1965 porsche 911 05

From the April 1965 subject of Car and Driver.

No contest. This is the Porsche to finish all Porsches—or, quite, to start out an entire new technology of Porsches. Porsche’s new 911 model is certainly the best Porsche ever constructed. More than that, it is among the finest Gran Turismo vehicles on the planet, actually among the many high three or 4.

Porsche lovers used to insist that the 356 model was as nearly-perfect an vehicle as had ever been designed, an immutable basic that could not be im­proved upon. Oh, no? Put a well-known 356 up alongside a 911. Only yesterday, the 356 appeared forward of its time. Today you understand its time has handed; the 356 leaves you completely unimpressed and you’ll’t hold your eyes off the 911. The 911 is a superior automobile in each respect…the stuff legends are product of.

Let or not it’s understood on the outset that the 911 doesn’t change the 356, in accordance with the manufacturing facility. In the catalog, it replaces the fussy, little-appreciated Carrera 2 whereas the 356C (ex-Super) and 356SC (ex-Super 95) nonetheless roll off the meeting strains at about their regular fee. However, we won’t imagine that Porsche will con­tinue making two totally completely different vehicles, side-by-side, past the instantly foreseeable future. And let it even be understood that the 911 is just not available. The first six month’s manufacturing is totally bought out and there is a line of expectant house owners going midway round virtually each Porsche company within the nation.


The 911—so-called as a result of it’s the 911th design challenge since Porsche opened its doorways in 1931—can also be the primary all-Porsche Porsche. The 356 was the primary automobile to hold the Porsche title, though when it was con­ceived in 1948 it was little greater than a souped-up, special-bodied model of an earlier Porsche design, the Volkswagen. The 911, whereas true to the 356’s fundamental configuration, is a completely new and completely different automobile. The engine is once more air-cooled, once more frolicked behind the rear axle, however it’s a single-overhead-cam six-cylinder whereas the 356 was a pushrod four-cylinder (and the Carrera a four-cam four-cylinder). The new physique is much extra good-looking—the work of outdated Professor Porsche’s grandson, Ferry, Jr. The 9ll’s 5-speed gear­field, already in service in Porsche’s 904 GT racing automobile, might be the brand new automobile’s finest single characteristic. Even the suspension is new, although tried-and-true torsion bars are retained because the springing medium.

The 911, or 901 because it then was, was launched on the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show. It was very a lot a prototype and its debut might have been untimely. More than a yr was to cross earlier than it went into professional­duction, throughout which era the mannequin quantity was modified (to point that it was a later mannequin than the Frankfurt automobile and in addition as a result of Peugeot reportedly had a lock on three-digit mannequin numbers with zero within the center), the worth estimate dropped, the efficiency estimate rose, and a requirement constructed up that the present four-a-day provide will not have the ability to fulfill for a while to come back.

The 901/911 was not the “finest” automobile Porsche may have made. Porsche may have put the storied flat­-eight engine into manufacturing, bored out to, say, 2.5 liters and tuned as much as 240 horsepower. That would have put the 901/911 into the Ferrari-Corvette-Jaguar efficiency bracket. It additionally would have raised the worth significantly, and Porsche was understandably nervous about getting into the No-Man’s-Land marketplace for $9000 GT vehicles. On value alone, it will have been past the attain of anyone however the Very Rich, and the V.R. are famous for such capricious perversity as preferring a $14,000 automobile to a $9000 automobile just because it prices $5000 extra. The four-cam flat-eight additionally would have had the identical sort of upkeep and reliability issues the Carrera engine had; issues which might be hopefully nonexistent within the 9ll’s SOHC six-cylinder.

Considering what the Stuttgart design workplace has turned out previously, Porsche may have come out with a supercharged six-liter 550-hp V-16 GT automobile to promote for $30,000 and never lose a drag race to anyone however Don Garlits, however their manufacturing amenities are hardly geared for that form of factor, and it will be getting fairly distant from the Porsche picture, would not it? In reality, Porsche had a full four-seater on the drawing boards at one level, however Ferry Porsche felt that his firm’s enterprise was not promoting tremendous­-duper sedans or ultra-ultra sports activities/racing vehicles however optimum-priced, optimum-size, optimum-performance Gran Turismo vehicles, which is strictly what the 911 is.

