There are few shapes in motoring as iconic as that of the original Porsche 911 – a car that managed to retain the same basic profile from its debut in 1963 right up until the demise of the 964 Series models in 1993.
The distinctive ‘squashed Beetle’ appearance and air-cooled drivetrain were no coincidence, of course. The Porsche family had been heavily involved in the design of Germany’s ‘people’s car’ and it was Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche that had set out the shape of the Beetle, while it was his grandson Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche that designed the 911 at the behest of his father, Ferdinand ‘Ferry’ Porsche, who had developed the 356 and was by now in charge of Porsche engineering.
If you’re confused by that, then imagine how confusing it must have been in the Porsche household when someone at the other end of the phone asked ‘is Ferdinand there?’, or if one of the Mrs Porsches called Ferdinand down for dinner.
But we digress. The youngest of the three Ferdinands (who christened his own son ‘Ferdinand’ in 1961) was responsible for an all-time classic, which began life as a characterful but not particularly rapid sports coupe, and evolved into arguably the world’s first supercar.
And in many ways it was the 911S that helped it begin that metamorphosis. Introduced in 1966, the 911S was faster and more powerful than the standard models, and aside from the Carerra and RS models it was always the most desirable ‘ordinary’ 911, distinguishable by its standard equipment Fuchs alloy wheels, themselves as iconic as the 911 itself.
It began life as a 2.0-litre, but by 1974 had evolved to use an enlarged 2.7-litre derivative of the 911’s iconic flat-six developing 175bhp and using Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. There were only 2079 model 911s ever made, and 76’ onwards 911s got a dip in a zinc galvanising bath prior to paint. The result was the most rust-resistant 911 yet.
And that’s what we have here. A proper, pukka 911S from the model’s most powerful era, and featuring a 1976-only combination of the larger bumpers to meet Federal US safety requirements, but minus the excessively large overriders and whale tail spoiler that came on later models.
This is a high quality restored car, sold via a well-known auction house in 2016 and imported to the UK directly, where it received a mechanical overhaul to match the body restoration.
It is offered for sale by a serial Porsche and German classic enthusiast, who has had his fun with it and is looking to move on to his next toy.
ODD 501P is a very well-travelled car, and while there are gaps in its history it’s still fascinating to piece together the major parts of its life in the USA before it came to UK shores.
It began its life in the ownership of a doctor in Joliet, Illinois, before moving onto a second owner in New Jersey. At some point in the 1980s it then moved on to Rhode Island before disappearing south and reappearing in the 1990s in Henderson, Nevada, where it stayed in storage until 2011. Between 2011 and 2014 the car was restored and sold at an auction in Kissimmee, Florida to an owner in New York, so migrated back up to the North East states.
After that, it found its way to Totnes in Devon, when it was imported to the UK in 2016, and has lived in Hertfordshire for the past year or so.
Part of the reason its history is so traceable is because the 911 comes with loads of history, including the original service book which is stamped religiously until well into the late 1980s. After that, there are hand-written notes that record its whereabouts and ownership status until its restoration.
There’s also a printout of the 2013 auction sales listing, plus stacks of bills for parts purchased for it in the UK, along with a UK V5C in the name of the current owner, and an original driver’s handbook. The car will be sold with a fresh MOT.
The car also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Porsche Cars North America Inc, which confirms its matching numbers and original specification.
In stark contrast to the Guards Red exterior, the cabin of this 911S is finished in Cinnamon leatherette, which has been re-trimmed to an exceptional standard during the car’s restoration.
The seats are superb, while the colour-coded door trims and carpets are also excellent. A period sports steering wheel sets it off nicely, while the original headlining is surprisingly clean and tidy. The owner is also keen to point out the drivers seat does a very small detachment at the base area. This isn't a tear, but has got ever so slightly worse since they have owned the vehicle. The electric sunroof functions back and forth well, although the seller has mentioned to us it occasionally needs a helping hand. Thankfully, the original Porsche tool to open and close the sunroof incase of emergency is still with the vehicle.
The interior ventilation cooling works well, but can sometimes be noisy the seller tells us. In light of this, the heater/defroster may need future attention to bring the noise levels down.
All dials and controls appear to work as they should, apart from the front fog light switch. The seller has indicated that if they can source an original part by the end of the auction, they will replace this, but cannot guarantee this. The window winders, door locks, bonnet and engine lid all operate just fine, whilst high quality mats from Germany complete the picture.
Guards Red is a fabulous colour for a Porsche 911 and it sets this example off beautifully – it’s every inch the classic mid-Seventies Porsche, with black Fuchs alloys and matching black exterior trim.
The overall condition is of fine order; as you’d expect from a car that was restored less than a decade ago. There are some tiny imperfections, including micro-blisters on the sunroof panel, rear-engine lid and the top section of the front bumper. There is some adhesive around the windscreen surround that could be neater, but the overall appearance remains absolutely stunning – and achingly pretty from whatever angle you look at it.
The 911 has had a major mechanical overhaul since it arrived in the UK and comes with a pile of receipts to back up the work, which was carried out by a sports car specialist in Devon. It starts instantly and sounds fantastic, with a distinctive air-cooled chatter.
It has also had the brake uprated, with drilled and vented discs upfront to give extra stopping power.
Falling in love with a Porsche 911 – any Porsche 911 – is easy. They’re wonderful drivers’ cars, brimming with character and with far more heritage and pedigree than many other high performance sports cars.
But more than that, they have an incredibly loyal following and if the spec and year are right, then a car will appeal as much to a collector as it will to someone who simply wants a Porsche to enjoy.
And for this example, the spec and year are definitely right. Sure, it’s no Carrera RS, but for one of those you need to be seriously well-monied. Instead, it’s the best of the accessible Seventies Porsches and a striking example of a car that will only go one way in terms of its future value and desirability, while delivering stacks of driving enjoyment in the process.
*Notice to bidders - There is a Duck tail spoiler ‘Fibre glass’ available separately should the new owner want one its has been painted in Guards red and has a Carrera RS raised badge fitted. Fittings will need to be taken off the existing engine lid ie: grille, lock, nut/bolts.*
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