8 Head-Turning Porsche Models: A Journey

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Porsche needs precious little introduction to most motoring aficionados. The German car manufacturer has been a dominating force in the automotive industry since its inception in the 1930s, and indeed, the word “Porsche” has become a byword for the ultimate in luxury automobile manufacture. 

Porsche models are so synonymous with luxury, power, and class that it’s extremely difficult to narrow the list and choose the very best cars that the Stuttgart automobile giant has ever produced.

Nevertheless, we set ourselves the unenviable task of choosing eight of the finest cars Porsche has produced over its ninety-plus years in the business. 

Without further ado, then, we present: 8 of Porsche’s most stunning models. 

Porsche 911

A car that needs precious little introduction, the 911 is perhaps the iconic “Porsche” that we all think of when we hear the name. It is one of the most impressive pieces of automotive engineering in the industry’s history and a stone-cold classic. 

The 911 debuted in 1964 and it’s a testament to the strength of the original design that, despite multiple iterations, the car remains fundamentally unchanged.

That design comes from the grandchild of the company founder, Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, who made initial sketches for a vehicle to replace Porsche’s first-ever car. The result of those sketches would become the 911. 

The 911 is, quite simply, one of the most successful sports cars ever produced. In-house and private teams have used it throughout a variety of race events since its inception, and drivers using the 911 have won such prestigious events as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Taga Florio, and the 24 Hours of Daytona. 

The 911 came fifth in a 1999 poll to determine the car of the century and was one of only two on that list to remain in production at the time. There’s no doubt about it—the 911 is one of the most successful sports cars of all time and with excellent reason. 

Porsche 356

The Porsche 356 has never been as immediately iconic and awe-inspiring as the 911, and it appears, at first glance, to be a little too diminutive to make for an effective performance vehicle.

That said, however, the 356 has really come into its own over the years and is a pint-sized pistol that packs a real punch on the racetrack. 

A 356 iteration took first place at Le Mans in 1951, putting the car on the map in a way that it previously hadn’t been – and also cementing Porsche’s reputation as one of the foremost manufacturers of race cars in the world. 

Further afield, the 356 found favor among the elites of Tinsel Town – such icons of 1950s Hollywood cool as Steve McQueen and James Dean were spotted in the car.

Musician and counterculture personality Janis Joplin, meanwhile, took the 356 and transformed it into a psychedelic homage to the Flower Power of the 60s – her personal vehicle looks like something out of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Porsche 956  

Porsche has racked up a considerable number of Grand Prix wins over the years, and the 956 is one of the best examples—it is, quite simply, the undisputed king of Le Mans.

It snagged first place at the iconic Grand Prix four years on the bounce, from 1982-1985, and set a 25-year-long track record at Nürburgring that was only prised from its grasp by a fellow Porsche. 

The 956 was a trend-setter in many respects for the veteran German race-car company. Aluminum was used extensively to reduce the vehicle’s weight, and particular attention was paid to aerodynamics to achieve downforce roughly three times greater than that of any Porsche that had come before. 

The result of this was a powerhouse vehicle that exceeded expectations on the racetrack and blew the competition away. It saw a minor redesign in the 962, which was effectively a modified 956 with a different engine.

The redesign took what the 956 had already done and took it to the next level—it established a track record at Le Mans that remained unchallenged for a whopping 35 years.

Porsche 959

When it debuted in 1986, the 959 was an impressive car, even by Porsche’s lofty standards. It was the world’s fastest car (or at least, the fastest street-legal car) at the time, capable of hitting 60mph in under four seconds. There was, quite simply, not a car in the world that could touch it. 

The 959, however, began life as a thought exercise about what it would be like if Porsche entered the world of rally-car racing. The company designed a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and trialed it in the 1984 Paris-Dakar Rally, eager to assess how well this untested new approach would pass muster.

To the shock of everyone (not least Porsche themselves), the new vehicle exceeded all expectations when it came first. Another win followed, and the 959’s place in the pantheon of great Porsches was sealed. 