At $6490 POE East Coast (or $5275 FOB Stuttgart), the 911 is not what you’d name low cost—no Porsche ever was—however then, high quality by no means is. Porsche’s sort of high quality can’t be had for much less, viz. Ferrari 330GT ($14,000) or Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($8000). It’s of greater than atypical curiosity that the 911 prices a whop­ping thousand {dollars} lower than the Carrera 2 it re­locations. A Porsche is both value it to the possible purchaser or it is not; he cannot justify the worth tag by the best way the physique tucks below on the rear or by the best way the steering wheel matches in his arms or the best way the engine settles in for a drive via a rain-filled afternoon. But let’s examine what he will get for his cash.


The 9ll’s eye-catching physique is distinctive—slimmer, trimmer, but clearly Porsche. While not as revolu­tionary as the unique 356 design was in its day, the 9ll’s form is much much less controversial and barely extra aerodynamic. Though the frontal space has grown, a decrease drag coefficient (0.38 vs 0.398) permits it to succeed in a high pace of 130 mph with solely 148 hp. It should climate the years with out trying dated. Compared to the cur­hire 356 physique, the 911 is 5 inches longer (on a four-­inch longer wheelbase), three inches narrower (on a one-inch wider observe), and nearly the identical peak. The physique construction continues to be unitized, constructed up of in­numerable, sophisticated metal stampings welded to­gether (except for the entrance fenders which at the moment are bolted on for simpler restore of minor accidents). The glass space and baggage house have been elevated by 58 % and 186 % respectively, and the turning circle is a bit tighter. The absolutely trimmed (with cocoa mats) trunk will maintain sufficient for every week’s trip for 2; extra house is offered within the rear seat space. The trunk and engine lids will be opened to any angle and held by counter-springs and telescopic dampers—­a pleasant contact. These lids, in addition to the doorways, are bigger than the outdated Porsche’s, making entry to the innards a lot much less awkward. The fuel filler cap nestles below a entice door within the left fender, and the engine lid launch is hidden away within the left door submit.

The beneficiant expanse of glass space does wonders for rearward imaginative and prescient; all-around visibility is akin to a traditional front-engined automobile. The bumpers are nicely­-integrated with the physique, although present barely ade­quate safety from those that park by ear. The normal appointments are lush and in depth: two heater/defrosters, padded sunvisors with self-importance mir­ror, map and courtesy lights, 3-speed windshield wipers, 4-nozzle windshield washers, chrome wheels, belted tires, two fog lamps, a back-up mild, and a beau­tiful wood-rim steering wheel. About the one choices we would like are seat belts (for which large, cast eye­ bolts are offered), a radio, and a fender mirror. Fitted baggage and factory-installed air-conditioning can be out there shortly, we’re advised.


The adverts inform you a Porsche is “enjoyable” to drive. Fun? A Mini-Minor is enjoyable to drive as a result of it might’t be seri­ous; every thing about it’s incongruous—it defies all identified legal guidelines of nature…and advertising and marketing…and will get away with it. The Porsche—any Porsche—is not any enjoyable in any respect; Germans aren’t a lot given to frivolity. Porsches are designed by drivers, for drivers, to be pushed very matter-of-factly from Point A to Point B in most consolation, pace, and security. Form soberly follows func­tion, and the cockpit of a Porsche is laid out to realize simply that finish. The controls and devices are effi­ciently positioned, and this economic system of effort and mo­tion is why Porsches aren’t tiring to drive. But enjoyable? Porsches are for driving.

As befits a driver’s automobile, the controls are excellent. The steering wheel is a particular pleasure; the shallow “X” of the black anodized spokes supplies excellent thumbrests with out obscuring any of the unusually complete instrumentation. The attain to the wheel is good, and all of the secondary controls are operated by stalks on both aspect of the wheel. The driver can sign for turns; flash, elevate, and dip the headlights; and function the windshield wipers and washers, all with out transferring his arms from the wheel. The gearshift lever has much less journey than the 356’s, is smoother, and requires no extra effort. The pedals are fantastically positioned for long-distance touring or fancy heel-and-toe footwork; there’s even room to relaxation the left foot between the clutch and the entrance wheel arch.

The seats have the wondrously-comfortable Reutter reclining mechanisms, and are softly sprung and up­holstered in material with leather-based edges. They will modify to suit anyone below seven ft and 300 kilos. Head-­and hip-room are equally commodious; shoulder room is about the identical as within the 356. The rear seats are a distinct matter. Though the 911 is sometimes described as a 2+2, the house again there’s very cramped. It can maintain an adult-sitting sideways with head bent ahead—or a toddler, however neither for very lengthy. It is extra correctly a baggage space, and for that function, the seat backs fold all the way down to type a shelf for a few fair-sized suitcases.

