While we generally equate the numbers 9-1-1 with a call for emergency services, it is also the designation of one of Porsche’s best-known products, as in Peter Perry’s 1972 Porsche 911.Bottom of Form
Currently on display at the Saratoga Automobile Museum in the “Porsche: 60 Years of Speed and Style in North America” exhibit, good weather and the end of the exhibit will find the car back on the highways and by-ways of the Capital District with a smiling Perry at the wheel. But first, a look at the car’s history.
By the late-1950s, Ferry Porsche and his colleagues knew the venerable 356 had run its course. The rounded body shape, while iconic, was considered passé, and the pushrod 4-cylinder engine had reached the end of its development cycle. Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche, Ferry’s son, began new design work according to strict guidelines from his father. Reutter Coachworks and Irwin Komenda, who’d been with Porsche for decades, also worked on the new model.
Ferry Porsche insisted the design be evolutionary but contemporary. The wheelbase would be 111-mm (about 5-in.) longer; the car would still be a small 2+2, with folding rear seats; and there would be a six-cylinder engine.
The new 901 first met the public at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. Obviously a new Porsche, it was more contemporary-looking than its predecessor. The all-steel unit body and chassis were very rigid. New independent suspension consisted of MacPherson struts in front, with lower wishbones and longitudinal torsion bars. Transverse torsion bars and triangulated trailing links supported a rear axle equipped with both inner and outer u-joints, resisting the old suspension’s tendency to tuck in during hard cornering, while ATE disc brakes were basically carried over from the 356. Tubular shocks and ZF rack & pinion steering completed the specifications.
Dr. Ferdinand Piech designed the new 1,991-cc engine, an opposed SOHC, air-cooled six with eight bearings, a forged steel crank, an aluminum dry sump crankcase, and a pair of triple choke Solex carburetors. An all-synchromesh five-speed gearbox and a Fichtel & Sachs single dry-plate clutch complimented the drive-train. Output was a creditable 148-bhp @6,100 rpm. Like the 356’s powerplant, the new engine was mounted behind the rear axle.
Prior to official production in 1964, the 901 designation was changed to 911, beginning a series of changes as the years passed. For 1969, the B-Series 911 had a 2.24-in. longer wheelbase and improved Lobro halfshafts. The base 911T was continued; the 911E replaced the 911L and the 911S was the top model.
For 1970, the C-Series 911s had a 2,195-cc engine and output increased. The D-Series of 1971 had only minor changes. In 1972, the engine was stroked to 2,341cc and the badges read 2.4. The T, E, and S models were all available and a 5-speed transmission was optional. In 1972, Porsche revived the Carrera nameplate on a lightweight 911-based competition model with a 2,687-cc flat six. Called the 911RS, it was not certified for road use in the US but in 1973, it was available here for track use.
Perry’s car is an unrestored 911T in Albert Blue. Original and repainted only once, it is fully documented since new and retains its original undercoating, carpets and seating. Perry’s father was the fourth owner. He bought it in 1998 and had the motor upgraded from 911T to 911S specifications. Additionally, there are European H4 headlamps and directional lenses and a 911S front fairing.
The car was sold to Andrew Serling in 2004 but he only owned it for ten months and decided to sell. Ownership returned to the Perry family and the car has been driven and lovingly cared for since.
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