The first Porsche model 911 was sold in 1963. Although it has been upgraded many times, and the model number internal to the Porsche company has changed several times, it is still sold as the model 911. The photographs show the 1963 model and the 2013 model and illustrate the slow and steady change of something that Porsche had gotten right in the beginning. Over 800.000 of the model 911 have been sold, The 911 is discussed on the automobile page of the May 26 New York Times, in an article entitled "Timeless, but Not Frozen in Time” It is here. you want more history, click here for the Wikipedia page.
I drove a 1959 model 356A Porsche for 20 years, and loved it, although it had some shortcomings. It was a souped up and more luxurious Volkswagen Beetle, and inherited the Volkswagen swing-axle suspension, which could become a bit scary at times. The engine had been modified to include aluminum cylinders and pistons, which wore enough to produce an unacceptable amount of piston slap (I replaced them with iron) . I never made the switch to the 911 because of burgeoning family and possessions, but the 356 was sure fun, and I have from time to time admired the 911. My older son had a 911 for a while, and now has my old 356.
The reason I admire this car is the success of the original one followed by a slow progression of changes which has allowed it to retain its position for 50 years. The original 911 was a much better car of its type (sports car) than was the 356, which was in turn considered outstanding if compared to its competition in its early days. The 911 had a much improved suspension, a 6 cylinder rear mounted air-cooled engine designed for the job, and other improvements, although it obviously was a descendent of the 356. Since that time it has become a bit larger, a bit heavier, and “modernized” to include many features that continually improve its performance and satisfy the modern-day customer. Some features have been lost (air cooled engine), but it still retains its unique personality and its 6 cylinder flat rear mounted engine.
I cannot help but be impressed by an automobile that has been a leader in its class for 50 years and retained as much of its identity and appeal. Many other sports cars available in 1963 are no longer manufactured. The Corvette was around then, and is certainly still available, but has never quite been considered a sports car. It goes fast, but never has had the charisma or agility of the Porsche. When I bought the model 356, it was considered by many to be the best sports car available within the reach of people like me (aerospace engineer). It still has that reputation among enough people to maintain its mystique. A tribute to Ferdinand Porsche and the often admired “German Engineering”.