The Top 10 Most Popular Porsches
Porsche are one of the most recognisable car producers in the world. Everyone knows what you mean when you mention a “911” and the more recent introduction of the Boxster has added another name to the list of Porsche house hold names.
First I shall clear something up regarding the Porsche name. The key here is knowing that in the German language, E's at the end of a word, are not silent (like English) so if you here someone saying it Porsche, than they are correct!
This list was complied through research of a range of people's personal opinions. I admit that it may not be the most scientific way of approaching the list, but using production and sales figures is bias as Porsche Produce a lot more cars now than they did in the 1950s and 60's and you would lose some classic cars that way.
A Brief History
Porsche was original founded by Austro-Hungarian Ferdinand Porsche and was not a car manufacturer but a development and consulting company. The most important and well known project they worked on was for the German government was for the world known VW Beetle. The first Porsche car was the Porsche 62 which was built on the beetle platform in 1939. During 1945, Ferdinand Porsche was imprisoned for war crimes but was never tried. During this time, Ferdinand's son Ferry started building a car under the family name. This car was sold in small numbers as the 356 which is regarded by many as the first true Porsche. In 1951 Ferdinand died after suffering a stroke.
Over the next 10 years, Porsche introduced and raced (to a lot success) the 550 (spyder) and later the 718. Both cars proved very popular for Porsche, however in 1964, Porsche released not only one of their greatest cars, but possibly one of the greatest cars off all time. The 911 was born. The 911 was designed and built under the watchful eye of Ferry Porsche's eldest son Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. The 911 introduced the now legendary 6 cylinder “boxer” engine. This car has now (in one form or another) being in constant production which makes it a 44 year old car (obviously it has been updated with the time).
More recently, Porsche have introduced the Boxster (1996 – Present) the Cayenne (2002 – Present) the Cayman (2005 – Present) and the “Hypercar” Carrera GT (2004 – 2006). In 2009 Porsche are releasing their luxury 4 door supercar, the Porsche Panamera.
Porsche have always had a close relationship with VW ever since designing the Beetle for them in 1945. However, in September 2008, Porsche bought the final few shares they needed to gain control over VW. This was mainly an investment in VW as the large German car manufacturer is suffering with financial problems. One benefit of the take over however was VW rising popularity in the growing Chinese market, something which Porsche will hope to exploit to regain some of its money.
10 - '959' ( 1986–1989 )
The 959 was a late 80's legend and became wall decoration for many small boys rooms around the world. It was based on the current production 911. Designed and built as Group B rally car it was built as a 4 wheel drive car (which was the original platform for the Carrera 4) and 200 (although the actual final figure was 337) had to be built to take it racing. The 959 was powered by a 450bhp twin turbo 2.8l flat 6 engine which topped out at 197mph. They were some problems though, it was a very expensive car to produce. The engine and gearbox with its expensive turbo system, and the expensive 'zero lift' body work meant that all 283 cars that were sold cost more to produce than they sold them for. On the modern market, expect to pay upwards of $250,000 for a good condition car, and with only a small number still existing, expect them all to be in perfect condition.
9 - '911 (993) Turbo' (1995-1998)
The 911 (993) was another in the Porsche arsenal that boasted twin turbo power. This time in a 3.6l flat 6 producing 400bhp and topping out between 180 and 188mph (depending on model). The 993 Turbo was also the only turbo to use a 4 wheel drive system (similar but less expensive version of the 959's system) to help control the power round bends. The car also featured a clever engine management system which improved the Turbo's terrible fuel efficiency. This is the car that gave the 911 the “killer” tag line as many wealthy bankers in the UK underestimated the power and subsequently died. A good example 993 turbo will set you back approx £35,000 ($65,000) and Porsche can still supply you with power upgrade kits for them!
8 - '911 Carrera RS' (1973 – 1974)
Arguably the greatest 911 ever produced. The 1973 RS (Rennsport, German for motor sport) was again produced to meet racing criteria and was basically a race specification 911 S. Using a larger engine (2.7l flat 6) to produce 207bhp (up 17 on the S) and force it up to a top speed of over 170 mph. The car also featured larger brakes, wider rear arches, a new lightweight body and re-worked suspension to prepare it for the track. Interestingly, all current 'track cars' produced by Porsche still hole the RS logo. If you can find one of the 1580 that were originally produced, expect to pay around £10,000 ($18,000) which seems like a bargain!
