Luxury's 25 Most Innovative Brands: Porsche

  • The current 911 variants, including the GT3 (shown here), and the first-series 911 evolved from the 356.
  • First-series 911
  • The 356
<< Back to Robb Report, August 2013

The 356, the first automobile to bear the Porsche moniker, emerged from a barn in Gmünd, Austria, in 1948 and quickly made a name for its maker by posting competition victories. The 4-cylinder, rear-engine sports car resembled the Volkswagen Beetle, which the company’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche, had designed 14 years earlier. The car’s shape flew in the face of physics, yet the 356 outran and outmaneuvered machines that should have squashed it like an irritating, air-cooled bug.

The 356 eventually metamorphosed into the 6-cylinder 911. Now 50 years into its production run, the 911 proves that good genes and an innovative design brief are all it takes to keep on making history—or almost all it takes. The 911 also needed a little luck.

Some 25 years ago, Porsche came close to discontinuing the 911 because management considered it archaic, expensive, and not as competitive in the market as the 944 and 928, the company’s front-engine, water-cooled cars of that era. Fortun­ately, Porsche executives changed their minds and the 911 survived; in 1995, production of the 928 and the 968 (the final generation of the 944) ceased.

In more recent years, the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sports sedan have helped Porsche achieve record sales, and the Boxster and the Cayman, the company’s so-called entry-level sports cars, tickle the fancy of purists who want two seats and little else. But the 911 remains Porsche’s engineering—and marketing—triumph. Having proved its mettle over millions of miles in competition and on the road, the 911 may make it to the century mark. 800.767.7243, www.porsche.com

From Around the Web...
The 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta that will be available at the RM Sotheby's Amelia Island sale.
From a provenance-rich roadster to a rare Rolls-Royce, each car is any collector’s dream…
Porsche 550 Spyder
The Seduction Motorsports 550 Spyder offers alluring retro details and mandatory modern upgrades…
Inside the Bugatti Atelier in Molsheim, France.
With assembly done by hand, the Chiron’s construction is the only slow aspect of the automobile…
The Ferrari 812 Superfast
The marque’s cutting-edge coupe carries a 789 hp, 6.5-liter V-12 that allows a top speed of 211 mph…
Indian Roadmaster Classic
Vintage design elements distinguish the Roadmaster Classic, a variant of the acclaimed Roadmaster…
Faraday Future Dragon Racing competes in Formula E.
The premier publishing brand brings added voltage to the hard-charging electric-vehicle race team…
A Woodill Wildfire from the 1954 film Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis.
From McQueen’s racer in Le Mans to Presley’s Corvette in Clambake, these machines made movie magic…
The Chevrolet Camaro 1LE performance package makes the legendary muscle car more agile on the...
Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic
Shorter than the SVAutobiography, the new SUV handles better and is just as refined…
Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Photo by Mathieu Heurtault.
Two Aston Martin coupes and a roadster from Lancia are among the favorites to fall under the hammer…