The car’s legacy lives on not only in Porsche’s impressive trophy cabinet but also in every 911 produced since then—the PSK all-wheel drive is now a standard feature of the 911 Turbo. 

Porsche 917K 

Porsche has long enjoyed a flirtatious relationship with the rich and famous (see the 356 above), but its perhaps most famous association is with Hollywood superstar Steve McQueen.

The all-American leading man paired up with Porsche for the legendary 1971 movie Le Mans, in which McQueen played an adrenalin-junkie race-car driver who took to the track in, you guessed it, a Porsche 917K. 

While the car may have originated in a Hollywood movie, it rapidly became a competitor in its own right. It won several racing events, including the Monthlery, Osterreiching, Monza, and Daytona. As a formerly fictional winner of Le Mans, it’s a pretty impressive track record. 

The car is most iconic in the blue-and-orange Gulf Oil livery. It is featured in McQueen’s movie, and when the 917K is displayed, it’s typically in these colors.

McQueen himself was an enthusiastic motorist and even took part in several grand prix, so it’s safe to say he’d approve of this iconic car remaining on display long after his passing. 

Porsche Carrera GT 

One of the newer entries on this list, the Porsche Carrera GT, dates back to the early 2000s – and was one of the most esteemed race cars of that decade. Sports Car International named it the best sports car of the 2000s and ultimately placed it 8th on a list of the best sports cars of all time. 

One of the strings to the Carrera’s bow was the V10 engine, which had been sitting in storage as a prototype for over ten years. Riding the high of the surprisingly successful Cayenne, Porsche decided to dust off the prototype (originally designed for Formula-1 racing) and put it to work in a street-legal car. 

The result was a tantalizing mix of road and race car, an absolute beast of a vehicle that sits as comfortably at 200mph as it does in traffic. Though some might thumb their nose at the Carrera GT due to its status as a pure road vehicle (as opposed to a race one), the fact is that for its price, it’s one of the most powerful cars available to the general public. 

Porsche Taycan 

Electric vehicles are still very much the new kids on the block in the history of automobiles. And in an industry that values pedigree and track records as much as innovation, it would be easy to dismiss them as lesser and unworthy of consideration.

Thankfully, Porsche is a company that refuses to rest on its laurels. It’s begun to make inroads into the hitherto unexplored space of EVs, and one of the first results of that foray is the Porsche Taycan. 

Porsche has indeed outdone itself with an electric vehicle that not only goes 300 miles on a single charge but also does it at eye-watering speeds. The Taycan hits 62mph in under 3 seconds (no slouch, even for a gasoline-powered car) and tops out at a little over 200mph. 

If Porsche has proven one thing with the Taycan, it’s that EV titans Tesla cannot afford to be complacent in their domination of the industry. Porsche is coming, and they’re coming at 200+ miles per hour. 

Porsche 918 Spyder 

The 198 Spyder isn’t a pure EV like the Taycan, opting instead to use hybrid technology to make one of the most powerful cars available to the general public.

And what a car it is—the Spyder is a masterclass in maximizing both efficiency and performance. It has a range of 400 miles and a top speed of 214mph. What’s more, it hits 62mph in a very solid 2.4 seconds and creeps up to 124mph in a mere 7.2 seconds. 

As a hybrid, the car is not as reliant on its batteries as the Taycan above, and it will only manage around 20 miles of pure electrical power. However, it can still hit 62mph in under seven seconds in this mode and has enough juice in the tank (figuratively speaking) for 20 electric-fueled miles. 

Are Porsche Models Still the Best in the Game?  

Whether putting the competition to shame at Le Mans, offering some of the most iconic street vehicles ever to put rubber to the tarmac, or showing the masters up at their own game in the EV business, Porsche is simply the best in the game.

And with the increasing move towards electric and hybrid vehicles, we can’t wait to see how far the German car giants continue to push the envelope in the world of luxury cars over the coming years. 


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