The dashboard is an impressive edifice. The instru­mentation is full even to an oil stage gauge (no messy mucking about with a dipstick for the 911 proprietor). Directly in entrance of the driving force is a large, 270° electrical tachometer. To its left are gauges for oil and gasoline ranges, oil strain and temperatures, and varied warning lights. On the suitable are a speedometer, odometer, a clock, and some extra colorfully flashing lights. About the one factor we did not like in regards to the sprint was the strip of teak operating full-width beneath the devices. The Porsche persons are extraordinarily pleased with it, it is speculated to look elegant. It appears to be like as if somebody stated, “Let’s put a strip of teak right here; it will look elegant.” It would not. If we owned a 911 (dare we dream…?), we would paint it flat black to match the remainder of the leatherette-covered sprint.

The regular heater, which pulls warmth from the en­gine, is supplemented by a gasoline-powered system hidden away below the ground of the trunk compartment. The regular heater, managed by a small lever simply ahead of the gearshift, has retailers forward of every door (which will be closed—or adjusted—by sliding covers), on the base of the windshield, and on the rear window. The auxiliary heater, primarily a defroster, attracts air from a grille behind the entrance seats and professional­vides instantaneous warmth. It exudes a faint odor of gasoline however is simply utilized in sluggish site visitors or till the engine warms up. A variable-speed fan circulates air from both heater.

Draft-free air flow with the home windows rolled up is feasible at any time of yr; contemporary air is picked up from the high-pressure space forward of the wind­defend, managed by a lever on the sprint, and exhausted via the headliner materials and out nearly-invisible slots simply above the rear window.

The handbrake is between the entrance seats, whence it migrated from below the 356’s sprint. The doorways and sprint abound with armrests, seize handles, door pulls, push-button door openers and locks, map pockets, a cigarette lighter, an ashtray, and a lockable glove field.

Engine Details

The 911’s engine is Porsche’s first at­tempt at a six-cylinder; the 2 further cylinders had been added for smoother, less-highly-stressed oper­ation. The prototype we drove on the manufacturing facility had twin exhausts and sounded uncomfortably like a Cor­vair. The manufacturing vehicles have a single exhaust and a sound all their very own. It’s rated at 148 SAE horsepower.

The engine idles considerably uncer­tainly at 800 rpm however is easy as a turbine from 1000 rpm on as much as the 6800 rpm redline. It revs rapidly and freely, like a contest engine with a lightweight flywheel. Around city, the 911 will be pushed in first and third (as much as 93 mph) alone; on the freeway, it should pull from 2000 rpm in fifth. Sixty mph is lower than 3000 rpm (100 mph is simply 4900 rpm), making turnpike cruising comparatively quiet and easy on the engine.

During the 911’s gestation interval, quite a lot of consideration was given to the carburetion, however it nonetheless is not excellent. The 911 has six particular person single­-throat Solex PIs, “floatless” automobile­buretors during which the gasoline stage is maintained in a separate reservoir and recirculated by a second gasoline pump (mechanical, like the first pump). All that is speculated to elim­inate flat spots, hesitation, and the like. Not fairly—they’re nonetheless sorting it out in Stuttgart. After meticulous adjustment by Wolfgang Rietzel, Porsche of America’s service repre­sentative, considered one of our otherwise-­inventory take a look at vehicles clocked 0–60 mph in 6.8 seconds—considerably higher than the typical 911 contemporary off the showroom flooring. Hopefully, the prob­lem can be solved in Germany and never require tedious fine-tuning at native Porsche companies. On the plus aspect, the brand new Solexes are injection­-like of their freedom from varia­tions resulting from lateral or vertical ac­celerations.

The crankcase consists of two light-alloy castings bolted collectively on the crank centerline. The crank itself is a fantastically counter­weighted forging operating in eight fundamental bearings (the “ordinary” seven plus one outboard of the accent drive gears), the primary time Porsche has put a fundamental bearing on both aspect of every rod journal.

The distributor, fan, valve prepare, alternator, and oil pumps are pushed from the rear of the crankshaft. Dry sump lubrication (a la Carrera) is employed, with two complete gallons of oil circulated, by a scavenger and a strain pump, via a thermo­statically-controlled oil cooler and full-flow filter. The overhead valves are pushed by a pair of chains (one per cylinder financial institution; every tensioned hydraulically) through quick rocker arms. The rockers enable the valves to be disposed at an angle to one another quite than in-line.

