The latest video feature from 9:11 Magazine is not nine minutes and eleven seconds long. Instead, this three and a half minute video is short and to the point. According to the magazine, over seven decades, these are the seven most iconic Porsches. Some models seem destined to be on virtually any list of Porsches, but do all the ones chosen deserve to be on the list? One model is chosen from each decade of Porsche history, beginning with the 1950s, and the Porsche 356 SL.
The seven-car list includes the 1964 Porsche 911, the Porsche 917, 959, Boxster, Cayenne and 918 Spyder, each representing the decade they were introduced. But there are any number of reasons a car can be considered iconic, and it is challenging to call this list definitive. For instance, the 356 SL is an extremely important Porsche of the 1950s, but is it more iconic than the 550 Spyder? Is the Boxster more of an icon than the 993 Turbo?
In the popular consciousness some cars are hard to beat. The 917 would be a challenge to topple from its spot on the list, as even non-car fans are apt to recognize the flat-twelve powered monster. It’d be tough to oust the 918 Spyder from the top spot in the 2010s. Even the mighty GT2 RS has not captured the public’s imagination to the same extent as the hybrid hypercar.
Make Your Own Icons
But with a prompt this apt for reinterpretation, we feel obligated to reassess the list. What defines an iconic Porsche is different for each of us. Following the format of 9:11 magazine’s list, these are my seven most iconic Porsches since 1950:
- 1950s: Porsche 356 Speedster – The 356 SL and 550 Spyder may have more visible motorsports success, but the 356 Speedster was a fixture of both professional and amateur racing for decades. Steve McQueen drove one, but so did countless amateur racers. The shape is simple, uncluttered, and best appreciated without the finnicky top fitted.
- 1960s: Porsche 911 2.0 – I see no reason to argue with 9:11 magazine here. This is Porsche, after all, and for 911 fans this is genesis.
- 1970s: Porsche 917/30 – As an American, my favorite 917 variant is the one that raced on this side of the Atlantic for its entire career. Penske racing’s blue, red and gold 917/30 is simply the most brutal car in a family of racers defined by their uncompromising nature. With nearly 1,600 horsepower at 39PSI of boost in qualifying trim, the /30 is a mechanical horror, and a beautiful beast from a bygone era of motorsport.
- 1980s: Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 – The last of the impact bumper 911s. The Carrera 3.2 might be relatively common, but it seems to be what most people over 30 think of when they hear the name Porsche. It’s not exotic like the 959, nor a purebred competition car. Despite that, the Carrera 3.2 is a vision of Porsche in the 1980s.
- 1990s: Porsche 911 GT1 – Endurance racing in the 1990s was extremely varied, and the GT1 sat in a field of intensely competitive and widely disparate racing cars. Fast, beautiful and fairly successful, this was peak Porsche in the 1990s.
- 2000s: Porsche 996 GT3 RS – Following the great tradition of Porsche RS models, the 996 GT3 RS was introduced in 2003. This hardcore, track-focused 911 set the stage for a number of followups, including the 997 GT3 RS, RS 4.0 and the current 991 GT3 RS lineup. These most-intense of all naturally aspirated 911s were the stuff of dreams for car-crazed youth in the early 2000s.
- 2010s: Porsche 919 Hybrid – Three FIA WEC Constructor’s Championships, three Driver’s Championships and three Le Mans wins in a row. All in a four cylinder hybrid racing car. The future is here, and it needs not be boring.
Of course, those are my seven most iconic Porsches, filtered through the lens of my undeniable biases. What are your most iconic Porsches from each of the last seven decades?