7 - '924 S2 (1976 – 1986)
Many purist Porsche fans will not appreciate the 924 being in this list. Like the 944 and 968 that proceeded it. This is down to the un-Porsche like front engined rear wheel drive layout being adopted. The reason Porsche adopted this approach was to keep costs down. This resulted in a new 'budget' Porsche range which in some special edition versions often gave the 911 a run for its money. These cars kept the cash flowing when Porsche needed it the most and as a result maybe collectively the most important cars ever produced, for without them Porsche may have gone bust. Using the smaller 2.0 and 2.5l water-cooled I4 (an Audi engine), the 924 was a cheap sports car with an impressive top speed of 142mph. These 'budget' Porsche's are still popular today due to their low price of around £1000 (£1800)
6 - ' Cayenne' (2002 – Present)
In 2005 Porsche released the Cayenne. This monster of a SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) was a response from Porsche to the rise in popularity for the 'Chelsea Tractor' during the start of the new millennium. The car was powered by either a 3.2l or 4.2l V8 with power ranging from 250bhp to a staggering 521bhp (the Turbo S) and the new face lifted version produces 550bhp! The reviews of the Cayenne were a mixed bunch. Most reporters say it's a fabulous car with one drawback. Its ugly. It is, you can't deny it but it is a very popular car on the roads. A good example of a Cayenne £30,000 ($54,000)
5 - 'Cayman S' (2005 – Present)
The Cayman S is the newest of the Porsche range and is basically a Boxster Coupé (hard roof). Using the same 3.4l Boxer engine producing 295bhp helping it reach its top speed of 171mph. The main advantage of the Cayman over its Boxster sister is the extra stiffness the roof adds. This car feels sharper and better round corners and some will say far better looking than the Boxster. As this is a relatively new car produced by Porsche, some might argue for not involving it. Take a test drive, then come back and argue against it. A good Cayman S will cost you about £30,000 ($54,000 )
4 – 'Boxster' (1996 -Present)
The Boxster, like the Cayman differed from the classic rear engined 911 and opted for a mid mounted rear wheel drive lay out to help with balance and steering. Starting out with a 2.5l and 3.2l flat 6 (recently the 2.5 was replaced with a 2.7l) producing up to 260bhp. It was designed to make some money (like the 924,944 and 968) to help find the Carrera GT project. It turned out to be a fantastic car to drive for little money. Some say the car has always lacked power so as to not upset sales of its 911 big brother. Yet with a top speed of 155mph it is no slow car. Prices start from £10,000 ($18,000) for a good condition model, but early versions can be found cheaper.
3 – '550 Spyder' (1953 – 1956)
The 550 Spyder was originally designed as a race car but some road models were produced. It used a small 1.5l 4 cylinder engine producing just 110bhp. However, the car only weight 612kg which resulted in a power to weight ratio of 180bhp/tonne which is about the same as a modern day hot hatchback. This may not sound like much but in the mid 50's was a very fast car. The 2 most important things to know about the car, was in 1956 it gave Porsche its first ever out right win in a motor race. And on the 30th of September 1955, James Dean was killed in a road traffic accident driving his "Little Bastard" 550 Spyder. Examples are incredibly rare and fetch hundreds of thousand of dollars at auctions. Replica cars will set you back £15,000 ($27,000) or you could build it yourself for less.
2 - '911 S (997)' (2004 – Present)
The current 911 is as you may expect, the fastest 911 in standard form. Porsche have been tweaking their rear engined rear wheel drive format for over 40 years now, so you know this car has pedigree. The S model is powered by a 355bhp 3.8l flat 6 engine which is good for 182mph. This is the baby Porsche and the cheapest route to owning a 911 but its also incredibly quick and perfect to drive. Some say its lost the beast that was the early cars handling. Others say its become a fine piece of precision engineering, maybe a little of both, but a great car. Available from £55,000 ($95,000)
1 – 'Carrera GT' (2004 – 2006)
This is Porsche's “Hypercar”. Unsurprisingly the Carrera GT was designed as a race car, but halfway through development, the rules changed and it was ruled out. Porsche decided it wouldn't waste its time and money so developed it as a road going “Hypercar” for general release. Powered by a 612bhp 5.7l V10 and constructed out of expensive yet strong carbon fibre, the Carrera GT really is the new age version of the 959. Adorning many a bedroom wall for young boys (and some very grown ones!) The noise this car makes has to be heard to be believed. Originally this was a £300,000 ($540,000) car, but in today's markets, you can find them for around £200,000 (360,000)
What Comes Next
Porsche Panamera (2009)
Due to be launched in 2009, the Porsche Panamera follows on from the Cayenne in being a slightly odd car. Its a 4 door supercar. Equipped with the same engine as the Cayenne and with a totally new chassis, the Panamera promises to be a luxury 4 door supercar for the 911 owner who wants more seats. Little is really known about the car as Porsche intent on keeping is as secret as possible. Prices are expected to start at over £100,000 ($180,000) when its released next year.
For over 60 years have been producing these stunning cars for our driving pleasure. This list will not be to everyone's opinion, and yes there are cars missing. So what's your opinion, does the Carrera GT deserve to be the number one? Or is it just wrong that the Cayenne is even in the list? Why not have your say in the comments?