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The Porsche 911 has been a staple in the automotive world for nearly 60 years. An iconic sports car, the rear-engine 911 is known just as much for its unmistakable design as it is for its track-worthy power. Fans might be familiar with the different generations of the sports car, but they might not be aware of the reason behind the Porsche 911 name.

Interestingly, it was almost known by something different, and the 911 name has nothing to do with the American emergency phone number.

A white Porsche 911 Carrera GTS.
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS | Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg

History of the Porsche 911

According to, the story of the Porsche 911 began with the car’s predecessor, the Porsche 356. While the 356 had earned Porsche a great reputation on both the racetrack and daily driving, it was clear that by the ’60s, Porsche needed an update.

Porsche unveiled a concept of this successor at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was similar to the Porsche 356 in that this successor was presented as a rear-engine car, but it had a six-cylinder engine, which made it stronger than the 356. The car that was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show became the Porsche 911. 

In the decades since Porsche first released the 911, the sports car has undergone many generations. Each generation brought something new to the car, and some were even known by different names.

The Porsche 964, for example, was released in 1989, and it was noteworthy for introducing four-wheel drive to the Porsche 911. Throughout all these generations, though, the iconic sleek Porsche 911 style has remained.

The meaning behind the Porsche 911 name

The car that Porsche presented at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show became the Porsche 911, but it was originally called the 901. The 901 name could have gotten the company into a legal issue with the French automaker Peugeot. 

Peugeot did not have a car with the 901 name specifically. Instead, it had the right to name cars after numbers with three digits and a zero in the middle. Porsche needed to change the name of the 901 to avoid any issues. However, there was an issue in that the car was mid-launch when this problem surfaced.

Luckily for the people at Porsche, there was a simple but brilliant solution. The number 1 had already been part of the 901 name, so instead of completely coming up with a new name, the 901 became the 911. This new name stuck, and the Porsche 911 has been an icon ever since. 

The current generation of the car

The current generation of the sports car is also known as the Porsche 992. It is the eighth generation of the 911, and its body design continues to showcase elements found in classic 911 generations. The 992 has several modern features added to keep up with the times, like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

Porsche offers a wide variety of new models under the 911 name for the current model year. The base 911 is known as the 911 Carrera, and it has a starting price of $106,000. Porsche has other 911 options available for anyone interested in additional features. If a person wanted a 911 convertible, they could choose the 911 Carrera Cabriolet. 

Now, there is even a version for off-road driving. The 911 Dakar is designed to handle harsh deserts and racetracks alike. Sadly, if you wanted to get behind the wheel of the 911 Dakar it wouldn’t come cheap. This off-road Porsche comes with an MSRP of $222,000.


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