Did you know that Porsche was actually issued a cease and desist letter from French company Peugeot in regards to the 911’s original ‘901’ moniker? Porsche, at that time, gave their cars numbers based on their project number. For example, the first 356 was internally “project three-hundred fifty-six”, and the 901 was similarly the nine-hundred first project number used. When the 901 initially hit the market in 1964, Peugeot got wind of the sports car’s name and made the claim that they owned the rights to any three-numeral nameplate where the middle number is zero. How Porsche slid the 904 and 906 names under Peugeot’s nose, we’ll never know.
Because Porsche had already created molds for the nine, zero, and one gold name badges for the engine lid and dashboard, they didn’t want to invest in new molds for a new name, so they simply doubled the production of gold number ones and replaced the middle zero with a second one.
Interestingly This Wasn’t The First Time This Happened to Porsche
It’s a fun story that you may or many not have known, but did you know this was the second time in a decade that Porsche had been told to discontinue use of a nameplate on one of their cars? For the 1955 model year, Porsche decided to rebrand the 356 model for the North American market, as importers decided it would sell better with a ‘real name’ instead of numeric nomenclature. The 356 that year was marketed as the “Continental” (some European market 356s also received a “European” badge). Automotive giant Ford had its lawyers draft up a quick ‘You would be advised to stop doing this’ friendly legal letter, as they already marketed a Lincoln model under the same name.
If you didn’t know, now you do.