Six particular person cylinder heads are clamped between the cylinder bar­rels and camshaft housings. The fully-machined combustion cham­bers are hemispherical with pretty massive valves (1.54-inch consumption, 1.50 inch exhaust). The ports look limit­ed for 333 cc displacement per cylin­der, the valve timing and lifts are conservative and the compression ratio is simply 9: 1, indicating that Porsche is holding fairly a bit in re­serve. We would estimate that 180 horsepower is inside attain, both by the manufacturing facility for a brilliant road ma­chine or by people for beginner racing within the SCCA’s class D Pro­duction. The higher restrict for GT racing, both in a light-weight 911 or the six-cylinder variations of the 904 should be in extra of 200 horses.

The barrels have alloy cooling fins and shrunk-in “Biral” (a spe­cial forged iron) liners. The bore and stroke, at 3.15 x 2.60 inches (80 x 66 mm) are fashionably oversquare, with a ratio of .825 (vs. .895 for the pushrod engines and .804 for the two.0 liter four-cam engine). The pistons are sharply domed with wholesome valve recesses.

The axial fan is fiberglass, sur­rounds the alternator, and is pushed from the crank by a V-belt. Single ignition is used along side 12-volt electrics, changing the outdated 6-volt system. Porsche has indi­cated its confidence within the new en­gine by extending the guarantee from six months/6000 miles to a full yr and/or 10,000 miles.

Transmission and Clutch

As talked about, the five-speed, all­-synchro gearbox is the 911’s finest single characteristic. Actually, the torque and adaptability of this engine are such {that a} three-speed would suffice, however it was Porsche’s intention to be way more than merely adequate. There is, in impact, a gear for each occa­sion: one for beginning, one for cruis­ing, and three for passing. It is to Porsche’s eternal credit score that it did not make first gear superfluous by having second another begin­ing gear—you should begin in first, and it is a fairly lengthy gear at that. In reality, 6800 rpm via the gears offers 44, 65, 93, 118, and 138 mph. All the gears are oblique, with the well-known—and flawless—Porsche servo-ring synchromesh. Fourth and fifth gear are literally overdrives, however pulling energy is just not misplaced because the higher three ratios are shut in an already close-ratio gearbox.

Operating the shift lever is con­fusing at first. First gear is to the left and again, with the opposite 4 gears within the regular H-pattern. Re­verse is to the left and ahead, however to go from first to second, you simply push ahead—towards reverse—not ahead and proper. You half count on it to enter reverse, however it will not—scout’s honor. Everything else is a bit of cake (the linkage is just not as distant as different Porsches’), in­cluding altering all the way down to first gear for these mountain-pass hairpins.

Clutch diameter is as much as 8.5 inches, and the mechanism ought to show extra strong than older Porsche clutches.

Steering, Suspension, and Brakes

Porsche can also be attempting rack-and­-pinion steering in a manufacturing automobile for the primary time on the 911. It’s quick, exact, extremely direct, and—just like the carburetion—a little bit late in being perfected. The prototype we drove was topic to torque steer, i.e., altering the throttle place would change the automobile’s path. This had been eradicated on the professional­duction automobile, however a brand new bug had cropped up: The steering felt too direct, like a racing Ferrari—you possibly can really feel each ripple within the street. Revised front-end components are coming via on the most recent vehicles, however it’s virtually inconceivable to make a rack­-and-pinion system utterly freed from kickback. Doubtless, Porsche will work out an honorable compromise between damping motion and street really feel that can fulfill most clients. Incidentally, the steering column incorporates two U-joints, to not clear any impediment (the steering field is on the automobile’s centerline), however so that it’s going to collapse towards the sprint in case of a crash, an excellent security measure.

The 911’s suspension is a depar­ture for Porsche. A damper strut system is used on the entrance with longitudinal torsion bars. This lay­out takes a lot much less trunk house than the transverse bars of the 356. It additionally improves management and reduces roll (by elevating the entrance roll cen­ter), and has the odd impact of financial institution­ing the wheels right into a flip, like a motorbike rider. To keep away from oversteer, a link-type rear suspension with semi-trailing arms (and transverse torsion bars) was adopted. There may be very little camber change on jounce and rebound, so the cornering energy is just not as variable on an undulating floor because the 356. Koni telescopic shocks are fitted throughout, however no “camber compensator” is used, as the brand new suspension makes it unneces­sary. Body roll is average, pitch and harshness appear nicely below con­trol, and the experience is surprisingly comfortable. In all, it is an important enchancment over the 356 suspension.

