to the computer where to send the power for maximum grip. Rear-wheel-drive Carreras, dubbed the Carrera 2, were available starting in 1990.

 Both the AWD and RWD models were available in Coupe, Targa, and Cabriolet versions. As of the start of the 1990 model year, all models were fitted with dual airbags as standard. Then, halfway through the model year, Porsche introduced the Tiptronic transmission. The four-speed torque-converter automatic was the first automatic-type gearbox available in a 911 since the Sportomatic left in 1979. 

Updates to the power steering system came for the Carrera 2/4 in 1992, along with two new models. The first model wasn’t so much new considering it was a special edition. Starting in 1992, Porsche offered the America Roadster. Like the M491 optioned cars of the eighties, the America roadster kept the Carrera 2’s engine and drivetrain but placed them in a Cabrio shell with the Turbo bodywork and running gear. 250 America Roadsters left the factory between ‘92-’93. A similarly-equipped Coupe was also available as a 911 30th Anniversary Edition.

America also received the aptly named RS America. The first 911 to wear an RS badge in America since 1973, the RSA deleted the rear seats, ditched the power steering, sported a fixed whale tail, and was only available with cloth sport seats and the RS door panels. M030 Sport suspension was fitted as standard, and the brakes were the “Big Reds” from the 964 Turbo. Four options were available for the RSA: A/C, a sunroof, a limited-slip differential, and a radio. Many of the 701 models produced found their way into club racing.

The 964 Turbo debuted in 1991 wearing a wider 964-style body, carrying the 3.3L engine from the 930, and going by the 965 model designation. The drivetrain remained the same, but the engine received a larger turbocharger and intercooler. Power output was now at 320 hp. A limited run of Turbo S  “Leichtbau,” or lightweight models, was produced in 1992. Thanks to carbon-kevlar and aluminum body panels, the Turbo S shed 400lb over a standard Turbo. Revised engine tuning also boosted engine output to 380 hp. 

1993 introduced the Turbo 3.6. As the name suggests, it uses a 3.6-liter engine and a blend of parts from the standard Turbo and Turbo S lightweight to perform far better than a standard Turbo. 

U.S. Porsche 964 Models and Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission

1989

Carrera 4

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

247hp/228 lb-ft tq

“G64” Five-Speed Manual







1990-1994








Carrera 2

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

247hp/228 lb-ft tq

“G50” Five-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic” Four-speed Automatic

Carrera 4

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

247hp/228 lb-ft tq

“G64” Five-Speed Manual

RS America

America Roadster

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

247hp/228 lb-ft tq

“G50” Five-Speed Manual

Turbo 

3.3 L Turbocharged Flat-6

97mm x 74.4mm

320hp/332 lb-ft tq


“G50” Five-Speed Manual

Turbo S “Leichtbau”

3.3 L Turbocharged Flat-6

97mm x 74.4mm

381hp/362 lb-ft tq


“G50” Five-Speed Manual

Turbo 3.6

3.6 L Turbocharged Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

360hp/383 lb-ft tq


“G50” Five-Speed Manual

 

The Porsche 993 (1995-1998)

Believe it or not, the 993 wasn’t intended to have an air-cooled engine. Initial engineering designs had the shell fitted with something akin to the 959, but it was not to be. Instead, the old air-cooled mill saw a few more revisions to finish the chassis’ three-decade-long run. Yet, even without the newer engine, the 993 has become a fan favorite, if not the most sought-after generation of the early 911s. Arriving in 1995, it featured completely unique fenders, bumpers, lights, and quarter panels—more aerodynamic than ever. While serving a purpose, many consider the Tony Hatter-designed car to be the best-looking of all generations. Of course, the new colors and wheel designs have played a role, too. 

Powering all of the naturally aspirated US models was the M64/05, a massaged variant of that found in the 964. It remained the same size, but lighter pistons and rods and an updated Motronic engine management system allowed a jump to 272 hp. However, a variable-length intake manifold, or Varioram, became standard equipment on all normally aspirated Carrera models in 1996, bringing about a new engine designation (M63/21). Changing the intake runners’ length allowed more torque down low and a peak 282 hp figure. The standard transmission remained the “G50” manual but with an added sixth gear. Optionally, buyers could go for the updated Tiptronic S four-speed automatic. 

The 993 also introduced the first multi-link rear suspension setup to the 911. Taken from a stillborn Porsche project, the LSA (lightweight, stable, agile) design eliminated the semi-trailing arm in use since the dawn of the 911. The LSA reduced squat under acceleration and dive under braking. Its new geometry produced toe-in under braking to stabilize the rear end. The rear track width was also increased by 70mm. 

Back at the top of the lineup was a new Turbo model equipped with two turbochargers, a six-speed manual transmission, and an all-new all-wheel drive system. Porsche’s AWD wasn’t the sharpest in the 964, so it was overhauled to shed weight and improve its driving characteristics. The largest changes were a viscous center differential and a static torque split of 5/95% front to rear.

Sitting below the Turbo but utilizing the new AWD was the Carrera 4S, featuring the Carrera 4’s drivetrain in the Turbo body shell with the Turbo’s stiffer suspension and larger brakes. The Targa also returned to the lineup with a large panoramic glass roof instead of the removable roof panel. The Carrera 4 Coupe was dropped after 1996, and the standard Carrera Coupe lasted through 1997 before being cut for the 993’s final year. All other models were available through 1998.

U.S. Porsche 993  Models and Specifications

Year

Model

Engine

Transmission


1995

Carrera

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

272hp/243 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic

Carrera 4

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

272hp/243 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic


1996

Carrera

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

285hp/251 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic

Carrera 4

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

285hp/251 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic

Turbo

3.6 L Twin-Turbocharged Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

408hp/398 lb-ft tq

“G64” Six-Speed Manual

1997-1998

Carrera/S

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

285hp/251 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic

Carrera 4/4S

3.6 L Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

285hp/251 lb-ft tq

“G50” Six-Speed Manual

Optional: “Tiptronic S” Four-Speed Automatic

Turbo

3.6 L Twin-Turbocharged Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

408hp/398 lb-ft tq

“G64” Six-Speed Manual

Turbo S

3.6 L Twin-Turbocharged Flat-6

100mm x 76.4mm

424hp/423 lb-ft tq

“G64” Six-Speed Manual

For years, early 911s were a dime a dozen, trading hands for well under the five-figure mark. These days, you’re lucky to get into a project for less than the price of a 996. They offer a unique driving experience, one that cannot be matched by anything other than another 911. The water-cooled models that replaced them have carved their own place in history with their own unique positives and negatives. They are truly special cars that everyone should have a chance to experience. 


author image
Written by :
Christian Schaefer

Car and motorsports-obsessed writer/editor for FCP Euro's DIY Blog. Constantly dreaming of competing behind the wheel or searching for another project. Owner of a turbo Subaru Forester and a ratty Porsche 914, neither of which are running.


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