A True Game Changer: Porsche's 75th Anniversary

A True Game Changer: Porsche's 75th Anniversary

Written by Richard Kelley

Only a few automotive manufacturers can demonstrate that they have created a distinct vision and remained faithful to their original calling.

Starting from an old saw mill in Gmund, Austria, Porsche dreamt of continually refining its original 356 sports car and constantly pushing the boundaries of engineering excellence, automotive style and artistic creativity for the pleasure of its long-time customers.

For 75 years, Porsche has believed dreams can be matched and surpassed. Its brand's legacy and continuing spirit have helped shape its tremendous history and changed the game.

Porsche’s first automotive creation, the 356, sported just 40 horsepower from a rear-mounted, slightly souped-up Beetle engine. However, that first Porsche quickly made its mark with agile game-changing handling, both on-and-off the race track and attributes almost unknown among sportscars of the day — comfort and reliability.

“In the beginning, I looked around and could not find the car I’d been dreaming of: a small, lightweight sports car that uses energy efficiently. So I decided to build it myself.”

– Ferdinand (Ferry) Porsche

© Richard Kelley

Porsche’s ingenuity and automotive history shared the spotlight again recently at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

In homage to its original heir, Porsche introduced another game-changing concept, Mission X, an all-electric, 1,500PS, quad-motor hypercar intended to celebrate everything Porsche has been and a preview of what it wants to be.

Significantly, Mission X's stunning introduction at the Porsche Museum during the '75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars' exhibition arrived 75 years to the day since 356 No.1 got its general operating permit.

© Porsche Newsroom

Game-changing, as seen in the Mission X concept now, is built into Porsche’s DNA and has been the prime force for Porsche’s extraordinary 75 years of success.

Following the Model 356 came Porsche’s true icon among modern automobiles, the evergreen Porsche 911. Ahead of its time when introduced in 1964, the rear-engine 911 continues to thrive with a reputation as an ultimate automotive change agent.

Porsche’s first significant breakthrough was turbocharging. The arrival of the 1974 930 Turbo, Porsche’s top-of-the-range 911 model, changed everything. It was the fastest production car available and quickly became known as the supercar beater.

With 260 horsepower out of its 3.0-liter flat-six and a propensity to oversteer, the 930 was a real challenge for even experienced drivers and became fiercer with each iteration. Nevertheless, the 930 Turbo spawned an entire generation of Porsche cars we now love.

© Porsche Newsroom

By 1990, the thriving 911 (993) family had grown to include not only the base model Carrera Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa air-cooled versions but also gained the new Type 964, turbocharged 3.3-liters option that grew to 3.6-liters in 1992.

The strengthened turbo engine produced 320 smile-producing horsepower, catapulting the 911 Turbo 3.3 to a top speed of 169 miles per hour, with a 0-60 mph (0-100km/h) of just under 5.0 seconds. From 1992 forward, the larger 3.6-liter engine would serve as the standard engine for the 911 platform for many years to come.

© Porsche Newsroom

Another Porsche game-changer arrived in 2018. With the 991.2 GT3, Porsche got everything right. It added a manual and bulletproofed the engine. The improved powerplant was a masterpiece, with a dry sump and a 4.0-litre flat six that screamed up to its 9,000-rpm redline, making 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque.

The GT3’s howling engine, mated with a manual gearbox, made the 991.2 GT3 the most involving sports car money could buy at the time.

© Porsche Newsroom

Nowadays, Porsche has a diverse lineup that would have been a pipe dream by Ferdinand Porsche. Beyond the 911/ 911 Turbo, they offer a mid-engined coupe and convertible, the Cayman/Boxster/718, a four-door sports saloon, the Panamera, and two sports utility vehicles, the Cayenne and Macan.

Also, having gone head-to-head with the supercar brands and developed the Porsche 959, the most technologically advanced supercar of the 90s, they felt free to forge ahead with the 918 Spyder, which fully embraced electric technology.

© Porsche Newsroom

The future looks excellent for Porsche, and with various vehicles covering many segments, it’s almost guaranteed that the “evergreen” 911 will stay for a very long time.

Ending with some final thoughts about Porsche’s 75th-year celebration and Mission X, Porsche has outlined some bold targets should the program make production. Their goal is to deliver one horsepower per kilogram of weight, charge twice as quickly as the Taycan Turbo S, produce downforce ‘well in excess’ of that produced by the current 911 GT3 RS, and, finally, turn all that into multiple record-breaking laps around the Nürburgring.

"The Porsche Mission X is a technology beacon for the sportscar of the future," said Oliver Blume, Porsche Chairman.

© Porsche Newsroom

"It picks up the torch of iconic sportscars of decades past: like the 908, 917, and the 959, not to mention the Carrera GT and the 918 Spyder before it, Mission X provides critical impetus for the evolutionary development of future vehicle concepts."

With Porsche stronger than ever, the line for placing your future Mission X-derivative order is now forming at your local dealership. You'd better hurry.

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