The 911 makes use of 15-inch wheels. A 14-inch wheel can be extra aes­thetically pleasing (and add to the out there inside room) however would have restricted brake measurement, so we’re not complaining. We will complain in regards to the wheel width, nevertheless. The rims are solely 4.5 inches extensive­—what’s occurred to all that racing expertise? Porsche does have 5.0 x 15 and 5.5 x 15 wheels (from the 904) that can match; substituting these wheels would yield larger nook­ing energy (and fewer tire put on) on the penalty of a barely stiffer experience. We suggest them, and in addition the ZF­-made, U.S.-design limited-slip dif­ferential—if you may get them.

The brakes are nearly the identical because the four-wheel discs of the 356C. In the 1965 Car and Driver Year­guide we stated: “There’s nothing like four-wheel discs…that midway enterprise with discs on the entrance and drums on the rear would not even come shut. In an emergency, good brakes are in all probability the one most im­portant consider avoiding an acci­dent.” The Porsche’s brakes are with out peer; easy, optimistic, un­affected by water, and completely fade-free.


The efficiency figures on the specs web page converse for them­selves, however whereas we’re on the sub­ject of quotes, David Phipps, our European Editor, had this to say in regards to the 911’s dealing with: “Both di­rectional stability and cornering are much better than they’ve any proper to be in a automobile which has the engine within the excessive rear. In corners, you possibly can overlook all of the issues you might have been advised in regards to the sudden, vicious oversteer of rear-engine vehicles. The 911’s dealing with traits are mainly impartial, progressing to slight understeer. It takes a ham­-fisted clot to upset the again finish within the dry, and even within the moist you’ll solely get the tail out by utilizing plenty of revs within the decrease gears.”

The 911 performs higher than any earlier road Porsche, together with the two-liter Carrera. It’s sort of a pocket battleship: What it might’t out­-accelerate it might out-handle, and what it might’t out-handle it might out­-accelerate. There in all probability aren’t 5 comparable sports activities/touring vehicles in the entire spectrum that would lap a street course quicker than the 911. And—again to the pocket battleship analogy—people who may in all probability would fall by the wayside lengthy earlier than the Porsche expired.

The finest fuel mileage we may re­twine flat-out on the Autobahn was 24 mpg, however oil consumption was minimal. The oil change interval is as much as 3000 miles, and the variety of grease fittings has been lowered to zero. There aren’t any different surprises within the 911 for any driver acquainted with Porsches. The fan noise and growl of an air-cooled engine are sometimes Porsche. Getting out and in—regardless of the broader doorways—nonetheless requires a supple backbone, and so forth.

What Porsche has wrought within the 911 is a worthy alternative for all of the fashions that preceded it. Race breeding and engineering refinement ooze from the 911’s each pore. The complete package deal, particularly the powertrain, is designed to be extra dependable and easier to service, thus all the higher suited to the manufacturing facility’s idea of the Porsche as a sealed machine for floor transportation. Although the 911 prices lots lower than the Carrera—and much more than the present C and SC—it is definitely worth the value of all of the outdated Porsches put collectively. Most importantly, the 911’s enchantment needs to be significantly wider than the sooner fashions—which, in fact, you needed to be some­factor of a nut to personal. Any­physique who ever felt a flicker of need for a Porsche earlier than can be pas­sionately stirred in regards to the 911.



1965 Porsche 911
Vehicle Type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, coupe

As Tested: $6490

SOHC inline-6, aluminum block

Displacement: 122 in3, 1991 cm3

Power: 148 hp @ 6100 rpm

Torque: 140 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm

5-speed handbook


Suspension, F/R: struts/semi-trailing arms

Brakes, F/R: 10.8-in disc/11.3-in disc

Tires: Dunlop SP


Wheelbase: 87.1 in

Length: 164.0 in

Width: 63.4 in
Height: 51.9 in
Curb Weight: 2376 lb


60 mph: 7.0 sec

1/4-Mile: 15.6 sec @ 90 mph
100 mph: 20.0 sec
Top pace: 130 mph

EPA metropolis/freeway: 16/24 mpg


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